In 2020, I wrote a blog post about the trips I missed due to COVID-19 and reminisced on some of my favorite trips. I’m excited to say that I have finally embarked upon my first trip since the pandemic started. This month, I planned a mini vacation for my family to Madison, Virginia.
I had been itching to travel for some time but it wasn’t until I received a $100 credit from Airbnb that I started researching places to stay. I’m unsure why I was sent the credit but it was truly a blessing. Finding the perfect place for my family to stay was a little difficult because everyone had a different preference for vacationing. However, the place that I discovered was a good balance of everyone’s preferences. It was in the woods (and therefore tranquil), the town was only 10 minutes away for easy access to restaurants and the grocery store, and the interior of the house was renovated and modern. Another important aspect of this trip was finding pet-friendly places to eat and places to go, as I wanted to bring my dog.
Here are some of the things that we did and the places that we ate, just in case you were interested in visiting Madison, Virginia (which you totally should do).
What We Ate
At the Airbnb
One morning, we ate breakfast at the Airbnb before leaving for the day’s activities. We had decided, before the trip, that we would bring some groceries with us to avoid eating out for every meal. This is something that I practice on all of my trips, no matter the length.
On the last day of the trip, we went to a place called Miranda’s Restaurant for breakfast. I liked this restaurant for many reasons. First, they offered outdoor seating and I was able to bring my pup. Second, the serving sizes were very generous and the food was well seasoned. Third, the prices were fairly affordable for the amount of food that you received. Fourth, the staff was really friendly and brought out fresh water for my pup. And fifth, the restaurant was right on Main Street with a dedicated parking lot for customers. Overall, this was a great restaurant and filled us up for that day’s activity.
Since we were unable to check into the Airbnb until 3p, we decided to get to Madison early and grab a bite to eat. Mad Local American Eatery is a veteran-owned and operated restaurant on Main Street. They also offered outdoor seating but we chose to eat in the car since it was extremely hot that day. I ordered the skinny bird, which is a grilled chicken sandwich on a flatbread. The chicken was juicy, the flatbread was soft, and the vegetables offered a nice texture and crunch to the sandwich. The restaurant has a small menu, but I like that sometimes as too many menu items decrease the quality of food. If we had stayed another day, I’m sure we would have grabbed lunch here again.
I’m no wino but I do love great scenery. Early Mountain Vineyard is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountain and has perfectly manicured green spaces for guests. We went to the vineyard when they opened (11a), which allowed us to enjoy the views before it got too hot and too crowded. I was excited about visiting this vineyard because they allowed leashed dogs in their outdoor space and they had an amazing sounding menu. I have only been to a few vineyards before but I don’t remember any of them having more than snacks/finger foods. I ordered the chimichurri steak tacos with french friends and a rose. While I wish the tacos came in a set of 4, they did not disappoint. And ordering the french fries (which resembled a less greasy version of Five Guys fries) helped to fill me up. I cannot give much detail about the wine, only that it was not dry or sweet and complimented the food.
Jenny Lynd’s Pizza is another restaurant located on Main Street. I ordered the medium buffalo chicken pizza for around $13 and ate about half of it. For some reason when I ordered the pizza, I was thinking it was a chicken and bacon ranch pizza, so my tastebuds were somewhere else.
At the Airbnb
One night, we decided to go to the Weis in town and pick up some items to make dinner at the house. This is one of my favorite moments from the trip because we all played a part in making dinner. We had chicken fettuccine pasta with salad and garlic bread, and it was so good. It was nice to stay in and enjoy the house and each other’s company; we even played Uno before heading to bed.
Where We Went
117 Marketplace was the best discovery I made when researching places to visit for this trip. I didn’t find it until a few days before our trip; it literally popped up on Google out of nowhere. Anyways, 117 Marketplace (also located on Main Street) opened in April and is a local business that highlights other local businesses around the country (USA). I’ll post pictures of the items that I purchased from the store on my Instagram (@my_attempt_at_adulting), so make sure to follow me. I just loved the owner, who was so sweet, and the concept of the store. You can also purchase items from their website if you cannot get out to Madison, Virginia.
Shenandoah National Park
Before heading home, we went to Shenandoah National Park and traversed Tanner’s Ridge Trail. Tanner’s Ridge is classified as an easy trail because it does not require any hiking, only slight areas of elevation. We did encounter a deer, which was both exciting and nerve-racking because I didn’t know how my dog would react. Roundtrip, the trail is about 2.1 miles if you turn around at the cemetery but we continued to try to reach the overpass lookout. We didn’t reach it but got a great workout in by walking for over 1 hour. This trail was about an hour away from Madison but it was well worth it and a great way to end the trip.
While I was excited about this trip, I was also a little apprehensive. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ll encounter when you visit small towns, but the people of Madison were very welcoming and sincere. I was also slightly concerned that not everyone would enjoy themselves on the trip as it was a little of the comfort zone for some. However, between the accommodation and the mix of activities, everyone was able to enjoy something during the vacation. Overall, this trip was a success!
On this blog, I’m all about budget traveling. It is quite possible to travel and have great experiences without breaking the bank. I almost exclusively use Airbnb when traveling, as it saves me money to use for other parts of the trip and I’m surrounded by the locals. When I traveled to Barcelona, I stayed about 15 minutes outside of the city and was able to eat/shop at places that I wouldn’t have, had I stayed in the city. Additionally, when budget traveling, it is best to bring/purchase some groceries to avoid eating out for every meal…trust me, that gets boring fast. And lastly, be open to new experiences!
With that said, thank you so much for reading this post. Does Madison, Virginia sound like a place you would want to visit? What places have you traveled to that were surprisingly different than you expected? Do you have any travel recommendations (USA)? Lastly, make sure to subscribe, share, and comment below!