Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope you enjoy your day however you’re spending it. BBQ with family and friends? Lounging by the pool? Avoiding everything and binging on Netflix before reality kicks back in tomorrow? Whatever today brings, I hope it’s good.
It’s Sunday evening as I type this, and we’re just getting home from an incredible weekend in Annapolis, MD. Felix planned a mini getaway for our two year anniversary, which is actually today!
Before I begin, I want to say happy anniversary to my dude. I love you, and I like you. I’ll save the rest for in person, as it should be!
Time for the recap. Fair warning: it’s a long one, but there are fun pictures!
Friday evening after work, we loaded up the car with luggage and the dog and made the hour drive to the Loews Hotel where we stayed for the weekend in Annapolis.
The hotel was beautiful. Felix did a great job of picking it out. It also smelled strongly of Abercrombie 8, which was the perfume I wore in 7th grade. I loved it so much, I asked one of the hotel peeps where I could buy it, and apparently it’s a Loews original. *flips hair*
After getting set up in our room and freshening up, we walked to a spot not far from the hotel for a welcome-to-Annapolis dinner, Level.
Level is an amazing small-plates lounge and cocktail bar that’s known for their farm-to-table and locally-sourced ingredients, and it did not disappoint.
We started out with his and hers beverages, because when you see “house-made ginger beer” and “lavender bitters” on the cocktail menu, you pull a Donna and Tom and treat yoself.
This was the best Moscow Mule I’ve ever had, and I loved Felix’s cocktail so much, I also ordered that one too. #vacation
We started with Asian vegetable wraps, which were insanely delicious. The chopped veggies were pickled and served on a light and chilled mint/avocado creme.
We also ordered an order of garlic truffle fries to balance out all of the green stuff. Why have fries been extra good lately? Especially with cold ketchup? Can’t get enough.
After cocktail round two, the calamari udon was served, along with a delicious potato gnocchi, which I forgot to take a picture of because we ate it so quickly.
Felix kind of manned the udon, since the calamari weirded me out a bit. I think I got creeped out by the tentacles, which is valid, because it looks like stuff nightmares are made of, but he said the dish was really good! I’ll take his word for it.
We spent a couple of hours here eating, drinking, and chatting before walking back to our hotel and stopping for a beer at the hotel bar, Baroak.
Felix and I had a huge debate on the pronunciation of this bar and restaurant. I said it was “bar oak” and Felix said it was “baroque.” We went back-and-forth for awhile on this before taking the dilemma to our bartenders, Andrea and Jamar.
They informed us that we were both correct, to which we promptly high-fived. They were both also disappointed to find that we paid for our beers on our anniversary weekend and instructed us to come back the following evening for a round on them. So sweet! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it, but it was such a nice gesture. Thanks, Andrea and Jamar!
Saturday started out with coffee at The Red Bean, a little spot in downtown Annapolis.
I love trying out new-to-me local coffee shops in every city I visit. I’m a huge iced coffee lover (I make my own at home), and it excites me when I find a new place that has delicious and strong cold brew. The Red Bean hit the spot.
After sipping our coffees, we made our way to the Iron Rooster for breakfast.
Also, they had Crystal hot sauce. Can we chat about that for a second? Crystal is my absolute FAVORITE Louisiana hot sauce, and I stock up on the rare chance I find it anywhere in DC/Northern Virginia. I was elated, and I promptly poured it on everything we ordered.
We ordered the breakfast flatbread that included ricotta, honey, cotija, pickled green tomatoes, avocado, and a fried egg on top of warmed naan and a veggie omelette to share, which was topped with the largest spear of asparagus I have ever seen and couldn’t stop making inappropriate jokes about.
Their portions were ginormous, and we couldn’t finish nearly all of the food we ordered, but let me tell you what absolutely, one-hundred percent, stole the freakin show…
Are you ready?
Yes, you read that correctly. Homemade. Flipping. Pop tarts.
We ordered the mixed berry one (they also had cinnamon sugar and Oreo) and we nearly cried tears of joy after the first bite.
The dough was warm, flaky, and chewy all at the same time and the mixed berry filling wasn’t overly sweet. It was utter perfection. We actually meant to grab one to-go, and I’m just now realizing we didn’t. How could we let this happen?!
After eating our weight in butter, we walked over to the U.S. Naval Academy for a little tour and had the best tour guide named Joan.
She was probably in her late seventies and knew everything there was to know about the Naval Academy and history of the Navy.
She told us that her husband served as a Navy dentist and her daughter was a nurse. She seemed so proud of both of them, and as a new military-affiliated person myself, it was heartwarming to witness. Military life isn’t easy, but there’s a sense of pride and joy that accompanies it. I got a little emotional from time to time during this tour and just being in the presence of such a sweet soul like Joan.
We walked the academy in its entirety visiting the fitness centers, churches, and even the crypt of John Paul Jones.
Joan told us stories of John Paul Jones’ past and his dedication to the military, specifically the Navy. He never married and never had children and was quite literally married to the military for the entirety of his forty-five years.
We visited the dormitory, which looked like a flipping castle (pictured above), and I also learned that first year academy students are called “plebes” and the notorious bucket hats are worn only by plebes and in the summertime, since it makes them sweat less due to the breathable fabric.
Navy peeps work out for two hours a day, so I’m sure they need all of the breathable fabric they can get.
We saw some plebes in a gazebo during our tour, and Joan reminded us that we aren’t allowed to talk to them, which, of course, made me want to talk to them even more.
After the tour concluded and we perused the gift shop, Felix told me he had a surprise!
A few minutes later, we were walking toward the Annapolis pier for a harbor cruise!
But we first had to stop to feed these ducks, because I loved them and they loved me. Felix got pooped on, P.S.
Our cruise was really cool, and it was such a nice surprise. We boarded the Harbor Queen, grabbed some margaritas from the bottom-deck bar, and were off for a forty-minute cruise of Annapolis by boat along the Severn River!
We learned some pretty cool history and got to see the Naval Academy from a new perspective, which was really neat. I also got a cute sunburn only on the top portion of my thighs thanks to shorts + a severe lack of sunscreen.
Being on the water and watching others sailing and enjoying the afternoon made me wish we actually lived in Annapolis and could do this on the regular. I’m telling you, if you ever have the chance to visit, definitely go!
After our little tour, we walked back to our hotel, showered, and napped hard before we woke up and got ready for dinner at Preserve.
Preserve is yet another super cool and delicious restaurant in Annapolis that focuses on locally-sourced products and also pickling and canning of fruits and veggies.
The meal was out of this world good and so were the cocktails.
This was the vodka cocktail of the day, which was vodka, muddled strawberries, and basil. The bartender actually smacked the basil in between his hands before gently setting it on top of the cocktail and letting it float as it wished.
Food-wise, we ordered a bunch of small plates to share, which is honestly the best way to go in my opinion. You get to taste so many delicious things!
I just realized now that I didn’t take ANY photos and I’m the worst. #bloggerfail But feel free to sift through their mouth-watering Instagram.
We had snap pea salad with a poached egg on top. To describe, it was chopped snap peas covered in freshly grated parmesan cheese and topped with a lemony vinaigrette and a poached egg. We also had steamed shrimp with tomatoes in an Asian dressing, insanely delicious butternut pierogies with crema, and a bowl of gnocchi with kimchi.
I have never had gnocchi with kimchi before, and now I don’t want it any other way. Gnocchi in a cream sauce? Pass. Gnocchi with kimchi for the win. It was chewy and spicy and so flavorful, and I CANNOT BELIEVE I DON’T HAVE A PICTURE.
Our dinner at Preserve was truly wonderful, and everyone was so, so nice. Thank you so much for the meal and hospitality, you guys! Can’t wait to return.
After dinner, we walked Tuki before heading out for the night to our friends’ new home! Two of our friends just bought a condo in Annapolis and had a little housewarming. It was perfect that it happened the weekend we were there, so we of course had to pop on over!
Their house was super cute and actually reminded me of a home you’d find in Mid-City in New Orleans.
We had a drink there catching up (a few other friends from DC were in town too!) before walking literally around the corner for more drinks + karaoke fun at a spot called Harvest.
All in all, it was a super fun day in Annapolis, and I was more than ready for bed by the time we got back to our hotel.
Sunday morning began with another iced coffee run, but this time to Brown Mustache Coffee.
The walk to Brown Mustache from our hotel was adorable. Annapolis has two major streets, West and Main, and everything else seemed to be winding alleyways and brick roads.
When we arrived to Brown Mustache, we were greeted with this lovely little view.
I’m a sucker for cute coffee shops that deliver in the caffeine department, and Brown Mustache hit the spot.
I walked in and felt like I’d traveled back in time to a quaint bookstore and the light at the end of the tunnel was a smiling barista and an espresso machine. After chatting with the barista for a bit, I left with an iced coffee, London Fog, and a chocolate chip cookie in hand for Felix and me.
We sat outside for a bit sipping our morning drinks and fantasizing about living in the city before making our way back to the hotel to get ready for breakfast.
We popped in at Miss Shirley’s for a quick bite of eggs and avocado toast before strolling through the First Sunday Arts Festival that was taking place right outside of our hotel!
First Sunday reminded me a lot of other art festivals I’ve been to where there are multiple tents and artists and vendors set up for you to shop at your leisure. They had music playing, lemonade stands, and dogs galore! It was totally our speed, and although we didn’t leave with anything, there was a bunch of amazing artwork and jewelry there. The festival takes place the first Sunday of every month through summer, so if you’re in Annapolis, I encourage you to check it out!
After exploring for a bit, we packed up our car and made our way home, but not before stopping off at Quiet Waters Park to take Tuki to the dog beach!
Quiet Waters was such a beautiful spot, and if we lived near Annapolis, I know we’d visit more often. It was so nice being around other “dog people” who loved watching their little furry friends run wild.
The views didn’t disappoint either. Talk about beautiful.
We’ve already started chatting about spending the day here one weekend soon.
We eventually loaded back up in the car and arrived home a little before 4pm where the rest of the evening was spent unpacking, doing laundry, and watching Parks & Rec while eating ice cream.
Still loving Ben & Jerry’s and Talenti over here.
This weekend was such a wonderful way to celebrate two years of togetherness with a little exploring! Thank you, Felix, for planning it all out. It meant a whole lot.
Question of the Day!
Have you ever been to Annapolis? If so, where was your favorite place to eat and what was your favorite activity?
Favorite ice cream brand and flavor? Always looking for new ones to stock my freezer with. 😉