Friday, December 18, 2015

Cue Theme from "The Love Boat"

Like Julie on "The Love Boat" but not so wholesome.

I was in my 20s when I was first dubbed "cruise director" by family and friends, who even presented me with a t-shirt spelling out that moniker in sparkly letters. And, no, I was no more the sparkly letter type then than I am now.

It wasn't because of anything to do with travel over water, mind you, but because I enjoy researching travel plans. I'm that person who will happily devour a couple of travel guides in pursuit of knowledge.

When I went to Memphis and Oxford with a friend earlier this year, she left cruise directing in my hands and later marveled at how much I'd uncovered for us to do.

So it was a no-brainer to use my train ride to Richmond today to gather intel for my upcoming trip. So far, I've found far more I want to see and do than there could possibly be time for, a first world problem if ever there was one. The way I look at it, better to have too long a list than too short.

Amazing what a person can accomplish on Amtrack's Quiet Car (yes, the same Quiet Car Chris Christie was thrown off of for talking on his cell phone). Where to start? Where to stop?

A literary walking tour that includes poetic focaccia (and I have to know)

An oyster company with half price oysters twice a week for happy hour (because I can eat some bivalves)

A garden featuring 150 plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's writings

A western saloon located in an alley and serving lamb pot pie and bone marrow fritters (howdy, pardner)

A Victorian camera obscura projecting outdoor seascapes on a parabolic screen

A restaurant design that won a James Beard award

A sea cave archway that offers end of the world views at low tide (not to self: check tide charts)

A bowling alley that does Soul and Bowl nights (so stoked for this)

A vintage tiki lounge with rattan booths serving Hurricanes with two straws

Communal baths where bathing suits are only required on co-ed Tuesdays (better not to take my suit?)

A dive bar with cheap drinks, pogo-worthy music in the back room and peanuts for eating and throwing

A live music bar in a Victorian hotel, a stalwart of the '70s underground scene and now host to indie label debuts

A park dedicated to a poet laureate with awe-inspiring vistas

A beach shack bistro near a nine-mile ocean beach (this could be an entire day lost)

An art bar with rotating installations and regular Prince/Michael Jackson nights (Purple Thriller, yes!)

And don't get me started on museums, architecture, rooftops gardens and viewing platforms.

Besides, all that just might show up in upcoming  posts, complete with details, conversations and conclusions. Consider this the movie trailer version set to the rhythms of a rocking train.

Just don't call me Julie.

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