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Travel Is Broadening My Mind But Also My A$$

Posted by on October 23, 2012

For the last three years, we have been traveling the world as part of our full-time jobs. I write. Tom photographs. We make a great team. We have seen the Eiffel Tower, incredible cathedrals, soaring edifices erected for various Olympics, and a lighthouse perched on boulders at the edge of the sea. We have seen natural wonders that are so awe-inspiring, so breathtaking, that I find myself at a loss for words to describe their beauty. We have stayed in tiny hotel rooms, huge and gorgeous hotel rooms, staterooms on a variety of cruise ships, a cabin in the woods and incredible resorts. And during all these trips and experiences, there has been one constant.

We eat.

Mostly completely fabulous and wonderful in every way imaginable food.

And, even though we have walked and biked and kayaked and hiked our way through various destinations, I’m just going to admit that

Travel = Exercise < Food

I’m the first to admit that Tom is much better than me about exercise on the road as well as at home. He walks on our treadmill for several miles every day and will actively seek out exercise options wherever we are. Whereas I? Can pretty much always come up with a very reasonable excuse why I can’t exercise.

I blame the food.

Just for example, we returned from a trip to Savannah and Tybee Island a couple of weeks ago and I knew better than to weigh myself before I went to at least a couple of exercise classes. Because the food? It was marvelous.

We stopped at the Melia Atlanta hotel on the way to Savannah and, believe me, I will be telling you more about this marvelous hotel but what I want to tell you now is that if you have a chance to order the pizza or the Talapas you should do so because they were wonderful.

Flat bread pizza at Melia Atlanta.

Once we arrived on Tybee Island for the annual Pirate Fest (more on that later), we had a fabulous seafood dinner at Coco’s Sunset Grille which you can read about in more detail here but really all you need to know about Coco’s is that they have fried strawberries. That is correct. Fresh, juicy strawberries which have been dipped into some fabulous sweet batter, fried, rolled in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with a strawberry glaze. I came very close to licking the plate.


Fabulous, fabulous fried strawberries.

Then we stopped in Dahlonega, Georgia on our way home and I’m just going to be honest and tell you that even though we adored Dahlonega in every way – the quaint downtown! the gorgeous waterfalls! the beautiful mountains! – we did not have high expectations that we would have anything resembling gourmet dining in this lovely little town.


We could not have been more wrong.

The first night we strolled into The Back Porch Oyster Bar, we felt like we were stepping back into a bar in Key West. Bright, tropical colors, a seaside decor and seafood that is wonderful in every way contribute to the illusion. Trish and Lee Creef moved to Dahlonega from the North Carolina outer banks and were so appalled that they could not get really fresh seafood that they opened their own restaurant. The chef is their son and all the items on the menu are based on recipes Trish and her son have devised.

Lucky for us. Because they were so concerned that we might possibly get to sample only one item on the menu that they proceeded to deluge us with a variety of appetizers, entrée samples and incredible desserts. I found myself eating fried oysters and calamari because they were so excited about having us try everything – and I don’t even normally like those items. But these were different. They had breading and spices and were unique and wonderful and quite, quite delicious. I was really too full for dessert but they hopefully offered sour cream apple pie and if there is a world where I could say no to sour cream apple pie, I don’t want to live there.

Sour Cream Apple Pie. As good as it looks.

Then, the next night we headed to a quaint little river side restaurant that was so tucked away by the side of the road that we almost missed it. Bedecked with tiny lights and warmed by a fireplace inside, the Oar House made us fall in love immediately. And that was before we saw the wonderful deck that overlooks the river. Leigh and Tim O’Brien own and run this wonderful place along with a family of chefs who are so creative and innovative that they actually had us eating and adoring some date appetizers. Dates! Who knew dates would be so wonderful stuffed with some unimaginable wonderful substance and wrapped with bacon?

We might possibly have fought over the last date. OK. We did.

They also were concerned that we get to sample a variety of items so once again we were presented with appetizers, entrée samples and fabulous desserts. Each item was better than the last, so much so that we really did not have room for dessert. No problem  – they would not take no for an answer and boxed up a Coconut and Chocolate Bread Pudding and a White Chocolate Pecan Pie that we ate later in bed. Because of course we did.

So, basically we ate like grand sultans with everyone just delivering up one fantastic meal after another.

We actually did bike ten miles in Atlanta. And walked to a waterfall in Dahlonega.

But I think they calories we burned were offset by the completely and totally fabulous food we consumed.

We are going to stay home for a little while to enjoy our families and celebrate the upcoming holidays.

At least that’s what I say.

It’s actually so I can make a concerted attempt to whittle some of those extra calories off my a$$.

Full disclosure: Our meals were all provided by the various restaurants, but as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have.

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12 Responses to Travel Is Broadening My Mind But Also My A$$

  1. inka

    No,no,no, I simply will not read these food posts of yours again! Ever! Here I am, constanly dieting and watching my weight like a hawk, and then I go, see a new post from Jan, look at pictures of fried strawberries and sour cream apple pie..and head straight for my secret stash of Brussles chocolates (purchased from Harrods in London) and actually eat them. Ahhh, when is your next food post due?????
    inka recently posted..Dara – a well kept secret in Turkey’s SE

  2. Tracy Antonioli

    Oh–stuffed dates! I had them at this fabulous little restaurant in Portland, Maine (Bresca); They were stuffed with chorizo. And I was like ‘what simple, amazing dish. I simply must make it at home’. And so I tried.

    It was awful.

    Guess I’m going back to Portland! (Which I highly recommend–it is foodie heaven.)
    Tracy Antonioli recently posted..Here There Be Crack Whores: Bloggers as Modern Day Cartographers

    • Jan Ross

      We were in Portland last year on a cruise and went on a fabulous foodie tour. Great, great food. Would love to go back and spend more time. Probably eating.

  3. Shalu Sharma

    There is no doubt that travelling can broaden ones mind but sadly if one spends too much eating, the back side falls prey along with the bank balance. But if you are a foodie, how do you control yourself? I love the food equation.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..Bhang, India’s holy marijuana

  4. Shermika

    Travel has a way of doing that you to you…making you EAT! I commend Tom for finding ways to exercise while on vacay, but I too, like yourself, do all the eating and rarely any exercise. I am changing that however! The food pics look GREAT!

  5. Holiday Addict

    I am so with you. I pretend travel calories don’t count but my jeans are having none of it! Do I care enough to abstain? No chance. Fortunately, I’m a part-time traveller, so I offset in the dull, home sessions. Not nearly as fun. But probably for the best – if I had to buy a new wardrobe, I couldn’t book as many trips. I tell myself it’s all about balance…
    Holiday Addict recently posted..Andalucia: Don’t forget Jerez de la Frontera

    • Jan Ross

      I spend way too much time in sleeping pants working on the computer so it’s too easy to let those pounds add up. I have to force myself to head to exercise class daily when we are not traveling!

  6. Ashley Simpson

    “Grand Sultan” – I like the term from my heart :-). Traveling in nice places, trying fascinating foods, having nice captures – what can be better than this? I do love traveling & good food a lot. Guess what, your post make me hungry both in case of travel & food. It is obvious that traveling broadens the mind. It opens new window to our life :-)
    Ashley Simpson recently

    • Jan Ross

      We really felt like sultans in the two restaurants in Dahlonega where they just kept bringing us food, plate after plate. They were determined we would try as many things on the menu as possible. We waddled out the door!

  7. Murissa / The Wanderfull Traveler

    Ugh I know how you feel! Being the WanderFull Traveler I actively seek out great food and one constant is that no matter where you go there’s is always food to try. Unfortunately that also means that I gotta kick up the amount of exercise. I am still learning how to become accustomed to it but then again December is right around the corner which is when I love to bake = the end of exercise until the new year lol.
    Murissa / The Wanderfull Traveler recently posted..The Mind of a Chef – David Chang

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