Sunday, August 26, 2012

Virginia Beach, Virginia ~ August 2012

Saturday August 25, 2012
Our flight left at O’Dark:30 so we had to leave for the airport at 4:15 a.m.  Good thing I have no problems sleeping on a plane!
I had to have the full pat down and body search by TSA. Funny thing about my strip search – Paul’s usually the one to get the search because of his hip replacement but with the new body scanners they let him right thru.  After she had her way with me she had her way with my stuff.  She had to go thru my laptop bag, my purse and my carryon and swipe things with a pad and put it on the scanner. NothingToHide. Anyhow, onward and upward.  The flights were on time and the 2.25 hour layover in Chicago went by fairly quickly. ;~}
We arrived in Virginia, got our luggage and went for our rental car.  Oh lookie there.  Someone left their backpack on the front seat.  So I take the backpack to the booth and the lady asks me if anything else was left behind. I told her my husband didn’t have the back open yet so I wasn’t sure.  She walked back to the car with me and Paul had just taken two suitcases out of the back.  What the Heavens to Betsy is going on?  The rental car lady is in a tizzy over what to do and all of a sudden a man comes running up to get his stuff.  She asked him what was going on and he said they picked a car and went to get the keys and found out they can’t do it like that.  Okey dookey then.  NOW can we be our way?  The car is a Ford Escape and looks brand new.  It’s pretty roomy for a small SUV.  The drive was quick (about 20 minutes) and the directions were easy. 
We entered the resort and there was a circus was going on.  There was a guy in the lobby doing magic tricks and balloon weenie dogs.  The pool is right off the lobby and it was full of families.  The check-in lady was nice and quick and then we had to wait in line for an elevator.  Hmmmmm.  We totally expected to be completely disappointed in the room but it’s not bad.  They had excellent rating on the sites I checked before making our reservations and their sign board says “rated #1 on Tripadvisor”.  Anyhow, I’d rate the room as average.  It’s clean and well maintained but nothing fancy schmancy.  It has a small living room/dining room then you pass thru the small but efficient kitchen on the left and nice bathroom on the right and onto the bedroom which is pretty good size.  We didn’t think there was much closet/dresser space but we didn’t have a problem with that when we unpacked.  I upgraded for a room to a balcony/patio (they charge extra and they are limited, in fact she told me there were no Ocean Views only a Marina View and this was the last one available).  The Marina View is nice although the balcony is v-e-r-y small. Two chairs and a table but what more do we need? It's on the 6th floor so the view is nice. I’m glad we did the upgrade.  Actually I told Paul we were lucky we got the Marina side because the Ocean side is right on the Boardwalk which is incredibly noisy and there is another hotel before the beach so the “Ocean View” is partially obstructed anyhow.  We left and asked the Concierge where there was a regular grocery store.  She was kind of an idiot.  Concierge 101 – people asking you directions probably don’t know the area so be a little more specific please. She kept saying “Do you know where this is?  Do you know where that is?"  NO, we just arrived and we don’t know the area at all.  I finally asked her if she had an area map and she handed it to me.  I said “where is the YOU ARE HERE”?  She looked at it and turned it around a couple of times and finally marked an X.  Then I asked her which way we needed to go.  Oy!  Amazingly we found our way but I don’t think we’ll be relying on the Concierge for anything else during our stay. We came back to the resort and ventured down the Boardwalk.  There is a ginormous beach party going on with tons of people and music and mass craziness.  We went into one restaurant but they had an hour wait and it was incredibly noisy.  We tried another, same noise level 20 minutes. Both restaurants were on the ocean side of the Boardwalk. We went to the other side of the street and found a nice quite restaurant with a 20 minute wait so we decided to eat there.  Keeping up with our typical M.O., first night dinner experience was not great.  The server was slammed so although she was very pleasant she didn’t have much in the way of time management.  The vodka/cranberry (be kind to your kidneys) was great with a just a blush of pink but the food was not so good.  I ordered a Crab appetizer and a Caesar Salad.  the crab was ok, the salad dressing was watery. Paul even sent his steak back because we thought it tasted spoiled.  She said they marinate it in wine and lemon juice so it has a sour taste and they get that complaint a lot.  REALLY?  Maybe you should rethink the marinade. BTW we found out the big event on the beach is the East Coast Surfing Championship.  She thinks it ends on Monday. Anyhow, we stopped for ice cream on the way back to the room.  By then it was almost 11 so we sat outside on the balcony for a little while and then I went to bed. 
This morning (Sunday) it’s absolutely beautiful out.  Forecast is 84°, cloudy with a 30% chance of rain.  Right now it’s not cloudy but we’ll see what the day brings.  The Marina is quiet.  People are walking and jogging and riding their beach cruisers.  I need to go SF&P so we can start our day.  I’m not sure what we’re doing yet but you can be sure I’ll let you know.

Sunday August 26, 2012
We started off with breakfast at Waterman’s, right across the Boardwalk.  We sat on the patio watching the beach cruisers pass by.  After breakfast we went for a walk on the beach and watched the surfing championships for a few minutes. 
The humidity here makes the 85° temps feel hotter than Phoenix when it’s in triple digits.  We wondered down the Boardwalk and hopped on the shuttle bus.
We looked at the military statues and historical markers at the Naval Aviation Monument.  I checked out a body piercing place.  I want another piercing on my left earlobe but haven’t done it yet.  I was really tired so we went back to the room and I took a nap for an hour.  Then we ventured out to Lynnhaven.  We went to Fort Story and took the tour of the Cape Henry Lighthouse.  Our vehicle was strip searched by the Navy personnel.  You have to show ID, open all vehicle doors, glove compartment, center consul, get out of the vehicle and open the trunk and the hood.  One officer runs your ID while another checks out the car. NothingToHide.  Then you can proceed to the two lighthouses, one is active so you can’t go in, the other is historical built in the early 1700’s.  I took the stairs up to the lighthouse but didn’t go in.  Paul did and I talked to a nice lady from Kansas who started to go up and had to turn around and come back down because she’s afraid of heights.  I told her I walked to the top of the lighthouse in Cape Cod.   When I reached the top there was no award so I wasn’t about to do it again! ;~}  Actually my knee was bothering me on the way up the initial stairs so I didn’t want to press it.  Getting old is a bitch.
Then we drove around for a while and went to dinner at Lynnhaven Fish House.  I had lobster. 

It was de-lish.  I still wasn’t feeling great and extremely tired (rundown/no energy/hope I’m not getting sick) so we skipped dessert and headed back to the resort.  I figured once I laid down for a while we could take the shuttle and go for ice cream.  We ended up staying in.  Paul went to the Jacuzzi and I went to bed early.

This morning (Monday) I feel fine so I don’t know if it was the heat that zapped me of all my energy yesterday or what. 
We’re about to head out now.  Paul wants to go to Smithfield today.  Home of the HAM.  I took a few pictures but Prince Charming is ready to go so and will download later.  (As you can see I've downloaded some photos.)

Monday, August 27, 2012
We skipped breakfast (not to worry, I had a banana before we left) and headed to Smithfield “Ham Capitol of the World” “Voted # 1 Daytrip”.  We stopped at the Visitor Center and a very friendly volunteer told us all about the Town.  We went into Taste of Smithfield and a very friendly worker bee told us all about Ham.  We ventured down to Smithfield Station (on the waterfront) for lunch. 
I wanted a Ham & Cheese sandwich but low and behold, there was no Ham & Cheese sandwich on the menu in the Ham Capitol of the World. Go figure. I put the server in a quandary when I asked if I could get the Smoked Turkey, Ham & Cheese without the turkey!  She asked me if I had a second choice if they wouldn’t do it.  I said if they won’t do it come back and I’ll pick out something else.  (Really, is it that hard to leave the turkey off cuz if it is I’ll just pick it off myself but why waste it?)  She came back all happy to report that they could make it the way I wanted it.  Whew. That was a close call.  After all that it was just okay. I ordered it with coleslaw instead of fries.  I ate half a sammy and Paul finished the rest.  We wondered thru the stores and ended up at Jeff’s Sir Cakes-A-Lot.  I got a really good Lemon Sugar Cookie.  I asked Paul if he wanted anything and he said “are you kidding, after eating my lunch and half of yours I’m stuffed”.  But of course, he had to try some of mine.  We went back to Main Street and went to the Isle of Wight Museum.  Interesting.  Lots of old stuff! ;~} I wanted to go to Pet Persona who advertises Unique Gifts For Any Pet but they are closed on Monday.  The owner must be from South Dakota.  Hi Jennie. (Seems like everything was closed on Monday when I was in SD visiting my friend Jennie.)  After we finished with Main Street we drove up to Fort Boykin Historic Park. 
It was a Fort built in 1623 to protect the colonist.  We detoured our way back thru the scenic route and over the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.  We arrived back at the resort with clear skies but by the time we got up to our room it was pouring.  That only lasted about 5 or 10 minutes and back to clear skies.  We went down the Boardwalk to Mahi-Mahi for dinner.  That’s the restaurant that had a 1 hour wait on Saturday night.  No crowd on Monday night.  Our server, Nigel, was awesome.  Cocktail please. 
Electric Lemonade.  Yum. We started off with Bingo Oysters.  OMG they were amazing.  Pan fried with lemon, wine and brown butter sauce. Without a doubt the best thing I've eaten since we arrived. For dinner I ordered the Boardwalk Shrimp appetizer and a side of steamed asparagus.  Paul had Mahi Mahi Bronzed (Cajun Spice and Brown Sugar Rub).  He said it was excellent.  We split cheesecake for dessert with an after dinner coffee.  Then we took a little walk on the beach pathway.  It was such a beautiful night with still some people walking or on bikes and skateboards but not too crowded.  They have most of the tents and hoopla removed from the surfing extravaganza. 
It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood (Tuesday).  Some clouds off in the distance but blue skies overhead.  Today’s excellent adventure will take us to Jamestown and maybe Yorktown depending on how much time we have.  You just can see enough Civil War Battle Fields!  Note to self: take my Kindle along for the ride today just in case I can’t pull the hubster away from all that history.  ;-)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
You would think that with all these maps on my lap we could find your way around, but NOOOooooooo.  Virginia roads are weird.  You look at the map and the highway you want is running east and west.  You know you want to go west.  As you approach the interchange it gives you an option of north or south.  What?  Unfortunately the Co-Signer-of-My-Marriage-License is not the most patient person when traveling the wrong direction. 
 We went to Mary’s Restaurant for breakfast.  Home-style cooking, blah, blah, blah. Paul's bosses name is Mary so we HAD to go there. ;~} I didn’t want eggs or pancakes or waffles so I decided on oatmeal and a fresh fruit cup.  The server says “Actually we are out of fruit today.  We ran out of fruit yesterday and won’t have any until tomorrow”.  Seriously!  Are you kidding me?  This is not a rural area.  There is a grocery store right down the street.  Shouldn’t the manager have gone to the store yesterday and bought fruit for today since they won’t get a delivery until tomorrow.  Ey-yi-yi.  Had I known I could have brought a banana or plums from the room.  Oh well, when in Rome, oatmeal it is.  We headed out with all intentions of going to Jamestown and Yorktown but geography had a different plan for our day.  We arrived in Yorktown (after only getting lost a couple of times and btw I couldn’t get the navigation thingy working on my smartphone although I’m sure it was operator error). We discovered that Jamestown is on the other side of Williamsburg (about 45 minutes northwest) so we’ll go there another day.  We started off at the Yorktown Visitor Center to get directions to the Yorktown Victory Center Museum.  We found our way there and went thru the outdoor replicas of home sites and living conditions.
Dried food:
Dried tabacco:
 Then into the Museum thru the exhibits.  They had a demonstration starting outside of the artillery used during the Civil War.  Then they pointed us to another tent to see the “doctor” who went over all the tools and potions used at the time.  Now THAT I find fascinating.  Back inside to more exhibits and a film.  By then it was 2:30 and I told Paul I needed a snack immediately.  I hadn’t eaten anything except a half bowl of oatmeal in the morning and was feeling shaky.  We drove back to the shopping area of Yorktown and ended up having ice cream.  After that we went to the Yorktown Battlefield Tour.  Part of that one is outside with a Ranger for a 45 minute walking tour.  It was very hot and humid.  He led us over to a grassy area to do his schpeal and there wasn’t an ounce of shade. 
There's the group:
Where's Patti?  Over there under a big ole shade tree.
 I looked around and walked back to a shade tree and waited for the group.  As he led us to another area an elderly gentleman came up to me and said “you are the smartest person in the group!”  I laughed and told him I noticed the only person wearing a hat was the Ranger.  The next stop was shady but the area after that was standing in the sun again so I ventured to the only tiny piece of shade around and another lady said “I’m going to follow you!”  She was a nice lady from Ohio. We chit-chatted until the tour was over because neither one of us were interested in heat stroke!  Then back to the car and we drove back to the historic area and did the Self-Guided Driving Tour.  We didn’t finish that until 6 pm so we decided to have dinner before heading back to Virginia Beach.  We ate at the Riverfront Restaurant.  We both had steak, I had the filet and he had the flat iron.  The food was okay; the service and view of the bridge over the river were excellent.  We skipped dessert. I asked the server for the best way to get back to VA Beach and she gave us easy directions.  We were driving, driving, driving and Paul thought we were going the wrong way (AGAIN) so he pulled off onto a side street.  He’s was looking at the map (the maps pretty much suck, have I mentioned that already?) and I looked over and saw a man sitting outside on his deck reading.  I got out of the car and said “excuse me” *yes ma’am* “can you tell me how to get to the 64 East, we’re headed to Virginia Beach”.  He said “good luck making it thru the storm”.  We were going in the right direction.  The on-ramp was only another mile or so up the road.  Then he said “be careful driving, the storm is bad and there is flooding in Hampton”.  *Thank you!*  “Drive safe”  *Thank you!*  People are so friendly here.  We got on the 64 and a minute later it started pouring like crazy.  The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up.  Lightning and thunder and rain, oh my.  I was petrified and prayed the entire way!  We finally made it back to the resort (TYJ) and the rain wasn’t bad on this side of town but the lightening is putting on quite a show.  I finished my lemon sugar cookie from the day before and Paul had an individual Ben & Jerry’s that we had bought when we went grocery shopping.  We watched some of the GOP Convention.  Pablo is a Republican.  Chris Christie seems to have his shit together, why isn’t he running for president?  Never mind, don’t want to get out of the political closet door while on vacay.  Anyhow, it put me to sleep.
ETA, found out Christie didn't want to run because he's overweight and afraid of being humiliated by the media.  Seriously?!?!  
This morning (Wednesday) when I got up it was kind of gloomy out buy now (about an hour later) the gloom is drifting away and a beautiful day is trying to shine thru.  It’s supposed to be 82° and cloudy today.  I’ll take it.  Forgot to mention ~ 96% humidity! Yikes!
I think we might hop on the shuttle bus and go to the Aquarium today.  I spent enough time in the car yesterday even though we did a significant amount of walking too.  Today we’ll stay local and tomorrow we’ll venture up to Williamsburg. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I forgot to buy coffee when we went shopping so I had to go downstairs to the restaurant and buy two coffees first thing this morning (I always bring enough for the first morning and there were two packs when we arrived). Note to self: must buy coffee today.
We started off with breakfast at the Sunnyside Café, about a half a block from the resort on the Boardwalk.  I had a breakfast sandwich “Ham, Cheese & Egg on Toasted Wheat Bread”.  No complaints. I know.  You’re shocked. I ate about half of it.  We hopped on the shuttle bus to the Aquarium.  It’s very nice.  We started off with an outdoor nature path along the marsh.  We were fascinated by all the critters in the mud.  Crabs and tadpoles and who knows what else. Then we went inside where they have lots of interactive exhibits and tons of fish and turtles and other sea urchins. 
 Welcoming Committee
 Ocean Ghost (belly of a Stingray)
We went out to the sea lion exhibit.  We always enjoyed watching the sea lions when we lived in California.  Then we took another nature path (they say its 3 blocks) to a second building where they have the otter tank.  They are *Oh*So*Cute*.  I asked the exhibit lady when feeding time is.  She said they feed them thru a trap door on the back side of the tank where you can’t see.  They put the food into their habitat thru a tube.  I asked her if they are mean and she said it’s not that they are mean but they have super sharp teeth.  When they play together they have thick fur so they don’t injure each other but the care takers don’t come in contact with them because it would be dangerous.  We wondered around there and checked out the crabs and snakes. Snakes, just the way I like them, behind glass. ;~} Then we hopped back on the shuttle to the resort.  Then we took the shuttle down the Boardwalk and onto the back street to Murphy’s Irish Pub for an Irish Coffee (mandatory vacation beverage) and then we wondered down the Boardwalk to the King Neptune Monument. 


We decided to have dinner at Catch 31.  We waited for a table on the patio.  It was lovely.  We sat at a loveseat where we both faced the ocean.  The weather was nice and the patio was full of plants and just over the rail were a lot of beautiful flowers.  Typical evening atmosphere on the path with walkers, joggers, bikes, etc. and people playing volleyball on the beach.  The moon is almost full.  It couldn’t have been nicer. We ordered a Pot Sticker appetizer and I ordered the Lobster Ravioli.  Paul ordered Miso Mahi-Mahi. I am not having a good relationship with food this trip and that’s all I’m going to say about that.  When we left the restaurant there was an outdoor concert going on.  We stood there for a little bit listening to the music before we walked across the Boardwalk and hopped on the next shuttle bus.  We hopped off a few blocks away from the resort and went into a mini-mart to buy coffee (can’t believe I forgot about it all day) and then we got an ice cream and walked back to the resort.  We watched the GOP Convention for a little while which really annoyed me.  The night Chris Christie was on he talked about what America needs to do.  Last night it was all about Obama bashing.  I hate politics.
Today, Thursday, it another beautiful day on the balcony.  The agenda de jour is Jamestown and Williamsburg.  I hope we can find our way with no drama!

Thursday, August 30, 2012
We got in the car and Paul told me he thought we’d skip breakfast and head straight to Jamestown so I ran back to the room and got a banana.  I knew I couldn’t possibly make it til lunch time without SOMEthing.  Amazingly we found our way to this historic adventure without any unplanned detours! Yippee!  We started off at the Jamestown Settlement where we watched a 25 minute movie which boiled down to saying we stole the Indian’s land and enslaved Africans.  They tried to make it sound socially acceptable but I still find it disturbing.  Then we went on a 90 minute walking tour.  It was way too hot out. Every time we went into a structure I had to wait outside by the door because it was too stuffy inside.  Every time we stopped outside I was seeking the shade.  Yes, I’m a wuss. The most interesting item to me was the Scarecrow Hut.
 They built them over the fields and the seniors who are too old to work the homesteads and the youngsters who are too young to work the homesteads would sit up there and scare away the birds and ground critters.  Pretty smart aye? While sitting there the elderly would tell the children about the “olden days” keeping their heritage alive. I love that. Another interesting tidbit was they didn’t have meal times.  First thing in the morning the women would start a pot of something over the fire.  Stew or soup depending on what they had on hand.  There would be some sort of meat from the prior day's hunt that they would turn over the pit.  When you got hungry you would just go over and cut off a chunk of meat or dip a scooper into the pot, eat and get back to work. (hmmmm, I wonder when mealtimes became common.) They were worker bees hunting and tending to their crops and maintaining shelter and tanning hides.  By the time the walking tour was over it was 1:30 so we went into the café and grabbed a quickie lunch.  Then we ventured to Historic Jamestowne.  The ‘Settlement’ is a recreation whereas the ‘Historic’ site is where they actually arrived.  We walked down to the archeology dig and an old Church.  Paul talked to one of the historic volunteers for a while but it was way too hot out for me so I wanted in the Church.  We mowsied around a little longer and then decided to skip the rest and go to Williamsburg before it got too late.  We didn’t get there until 3:15.  We walked around the Historic District for about an hour but it was so hot out we were miserable. Hard to believe since we live in Phoenix, but the Virginia heat mixed with the humidity is killer. We ended up going to the shopping area and to the Dog Street Pub where Paul got a beer and I got an “ICED” Irish Coffee.  It was either really good or I was super thirsty and it was super cold.
We ventured back to the resort and hit a little 6 pm commuter traffic.  We researched some dinner options and decided to go Italian to IL Giardino Ristorante.  We decided to make it our Anniversary Dinner (one day early) and I’m glad we did.  We arrived and the place was buzzing.  They have a piano man in the bar.  It was packed and noisy so I asked the hostess if there was any seating in a little quieter area.  They have a little sunroom out front (screened in patio) so she went to check and said they would set up a table.  It was perfect.  There were only a few customers out there and we sat in a corner facing the Boardwalk.  Our server Kelly was fantastic.  We had a coupon for focaccia and that was really good.  When she brought it out she had two bottles of dipping oil.  One was garlic and the other was spicy red pepper.  She said she likes them mixed together with a little sprinkle of parmesan.  Okey dokey then, like I said before ‘when in Rome’.  De-lish.  Paul ordered Veal (Vitello alla Francese aka scaloppine of veal, lemon, butter and white wine) and I decided on Fettuccini with Half a Lobster.  Hey, it’s my Anniversary and I’m on vacation and I seriously haven’t been eating very well this week so I’m gonna splurge.  ~Justification over~  When she brought our dinner the lobster was beautifully plated around the sides with the pasta in the middle.  She asked me if I wanted her to shell the lobster for me.  Yes please.  She brought it back and again beautifully placed. She’s a keeper!  It was amazingly delicious.  The lobster was cooked perfectly and practically melted in my mouth.  I gave Paul half of my fettuccini since his veal didn’t come with pasta.  I ate every bite!  She brought us an Anniversary Tiramisu which was also very good. 
Food, Service & Ambiance get 5 stars and two thumbs up from this picky foodie.
Paul had asked me earlier in the day if I would come back to Virginia Beach again for vacation in the future.  I said maybe. He said no. There are so many places we haven’t been.  After dinner last night I told him I’d come back just to eat at IL Giardino again!  Yes, it was that good.
We walked back to the Resort.  The Boardwalk was kind of quite. ;~{ Not many people wondering and the stores were closing.  The weather was beautiful.  We got back and went down to the Jacuzzi.  We had the entire pool area to ourselves.  They have “adults only” swim time from 8 to 10 a.m. and again from 9 to 11 pm.  By the time we got back upstairs and I showered off the chlorine, Romney was on the last words of his speech.  By the time the prayer was over I was asleep.
Today (Friday) is our 27th Anniversary.  God only knows how we lasted this long!  It is yet another gorgeous day on the balcony.  We haven’t decided what we’re going to do today.  Paul wanted to venture to YET ANOTHER battlefield.  Seriously, I’ve seen enough history of the early settlers.  He said those were Revolutionary War. He’d like to check out some Civil War battlefields.  I told him he should go by himself. He said “what would you do”.  I said I’d take the shoppers shuttle and see where it goes.  I’d get a pedicure.  I venture to the ocean front and have a shrimp cocktail and a cosmopolitan for lunch.  Don’t worry about me.  I can totally entertain myself!  I think I painted a picture of a perfectly lovely day but that’s not going to happen.  We’ll figure out something to do together.  There are still plenty of places in this area that we haven’t explored.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Our last full day in Virginia Beach was not our greatest.  We skipped breakfast and decided to eat an early lunch at the Ice House but first ventured up to Norfolk to the Harley Davidson Dealership.  Paul wanted to see if they had the 2013 Anniversary Edition in yet.  No.  He got his mandatory vacation Harley T-Shirt.  Then we stopped at the Ice House for lunch.  Meh.  We went back to the room so I could check in for our flight.  We’re flying Southwest so I didn’t want to be in the later boarding group.  We are in “A” both flights. It's the little things! ;~} We decided to hang out at the resort and make it a lazy (I mean relaxing) day.  So-far-so-good.  We ventured out around 5 pm and got on the shuttle bus.  We couldn’t decide where to eat.  There is a big music festival here for Labor Day Weekend so we knew all the ocean front restaurants would be packed like they were when we arrived during the surfing competition.  Paul was tired of eating fish so he said let’s just go to Murphy’s Pub. I didn’t really care.  I’m tired of eating in restaurants. I ordered a Drunken Irishman which I think was Absolute Lemon with Irish Whisky and Cranberry Juice.  Paul got a beer.  We ordered dinner and the evening went downhill from there.  Food was not so good.  The place was super noisy so he couldn’t hear.  The service sucked.  He was not happy.  We left there and started walking down the Boardwalk and I just wanted to go home.  We ended up walking out to the pathway on the beach and stopping to talk it out for a little while.  We walked down the path a little further to the band stage and listed to a band for a little while.  Then we walked back to the Boardwalk and hopped on the shuttle bus back to the resort.  He went to the room and I browsed around the T-Shirt shop across the street from the resort.  The street was packed by then because of the music festival.  We watched the political analysts on TV for a while.  They were dissecting the GOP Convention and predicting what will happen at the DNC Convention.  One thing I thought was interesting is they (two black Democrats, sorry, don’t remember their names) are predicting that Obama won’t get the black vote this time around like he did before.  The one said he has failed the black community.  He recalled people dancing in the streets when Obama won the election rejoicing in the idea that they weren’t going to have to pay their mortgages, etc.  You know where that gets you? Homeless. ;~{
This morning I’m so ready to be at home.  See my Sis.  Play with my dogs.  Cozy up on my sofa and watch TV!
Overall the vacation has been fairly good.  Note to self for future packing:
1.    Don’t bother bringing a hair dryer where it’s hot and humid.  It’s a waste of time and energy to do my hair and walk outside and feel it frizzing up within minutes!
2.    Don’t waste luggage space with T-Shirts or anything with sleeves.  Tank tops and sundresses only.  
3.    In a beach town there is no need to bring extra clothes to change before dinner into something not-so-casual.  Shorts and flip flops are acceptable in the best restaurants in town.  (I have lots of clean clothes going back home.)
Speaking of restaurants, Virginia Beach restaurants are average.  Paul and I decided last night that out of all our meals only the Bingo Oysters at Mahi-Mah’s and the fabulous Anniversary Dinner we had at IL Giardino were worth all the money we spent on food this week.  See, it’s not just me.  He wasn’t impressed either! 
I should have time to make a Smilebox (on-line photo album) this weekend so check back here if you want to see the rest of the pictures.  I probably only took about 100!  Cuz ya know, everyone likes to look at other people's vacation photos!  

Saturday, September 1, 2012
Just wanted to update that on the way to the airport we detoured around Norfolk and went to Doumar’s (as seen on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives). 
 See the picture of the little old man right next to the picture of Guy?  That's Big Al Doumar. I assume the son of the original Old Man Doumar.  He was there.  He leaned on a barstool to talk to a regular and remind him they will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.  The old man he was talking to said "how ya doin' Al".  Al said "I think I'll make it til Tuesday".  The man has got to be at least 90 and still goes to work, puts on his apron and greets the customers, bless his heart.  They have a very basic and limited menu.  I ordered a BLT and asked what kind of bread they had.  “white bread”.  Keep it simple Simon.  Speaking of keeping it simple, your food doesn't arrive on a plate, your sammy is wrapped in waxed paper.  Paul ordered fries and slaw with his BBQ Beef sammy and the sides were in little cardboard bowls.  Legend has it that Mr. Doumar invented the waffle cone in 1904 during the St. Louis Exposition.  He ran out of bowls for his ice cream so he wrapped up a waffle into a cone shape and put the ice cream in that.  He said Middle Eastern people already had a tradition of eating foods wrapped in pita bread.  And that's your history lesson of the day. That being said I had to order a cone with a scoop of butter pecan.  M-M-Good. 

We stopped and picked up the bowsers on the way home from the airport.  The first thing they did was run to their water dish.  Then they bolted into the bedroom and rolled around on the carpet. 

No matter where you go or how long you stay, there’s no place like home. 

First thing on my agenda - grocery shopping!

Here's the link to the Smilebox.  For some reason I can't get it to post the Smilebox with the embed link they provided ;-(
Okay, now it's working ;-)

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