5.05.2010

Alexandria, VA

I have found myself on the road again. This time I'm in Alexandria, VA for the week doing some software training. Unfortunately I don't have the time to vacation, so I just find myself with the evenings free. It doesn't mean I don't have anything to say.

My hotel room at the Sheraton Suites Old Town is stunning. I love it. I have two TVs. I had the option of not having my room cleaned and receiving a $5 voucher in exchange. That was a pleasant surprise. I usually leave the Do Not Disturb sign up so they don't clean it everyday. I don't like cleaning up every morning so they can clean around me and I don't need anything refilled because I haven't used anything but handsoap and coffee creamer.
The first night, I managed to sleep at a reasonable hour and wake up extra early (un-heard of in any time zone really) and hit the fitness room this morning. I can exercise, when it is convenient and believe me, here it is convenient. I look forward to a trip on the elliptical every morning. Also the pool spa seems amazing and I look forward to a relaxing soak one of these nights.
So far, walking around Old Town Alexandria, I love it. Reminds me a lot of Boston. The narrow streets that are so indicative of older cities are so charming and townhouses on every block that while being so identical can be so different. So many of the buildings have historical plaques on them. I just love it. Often older cities have difficult to navigate streets, laid out in weird directions, Old Town Alexandria on the other hand is a perfect grid. All the charm, none of the nightmare.
The humidity is killing me, but in the evening its been comfortable and breezy. The thunderstorms have been beautiful. The rain smells great. Like crushed rose hips or something.
On my walks around town Monday, I stopped for ice cream before dinner because I wasn't going to travel in that direction again (frozen custard sold to me from a re-located San Diegan). There were two Irish pubs in my travels and I passed on the first one for dinner because I couldn't find any corned beef on the menu. My experience at the second one, Pat Troy's really made my meal an evening.
So I asked for a table for one and she seated me at a huge table with two other people sitting there. She said it was her singles table. Uh. Little weird but it could be cool so I took a seat near the other two and figured I'd take full advantage of being seated by strangers. I was introduced to Kevin a high school physics teacher and Larry, retired for 17 years. Had some great conversations about Reagan, black holes and life expectancy. It was beautiful. When I asked why they made such a long drive to eat here, I was told "For tonight's event."
When I asked what this event happening was (the place had slowly filled to near capacity while we were talking) turns out the restaurant/pub sponsors a regular event called Theology On Tap. Those who know me, know I'm a staunch atheist. But they also know, that I have an overwhelming curiosity and a desire to learn what others believe. Not for mocking purposes, but so we understand each other better. So I decided to stick it out and learn about Spiritual Direction. Now I have been to Pentecostal, Babtist, Quaker, Methodist, various non denominational services and of course World Wide Church of God, but this was my first Catholic anything, outside of that one roommate I had who smudged her forehead for ash wednesday and had a St. Christopher (I think) medallion. It really wasn't all that different.
Tuesday night I was joined by a friend of mine who lives up in Silver Spring, Maryland. We wandered Old Town which he hadn't been to in years and found ourselves eating dinner at a place called Gadsby's Tavern. I'm not entirely sure what the story here is, but the serving staff wear traditional colonial garb and supposedly George Washington ate there. I am not ashamed of being a tourist and so I was all about it. I'm happy to inform you the Gentleman's Pye was delicious and Ben Franklin's Spruce ale was fantastic.

Monday, I found a delightful yarn store called Fibre Space wherein I did a little shopping (I'm traveling, so it don't count). I picked up some merino/bamboo/tussah silk top, drop spindle and some spinning books.

Tuesday, I discovered another yarn shop called Knit Happens. I was worried because there is a poor google review of it online. The floor was in bad shape, clearly indicative of a pet friendly environment, however, it most definitely did not smell of animals, substantial stock and plenty of old stock was on sale. The staff was very friendly and helpful and I would definitely go back. I purchased 4 skeins of Sirdar Snuggly DK in Stone at 35% off to make a baby sweater for my nephew baking in the oven right now. There was 6 skeins of Noro Maiko for 50% off as well in the color Hunter and a shared dye lot. Well I couldn't turn that down either. And I picked up a spare set of knitting needles in case I run out of yarn for the baby blanket I brought with me.

So I brought a baby blanket for knitting this trip, but didn't figure I would have the time to knit more than two skeins (it's a garter stitch blanket in Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Pines). I haven't run out yet, but the first went so fast, I started to panic.

4 comments:

Susan said...

Shopping, huh? Lol. Great photos and good finds.

Trifarina said...

Looks fun! I lived in Alexandria one summer, though not in the nice historic bit. I always wanted to check out the Masonic temple museum you can see from the Alex. metro stop... but never did.

JJ said...

I do love Old Town Alexandria. A friend of mine from high school lived there a while ago, and I visited for dinner. This makes me want to go back!

BeadKnitter said...

It's always fun to visit yarn shops while on a trip. Sounds like you're finding ways to enjoy yourself.