Our adventure actually started Tuesday night, when we had a reservation for the Moonrise Hotel. I left work on Tuesday and drove east instead of west, ending up at the University City Loop--a six-block long stretch of Delmar Boulevard with dozens of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Even though I've been in the Loop many times over the years, this time it felt special. The Moonrise opened in 2009 at the eastern edge of the Loop area. I've walked by it before, and stopped in to get information, but this was my first time checking in. The lobby of the hotel has a great sound system, a stunning light-up staircase, and a light wall. It's full of moon-themed art and display cases of spaceships, lunar pop culture items, and figurines. Our room continued the funky lunar theme, with modern-looking bedding, furniture, and lighting.
We put our bags in the room, changed clothes quickly, and walked to dinner at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant several blocks from the hotel. We had fondue for our appetizer, entree, and dessert. The only thing that didn't end up on the end of a skewer was our salad. After dinner we strolled back to the hotel. Most of the stores we passed were already closed, but we did some window shopping along the way and figured out which places we wanted to go into the next day.
I expect a quality hotel to have a good mattress, soft pillows, and fluffy towels. The Moonrise had all that, and more. There was a clock/radio/ipod docking station on one side of the bed, a relaxation sound machine on the other, and a connectivity panel on the desk (which we used to charge our phones). The bathroom was stocked with the standard shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/body lotion, but they were all spa-quality. The shower cap came in a sealed package, and another package contained a cuticle "pusher" and emery board, which came in handy for a raggedy fingernail.
Before bed Tony took a shower, and came out raving about the overhead rain shower head. I wanted to try it, too, but didn't want to go to bed with wet hair. I looked at the shower cap package and was pleasantly surprised to see it also contained a tiny white terry band that I used to put my hair into a ponytail, which the slipped easily into the cap. Tony was right; the shower was wonderful.
We slept in, and after a great breakfast in the restaurant we checked out, put our suitcases in the car, and started exploring. The weather made it easy to have a good time; the temperature was almost springlike, and I soon wished I'd brought a jacket instead of my winter coat. First we walked through some residential areas, then ended up at the Loop. In 2007, the American Planning Association named the Delmar Loop "One of the 10 Great Streets in America." There's a lot to do there. The stores that had been closed the night before were all open, and we had a great time shopping. We stopped at the Chuck Berry statue that was installed last year, and a man offered to take our picture.
After we'd thoroughly investigated both sides of the Loop area, it was time for lunch. We drove a short distance to Winslow's Home, a general store/restaurant. All the inside tables were full, so we sat outside. By this time I'd swapped my coat for a jacket. That was better for popping in and out of stores, but not quite enough for al fresco dining. It was a little chilly so we didn't linger. I had a taste for ice cream, so we drove to a Baskin-Robbins halfway back to our house. I got a scoop of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in a bowl and ate every last drop.
After all the big meals and desserts I felt the need to exercise some more, so our last activity was driving to a county park that had a nice walking path. Thirty minutes later and two circuits around the park were enough. It was time to go home and back to reality.