Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gator, and Buffalo, and Polar Bears, OH MY!

Yesterday was filled with exotic animals and good times.  It all started weeks ago when Nate and his co-workers decided to do the 2010 Polar Plunge, to benefit Special Olympics, in VA Beach.  Unfortunately, on the day of the plunge, Fredericksburg and Richmond were buried under many inches of snow, and the event went on without them.  The upside is that their team raised quite a bit of money for the charity, and they decided to participate in a similar event a few weeks later (yesterday) at Tim's River Shore on the Potomac River.

So that brings us to this weekend.  On the way up to the shore for the event, Dave and I stopped for lunch at the Bass Pro Shop's restaurant, The Islamorada Fish Market, named after the village of islands off the Florida Keys where it was founded.  I know a restaurant inside a sporting goods store doesn't sound glamorous, but Dave heard that they served alligator as an appetizer, and we thought we had to go to the beach for that - so, I was up for checking it out.

I've never been inside the store before, so until the restaurant opened for lunch, we walked around a little.  Wow, searching for the appropriate words.  This place is like those stores you find at the beach that have anything and everything you could ever imagine needing while you're at the beach.  And then some.  If anyone's looking for the perfect birthday or Christmas gift for me, here it is:


How awesome is this?  They also have dogs and Jaws and frogs.

They also have children's camouflage bedding, in case you're in the market for it:

...and every other country outdoor accessory you could ever imagine.  I think I might go back, just to see what all it has to offer, as I only visited one corner of the store:

Then, we go into the restaurant and I'm blown away that they've been hiding this place inside a sporting goods store all this's like they were keeping a gigantic secret.  It was much nicer than many of the restaurants we usually go to.  Perhaps that says something for our taste in restaurants?  No, it's really that nice.

We ordered alligator and it came out lookin' all fancy like it was prepared by one of the contestants of Top Chef:

We also ordered buffalo burgers, which we first tried in Alaska, and they were good, too.

Then, it was time to make our way up 95 and through some winding roads to get to the river shore.  When I got there it felt like home, like all those dives we used to go to on the weekends when I was in my late teens, early twenties, hanging out with White Oak folks.  It is simple and awesome, with faux palm trees and piers all over the place.  I can imagine this place in the summertime, with a ton os boats anchored not far off shore and customers wading into the restaurant, holding 6-packs of beer over their heads. 

Here's Nate's team, the Physical Therapy Plungers, entering the water for their plunge - yes, they carried plungers with them into the water!  They had to wade/walk/run out about 50 feet, plunge (optional) into the water, and then walk/run back:

He was given strict instructions not to fully immerse himself in the water, so he wouldn't go into shock, but as he was walking back to the shore, he paused, daintily sat down in the water briefly, and then got up to continue his trek to dry land.  Awesome.

I still think he's crazy, but it looked like fun :)


  1. Sounds like a fun Saturday!! Too bad I couldn't go to the plunge since I was working. But thanks for going. I know Nate was happy you guys made it up there to watch. :)

    That item you want holding the that a fish or an alligator? I can't tell. LOL :)

  2. it's a bass and it's awesome!