Chuck and I had a great time in Virginia for my 29th birthday excursion. Great's an understatement. I'm going to post the pictures in a few parts.
The trip up to Charlottesville was very nice, except for a few patches of rain.
I don't know if it was a good idea to travel after work on Friday though, Chuckles was pretty tired by the time we got there 6 hours later. And a little crabby.
I was kind of worried about what the motel would be like. Hotel/motel stays there are quite expensive, even for the 'cheapies'. This one was about 30 dollars cheaper than the next cheapest...I was prepared for it to be in Cracktown.
I was surprised, it wasn't in a bad area. Aside from very dated decor, it was great! The bed was so comfortable, best sleep I've had in a hotel I think. Who cares about old decor when you're only in the place to sleep and shower anyway?
We were unloading the car at about 10:30pm...Chuckles reaches in the backseat and says, 'Where's my bag?'
Yep. He forgot ALL his clothes and toiletries at home. I had his shoes in a bag with mine, and his shampoo. That's it. I think he was very close to blaming me for forgetting his things, until I reminded him that his clothes are his responsibility. And besides, my toothbrush was in HIS bag. The bastard forgot my toothbrush! I should have been outraged!
So our first official outing in Charlottesville was to the Wal-Mart!
We picked up a few clothing items and a couple of toothbrushes. Then it was on to the University of Virginia.
Well almost. Charlottesville is kind of weird to get around. I come from a city with a grid system. If you're on 87th Street, you know that if you walk to the next one it'll be 88th Street. Charlottesville just didn't want to cooperate! Even with a map (we're old school, no GPS for us!) it was still trial and error. But we got there.
Thomas Jefferson was the founder of this distinguished institution. He was also behind all the interesting architecture.
Many of the walls behind the living quarters are in a very cool serpentine shape. Only a brick thick, but this is a very sturdy design. And aesthetically pleasing, I might add.
The grounds around the famous Rotunda are very beautiful. We walked up the multitude of stairs and explored the perimeter first.
The rear view of the Rotunda from the courtyard.
The inside of the Rotunda was just as beautiful. There was a major fire there at one point, and so it had to be restored. The restoration results were amazing.
The rooms on the lower floor are oval. This was beautifully decorated I think..,very warm, inviting tones. Almost expected TJ to be sitting on the settee with wine in hand. And maybe a couple of girls.
The dome room was amazing. Bookshelves were set into window alcoves all around the circumference. If you stood in the very center of the room, you couldn't see any of them. Which TJ designed deliberately, of course.
This window looked out over the courtyard behind the Rotunda. Apparently it was one of TJ's favourite spots to contemplate.
Lining the courtyard, are ten 'Pavillions'. These are filled with rooms where the students lived. Each Pavillion was similar, but not exactly the same.
The rooms are EXTREMELY tiny. Students still live in them. I'm sure that would be fun for about a week, and after that I'd have to have some more room. And as a good friend of mine told me (who was a graduate student there), it was REALLY fun to go outside in the wintertime in pajamas just to get to a bathroom. Case and point:
You may be thinking that by taking the picture that way, I've cut off parts of the room. Newp. The room is only inches wider than the frame shows. The only thing you can't see is a small fireplace to the left. Each room has one. "I get a fireplace in my room, but no toilet??" Even in a prison cell you get a toilet. But I guess it's part of the ambience of staying on this campus!
We toured the grounds for two or three hours. The weather was a little iffy that morning, I thought we were going to get rained on a few times. But we ended up getting some sunshine. And the clouds lifted enough to see patches of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Here are a few other random things we saw during the rest of our visit:
An old school Ancient Greek-style amphitheater
A neat old building. Not sure what's held here, but neat all the same.
Cocke Hall. Hehe. Cocke. I'm so glad that wasn't Chuck's last name. I'd be snickering everytime they called my name at the doctor's office.
A really cool sculpture. The young man portrayed is pretty hot. Too bad he's hanging out with that creepy old man.
What's that you say? He's just getting an education from that scholarly old fellow? Hmph. The boy's naked and holding horns. I'll bet he's getting an education all right...
We saw this pretty old church, but I didn't get too close. There was a wedding going on as you can sorta see. I should have just pretended I didn't notice and wandered into the wedding pictures...
And the post wouldn't be complete without a picture of a squirrel. We actually came upon this one as it was digging in that planter, with a pencil in it's mouth. I don't know what it thought it was going to use the pencil for...writing his little squirrel memoirs? He buried the pencil, and then looked at us with that menacing little squirrel grin...I thought he was going to fly into Chuck's face if we got too close.
During our visit, I also saw something in the window of the University Bookstore that I had to have as a birthday present.
In 1826, Edgar Allan Poe enrolled in the University of Virginia. He dropped out after one year, thus allowing for the best college merchandise of all time.
This bag rocks my socks.
We travelled straight on to Monticello after this. Which I will post about in my next installment.
I hope the post won't be too ho-hum. The place is amazing, and has been posted about many times by more renowned Blotanists than I. Most recently this week.
But do those other blogs have pictures of me leaping through flaming hoops in my underwear, screaming "Thomas Jefferson LIVES!!"???
Well. This one won't either. But I wish it did. Because that would be awesome.