One of the best things about my job is that I sometimes get to take boondoggle business trips. You know, where they schedule an end-of-week meeting in a location "suitable" for an extended weekend stay. My first boondoggle: Park City in December...see what I mean? I obviously had to fly in a day early to make sure I got to the meeting in time, and I clearly had to leave a day late just in case the meeting went long, right? And of course everything went as planned, so what else was I to do in Park City but go skiing? After all, why should I be punished for being diligent?
My latest business trip wasn't really what you'd consider a true boondoggle. Southern Maryland...not a popular vacation spot. But fortunately for me, one of my bestest friends from college lives about a mile from the meeting location, so of course I jumped for joy to head across the country for a meeting/friend visit in Lexington Park, Maryland.
There's not a lot to do in Lex Park. DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis are all at least an hour away. Nevertheless, even quiet time with a great friend (and, of course, her chocolate lab) is always welcomed. But with this friend, there's always some adventure, and I ended up having a wonderful weekend that mostly revolved around food, which is generally how I operate, and fortunately, my friend loves to eat too!
I flew in (on first class, thank you United free upgrade) on Tuesday night, drove 2 hours from the airport and found my way to my friend's house. Hungry, we planned on turning right around and heading out for a beer and some food. I started to change out of my comfy airplane clothes into normal person clothes and realized I'd forgotten to bring a bra (that wasn't the sports bra I was wearing). Super. Trip to Kohl's which doesn't carry my size but I had to improvise. Food and socializing (which I'm not good at but she lives for) finished off the late night.
Day One I hopped out of the shower and realized that I had also forgotten to bring my work pants. Seriously? I think I just decided I was done packing and stopped halfway through. I found myself scrambling through my friend's closet to see if she had any pants that fit me. YES! I considered myself SO lucky to have forgotten my pants on the one business trip when I was staying with a friend that is exactly the same height and has a similarly sized bottom as me. Phew. Close call. I would never live that down if the boss found out.
My first full day of meetings was followed by an ahhhmazing dinner at the local Indian restaurant. I was surprised this town even had an Indian restaurant, but upon being informed that they do indeed have Indian, I decided we must go there. The cool thing was that we didn't even order off the menu. The restaurant owner simply asked us what meat (or veggie in my case) we wanted, and how spicy, and he created a menu for four of us of four dishes that complemented eachother. Most of the dishes were new to me, which isn't complicated because I can count maybe two times (out of a gazillion) that I haven't ordered the exact same dish (butter chicken or similar...which did actually make its way onto our table and for that I was extremely thankful). In any case, this might have been THE best Indian food experience I've ever had. Maybe it was the great company, maybe it was the custom designed menu, maybe it was simply the yummy food. Whatever the case may be, I cannot wait to go back to Bollywood Masala (great name, huh?).
Second day of meetings...Panera for lunch again. Could they not pick something different? Fortunately they have a relatively decent veggie sandwich, that costs a whopping 660 calories. Oh and don't even bother looking at the 440 calorie chocolate chip cookie. I looked and now my pants don't fit (that's right, the one's I forgot to bring!) Spinning class after work took care of that so I was more than ready for dinner!
I had been waiting for this dinner for like a year. There's this little restaurant I'd been to before that is just so cute. It's a casual sandwich and soup kinda place, and all the tables are surrounded by shelves and shelves of wine and beer. It reminded me of being home in Colorado. And they have the best crab corn chowder ever. We struggled to decide what to eat and settled on an antipasto appetizer of fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, basil, and ciabatta bread. It was served on recyclable paper plates...do you see why I love it so much? Also, a crab cake sandwich (got to...it's Maryland) and a rock fish sandwich (again...Maryland), accompanied by a cup (for each of us!) of the token chowder. And beer, of course. Mine from Munich (since I'm going there in 8 months!)
Friday was that overflow day...just in case the meeting went long, which it didn't. Breakfast at a cute coffee shop, errands, leftovers from last night's dinner with some New Belgium Mothership Whit hand-carried from Georgia, and tailgating and a less-than-semi-pro baseball game (Maryland Blue Crabs). To finish off the night, we watched the Sex and the City movie (for my first time and probably her 10th) and baked some cookies.
Saturday we had breakfast at the gas station. That's right, breakfast at Wawa. Turns out, they have the best coffee (and a huge selection...I got decaf hazelnut) and awesome sandwiches. I'd had egg salad on a bagel the last time I was there and liked it so much I had to get one again...after all, I was somewhat on vacation! Spent the day bumming around town, fetch club for the doggies, visit to Amish town for fresh cut flowers, and a second stop at the cute cafe for some scones to take home and some wine for gifting. It was a sad drive to the airport after a really fun visit.
First class seats on the way home again (woohoo). Flew through Chicago and had my first ever celebrity sighting! Two rows in front of me on the airplane were Ashley Simpson and her hubby. She's really thin. That's all.
Great, great trip. Can't wait to go back!