Friday, October 26, 2012

Gelato Adventures

I’m proof that you can live in Charlottesville without a car.  Although I should note that my last trip to the grocery store was quite interesting given that I hadn’t been for the past three weeks thanks to a packed end to Term 2.  I ended up walking my bike home from the store with a backpack, and two large bags stuffed with what felt like the heaviest load of groceries I’d ever bought.  So I’m not going to say it’s easy, but through a combination of walking, biking, Zipcar, cabs, and getting rides from friends, I get by just fine without the added expense of a car. 

However, after being stuck in either my apartment or a learning team room for the four and a half days of exams, I was itching to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather and the gorgeous foliage and views around Charlottesville.  Without a car, I was relegated to walking around Darden and the rest of UVA.  Even though campus (or rather “grounds,” as I’m supposed to call it) is pretty spectacular, I had seen most of it already on my morning runs.  I was dying to get out and see the Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive, a famous road along the ridge of the mountains that offers amazing views, especially as the leaves are changing.
Then my classmate, Andrew, came to the rescue.  I met Andrew in our pre-matriculation accounting class, where he provided some real-world explanations for the concepts we were learning based on the gelato shop he owns and operates in nearby Staunton, VA.  One of my favorite parts of our classes is hearing about my classmates’ work experiences.  Invariably someone in the class has had an experience with the concept we’re learning about and hearing how they handled it provides some really valuable and relevant perspective for how we as a class might consider approaching the case at hand.  But back to the rescuing…

Trolling the class Facebook group, as I’m wont to do almost hourly, I noticed that Andrew had offered to take anyone interested on a trip over to his gelato shop, which involved a drive over the mountains.  I jumped at the thought of the beautiful drive and delicious gelato at the same time!  Twenty minutes later, Andrew, Ken (another classmate), and I were on our way to the picturesque little town of Staunton.

Downtown Staunton, VA
Ken and Andrew
 Andrew first took us to an awesome toy store, owned by the mother of his business partner.  I had a hard time not buying everything in sight.  In the end, I couldn’t resist this awesome purchase:

My favorite new running accessory
Awesome little toy store

Then Andrew walked us over to his shop, The Split Banana.  It’s got a really cool vibe that combines a classic, small town ice cream shop with a modern and trendy twist.   

From inside The Split Banana
After tasting several of the flavors, I settled on one scoop of pumpkin pie and one scoop of espresso biscotto—the perfect combination of fall in my mouth. YUM.

So many possibilities!

On the way back to Charlottesville, the sun began to set and light up the already orange trees.  We pulled off at a scenic overlook so I could snap a few pictures.  I was very thankful for the opportunity to explore outside of the Darden grounds.
Ahhhhh, fall!

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