rave rome reviews

As you know, I spent the weekend in beautiful Rome, Georgia, running the Berry 10K with my dad.  We had a wonderful time racing and seeing the sights of Rome.  Aaand…I got another PR!  54:10, which made me THIRD in my age group and the 29th woman overall!  Dad also took third in his age group, although had he run his own pace and not with me, he would have stolen the whole show.

With two new PRs in my pocket, I could not be more motivated to keep running and training.  And I owe it to my wonderful dad – who slows down to run races with me because he wants to, not because he has to – and to my aunt Hopey, who reminds me that if I keep it up, I get to be a runner, and nothing can be better than that.  Clearly, I am on cloud nine.

And you know what else put me on cloud nine this weekend?  A red velvet cupcake.  That’s right, I earned my cupcake this weekend.  In fact, I cheated a bit and ate my cupcake before the race, which put me in major cupcake debt – a thought that surely helped me get through miles 5 and 6.  I got my cupcake from this little gem in downtown rome.

Mmm yes, HoneyMoon Bakery.  What a place.  Here’s my review:

Selection

As these mouth-watering photos make clear, HoneyMoon Bakery does not play around when it comes to selection.  They had cakes, cupcakes, tarts, brownies, dipped fruit, pastries, fresh baked specialty bread, and homemade gelato.  An incredible selection, but displayed so as to not appear overwhelming.

The bakery also has a good coffee selection, although it appeared as though the gourmet coffee was all caffeinated, and because dad and I visited in the evening, we had to opt out of the gourmet and opt into the standard decaf.

the spread…fantastic!

oh, I will be back to try that blueberry and butter cookie ice cream…you can count on it.

Atmosphere:

HoneyMoon Bakery has a cozy atmosphere with big tables…the kind that force you to sit with people you don’t know when the place is packed.  I, for one, enjoy that sort of thing.  I especially enjoy the jealous stares when I dive into a divine red velvet cupcake.

One really great aspect about the Bakery is the window leading into the kitchen/decorating area.  Dad and I got to see Bakery employees icing a giant stadium-shaped cake.  We also caught a glimpse of the zillion icing colors the Bakery employs!

The only downside to the atmosphere at HoneyMoon Bakery was that, because it lies adjacent to a restaurant (Harvest Moon Cafe, which I highly recommend), most people awaiting a table at the Cafe sit in the Bakery.  When the restaurant is busy, it is difficult to find a seat (as a paying customer) in the Bakery.  Dad and I managed to find a seat with minimal trouble, though, so all-in-all the plusses certainly outweighed the minuses!

Service:

Like the atmosphere, the service reflected the cozy culture of this neighborhood bakery.  The barista was laid back, friendly, and even helpful!  I immediately asked my barista what his yummiest cupcake was, and he pointed me towards the red velvet.  And boy, was he right.

the cutest dipped fruit with mousse…in an edible chocolate bowl!  adorable!

Cupcake Taste Test:

Of course, the moment I was waiting for was the cupcake taste test!  Dad and I heeded our barista’s advice and went for a southern classic…red velvet.

The cupcakes were jumbo-size, so we split one!

And this cupcake?  It gets an A+.  Unbeatably moist with a delicate crumb.  Light cocoa flavor.  The icing was dense and smooth and the perfect amount.  You know, haters of the red velvet cake say that it merely serves as a conduit for cream cheese icing.  Well, those people haven’t had HoneyMoon Bakery’s red velvet cupcake.  This was no conduit.

Overall Rating: A+ , as in, Am I really tempted to go back to Rome JUST to get another cupcake.  Absolutely.

And now, a review of the Berry 10K!

Dad and I on the eve of our race…the Berry campus is gorgeous!

Organization:

It is my understanding that Berry College has hosted this even for several years running, and it shows.  The race is small, but I was still impressed with the lengths to which organizers went to make sure the event went as smoothly as a large race.  Organizers sent several emails about the event before this weekend, counting down the time until the race and conveying helpful information for participants.

Packet pickup was available Friday afternoon and evening, which is of course incredibly convenient.  We encountered more conveniences the day of the race…organizers had a clothing drop at the start, so Dad and I were able to bundle up pre-race and shed clothes just before start time.

Race volunteers and organizers were also unbelievably friendly.  These people are so kind to give their time for a good cause (Berry’s elementary and middle school benefit from the race), and they made our weekend smooth and enjoyable.

The only organizational issue we encountered occurred at the start.  Organizers were, rightfully so, set on beginning the race on time.  That time crept up on a lot of people (including us), and we had to start our race all the way at the back of the pack.  Runners could always use more announcements, so that might be helpful next year.  The chip timing made up for our late start…we had to navigate the slower paced participants, but we knew our time was safe and sound with our time chips.

Course:

The 10K course at Berry was fast, flat, and very beautiful.  Runners never entered a public road, and much of the race took place on paved running/biking trails.  Dad even got to run to the side of the paved trails on gravel, which he absolutely loves!  We did encounter a few icy spots along the path that perhaps race organizers could have addressed before the start.  The problem areas were relatively few, though, and only one was truly a tactical obstacle!

The Berry campus is incredibly beautiful.  Near the start, Dad and I saw a herd of about 30 deer running through a clearing.  We were thrilled to see deer in their, ahem, natural habitat, rather than along the side of the road as we frequently encounter them.

At the finish, organizers announced the names of the runners.  It was such a treat to hear them call my name and my dad’s name…it gave me that big burst of energy that I needed to finish strong.

Results:

Race organizers did an excellent job posting race results online by Saturday afternoon.  This was surely facilitated by chip timing, which, if you haven’t gathered this yet, I adore.  We are still awaiting photos…Dad and I swear that we will have terrible faces in each shot (it was, after all, 24 degrees at the start).

Refreshments/Tent Area:

The tent area was relatively sparse at the race, which probably reflects the small number of runners that sponsors can expect to reach.  The refreshment area, on the other hand, was fantastic.  Loads of fruit, bread, beverages, and freebies made Dad and I happy campers!

Culture:

The Berry 10K culture seems to reflect the culture of Berry College and Rome as a whole.  Dad and I didn’t encounter a single person on the Berry campus or downtown in Rome that didn’t smile when we crossed paths.  Friendly and accommodating, the race organizers serve as wonderful ambassadors for their school and for their hometown.

Overall Rating: A, as in Astonishingly beautiful campus, Awesome course, and Always an adventure with my dad!

If you ran the Berry 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon, what did you think of the event?

oh, and Banana-Fana Cupcake…I am coming back for you.

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9 Comments

Filed under baking, running

9 responses to “rave rome reviews

  1. Angie (Mom Holtzlcaw)

    Hi Lauren,

    Reading your blog has become the bright spot of my lunch. Since I don’t go out for lunch, I eat at my desk. One of the cupcakes would be great right now. I showed by co-workers the picture of Josie on Friday. They said she looked mean. I let them know it was the tooth sticking out and she is really sweet. Then I showed them the rest of the pictures. The comment was “where is a picture of hubby”. So some time soon you need to post a picture of hubby. Got to go lunch time is over. Can’t wait for the next post.

    Love ya!!!

    Angie

    • I’m so glad you are enjoying it! It is a great way for me to take my mind off school every once in a while! Don’t worry, I have a new post coming soon, and it is complete with a picture of hubby! And, maybe another picture of Josie…less mean looking this time! I love you!

  2. Soooo…perhaps you could include in a future post some reviews/info about your fav running shoes? I am about to be in the market for new ones, and want to make an educated choice. I think I’ll check into Peach Running Co, or somewhere similar, for an assessment of my gait/feet before purchase. But, I am also interested in the debate between supportive shoes & shoeless running (ex: Vibram FiveFingers). Help! :-)
    P.S. Love your blog – and I’ve introduced hubby to it, too! I think we’ve identified the cupcake forces in our lives…cookies for me, pizza for him. So perhaps one day we will get to the reward zone :-)

    • I will absolutely do a post on shoes! It was on my list of future posts…shoes are so so important!! I’m so glad you like the blog…it has become a labor of love!

      Are you totally vegan? I have a cookie recipe coming up…wonder if it could be made vegan-friendly.

  3. Nikki

    I love the review!!!!!!!! So in depth.. :)
    You’re so lucky that you found a great red velvet cupcake. I had a horrible experience at a Starbucks (I would have never imagined… :( …), I purchased a red velvet cupcake… And it was either really carelessly baked, stale, or Starbucks just can’t make them properly. I couldn’t even eat it past two bites, and I LOVE cupcakes… I’ve been putting off doing a review of it, because I can’t bring myself to overcome the bias that I have for Starbucks.
    I’m not sure if you’re ever in Toronto, but we have some Swirrls bakeries here, that have the most amazing cupcakes. :)

    • Thanks, Nikki! That’s a bummer about the Starbucks cupcakes…they LOOK nice! I think I will be tasting the Whole Foods cupcakes (do they have WFs in Toronto?) or the Cinnabon cupcakes next, judging from my poll results!

  4. Pingback: whole foods cupcake review « will run for cupcakes

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