Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weekend in Athens (Georgia, not Greece)

Well, we did have dinner on Friday night with a Greek. Takis and his wife Judy are two of our dearest friends, as is Diane, who was also at dinner. Diane is a fellow librarian. We all got together at one of my favorite Athens restaurants, DePalma's, a wonderful Italian place. For an appetizer, we got some of their spinach and onion breadsticks to share. A full order was just right for the five of us. For my entree, I had the Pasta DePalma, which is capellini with a rosemary cream sauce and artichoke hearts (and of course cheese). It was very tasty. Dessert for me was canolli. We spent a good two and a half hours talking and laughing (lots of laughing). It was a good way to start off the weekend.

On Saturday, we drove out to Winterville to have a look at our old house. The new owners have made some changes, but at least they haven't chopped down any of those nice hardwoods. We also visited a bookstore (Barnes & Noble). Because Tifton has no bookstore, wandering around in B&N was a real treat.

Next we went to Main Street Yarns and Fibers in Watkinsville. I bought some Ella Rae superwash wool in a nice rust brown to make a sweater or something, and some bright red tweedy stuff to make a scarf. Richard sat in a rocking chair while I fondled yarn and shopped.

For lunch, we were going to go to Gautreau's, a rather wonderful Cajun restaurant, but at the yarn shop we found out that they had closed. The owner's wife died, so he closed the restaurant and moved back to Louisiana. I felt very sad for him. We did eat at another "Cajun" place, The Big Easy Cafe, and I wasn't impressed. I ordered the shrimp and grits, and while it was technically shrimp and grits, it still missed by a mile. They used those little baby frozen shrimp and I think all they did was to thaw them out and throw them on top of some plain grits. Yuck. Richard had a fried shrimp po'boy. I snatched one of his fried shrimp and it was nowhere as good as the ones he makes at home. What a disappointment.

After lunch we went to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. What a lovely place. Richard is more interested in plants than I am, so I sat outside the visitor's center and read my book. I had a nice shady spot near a fountain and it was so restful. Richard wandered around the grounds and collected a few seeds. Afterward, we went inside the visitor's center where they have an interesting tropical garden. It's very lush and beautiful. The garden is divided up into areas such as spice plants, medicinal plants, food plants, etc. They even have a breadfruit tree. Here are some pictures I took.

The fountain outside the Visitor's Center.

A cone flower near the fountain.

The Tropical Garden path.

Don't know what this is, but it's awfully pretty.

Sadly, because of all the budget cuts for state government institutions, they have had to let a few of the collections go. Richard was telling me that the rhododendron collection is all overgrown and some of the bushes are already dead. That's really too bad.

Late Saturday afternoon, we went downtown and had us a little pub-crawl. We stopped in at the East West Bistro and had a little refreshment. We looked at the menu, but nothing really jumped out at us as something we'd like for dinner. Just our mood, I guess, because that place has really good food. Next we wandered over to the Copper Creek Brewing Co. and had a little more refreshment. This place has a 30-foot bar that is covered in pennies. I asked the bartender how many pennies were imbedded in the acrylic bar top and she said it was about $300 worth. They were all heads up, and Richard and I were discussing just how anal a person would have to be to arrange 30,000 pennies all heads up, facing in the same direction, and in order by date. We decided it would have just been too OCD to do all that. I thought it was amazing that they got them all heads up. I think I would have placed just one tails up and whoever spotted it got a free beer.

On our way to Copper Creek, we encountered a young man with his solid white bulldog puppy. The little thing was so adorable I couldn't resist petting her. She was as soft as a bunny. The guy seemed a little abashed that so many people, especially females, were stopping to admire and pet his dog. When Richard and I started to walk away, the puppy fell into step right beside me. What a cutie!

We moseyed back to our car and went back to the hotel to freshen up. Dinner was at the Olive Garden. I know it's a chain, but they have awfully good food. We sat at the bar while waiting for our table and had a little more refreshment. For a Saturday night, we didn't have to wait too long. I had portobello mushroom ravioli and Richard had the chicken Marsala. One thing I like about Olive Garden is that they don't overfill your plate. It's a reasonable amount of food. It leaves more room for dessert. I had the tiramisu and Richard had a chocolate cake concoction that looked just yummy.

Unfortunately, neither of us slept well that night, even though we had the World's Most Wonderfully Comfortable Bed to sleep on. I'm sure the "refreshments" had something to do with that. They (whoever "they" are) say that alcohol disrupts your sleep. Also, other hotel guests kept coming in at all hours and talking loudly in the corridor. And about 3:00 am, there was a fight brewing out in the parking lot (and we were in a nice hotel!). One guy was offering to rearrange the face of another guy, and we could hear much of the conversation. We finally crawled out of bed at 8:30, or at least Richard did. I stayed where I was until after he took his shower. When we finally got up and going, we went to an IHOP for breakfast, then we hit the road for home. When we got back to Tifton, I helped unload the car and then I settled in the recliner with the footrest up and slept like a log for a solid three hours. We had planned ahead and only had to heat up our dinner.

Even though we enjoyed the hotel mattress's comfort, we were glad to get back to our own bed. All in all, it was a great weekend and I think we should do it more often. I love Athens.


Theresa said...

My Lord, I gained 15 pounds just reading this post! Sounds like y'all had a great time, and I could kick you for not wandering around the grounds getting seeds with Richard. I wonder why the Governor didn't give UGA the place to take over, kinda like some other deal he brokered. ha!

Anonymous said...

I *heart* DePalma's!!!!
And the Botanical Gardens. Love to go to thier indoor garden, and walk down by the river too!
Just just had my perfect Athens weekend, woman!!


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