Sunday, October 4, 2015

Washington, DC

Location: Washington, DC, USA
Date Visited: August 2015

This was my first visit to the National Arboretum. Very pretty. We toured the herb gardens and the bonsai and penjing displays. There were some bits that were confusing, where a mystery plant was very clearly not any of the nearby tags (for example, we're fairly certain this pretty purple pea pod is neither corn nor cotton nor barley nor millet nor sugarcane), but that's okay. We still had a good time. I'll have to go back in a different season. Or at least when it's not quite so beastly hot.

Afterward, we grabbed lunch at Hogs on the Hill, which was decent but not too memorable. The milkshakes from Checkers next door were, though. Wow.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Midcoast Maine

Location: Rockland, Portland, Wiscasset, and Freemont, Maine, USA
Date Visited: July 2015

I visited Maine for the first time this summer in order to take part in another first: my first bike tour, the Maine Lobster Ride sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. We just biked the 15 mile route, but next year we're definitely going for the 30.

I saw and did so many awesome things on this trip, I don't even know how to sum it up. So I'll do what I always do, which is make bulleted lists:

Yummy food:

Great shopping:

Nifty sites:

In short, Maine is great and I would definitely go back.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Baltimore, MD

Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: July 2015

Video Games Live is a fantastic show of video game music performed by a live orchestra and chorus, with game footage and other fun stuff projected on a screen behind the performers. The lead vocalist, Jillian Aversa, is a friend of ours, so when the group was in town we all went to see the show. Definitely recommended. We also enjoyed our dinner at City Cafe beforehand.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Portland, ME

Location: International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine, USA
Date Visited: July 2015

First of all, this museum is pretty tiny, and unless you're already convinced of the existence of Big Foot, you'll probably be more amused than amazed. That said, I had a grand time, and even picked up a coelacanth keychain.  Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rockland, ME

Location: Rockland, Maine, USA
Date Visited: July 2015

As part of our entrance fee for the Maine Lobster Ride, we also received free admission to the Farnsworth Art Museum. Lovely little place. Well worth the side trip.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chantilly, VA

Location: Chantilly, Virginia, USA
Date Visited: June 2015

Here we have a bit of a meta-post, because I basically scrapbooked a scrapbook festival. Scrapbook Expo was my first such event, though I only went for the shopping. My friend and I tried and failed to get a seat at any of the make-and-takes, but we did have a lovely lunch at Texas Roadhouse. All in all, a pleasant morning. Afterward, a couple other friends joined us at my house and we spent the rest of the day having a project party. Good times.

Monday, September 28, 2015

White River Junction, VT

Location: White River Junction, Vermont, USA
Date Visited: July 2015

This was just a quick stop on my trip, but we did enjoy our time at the visitor's center. WRJ is such a great town.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sperryville, VA

Location: Sperryville, Virginia, USA
Date Visited: May 2015

I went on a random drive and somehow ended up in Rappahannock Central, a little arts/shopping/dining community in Sperryville. I had a wonderful time. I started with lunch at El Quijote, where I had tapas for the first time (and next time I will be sure to go back with other people so I can try a bigger variety of dishes), then wandered River District Arts and The Middle St. Gallery before touring Copper Fox Distillery, where I brought home a bottle of single malt whiskey for my dear husband.

Now, there's no way I can list all the amazing artists I saw on my tour, but here are a few: Mary B. Allen, Leslie Hilton, Frederick Kahler, Virginia B. Costello, Phyllis Northup, and Wayne Paige. Definitely a good place to wander if you're looking for inspiration.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Havre de Grace (and Silver Spring), MD

Location: Havre de Grace and Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: March 2015

We spent the day hanging around Havre de Grace, especially the Concord Point Lighthouse and the nearby Maritime Museum and promenade. Ridiculously windy, but otherwise a very nice time. Unfortunately, we did not get to the visitor center before it closed for the day. Next time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kingsville, MD

Location: Kingsville, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: March 2015

Jerusalem Mill is a pleasant little historic crossroads, full of very friendly and talkative people who wanted to tell us all about their educational programs and renovations and everything else. Next time I'll have to go when the mill is open for tours.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monticello, VA

Location: Monticello, Virginia, USA
Date Visited: February 2015

I used to live in Charlottesville, and so visited Monticello a few times, but hadn't been back since. You'll be unsurprised to learn that it hasn't changed much. Jefferson was a complicated man, but his house sure is full of neat stuff. Unfortunately, the day we visited it was too cold to wander the grounds at all.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Boonsboro and Burkittsville, MD

Location: Boonsboro and Burkittsville, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: October 2014

There are a lot of major tourist attractions near me that I have never visited. And many, many minor ones that I have. Such as the first Washington Monument (or at least the first one finished), and Crystal Grottoes Caverns, which appears to be run out of someone's house. It was lovely weather for this particular outing, which ended with a book sale in the church that houses the historical society. Good times.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Berlin, MD

Location: Berlin, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: January 2015

I am so in love with this town. It is precious. The woman at the visitor center was a hoot, and I loved wandering the shops. I had lunch at Rayne's Reef, where I sketched the windows of Town Center Antiques across the street while enjoying my fries, salad, and fountain cherry cola. I've never seen Runaway Bride or Tuck Everlasting, both of which were filmed in Berlin, but I liked the trivia nonetheless. The woman at the visitor center told me that for Tuck, they rented dirt from a local farmer to cover the streets, then when filming wrapped, they gave it back. That must have been quite a production. They also renamed some of the buildings, which explains why one of the windows of Old Town Antiques said "Garrett Journal". I would have spent a lot more time in this cute little town, but I had a lot of ground to cover yet, so I had to move on.

I didn't even notice until I was scanning in this page that I'd rotated the bumper sticker so that "Maryland" was upside-down. Oh well.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Assateague Island, MD

Location: Assateague Island National Seashore, Berlin, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: January 2015

After some great tips from the woman working at the visitor center, I drove up and down the length of Assateague Island. I did indeed spot some wild horses, including one walking just on the far side of the guardrail. Luckily, there was nobody else on the road, so I was able to slow down to snap a picture. I don't think he even noticed me.

I may or may not have squealed like a child when I saw him.

The visitor center itself has some good displays about the local wildlife, including a couple of aquariums. All in all, a lovely place.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cambridge, MD

Location:Cambridge, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: January 2015

Lunch at The High Spot was tasty, and it started to snow while I was eating. This turned out to be a bigger setback than I'd realized, as the snow quickly turned near-blinding and I ended up at the Dorchester County Visitor Center to wait it out. That was a bit of a strange place. At every single visitor center I've ever visited (and I've visited quite a few), the person working behind the desk has been friendly and helpful. The woman working at this one barely gave me a nod and a smile. Unfortunately, by the time the snow had started to ease up, it was too dark and rainy to continue on, so I overnighted in Delmar. I ate dinner at Tokyo Steakhouse, which was yummy but wow did I ever order too much food.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Easton, MD

Location: Easton, Maryland, USA
Date Visited: January 2015

I didn't spend much time in Easton, but it seemed like a lovely little town. This was one of my first stops during my little road trip across the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It's very pretty, and their brochure is right: the pace is a little bit slower than what I'm used to back in Northern Virginia, and I appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alexandria, VA

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Date Visited: January 2015

While out snarfing with a friend, we happened upon the new memorial at the Freedmen's Cemetery. It's beautiful and the statue is haunting, but what's really cool is the list of names of those interred. A large number of them have a note next to it saying that a living descendent has been found. Just amazing. Later that same day we visited the Alexandra Archaeology Museum, where we learned that the Freedmen's Cemetery wasn't found all that long ago, when digging began for adding to the existing gas station and office building on the site. Needless to say, as soon as they found graves, all construction ceased. Now it's an open field with stones marking many of the plots.

We also stopped by the Fish Market for lunch, a longtime favorite of mine and a delightful new experience for my friend. If you like seafood and happen to be in Old Town Alexandria, it's worth checking out.