Between the Sheets

July 26, 2011

“It’s Not the Man in My Life, It’s the Life in My Man!”

Mae West was so right! It works for me, why can’t it work for him? In my going-on-seventy-years of life I’ve said a million times that I don’t feel my age, or rather, this is what add years can be like. I feel so fortunate to have found a man to spend my life with who feels and lives the same way.

My husband and I have been married for over seven years. And although we spend our weeks working in different cities, we spend almost every weekend together and once a month we’ll go away together for four or five days.

But the romance doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t matter if he’s flying to see me or if I’m flying to see him, he has surprised me with flowers all but one time when he had a work emergency and sent a limo to pick me up at the airport instead.

It goes without saying that the first night we spend together is “Date-Night” and I have never had to make a reservation. Sometimes I’ll make a special request if there’s something I’m really wanting to see or do, but most of the time I let him surprise me with a date idea, something he’s always been great at.

With any well planned date-night, things happen and situations change, but it’s important to go with the flow and focus on the objective: to spend time with your partner, to get to know them better, and to stay away from conflict-causing topics like the mortgage and the kids and what color to paint the bathroom.

Last week, for example, my husband flew in, made dinner reservations and ordered two movie tickets for our evening adventure. But having just got in from his flight, he was hungry, so we strolled down to Café Milano to have a mid-day light snack. We ordered up a light lunch and a bottle of wine, and proceeded to catch up on each other’s week.

Our one-hour trip to the café turned into a five-course six-hour date! It amazes me sometimes how, during the week when we’re just chatting on the phone about movers and renovation crews and travel plans, we communicate with each other like business people. But when we sit down next to one another and he puts his hand on my leg and looks into my eyes I’m reminded of how much I love that man.

…Think about what you can do put some life back into your life! Maybe you and your partner will start a weekly date-night; maybe you’ll indulge a fantasy together. Perhaps an impromptu couple’s vacation is in order. Talk to your partner and start kicking your love life back into high gear. Because your love life, just like the life of your body, needs to be kept healthy in order to survive.

Dr. Dorree Lynn, PhD, is a psychologist and life coach in Georgetown and author of Sex for Grownups: Dr. Dorree Reveals the Truths, Lies, and Must-Tries for Great Sex After 50. She is AARP’s Media “Sexpert” and has been featured on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and VH1. Visit her website:

Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships

Dear Stacy:
My best friend’s fiancé cheated on her. There’s definitely more to the story – it was on a bachelor weekend in Vegas, it was with a showgirl, he is contrite – but I don’t think it matters. He cheated. He is a cheater. He will cheat again. I’ve tried to talk with her about this (and yes, she has asked for my opinion!) but she still seems inclined to believe that he has changed. She has wanted to be married for a long time, and I think she is afraid of being alone, so she’s willing to be with a slimeball like this guy. I know I can’t convince her otherwise, but I’d love some advice on how to deal with it in my own mind. I’m not going to lose my best friend just because she married a sleazy guy.
-Biting My Tongue

Dear Biting:
I’d say you’re already well on your way to dealing with it in your “own mind,” just by saying you’re not going to lose Best Friend just because she married someone you don’t like. That’s your bottom line and you’re sticking to it. The rest is just ancillary detail – and don’t get me started on the holier-than-thou “once a cheater, always a cheater” spiel you’ve adopted. It’s tired and based in the “idea” of relationships, not in their actuality, so let’s just pretend you didn’t take that hackneyed tone at all.

But since we’re talking about bottom lines anyway, this is a good opportunity to remind us all that yours is not mine, and hers is not yours, and mine is not theirs, and…it goes on and on. My point is that every person has their own threshold of what they will and will not abide. When that threshold is crossed, things change. No, the person may not leave the relationship, but the relationship has changed. You cannot tell another person what her bottomline should be. Granted, actually you can tell her, but you cannot demand that she adopt it for herself. It doesn’t work that way, and the sooner you take yourself out of the role of “life-runner,” the sooner you will be able to be there for her when she decides how she needs you.

One more thing: you have my permission to demand that she (and he) get tested for venereal diseases in the aftermath of the event. Many women block out that part of this equation and wind up regretting it later. Just let her know that you, her Best Friend and biggest supporter, will be there to go with her to the appointment. After all, you’re not going to lose your best friend just because she was too scared to see her doctor.

Dear Stacy:
Please settle an argument between me and a girlfriend – is it legit to date a man who is separated from his wife, or are you participating in adultery?
-Confused About the Label

Dear Label,
Hmm, I’m not sure what you mean by “legit,” so we’ll start with the legal side and then get into the interpersonal.

I went to local divorce lawyer Regina DeMeo and learned that if you date one person while you’re married to another in Maryland and D.C. you are technically committing a crime. “Lots of people don’t realize that adultery is still on the books as a crime, not that anyone will ever get fined for it, but it is important for people to realize that just because people claim to be separated they should not assume everything is nicely wrapped up – far from it,” she explains. “The real question to ask if you are going to be brave enough to date someone going through a divorce is where they are in the legal process: Do they have an agreement? Is there a court case pending?”

DeMeo’s legal counsel overlaps with my own relationship advice: as always, you need to talk with him about the situation (Oh how we all would avoid so many complications if we would just start with this strategy).

Be as honest and clear about your intentions in the relationship – and start by just talking to yourself about this one. Are you really just fine with keeping it casual, or is marriage actually your underlying motive? There’s no shame in wanting what you want, but being dishonest with yourself about this part will come back to haunt you later.

If you are expecting exclusivity with a man who is separated from his spouse, I’m with DeMeo: you must be clear about those divorce proceedings. If the object of your affection is in the placeholding space and just waiting for the paperwork to be processed, and you trust him, then you might breathe easier. If that separation is less formal, then you ought to get a few more details about the situation, assuming you really want to hear them.

I’ll add that you should be very careful about how Boyfriend references his soon-to-be-ex. If he spouts hate-speech at the mention of her name, take that as a warning about his ability to play nice once the romance has died. Likewise, does he fall too far on the other side, idolizing her, romanticizing their relationship? Make sure he’s done before you find yourself deeply invested. No one wants to be the reason a married couple doesn’t have the chance to make things work out. Trust me, that label will be very hard to remove, no matter how inaccurate it may be.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is This column is meant for entertainment only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Please send your relationship questions to

Outer Banks, NC

July 19, 2011

Stretching down more than half of North Carolina’s coast, the Outer Banks offers a great deal of luxurious homes away from home, delicious eats, and activities best for anyone and everyone. Take a pick from the three major areas of this Mid-Atlantic beach getaway: Northern Beach, Hatteras Island, or Roanoke Island. Regardless of where you are—in the waters, along the shores, or farther inland, iconic destination is sure to satisfy all your summer beach fancies.

Where to Stay

If you’re looking for some real rest, don’t let your plans overlook a reservation at The Sanderling Resort & Spa in Northern Beach. You (and your pet) will sleep comfortably in the individually decorated inns, only to wake up to this beachside resort’s panoramic views of the ocean. Immediately after, step outside to enjoy a sun-shining day. Or, perhaps if you need a break from the sun, you will allow your body to self-indulge at the spa with treatments that use only the coastline’s best natural resources.

At the opposite end, The Castle B & B is another great villa located at Ocracoke Island (accessible by ferry only). These inns too, individually decorated with classic, antique pieces welcomes you for the coziest comfort. Enjoy the Castle’s setting enclosed by the quaint docks and serene waters.

What to Do

Besides fishing at Hatteras Islands Fishing Pier in Rodanthe or boating at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo (Roanoke Islands), there are many other “things to do!” Nearby Pirate’s Cove Marina is the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. It’s a great place for kids and families to learn and get a close-up of the Bank’s marine life.

If you’re an archetypal adventurist, take a dare at Jockey Ridge State Park’s tallest sand dunes in Nags Head (Northern Beach). You can sand-board or paraglide from the peaks of the sandy hills or take a self-guided hike in and out of the valleys. If the waters are what you’re looking for instead, try kayaking, windsurfing, or simply swimming with the current on the other side of the park.

For those looking for something less recreational, the “shop ‘til you drop” activity might be a better idea. Also located in Nags Had, Tanger Outlet has stores with designer brand names like Polo and Tommy Hilfiger.
Other Great Activities

Wild Horse Adventure Tours (Corolla, NC) – Take a guided tour on an open or closed-top vehicle or rent your own jeep and sightsee the wild horses of Corolla Beach.
Visit the Lighthouses (locations vary) – Each lighthouse has its own charm and history. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Currituck Beach Lighthouse are open to climb, but the Ocracoke Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse are not.

Where to Eat

Don’t let the name fool you, but Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar is actually awfully delicious. Located in Kill Devil Hills for over 25 years, this stop is famous for their assortment of fresh seafood and thirst-quenching brews. Come out and enjoy the food and friendly community like one of the locals.

Make a second food stop at Tale of the Whale in Nags Head. This dining experience is promising with their principle, “To serve good food in ample portions with superior service in a comfortable setting.” Offering everything from cocktails, wines, and beer to clam chowder, pasta, and ribs, this restaurant offers an unforgettable experience for any individual, couple, or largely grouped families.

If you’re looking for a little more excitement and uniqueness, check out Mama Kwan’s. Not only does this grille feature a pallet of Hawaiian flavors and a medley of the island’s native aromas, but also live entertainment. Make sure to make it out here where a lunch and dinner experience is more than just a meal.
Other Great Restaurants:

The Pearl (Kill Devil Hills, NC) – An oceanfront, fine dining, French restaurant. If you want to avoid dining-in, call for a private chef.

Metropolis (Corolla, NC) – A tapas bar with a fusion of beverages; Offers a great ambiance especially for adults.
High Cotton (Kitty Hawk, NC) – A barbecue house faithful to Northeastern Carolina’s smoked flavors. [gallery ids="100227,106491,106489" nav="thumbs"]

Rehoboth Dining

July 13, 2011

For years, Rehoboth Beach has been a signature summer getaway for Washingtonians. From the beaches, to the boardwalk, to Funland, Rehoboth Beach offers tons of options for families visiting “The Nation’s Summer Capital.” More and more, Rehoboth is becoming known for its vast selection of restaurants. And we’re not just talking pizza or fried seafood.

The two-block stretch of Wilmington Avenue, adjacent to the beach, has exploded with new restaurants during the past year. Jenny Barger, of Rehoboth Beach Main Street, Inc. attributes the growth to a recovering economy. New restaurants, like Cypress and Tuscan Café, are in newly renovated spaces and are causing a stir in the neighborhood.

Bob Yesbek is a certified expert on restaurants in Rehoboth. On his website,, he reviews nearly every restaurant in the area. He gave us the scoop on what not miss on an eating pilgrimage to Rehoboth.

Back Porch Café has been a mainstay in the area for nearly 40 years. Located in a turn of the century house at 59 Rehoboth Avenue, this eatery includes a bar and not one, but two outdoor decks on its back porch in addition to its dining room. Their menu leans towards French cuisine, and features a wide selection of local seafood as well as lamb, veal and guinea hen. Prix-Fixe menus are offered on Thursdays, and Sunday brunch is also popular.

“The brunch is really popular, has been for years,” says Marilyn Spitz, co-owner of the restaurant.

The most popular item on their brunch menu is the Eggs Benedict. “How somebody can just so consistently poach so many eggs, and have each of them come out so perfectly is amazing,” says Yesbek.

The restaurant has a number of different rooms, which creates a charming, cozy atmosphere. In recent years, The Back Porch Café has lent its walls to local artists’ work and its relaxed ambiance has kept families coming back for generations.

The Back Porch Café is very good for families or groups celebrating a special occasion. If you’re looking for a little more excitement, your next destination is only a few blocks away at the Blue Moon.

Located at 35 Rehoboth Avenue, Blue Moon is a Rehoboth Beach landmark. It’s known for its late night entertainment and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner until 1 a.m. The menu includes a long list of steak and chops, as well as short ribs and rockfish. The atmosphere is a little more raucous, a bit louder overall, but the food is divine.

At night, the Blue Moon is a great launch pad for a night out. The restaurant’s dance floor gets hopping nightly, and there’s live entertainment six nights a week.

If you’ve come to Rehoboth for a romantic retreat, Eden may be the place for you.

Eden is highly recommended by Yesbek. “They tend to be a little bit more daring with their dishes than Blue Moon will tend to be. At Eden, you’ll get a little more unusual preparation, and a lot of people like it. The chefs there will take a few more risks in coming up with unusual combinations.” For the sophisticated palette, Eden offers a selection of artisanal cheeses and flatbreads.

Eden’s subdued atmosphere lends itself to more formal gatherings. Where the Back Porch can air on casual, and Blue Moon on the in-your-face, Eden is very quiet and romantic. If you are planning a romantic evening, Eden is definitely your best bet.

Henlopen City Oyster House opened last June in a beautiful location at 50 Wilmington Avenue. With floor to ceiling windows and a clean, chic interior, “The Oyster House” is a favorite among locals.

“Love the Henlopen City Oyster House,” says Amanda Ryan, Rehoboth realtor and native Delawarean. “Food is delicious, the staff is very friendly, and the owners did a great job with the ambiance. It is always packed so obviously they are doing something right.”
Co-owner Joe Baker says that the restaurant is popular for its beer nights. No surprise, given that they have nine beers on draught, and over 50 more on their menu. The restaurant also features eight different types of oysters.

According to Baker, the restaurant emphasizes using local oysters and food. “Our chef is a local farmer, so we use a lot of local farms. We like to keep the menu as fresh as we can.”

Obviously, there are many options to choose from, but not everybody can eat out every single night. For those entertaining or cooking at home in Rehoboth, Nourish Specialty Foods Market, Cafe & Catering offers gourmet foods and a great selection of artisanal cheese. Founders Deberah Sutter and Lois Pellegrino work to promote healthy eating and organic, local, sustainable agriculture. Their goal is to use organic or chemical-free local produce, meats and dairy products from small independent farms where possible.

There are so many restaurants in such a small area. People come from all around the Mid-Atlantic. Chefs must be distinctive to stand apart. Ryan puts it like this, “Restaurants see people from many of the hottest metro areas, Philly, DC, Baltimore, and we’re seeing more and more from New York and New Jersey. You never know who you could be cooking for!”

Events for Foodies in Rehoboth
June 26
Dining Out For Life At The Beach
Participating restaurants will donate 33 percent of your bill to AIDS Delaware.

October 2
Ninth Annual Celebrity Chefs Beach Brunch
Top area chefs gather for a foodie festival at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach, DE. Proceeds Benefit Meals on Wheels.

[gallery ids="100007,100021,100020,100019,100018,100017,100016,100015,100014,100013,100012,100011,100010,100009,100008,100022" nav="thumbs"]

Health Blogs 101: Where to go for the Best Recipes and Advice

101 Cookbooks

101 Cookbooks was created by Heidi Swanson in 2003, a San Francisco based photographer, cookbook author and designer, who shares recipes that intertwine with her life, travels and interests. Heidi was inspired to begin the blog when realized that although she owned over 100 cookbooks, she was always using the same recipes. So she decided it was time to stop buying and start cooking. Since then, 101 Cookbooks has won numerous awards, such as the 2006 and 2007 Food Blog of the Year and has been featured in newspapers such as the Boston Globe and New York Times. With a focus on natural, whole foods and ingredients, 101 Cookbooks has recipes for those with vegan or gluten-free diets as well as recipes for those who love desserts and chocolate. It even has recipes perfected for every season. Here is a great summer dish that puts a spin on classic Macaroni.

Macaroni Salad (serves enough for a crowd or potluck)
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced green onions {~3-4 bunches}
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
fine grain sea salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
zest and juice of one lemon
1/3 cup / 2 oz grated Parmesan
4 big handfuls arugula
1 large apple, diced

Cook the macaroni in a large pot of well-salted water per package instructions. Set aside at least 1/2 cup / 120ml pasta water. Then drain pasta and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add most of the green onions, all of the garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions soften, and the garlic begins to take on some color, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a couple minutes.

Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the green onion mixture along with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, zest of the lemon, half the lemon juice, and the reserved pasta water. Puree and taste. The green onion flavor should be assertive. Stir in the Parmesan.

Combine the macaroni with the green onion sauce in a large bowl. Toss well. Add the arugula and most of the apple and toss again. Taste, and add more pepper, salt, or lemon juice if needed. Serve topped with the remaining apple and green onion.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 10 min

A Weight Lifted

A Weight Lifted is the blog of Green Mountain at Fox Run, the country’s first and only residential weight loss program exclusively for women. Contributing bloggers include two registered dietitians (RDs), a psychologist, executive chef, sous chef and managing director of the program. The blog reflects their combined vision on what it takes to reach a healthy weight by a balance between nutrition and fitness. Putting an emphasis on letting go of unhealthy obsession and pressure attached to dieting, this blog offers not only healthy recipes, but advice for how to conquer negative feelings about weight. Here’s a recipe by Chef Lisa for the Green Mountain Brownie that is served at the healthy weight loss spa. Just goes to show, a little indulgence here and there can actually be healthy.

Green Mountain Brownie (serves 16)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pint sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9 inch square pan (or similar size) with non-stick spray. Metal pans allow for faster baking than glass does.

In a small pan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and carefully stir in canola oil and cocoa powder. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Stop the machine, add a third of the flour mixture, then mix. Stop again, add half of the butter mixture, then mix. Stop again, add half the remaining flour mixture, then mix. Stop, add remaining butter, mix, then stop, add final flour addition, and mix until just barely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-40 minutes, or until done enough for you.

Rebecca Thinks

Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian, credentialed nutrition therapy professional and American College of Sports Medicine certified Health and Fitness Specialist. She also teaches sport nutrition at George Washington University and has a D.C. based private practice for professional, aspiring and everyday athletes. Rebecca Thinks is where she shares her opinion on behavioral issues related to staying healthy and happy. The blog also shares her favorite recipes; my favorite was this one for a delicious, healthy fish taco.

Healthy and Light Fish Tacos Recipe (serves 8)
Mango Salsa
1 mango, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 onion (red preffered, any onion OK)
Juice of 1 lime, zest of 1/2 lime

Mix ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.

Zesty, Creamy Topping
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt, strained (Place a paper towel in a strainer and add the yogurt. This helps give the yogurt a thicker consistency like soft cheese. It needs about 2-3 hours in the refrigerator and you can skip this step if you don’t have the time)
1/2 tsp chili powder, taco seasoning, or fajita seasoning

Stir and refrigerate.

About 2-3 pounds white fish (we used tilapia)

Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime over fish. Broil or grill on low to medium heat for 6-8 minutes (don’t over do it or your fish will be tough).

Spicy Black Beans
One 14 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained, and placed in a saucepan
1/2 onion, diced and 2-4 cloves garlic, diced (sautee both in 1 tsp olive oil and add to bean)
1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili powder

Mix together and heat on low for about 8 minutes.

You will also need…
Store bought tortillas (we used a low carb, high fiber tortilla with about 100 calories and 10g fiber per serving)
1 cup cabbage, shredded (green or purple – whatever looks good)

Making the Taco
Heat the tortilla in a toaster oven, microwave or dry pan for a few seconds until warm. (You’ve come this far, why not?) Place about 2-3 ounces of fish in the middle of the taco. Top with 2 tablespoons mango salsa, 2 tablespoons black beans, small handful of cabbage (cabbage is healthy and low calorie so use as much or as little to your liking), and 1 tablespoon of the creamy topping. [gallery ids="100230,106511,106504,106508" nav="thumbs"]

Sex Over Fifty

July 7, 2011

Sex Shop Shy?

I completely understand that some people just can’t bring themselves to visit sex shops. They can at times seem dirty, intimidating and confusing, even though they house some of the greatest resources and tools available for increasing sexual pleasure. Fortunately for all of us there are alternatives to the neighborhood sex-tool-shed.

Art Galleries and Museums
Typically we tend to think we’ve only recently become a mainstream sex-minded society, but take one stroll through some select classic Asian and Indian art exhibits and you’ll find that the real “free sex” revolution happened thousands of years ago. Thanks to talented painters and sculptors we have the opportunity of experiencing their sexual proclivities through the eyes of intelligent art connoisseurs. My all-time favorite is of course the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian Hindu text that is an artistically illustrated handbook for great, pleasurable sex.

Pet Shops
Do you fancy the idea of a collar and leash for you or your partner? Why spend oodles of money on studded collars and other goodies at the sex shop when you can peruse the aisles of the local pet store? A secret-mission trip through the neighborhood pet store, either alone or with a partner, can be exhilarating and fun! There are tons of toys, restraints, and other goodies and the best part is that nobody will know who you’re really shopping for!

The Internet
Don’t be afraid to use the Internet to search for online sex tips and toys. Naturally, be weary of clicking on ads or pop-ups that might give you a virus (even safe-online sex is important!). If you’re concerned about privacy, most browsers have a “private” or “safe” browsing option that doesn’t save information on your computer. And when it comes to paying by credit card you’ll find convenient pre-paid credit cards on those in-store gift card walls at your local pharmacies and grocery stores.

Do It Yourself
If you want to get creative and do a few things at home, here are some great ideas for those that like to DIY or need a quick idea:
• Cut open an old pillow for some flirty feathers (turn off the ceiling fan first!)
• Skip fruit-flavored lotions and opt for some pureed fresh fruit instead (non-acidic only!)
• Whipped cream never fails (unless your partner is lactose intolerant)
• Ice cubes can make it hot (while keeping it cool)
• Old belts and scarves make great restraints (and whips)
• Even if you can’t wear 4 inch heels anymore, keep a pair for a bed fantasy…they can’t hurt you when you’re lying down!

Dr. Dorree Lynn, PhD, is a psychologist and life coach in Georgetown and author of Sex for Grownups: Dr. Dorree Reveals the Truths, Lies, and Must-Tries for Great Sex After 50. She is AARP’s Media “Sexpert” and has been featured on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and VH1. Visit her website:


June 29, 2011

Although Annapolis may be best known for being the home of the U.S. Naval Academy, the serene, bayside town is also the perfect location for a quick and easy getaway from the hustle and bustle of D.C. No more than an hour’s drive away (around 32 miles), this charming town is a mere hop, skip and jump from the city. Unique shops, restaurants and bars line the main street and quiet B & B’s are within walking distance, making it easy to enjoy the downtown social scene before escaping into the cozy solitude of a old-fashioned inn.

Where to Stay

Chez Amis Bed & Breakfast is a quaint four-bedroom B&B that was once a corner grocery store and is located in the heart of historic Annapolis. Neighboring The U.S. Naval Academy, St. John’s College, the City Dock and State Capital, there is no need for a car when everything from the historic landmarks to the entertainment of Main Street is within walking distance.

There is also The Annapolis Inn, a historic landmark townhouse poised on prestigious Prince George Street right downtown.

Where to Eat

Best known for their customized all-you-can-eat crab feast package, Cantler’s Riverside Inn offers farm-grown sweet corn, spiced shrimp, French fries, coleslaw, beer, wine and of course… crabs. So stop by with your friends and family while sailing the Cheaspeake Bay or sightseeing in downtown Annapolis. With exceptional service, a bright, contemporary interior, and an extensive menu featuring buffets for kids and adults, Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs restaurant is the perfect stop for a relaxing fine dining experience.

What to Do

Shopping is also a main attraction in Annapolis. Specializing in unique hand-woven rugs with outdoor or nautical patterns and themes, Claire Murray offers special keepsakes or gifts from your time spent in Annapolis. Easy Street Gallery was founded in 1979 by Marsha and Terry Moore. This American craft gallery is a family business that offers beautiful and vibrant glasswork, wall art, paperweights, pottery and more from over 300 established and emerging artists.

Indepedence Day Fireworks Cruise is coming up soon and offers a perfect way to spend the holiday on the Chesapeake Bay. The cruise runs July 4 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for children. Another unique Annapolis attraction is the Annapolis Carriage Ride where you can tour in style on a vintage carriage ride and learn about the town’s 300 years of history.

If you’re more of a hands-on person, you can learn how to sail at the Annapolis Sailing School where they provide a safe, enjoyable introduction to recreational sailing for the whole family.
But of course, this is Annapolis after all, and your trip wouldn’t be complete without touring the U.S. Naval Academy. Take a public or historical walking tour to experience life on the Yard.

[gallery ids="100163,100164,100165,100166,100167,100168" nav="thumbs"]


Quaint shops, hotels and restaurants line the streets of downtown Lexington, which teems with local flavor and small-town charm.

Where to Stay

Many of the nearby hotels and inns offer good deals and are walking distance from the main drag, including the Hampton Inn Con Alto. For those looking to be right in the middle of everything, the Sheridan Livery Inn is located right on Main Street and offers quiet, spacious rooms for a reasonable price. Guests and non-guests can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner in the Livery’s restaurant, or head across the street to some of Lexington’s most popular restaurants.

Where to Eat

The menu at the Bistro on Main features creations made with local produce. One can enjoy pizza and pasta accompanied by atmospheric piano music at Tuscany, or for a more casual experience, hang out at Macado’s and choose from over 60 different sandwiches. A few blocks away, Blue Sky Bakery is another local lunch favorite for its sandwiches served on bread made fresh daily. The Red Hen is one of Lexington’s more upscale dining options serving dishes that are a bit pricier, but made with fresh, local ingredients. The menu at Brix also features local foods, but serves them tapas-style, perfect for small group dining whether inside the restaurant or out on the patio.

Visitors can also enjoy wine tasting and tours of the Rockbridge Vineyard and the Lexington Valley Vineyard.

What to Do

The shops downtown are a collective cache of local treasures, from the tchotchkes and home accents at Pumpkinseeds to paintings and jewelry created by residents of Lexington and the surrounding Rockbridge area sold in art shops throughout the city. If shopping isn’t your thing, take a horse-drawn ride with Lexington Carriage Company and learn more about local history. After dark, visitors can relive the past in the present on a candlelit ghost tour through the city in the company of Civil War heroes Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Lee’s horse Traveller.

Just a short drive away from the downtown area, Hull’s Drive-In offers double features in the evenings for only $6, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own car. Also on the outskirts are the Natural Bridge, an all-natural rock formation and caverns, or Foamhendge, a man-made foam replica of Stonehendge – something fun and quirky you don’t see everyday. The nearby Boxerwood Gardens and Chessie Trail are perfect for relaxing nature strolls after an exciting day of shopping and sightseeing.

If the timing is right, visit the Virginia Horse Center for horse shows, dining, shopping and other events hosted throughout the summer season. The Lime Kiln offers a unique theater experience and hosts concerts and local theater productions in its outdoor amphitheater.

The Blue Ridge outdoors offers beautiful scenery and fun hiking trails for the outdoorsy and the first-time adventurers alike, just minutes outside of historic downtown Lexington. Whether you climb the boulders of Devils Marbleyard or swimming in Panther Falls, you’ll get in a great day hike and perfect photo opportunities.
[gallery ids="100169,100170" nav="thumbs"]

Orange County, Virginia

A short two-hour drive southwest of D.C. lays the hidden treasure of Orange County, Va., waiting for weekenders to enjoy the quietness of the hills and the warmth of the sun. Noted for quaint bed and breakfasts and scenic, historic sites, Orange County is a great local escape.

Where to Stay

The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Va. greets visitors with great white columns, a cream-yellow exterior decorated with black shutters and lush gardens. Each room is unique in design, but incomparable in comfort. Personal butler services and five star dinning give the feeling of pure luxury, yet the elegant comfort allows visitors to relax just like they were at home.

A charming house with luxurious details and an atmosphere for romance, Chestnut Hill Bed & Breakfast is a great escape into Virginia’s beautiful countryside. With evening wine and cheese events and a library stacks tall with books, this B&B has the lavish amenities to take your weekend getaway to the next level.

Other Great Places to Stay

Keswick Hall Hotel: a grand and lavish hotel right in the heart of Monticello.
Clifton Inn: a charming southern place to relax and enjoy the countryside.
Inn at Westwood Farm: a historic inn rich with Civil War history and southern comfort.

Where to Eat

The menu at Silk Mill Grille prides itself on its American cuisine “featuring fine sandwiches, poultry, seafood, steaks, and spirits.” Black leather booths line walls decorated with odds and ends from the Virginia countryside, combining the luxury of the old south with the elegance of contemporary dining.

Bringing the French countryside to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Restaurant Pomme with Chef Gerard Gasparini serves the finest traditional French brunch, lunch and dinner. The warmly decorated dining room with traditional French accents ensures that the experience is full of French style and atmosphere.

Other Great Places to Dine

Marshall Farms Corner: a family fun deli made with farm-fresh ingredients.
Double D’s Ice Cream Parlor: a fun place to drop in for a sweet treat.

What to Do

The home of Former President James Madison, Montpelier Estate is a must-see location in Orange County, Va.. From outdoor cooking demonstrations and historic sites, to Civil War restorations,and museum exhibits, visitors can spend a full day learning about the history of Montpelier and the area.

Dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, Barboursville Vineyards entertains with excellence, highlighting their award-winning wine Octagon. Come enjoy the grapes in the vineyard, the food at the Palladio restaurant, or the calmness of the 1804 Inn.

Other Attractions in the Area

Castle Hill Cidery: opening in July 2011, a great alternative to wineries.
Lake Orange: for the outdoorsman, the lake offers family fun all day in the sun.
Civil War Trails: another great outdoor adventure full of history and sunshine.
[gallery ids="100174,100175" nav="thumbs"]

Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships

June 28, 2011

Dear Stacy:

I am a mother of two kids – 6 months and 2.5 years old. I stay home with the kids, always have wanted to be a SAHM, and for the most part, it’s very good all around. But I keep feeling jealous of my husband’s “freedom” when he goes to work, particularly when he’s sent off on a work-related trip. He says he misses us all, but I can’t believe he’s not at least a little bit happy to have a full-night’s sleep, getting to wake up when he wants to, seeing a new place, and planning his day around whatever he wants to do. I am happy to be home with my kids, but I miss the freedom of getting to take a trip or see a movie when I want to. He offers to take the kids some weekend afternoons, but when I return home I find complete chaos and it takes a good day or two for things to get back to normal. I’m snapping at him, doubting his sincerity when he tells me how much he misses us – I’m just reluctant to believe he’s not secretly happy with his end of the bargain.
–Feeling unequal in Northwest

Dear Unequal:

So what if he is “secretly happy with his end of the bargain?” Would that information actually change anything? From the tone of your letter, I can surmise that Husband might feel guilty about that particular perk of being the sole breadwinner. Can you ask yourself why he wouldn’t want to admit that part to you? Maybe because you might use it against him while ignoring what’s really going on here: the fact that your arrangement might not be 100 percent working for you right now.

We’ve all heard the adage that marriage isn’t fair all the time – neither is parenting, making a living or life in general. If this period of dissatisfaction is just a blip on the radar screen of an otherwise happy life, I urge you to let this go. If, on the other hand, you are struggling with some long-term challenges of balancing his work with yours, let’s take a closer look at that part.

It sounds like you might be feeling like a prisoner to your daily routine. That’s the unfortunate part of being a Good Mother – you know that a regularly-scheduled day makes for happier, healthier, and, blessedly, sleepier kiddos. Just because this cycle is good for them, doesn’t mean you won’t feel chafed from time to time – particularly when Husband is texting you from the latest Tony Award-winning corporate-sponsored Broadway musical. Or Austin’s Restaurant Week. Or (Lord help him if he does this) the beach.

I sympathize that there may be chaos when you return from an afternoon out, but am wondering what yardstick you’re using? Is Husband really letting them set up the sprinkler inside and shred the drapes, or is he just choosing to do things differently than you would? If it’s the latter, let’s take a deep breath and remember what you’re getting in return. The opportunity to be child-free for a few hours just might come at this cost. But if Husband truly lets the kids go wild, perhaps you need to talk about how this makes you feel when you get home. This is a person who keeps telling you how much he misses being part of the family when he’s away – maybe he’d been open to hearing what being a part of the family actually looks like to you.

Dear Stacy:

I am the mother of a 4-year-old. My husband and I are in negotiations about having a second child, but we’re both torn. We had the typical life-explosion that happens when DINKs [double income/no kids] decide to become parents, and have just recently hit our stride in terms of taking care of ourselves, our relationship, and being good parents to our adorable little one. I always thought I’d have more kids, but on some level it seems totally impractical. I’m just now feeling better about my career decisions, and another maternity leave feels like it might be devastating. Then again, when I see friends with new babies, I feel this aching inside. Do you make a life-changing decision based on aching inside? My husband seems to be just as on the fence as I am, so I guess we’re lucky that no one is feeling pressured either way. We just need some advice.
-Going for Two? in Glover Park

Dear Going for Two:

Ah, you’ve emerged from the Terrible (Terrifying? Troublesome? Treacherous?) Toddler Years and are now enjoying predictable sleep, fewer temper tantrums, and the typically wide-eyed wonder of the 4-year-old. Why on earth would you want to go back to measuring your life in 2 hour feeding increments? Why would you want to deal with more diapers?

Well, because you always thought you would have more children. And because you love babies. And because you know so much more now and think you might be able to actually enjoy the infant period this time around. I’ve heard these arguments numerous times in my office…and in my own home…so I completely understand. Many of us wrestled for years with the initial question, “when is it time to have a baby?” only to be caught off guard by the logical follow-up: “Should I have another?”

It’s great that you and Husband are both on the same, albeit confused, page. I’d recommend that you look back to your decision to have Baby #1. What was that experience like? Were there lightning bolts and sirens urging you onward (unusual)? Were you feeling unsure, even as you were trying to get pregnant (normal)? Did you have “yes” days and “no” days? I’ve encouraged clients to take some of the pressure off by taking their daily temperature: “Do I want to have another baby today? Yes or No.” Mark your calendar with the results and then set the discussion aside. Give yourself a few months and then take a look at the data. If you have more Ns or Ys and you still feel disappointed, your gut in that moment might reveal what you really want. There are many other ways to come to a conclusion about this, but as in all big choices, overthinking rarely gets us where we want to be.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is This column is meant for entertainment only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Please send your relationship questions to