We love adventure and exploring new places, but there’s something to be said about a quiet, lazy weekend. In early December, Brandon suggested we get away for a few nights. No agenda—just a chance to relax away from home. He didn’t have a specific location in mind, so I turned to Airbnb and scrolled through listings, looking for a place that allowed dogs so Schmidt could travel with us. A listing called ‘Gypsy Cottage’ caught my eye, and we decided to spend the weekend in Staunton, Virginia.
As we left home on Friday afternoon, it was pouring buckets of snow. The 3 hour 45 minute drive started on some pretty slick highways, but the snow dissipated as we neared our destination. We dropped off our bags + Schmidt at the house and set out for dinner at Edelweiss Restaurant.
What the restaurant lacked in taste (German cuisine isn’t my favorite), it more than made up for in charm. Lively polka music welcomed us into a warmly-lit dining room. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the music wasn’t coming from a speaker, but from a table in the center of the restaurant with several accordion players. There were holiday decorations spread throughout the restaurant, and we were seated near a giant Christmas tree. I don’t think we’ve ever dined at a cozier spot.
After dinner, we picked up some groceries and prepared for snow, which followed us from North Carolina.
On Saturday morning, I woke up to huge powdery snowflakes falling. I baked sausage cheese balls for breakfast, then followed Schmidt around the yard with my camera while he explored. After Brandon rolled out of bed, we watched a few episodes of “The Crown” before venturing out to lunch. The Depot Grill was highly rated on TripAdvisor, and we enjoyed our meal there before exploring the town. Staunton was quiet, and we didn’t see many cars on the road. We enjoyed driving through the beautiful Mary Baldwin University campus, and I really wished that we could have joined the families we saw sledding on a giant hillside.
Down the street from our rental, the annual Celebration of Holiday Lights illuminated Gypsy Hill Park. Displays hosted by local businesses stood out against the snow. We talked about picking up Schmidt and bringing him down to the park to explore (there was a huge dog park, too!), but it was very cold and still snowing.
We opted for a “Netflix and chill” afternoon and evening back at the cottage. (Side note: “The Crown” is so good, y’all! Why must we wait an entire year between seasons?) For dinner, I made our favorite spaghetti recipe and Brandon enjoyed some wine that our Airbnb host left for us.
On Sunday morning, we packed up the car and started our drive home, stopping at Natural Bridge State Park for a quick hike in the cold. The Natural Bridge, estimated to be at least 500 million years old, is 215 feet high, 40 feet thick, and 100 feet wide. Lee Highway passes directly overhead. We also stopped in Roanoke, grabbed lunch from Tuco’s Taqueria Garaja, and ate in our car on top of a parking garage.
I assume we’ll visit Virginia a few more times during 50 in 5, since we live only an hour away from the border. I’d love to see Virginia Beach and the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs. I’d also like to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mabry Mill—a place I remember visiting with my mom and grandmother when I was a child.