WhatIWore: It’s fair to say after 9 days and 2000+ miles, Adam and I are bonafide road warriors. Our most recent vacation took us through the Shenandoah Valley, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and inland to the Blue Ridge Mountains. We ate some of the best food of our lives, had gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery. Read on to hear more recommendations for the first part of our trip!
Our best vacations have a mix of beautiful natural settings, a little history and a little something fancy. Driving through Virginia and North Carolina certainly gave us ample doses of all three.
Staunton, VA The impetus for our journey was our friends’ wedding. We always like to stay in the bridal party’s recommended hotel, which was the Stonewall Jackson in Staunton. I really love cute old main streets and late 19th century/early 20th architecture and this little town had great examples of both.
Zynodoa - Our first official meal of vacation was at the upscale local farm-to-table restaurant Zynodoa. There was a little mix up with our reservation (which made me a little crabby after being on the road all day), but once we were seated, everything fell into place. The bartender made me an awesome ginger, mint, cranberry faux cocktail and Adam ordered a martini. The menu changes according to ingredient availability (and I don’t have a perfect memory for the dish names), but Adam had a pork belly small plate while I ordered something tasty with crab on it. Both delicious. For our main dishes, Adam had a house made pasta with pesto and mushrooms and I had a grilled shrimp dish. Again - incredible. For dessert we had an amazing strawberry shortcake. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in the area!! Reservations Recommended.
Zynodoa 115 E Beverley St, Staunton, VA 24401 (540) 885-7775
If you’re into wine, check out Barren Ridge Vineyards, the beautiful location for our friends’ wedding. (Here’s What I Wore)
Barren Ridge Vineyard 984 Barren Ridge Rd, Fishersville, VA 22939 (540) 248-3300
On wedding Saturday, we took the bride’s recommendation to check out Charlottesville, which was a 30 minute drive from Staunton. We initially wanted to do a tour of Montecello, but the wait wouldn’t allow us any spare time to check out the town or have lunch, so we bailed. Instead, we walked around the main street and explored all of the darling little shops. I can’t remember any by name, but they’re all super cute. There was also a farmer’s market that looked really fun (although crowded), so we had a quick lunch and went home to get cleaned up for the wedding.
Adam and I are huge AirBnB lovers and we rented through the site for the remainder of our trip. The Kitty Hawk Surf Bungalow was our favorite rental of the week. It came with a pass to a private beach and had all of the sand toys you can dream of (would be great for families - lots of kids stuff plus towels, an umbrella and chairs for us). The family renting the room were friendly and fun (the husband hand makes surf boards!). The rental was located in a beachy neighborhood and felt very safe and was a short drive to the next closest town of Duck, NC, where we spent a lot of time. We will definitely be returning to the same spot for our next trip!
AQUA For our second dinner in the OBX, we went to AQUA, which also overlooked the western bank for an amazing sunset view. This meal was also delicious and we ordered crab dip to start, crab cakes (Adam) and fresh caught tuna (me). For dessert, I had the best fresh home made mint ice cream of my life. Reservations Recommended
AQUA 1174 Duck Rd, Duck, NC 27949 (252) 261-9700
Duck Donuts If you follow my Instagram, you probably know that I’m kinda crazy for donuts. If it’s on the menu or a local donut shop is in town, I’m gonna try it out. I can say, without a doubt, that Duck Donuts are the best I’ve ever had in my life. They’re freshly fried cake donuts (I usually order yeast) and coated and you eat ‘em hot. So crispy, so gooey, so incredible. For all of the gourmet faire we tasted on our trip, these little donuts still rank near the top of my list. Maybe even the best thing I ate (maybe because I consider myself a bit of an expert on the topic!)
Because everything is made to order, you can customize your toppings. We tried: Chocolate, Strawberry, Lemon, Plain and Maple Glaze (with peanuts), plus a cinnamon sugar and a plain glaze with coconut topping. My favorite was my very first bite - a chocolate glazed super piping hot, freshly fried donut. Trust me - my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
When we got home, we immediately ordered the mix and plan on trying to recreate with our family over the 4th of July weekend. I know it won’t be the same, but it’s worth a shot!
Duck Donuts | 1190 Duck Rd Kitty Hawk, NC (252) 480-3304
(multiple locations in the OBX)
The Blue Point Thanks to our hosts recommendations, we went to The Blue Point on our first (and last!) night in the OBX. Both meals were incredible and highlights were the crab soup, crab cakes and Key Lime pie for dessert. Oh! We also had our first soft shelled crab too. Again on the pricy side but absolutely worth it. We both feel like the first meal was one of our best (and that’s no easy feat - we ate like royalty on this trip!) Also worth noting, because it’s on the western side of the bank, sunsets here are beautiful. The first night we watched from our table and on our second visit we hung out in a grassy outside bar area in Adorondak chairs. It was great! Reservations recommended.
The Blue Point 1240 Duck Rd, Duck, NC 27949 (252) 261-8090