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Circus Trip 2018: Gadby’s Tavern, Alexandria, VA

Day 59, Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Gadby’s Tavern, Alexandria, Virginia

After I left the Boston area, I had plans to visit a friend of mine who lives in Alexandria, Virginia.  I was going to spend a few days there, and use that as my jumping off point for visiting Washington, D.C.  I had left Quincy, Massachusetts, and embarked on a long drive through multiple states to get to Alexandria.  I split it over two days, as it is a total of about eight hours driving, through a lot of traffic.  Heading from Massachusetts to Alexandria meant I had to skip some great locations, but you can’t possibly see everything on a trip, I suppose.  It was tough to drive through so many great places and just pass them by!  Connecticut, New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, and more!  I so very much want to go back and see all these places!

All that said, I rolled into Alexandria about 4 in the afternoon, and headed to Jason’s house.  He had planned a surprise for my visit! He knows how much I love history, so he made reservations at Gadsby’s Tavern!

Gadsby’s Tavern was originally built in 1785 by Marylander John Wise, and opened the building next door as the Federal City Tavern in 1792.  There was another tavern on the site before the current building though, which reportedly was in business from around 1770.  An Englishman named Gadsby leased the tavern in 1796; the current name is a nod to him. 

Back in the late 1700s, several notable guests frequented the tavern, including Founding Fathers and Presidents!  George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and the Marquis de Lafayette were all known visitors to the taverns here.  A banquet was even held in Washington’s honor here in 1801; how cool to be in the same place where these men talked politics. 

Gadsby operated the tavern until 1815, and then passed through various hands and it was various businesses, until it fell into disrepair and abandonment.  In 1917, in this sad state, some of the ballroom woodwork was sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, where it apparently remains today.  However, this was the catalyst for the historic preservation.  Gadsby’s Tavern was restored to the period of the late 1700s, and reopened as a restaurant in 1976.

There is a fine dining atmosphere, with delicious food and ambiance.  I had the herb encrusted grill salmon, finished with a balsamic glaze, and served with jasmine rice and sauteed spinach, and a glass of white wine.  To add to its charm, period actors make their way around the room, reciting the words of our Founding Fathers and engaging restaurant patrons in discussions on the governance of our young, budding country!

It was so much fun getting to see Jason and watch the actors engage with people!  An amazing experience for a history nerd like me!  

After dinner we wandered around Alexandria and got ice cream nearby, just chatting and catching up.  I certainly want to go back and see more of this fascinating and historic city!

 

COVID Diaries: Day 374

The weekend has arrived again!  I had to work yesterday on my day off, as one of my employees had a family emergency, so it was nice when the workday was finally over! 

I had a friends dinner date on Thursday night at a new pho restaurant in town.  So simple and so delicious!  It’s so nice to be able to eat in a restaurant again.  We followed it up with a walk to the University, since it is now light out later in the evening. 

Friday night I took a long walk in the Arboretum, and then back down through the University.  It’s so nice to have this wooded park just a few blocks from my front door. Afterwards, I tried a new Raspberry Lemonade canned wine.  It was ok; not great, not terrible.

Today I had to do the unpleasant task of buying a new washer.  Why are these things so expensive and why oh why can they not make quality things the way they used to?  In my first house, the dishwasher was 42 years old and still worked fine.  You are lucky if you get 7 years out of an appliance these days.  But I am now the proud owner of a brand new Speed Queen top loading washing machine with exactly no bells and whistles, which is exactly how I think it ought to be.  Hopefully it will last… 

To reward myself for getting this chore done, I went to the Lost Giants cidery and got a 6-pack of their new Passionfruit Guava cider.  It is soooo good! 

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!

 

Oh What Fun!, Day 9

Day 9 in the Wine Advent Calendar was a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.  Chile was where I learned to love wine, sampling the local selections when I lived there so long ago.

This Sauvignon Blanc was made from grapes from Chile’s Valle Central (Central Valley) and was crisp and acidic, with flavors of pineapple and nectarine.  It had 12.5% ABV and was a very nice, dry white.  One of my favorites!

Cheers!

Oh What Fun!, Day 8

My wine for Day 8 was a Merlot from Chile’s Valle Central region.  This is the only international wine region I’ve been to, so I knew I was in for a treat.  Chile was where I learned to love wine, and they have so many good ones for affordable prices!

I don’t drink much Merlot, and I thought this one was relatively soft and fruit forward, despite the bottle description saying it was full bodied.  I tasted black cherry and ripe raspberry, with medium tannins.  It had 13% ABV, and it was delicious!

 

Oh What Fun!, Day 7

I love Rose – I was excited to see a rose included in my wine advent calendar!

Unfortunately, this was not the dry rose I have come to love.  This California rose was more reminiscent of the syrupy, overly sweet White Zinfandels that were a staple of the 1980s. Honestly, I drank this one very slowly, and had a hard time finishing it.

The description on the bottle was of strawberry and juicy watermelon, which seemed accurate, but it was like drinking a runny, strawberry syrup.

You can’t win them all – it still looked pretty in it’s picture!

Oh What Fun!, Day 6

Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t my favorite grape.  Or maybe the grape is fine, but it’s what most winemakers do with the grape.  I’ve found that so many Cabernet Sauvignons are aged in heavy oak, and the wine leaves you feeling like you just chewed on a 2×4…

So I wasn’t that excited to find this little bottle, but I was pleasantly surprised!  This Cabernet wasn’t over-oaked, and had nice flavors of black cherry and tobacco.

At 13% ABV it was a fairly light Cab, and one I would certainly drink again.

Oh What Fun!, Day 5

I know, I know… I got sidetracked!  But this just means we get to enjoy my Wine Advent Calendar into January!

Day 5 was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  It had that crisp minerality that a good Sauvignon Blanc has, with flavors of lemongrass and lime.  I loved this one! 

The grapes were grown in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, and it clocked in at 13% ABV.  Delicious!

Oh What Fun!, Day 4

Our Day 4 wine was a California Zinfandel!

Immediately upon opening, we were met with bold, rich, berry flavors.  We both loved it!  Zinfandel is often a robust wine and this one was no different.  It is a fairly heavy hitter at 14% ABV, but the balance of the fruit flavors and a light oak made this easy to sip.

It was an excellent representation of the grape!

Oh What Fun!, Day 3

My mother, as my most loyal reader, pointed out that I must not have liked the advent calendar’s day 2 wine… The Shiraz… Cardboard? I mean, I didn’t like it at first, but thankfully it opened up after 20 minutes or so and redeemed itself!

Unlike Day 2, Day 3’s Pinot Grigio was delicious right from the first sip.  Golden delicious apple flavors at first, finishing with a tart lemon on the finish.  Both Tiffany and I really enjoyed it – a definite crowd pleaser!

It was 12.5% ABV and a product of Italy, from the Terre Siciliane region.

If only we could take a trip to Italy!

Oh What Fun, Day 2

Yesterday evening’s Advent Calendar wine was an Australian Shiraz.

My girlfriend accidentally locked her keys inside her house, and had to track down a spare pair, so I had to wait a bit longer than anticipated to get my drink on… Soon enough though, it was on!

We poured our mini-bottles into the glass, and smelled…  What’s that smell – cardboard?  Black cherry?  Not much of a nose…

We tasted.  What’s that taste?  Cardboard?  This wine was not giving us much…

Quick – let’s aerate!  We swirled the wine in our glasses for several minutes.  This was taking too long, considering the day we both had!

After several minutes the wine started to open up, giving us black currant or black cherry flavors with just barely a hint of black pepper.  That’s better…

This one clocks in at 13.5% ABV, and was also bottled by Paul Sapin and with the reference to La Chappelle de Guinchay, but this one is a product of Australia.  I’m confused…

In the end, a perfectly acceptable Wednesday night wine, but be sure to decant it first.