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Another weekend another reason to get away from the country and explore the cities that surround our area; it’s exactly what we did too.  This weekend we decided to adventure to the capital city of Virginia (anyone remember which it is), Richmond.  We’ve explored the city a few times and have to say it is a nice old city but not much other than shopping.  But then again we live near Fredericksburg & Washington, DC so its steep competition.  Our intention for traveling the 45-60 minutes south for the REI store in Short Pump.  The location is in a newer subdivision that not only has an REI but also a Whole Foods and Trader Joes!  I’m sure you can see where our minds were located right?

It was a two-day weekend so we started our adventure on Saturday morning with a breakfast of homemade Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread (Genki Hubby), Ezekiel Toast (me) and a banana each.  Easy to put together breakfast options are always the best on a travel morning.

After our last trip Genki Hubby and I wanted to go to REI for some outdoor clothing that would help protect against bugs and scraps.  I’m not sure if I told you already but I (might I add the only woman) was the only one in our camping group of four that did not end up with some sort of insect parting gift.  Genki Hubby has been told by colleagues he had something called Chigger Bites?  Yeah, I had never heard of this bug either.  The name sounds fun but doesn’t look so pretty.  Immediately I overreacted to the bites and feared Lyme’s’ Disease (prevalent here) because the small bites resembled prefect little circles.  But then someone told us about chigger’s which are also prevalent here… the other two got ant bites (still questioning this one) and poison ivy. So we were hoping to find something to protect against the elements here.  Even though REI is having a Fall Sale of 30% off, we weren’t able to find anything.  First time for everything I guess…

Next up we began our grocery shopping excursion to Whole Foods which is in the same shopping complex.  The locations nearest to our house do not have good bakeries so we always love shopping at this one.  It’s funny I love baking but having someone else treat me to something is always a treat.

Trader Joe’s is a short block away from Whole Foods but thanks to construction, it is extremely difficult to circumnavigate.  Two trips around the busy block we finally made it into the shopping complex – Genki Hubby only a little frazzled around the edges.  Again, if you live in the area or are passing through, go ahead and check out this location.  It is much more spacious than most others around the nation but unfortunately does not always have vegan options in stock.  We learned this the hard way a few times when one employee did not even know TJ’s sold Peanut Butter stuffed Pretzels.  Gasp!  Addicted Genki Husband almost passed out in shock when he heard this…  Additionally the mock chick’in options aren’t always in stock.  Occasionally we will find them but only a few left in the frozen section. This time around we were lucky.  Hooray!!!

Finally we were starving after all the grocery shopping so we drove over to the fully vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Fresca on Addison.  Our last trip was really positive so we couldn’t wait to test out some of the other menu options.  This trip we devoured a Greek pizza with vegan cheese and a BBQ seitan sandwich.  Genki Hubby was especially thrilled with the sandwich since they were sold out last time.  The place really gets busy during the lunch hour rush, especially on the weekends.  For some reason this weekend was not as busy.  *happy dance* The pizza again was delicious and had the perfect amount of vegan cheese (too much makes it like a piece of rubber).  The sandwich was okay but for our taste buds a bit too sweet of a BBQ sauce; it’s all a personal preference though.  Our two entrees were filling and we still had leftovers for another meal at home.

As if we didn’t have enough food we also went to Lamplighter Roasting Coffee for some iced lattes.  The last two trips to this coffee house have been truly exciting for the taste buds so we have been dreaming of a Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar Latte once again.  Both trips were in the winter so both were warm – and truly delicious with almond milk (beat that Starbucks!).  Unfortunately we learned sometimes restaurants should stick with what they do best and in this case, warm drinks are their specialty.  I am a foodie but the ‘frappucinos’ we ordered were not only un-mixed up but were lousy tasting.  We tossed them both and for coffee lovers this is a disgrace.  Normally they also have great service but this time we had to request our order to be reordered three times before the cashier got it correct.  Maybe an off day?

Since we didn’t get our cold treat on the hot day we went to TCBY.  Okay, so maybe I had planned this for the hubby already.  For those of you unaware, all of the stores now have Silk Chocolate Fro-Yo.  Basically it’s just Silk Almond Chocolate milk chilled and made into ice cream.  But, if you are vegan you will understand, this is monumental for a vegan option to be available at a national chain such as this one.  We were immediately addicted and wanted to take some home but none was available.  Darn…  If only there was one closer- but then again we might go broke eating it too much.On our way home we drove past another man-made lake called Lake Anna.  People in the area call this the “party lake”.  I’m wondering what people call ours, Genki Hubby and I call it the retirement lake.  Originally the lake was built in the country to accommodate the nuclear power plant since there are no other water sources in the direct area.  Now it’s a heavily populated party lake that stretches over a distance.  It’s another gorgeous lake and can be seen from the bridges that were built over the lake.  Not sure but I think it’s a private lake for residents or paying customers. As our final trip found attraction, a local vineyard called Cooper Winery.  This attraction was thanks to my iPhone and some nifty driving skills by Genki Hubby.  Again, it’s in the middle of nowhere so if you would like to wine taste here, make sure you have a GPS to navigate the area.  Once the long dirt road is traveled to the winery, it’s hard to notice the owner’s love of eco-friendly living.  Our wine-tasting hostess expressed the buildings design to be one-of-a-kind; it’s rated as a ‘Premium Green Building’ or something like that.  It’s basically all self-sufficient with solar panels and eco-friendly building materials.  It’s got a modern appeal for younger generations but not over the top that older generations do not want to visit.

As if the eco-friendly building wasn’t enough, we got special hybrid car parking close to the door and also the business is built around canine rescue through the ASPCA.  Apparently the owners rescued their furry baby and now devote proceeds to canine rescue and adoption in her honor.  Other furry babies are allowed to come to the winery and engage with ones’ human parents. In fact, one small furry baby was putting its cold, wet nose on my foot as I tasted wine.  So cute!

Saturday was so busy we just wanted to stay at home on Sunday and get some things completed.  We ended up going into town for some more shopping and then the rest of the day was relaxing and recuperating.  Nothing that exciting I’m afraid…

How was your weekend?