Tag Archives: walk

A Memorable Walk

Our blogging group settled on a favorite walk for our latest topic. I could not think of a favorite, but I did remember a memorable one.

As much as I claim to love the out-of-doors I am a homebody and tend to stay inside much more than is good for me. Dean likes going out and doing things so he was pleasantly surprised when, eleven years ago, I requested a family hike on the Trillium Trail at the G R Thompson Wildlife Management Area in the Shenandoah Valley for my Mother’s Day gift.

I’d not heard of trilliums until high school when, for my birthday, my friend Cindy gave me a green suede choker with a single white trillium on the front. I’d not seen one in person, until college when my botany 101 professor, Mr. Steinboch, took us on a field trip to a local park. The next time I saw them was in Pittsburgh when a friend and I visited the Trillium trail there (now a subdivision). I was ready to see more trilliums.

We were going to have to get up early to get to the trail and hike before we ate lunch. A small roadblock was the fact that Clare was spending the night with some friends. We warned her that we were stopping by early to pick her up. Andrew was fine with everything, as far as I recall — he always made sure any special day (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays) were special for the person being celebrated.

The morning of the walk we got up early, ate breakfast and picked up Clare. She was unhappy about having to get up early and very grumpy. We let her sleep in the car. When we got to the park she continued her grumpiness, but Andrew was energetic and happy so that was good.

The hike was beautiful and those of us who’d had a decent sleep were good. I saw trilliums, skunk cabbage, lady slippers, May apples and even an eastern towhee or two.

We had a mid-morning snack on a rock, Andrew rested on a branch, Dean took one of my favorite photos ever of me. Clare continued to be grumpy.

I don’t remember if I was upset that Clare was grumpy the entire day. I probably was and I might be to this day except for one thing — years later she explained to me why she was grumpy all day and apologized for it. The night before she’d been drinking with her friends (apparently the parents were okay with it) and the next day she had her first hangover. While I don’t condone her drinking at age 17, I understand why she was grumpy and realized that she was doing her best to make my day a happy one just by being there.

Dinner and a Walk

The Dinner

Friday night the kids were busy with their various activities — Clare to the mall with a friend and Andrew had a Rugby game, so Dean and I took the opportunity to go out to dinner.

We’d gotten our latest (last?) Bethesda Magazine in the mail a few days before and read a couple reviews of local restaurants. Visions was mentioned, as was Dean’s favorite restaurant — Black’s Bar & Kitchen (formerly Black’s). The magazine also held a $10 off coupon that could be used at a number of restaurants in the area during May. We looked at the list and decided to go with a restaurant we’d not eaten at before, Trattoria Sorrento. Besides we were both in the mood for Italian.

We were given a choice of sitting in a light and lively area of the restaurant or a darker and more formal area. We chose the lighter area mostly because the host told us there was a party of 40 or so expected in the formal dining room.

We immediately felt at home in the restaurant. It was obvious the folks sitting just behind our table were either part of the family or good friends of the owners. Another couple dining near us seemed to be either regulars or good friends of our waiter because of the familiarity they exhibited towards one another.

The waiter was very friendly — not in an over-the-top and fake way, but just down-home family friendly. He told us about the specials, took our drink order after explaining that the woman sitting behind us was Sunday’s entertainment. On Sundays the restaurant hosts Opera Night and the guests are treated to an opera singer or two while they dine. We’re not opera fans, but I’m sure the folks who are enjoy the performance.

For dinner I chose sea bass which was prepared with a kind of puttenesca sauce. I don’t recall the actual name of the dish. Dean ordered veal ravioli. Prior to our entrées we shared a Caesar salad which was good. Nothing special, just a normal Caesar salad.

My entrée was delicious. The sauce was perfect — not too salty. The fish was very good, mild and flaky, but not dried out. My only complaint was a fishy taste once, that might just have been some skin. Unfortunately it ruined the rest of the meal and I gave my dinner to Dean, but I’d actually eaten enough by then.

Dean’s dish, according to him — I don’t eat veal — was not so good. He thought the filling was too salty and the dough on the ravioli overcooked. He ate most of it, but left three small ravioli — unusual for him. He was content to finish my fish, though — so my fishy tasting bite was a good deal for him.

We shared a bottle of Meridian Pinor Noir. It was fine, and priced pretty good at $26.

We’ll probably return to Trattoria Sorrento at some time, but probably not soon. We’ve got a lot of other restaurants to try in Bethesda, and even feeling a part of the family isn’t enough pull for an unsatisfactory dinner.

The Walk

rhododendronsnowball treeAfter dinner we went to McGrillis Gardens for a walk at dusk. The rhododendrons were in bloom as well as a bush* with snowball shaped flowers. As we neared the back fence Dean claimed to hear spring peepers on the other side of the fence, near the newly built McMansions and after disagreeing with him at first, I finally conceded that he was right.

I heard my first Rufous-sided Towhee of the year (FOY in birding jargon). At least I thought that is what I heard, but it turned out to be an Eastern Towhee. See, some silly bird committee decided to re-name this bird from an interesting and descriptive sounding moniker to a boring and nondescript one.

All-in-all, it was a pleasant evening. It’s nice to get out once in a while. Of course I could eat out several times a week, but with college looming we need to be a little more frugal. Eating in Bethesda — heck, just living in Bethesda, is not inexpensive. Having a free and open area to wander around in after dinner is a treat that we don’t take advantage of often enough.

*speaking of Bush, his sister lives around there somewhere…according to AARP Magazine and my Aunt Ginny’s Internet sleuthing.