Tuesday, August 2, 2011

our weekend: chaincation

Chaincation (aka Tour de Chains): driving 100+ miles simply to visit a series of chains that aren't available in your hometown. This type of vacation can attest to a) the lack of options in your hometown; b) the lack of culture in the town you're visiting, or c) your lack of taste.

I guess for us, it was a mixture of the 3. We drove with some friends to Dallas, our nearest large city, with two things in mind: returning wedding presents to Macy's and Crate and Barrel and indulging a lifelong fantasy to go to Medieval Times.

But first things first. We weren't alone in our choice for lunch -- it appeared the entire city of Dallas had the same idea. In fact, there were police directing traffic. And there was lots of traffic. There was also a 30 minute drive thru line and a wait outside in the 106 degree heat. People will do anything for a Double Double with animal fries.


When I heard about a Sonic opening in New England and mile long lines of customers waiting for their first footlong and cherry limeade, I rolled my eyes. Sonic is old news, people. When I was a wee high school lass, we met every afternoon for a happy hour slushie. Gossip was spread. Tator tots were consumed. No big deal.

This was different. I'm not sure why. But it was.

A few more stops on our chain-cation:


The piece de resistance: an evening of eating with our hands and avoiding dirt kicked in our tomato soup by horses.

This is how you know you're too old, or maybe too cynical, for a place like Medieval Times
  • You can see the hidden sadness -- which you may have mistaken for enthusiasm as a child -- on the faces of everyone who works there. Specifically the falcon tamer. He can't even smile in the pictures anymore.
  • You wonder if your knight, who smiles broadly at the cheers from his royal subjects, has any relationships outside of the arena that can make him smile so wide.
  • When two actors are ad-libbing out of earshot, you assume they're trying to decide what to do after the show, not worrying about the princess they're attempting to save.
  • You discuss which knight is hooking up with which wench.
  • At least 5 times, you wonder aloud how well the animals are treated and whether the facility has its own veterinarian.
But Medieval Times knows the secret to numbing any doubts or negative thoughts:

And before we knew it, we were screaming for our knight and rushing to meet him after he won. (He won! I haven't felt such pride since... well, the last sporting event I watched. I'm easily influenced.)


After dragon tail soup, dragon eggs, chicken, ribs, and a Pastry of the Castle, the obvious next step would be to put on your bathing suit and head to your rooftop pool all night. Luckily, Dallas nightlife is really into beds. Beds in clubs, beds at pools - and our hotel, the Downtown Sheraton, was on board with that trend. We lounged on a bed and stared up at the skyscrapers while relishing in the fact that a breeze was blowing and it almost didn't feel like a southern summer.


  1. chaincation? I love it. And I'm with you on the Sonic thing - and I never knew how much I would miss it until it was gone. Now I crave it.
    Growing up we went to the Dixie Stampede in Branson, MO and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I would be curious to see how I would fare if I went now. Vino/beer would have to be involved, I think.

  2. Sonic was totally where my friends and I went to dish out the gossip and chow down on some cheesy tots! Mmm. . .

    Also, I can totally relate to the whole "I went to Ikea for X,Y,Z and came out with 150 dollars of stuff." Do you know how many times that has happened to us since moving to NY? Ikea has alot of our money.

  3. I have heard you don't know the true joy on In-N-Out until you move away from it. They are ALL OVER SoCal, and there's always a long line. My friend who moved to Austin five years ago still demands an In-N-Out run every time she visits San Diego.

  4. My parents, who moved out of So Cal in 1971 still demand an In-n-Out run when they're in town. And I, too, have always had a secret desire to go to Medieval Times. I could NEVER get Collin to go, though.

  5. Colette - I agree with you. I dream of In-N-Out. oh, how I wish I wouldn't have taken advantage of it while living in California. :( I wonder how well it would ship??

  6. This totally proves my point that lining up for In-n-Out is valid while lining up for Sonic is not. There is never a line on a normal day at Sonic! (and if there is, it's because the carhops are notoriously slow.)

  7. Looks like fun! And that ALWAYS happens to me at Ikea... usually I end up with a couple bags of Swedish fish too.

  8. I love it! Chainication! I need one.. every time I got to Dallas, it's for a wedding, which sucks up all my time! I need some HomeGoods, Neiman Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, ANTHROPOLOGIE (I do find time for that every time. I always at least buy a candle) and I'm SO jealous of your find at Anthro. I can only wish that would happen to me. So fun!

  9. I love it! Such a good idea. Even in New Orleans there aren't many chains like those. I feel like I've heard so much about In-N-Out Burger, but I've never had the chance to have it. This whole concept looks awesome - I need to find a nearby city (that isn't Houston) to do the same thing!