Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Getaway on a Budget

Kelly and I just spent a wonderful couple of days taking a short break just to enjoy each other's company and do what we enjoy doing when we go away, walking around and exploring a new town.  Our 32nd anniversary is on Feb 25. So, this was our celebration, a trip to Baltimore.

Baltimore is relatively close but we've never really spent much time there so, we were looking forward to discovering a new neighborhood and living without a schedule for a couple of days. 

We stayed at a very nice hotel in the Mount Vernon area, The Mount Vernon Hotel. The Mount Vernon is a renovated building that dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century and is charming and comfortable with luxurious rooms and a great, hot breakfast. It's situated right off Charles Street and there are plenty of attractions nearby as well as some great restaurants and coffee shops. 

The Inner Harbor is about a 15 minute walk from the hotel. We strolled down there Saturday night and had a great time seeing the sights around the waterfront. Our suggestion, though, stick to the main thoroughfares as the neighborhood can change startlingly quickly. We resisted the urge to eat at the Inner Harbor and that turned out to be the right way to go as our dinner, a little further uptown was delicious and far less expensive. 

We had some truly great Pad Thai at a restaurant called "Banthai", on Charles Street. After dinner we walked back to our hotel but not before stopping off at the very first memorial ever erected to George Washington. It sits on top of a hill overlooking the Mount Vernon area and has a beautiful Gothic-style cathedral right next to it, The Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. We attended church service there Sunday morning. It is as awesome inside as it looks outside. The service was interesting with a great guest speaker but we missed our church family back home. We did, however, have the opportunity to share the gospel with a young couple that was seated in front of us at the service. I love those divine appointments!

After church, we spent the afternoon touring the Walters Art Museum which was a block from our hotel. It boasted a stunning array of paintings, sculptures and fascinating objets d'art. A great way to spend a relaxing afternoon. A quick lunch at a local diner, some down time at the hotel, then dinner at a splendid Afghan place, The Helmand, which was a few blocks to the North of the hotel, in an area we had not yet explored. Dinner was amazing! Most of my experience with Afghan food has been that is is frequently over-seasoned. Our dinner was excellently prepared and savory. A superb dining experience!

Here are some slides of our weekend:

We had a truly great time and...we did it all without straining our budget! Like a lot of other folks, we have been watching our pennies and trying to be good stewards of the resources the Lord provides so graciously to us. We value our time away together but have learned how to do it economically. Here are some tips on how we managed to do this entire weekend for less than the cost of one night at a DC area hotel.

We both subscribe to Living Social and Groupon. Their deals are amazing, at times. They take some patience to read every day but when the great deals show up, they are worth the wait. We got our hotel through Living Social. The deal included our room, parking and breakfast for two days/nights for only $73. Once we parked our car, we left it there and went everywhere on foot. Groupon is fantastic for restaurants and meals out as well as movie tickets and a host of other local goods and services. Furthermore, while Kelly and I were in Greece, we learned that we could usually split an entree and enjoy a full meal without having to buy two separate dinners. (Try this, it works!) For fun activities, many museums and attractions have free admission and there are plenty of sights and sounds to experience in any new town, enough that you don't have to spend a lot of money on amusements. 

Resisting the urge to splurge on anything, eating our meals away from the obvious tourist traps, avoiding expensive attractions, and pacing ourselves, we were able to spend the entire weekend together, have a wonderful time and still keep everything under $175. It was a great way to celebrate our anniversary! 

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