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Final week of the Holiday Break

On Monday morning I packed up and drove down to Winston-Salem, NC to visit with Jeremy and Charlie :)
We three used to live together back when I was getting a degree at UNCSA.
They listed a room for rent on Craigslist, I responded to the ad, and BAM! Magic was made ;D

Anyway, we've been friends ever since. They've recently bought a house that was boarded up, and are renovating it. As you can see, much work still needs to be done. But the form and potential are there.

Jeremy and Charlie are both skilled landscape architects, and they also know a great deal about carpentry, wiring, and other home improvement DIY stuff. The finished home will be beautiful, no doubt in my mind!!

On New Years Day we grabbed one of the neighbors (Mary K) and drove up to Mount Airy to visit the Old North State Winery. Jeremy and Charlie aren't much into wine, but Mary K and I decided to do the dry/semi-dry wine tasting. We sampled six wines; three whites, two reds and a rose. Can I be honest? I wasn't very impressed with the house wines. They left almost no aftertaste and were just all around not very memorable. However I did enjoy the Fish Hippie wines.

We shopped around a bit, then returned to the house to relax before a New Years party at Mary K's house.
We played Cards Against Humanity and ate rotel cheese dip until the 30 second mark.
As the ball dropped and the clock ran out on 2013, we had a toast to welcome the New Year!

On the first day of the new year, we had a delicious brunch at one of my favorite Winston-Salem restaurants, Hutch & Harris. Then the boys took me to a new bar, Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co.
The building used to be a warehouse, but now it's a beautiful space covered in hardwood from ceiling to floor, with little owl decorations everywhere!

The owners took us to the back to see the new beer towers,
where they soon hope to start making and selling their own brews.

The female owner (I don't recall her name, sorry!) also makes her own non-alcoholic sodas using fruit juices and purees. I got a pineapple soda and it was very refreshing!

We were then invited to a New Years Day dinner party at a neighbor's house. They served black eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread, and vegetarian meatballs, all very tasty :)

Unfortunately, our time together was brief :/ But we'll meet again in only a month! We had a wonderful visit.
Next, I drove to Cary to pick up my Aunt for a four-day trip! Two days in Savannah, two in Ft. Lauderdale!
We arrived in Savannah a little early for our dinner reservation at Paula Dean's restaurant, so walked around a bit and got a lovely cheese platter appetizer. For dinner we got the buffet, but were both disappointed by the selection. The shrimp were very good. The collards were so salty they were inedible.

Aaaanyway. The rest of our trip was very nice.
We walked along River and Broughton streets, exploring shops and taking in the views. We visited many of the historic squares, including the one where Forrest Gump was filmed.

Police passing through Chippewa Square:

Forsyth Park Fountain:

My aunt :)

On the second day in Savannah, we experienced two good restaurants: Six Pence Pub, where we had delicious sandwiches and a ridiculously huge eclair, and The Pirates House, where we shared some killin' shrimp caught right off the Georgia coast. We also got to see the impressively huge, slightly creepy moss-covered oaks lining the 1.5 mile entrance to Wormsloe.

Although we certainly didn't get to see everything Savannah had to offer,
we saw a great deal and had a great time together.

Next we drove about seven hours to reach Ft. Lauderdale. My aunt's friend Toni had arranged a guest room for us in a building right on the waterfront. She was waiting for us as we pulled up, and took us right up to her mom's 23rd floor condo for a glass of wine and fantastic views of the cruise ships leaving the harbor.

See the larger boat on the left there? That's the Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world!! Can you imagine, a boat with over 3,000 people on it? Wow!

Our room was wonderful, like a little hotel room but cleaner and quieter :)
We were treated to a relaxing day lounging by the condo pool, and later the beach.
During our visit, Toni and her Mom treated us to two of their favorite restaurants: Anthony's, a chain specializing in coal-fired pizzas, and Cafe Seville, an award-winning local favorite for more than eight years. Anthony's was very good, especially the wings, which were not sauced but were seasoned very well. And if you are ever in Ft. Lauderdale you MUST experience Cafe Seville. It was some of the best food I've had. It was extremely hard to choose just one thing to eat...everything on the menu looks delicious, and they'll combine any meat with any sauce at your request. I got the veal special; it was really just veal marsala, but the sauce was subtle and tangy and the portion was just right. No pictures because the lighting was quite dim. Seriously, eating here is worth it. Highly recommended!

Although our time in Ft. Lauderdale was short, I really want to thank Toni and her Mom for showing us a really fantastic time. You two went out of your way to make us feel welcome...and SPOILED!! Thank you, thank you!!

Now, I am back at the train. I dropped my Aunt off early this morning, and since then have been running errands, cleaning up, restocking the fridge, etc. The vacation is definitely over :P

More stuff:

Pictures from last week's dinner at Two Sisters Cooking in Turbotville.
The meal was prepared and served by the sisters in their own farmhouse.
The main course: meatloaf, chicken, mashed potatoes, brown butter noodles, and green beans.


The meal made us very happy. And goofy, apparently!