Friday, June 4, 2010

Birthday Trip Pt 1~University of Virginia

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.


Rainforest Gardener said...

So much to comment on!
First off, let me say that my best buddy and fiance go on lots of trips around florida and I ALWAYS forget something like socks, pants, and the like. Our fondest memories are those of driving around looking for a soulless big box retailer or corner "drug store" like cvs, searching for the very places we try so hard to escape. Here in Florida Publix is the grocery store we turn to first, and they always have at least a few regional touches.
Those serpentine walls are also a real inspiration, and its a wonder that we don't see more.
Also, I love the commentary on the statue! I grew up idolizing DaVinci for his enthusiasm for such a large amount of practices, but I was a little disappointed when I found out that he was also into little boys, like so many others in those days. You would think that we'd be past that after colonizing Virginia though...

Jim Groble said...

Nice pics and post. We always forget something or another on trips. It's good for a story later. can i steal the walmart wants your soul pick?

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I had to laugh, I've done the same thing myself. Went out of town for a grad school interview. Hubby clothes...packed. Diabetic cat...packed...along with required insulin etc. My clothes...DAMN! Think I ended up at Costco rather than Wal-Mart, but I had to go shopping in a suit...all I was wearing was my interview suit. Hadn't packed a darn thing for myself LOL.

I love those serpentine brick walls. I would so love to have a wall like that, although I'd likely go insane building it.

I agree, that Poe 'dropout' back is awesome :P Glad you had a great birthday!

The Garden Ms. S said...

Ok, I want a wavy wall, and a squirrel who smiles - oh, and that bag, please. :)

Great pics and looks like you had a fab b-day trip - yay!

camissonia said...

Great post, Kyna, and I couldn't stop laughing about the hubby forgetting his bag and almost blaming you part. Been there, done that with my own better (?) half, especially on camping trips when nary a Walmart, Target, or even a rudimentary gas station could be found within a 100 mile radius. Can't wait for your next post on Montecito. And, btw, a belated happy birthday!

Kyna said...

RG: Well, it was like deja vu. Last year, we went to Raleigh for my birthday. We thought we were only going to stay through the afternoon, and ended up deciding to go to a concert that night. We had to hunt down a hotel room, toiletries, and a change of clothes, because we decided we were going to do things the next day too, since we were already staying the night LOL Haha, it always sucks when you find out your idol is less than comletely savory ;) I think we're allowed to still admire the genius. Look at TJ...I love the guy, but he owned (and allegedly slept with) slaves. But he was an amazing president and had an amazing mind.

Jim: I'm glad you enjoyed it lol. Of course you can steal it :D I didn't make it, but even if I had you'd be welcome :D

CVF: Haha! I had a funny image of your 'packed cat' looking up at you when you got to your destination, when you found out you had fotgotten your clothes, saying 'Nice one.' LOL

Ms S: Sometimes I wish I had Photoshop. I would have made you a picture of the smiling squirrel, sitting on top of the wavy wall, wearing a 'Dropout' t-shirt :D

camissonia: Thank you! :)
Chuck even said that he had forgotten his bag once before on a trip. Was so mad, he knew he'd never forget it again lol. And he did ;) I think he just assumed I packed it, but I was already running around trying to remember my own things, including all the tickets for things, confirmation numbers, MY clothes....
Camping with nothing around though? Rough situation. Chuck would be so mad, that he probably would turn right around and go home. But then again, I don't think we'd be on that type of trip...I'm not that rugged :D

Noelle said...

Oh, what a beautiful place! We are traveling to Virginia in October and I can't wait. I am looking forward to your Monticello pictures :-)

PS. Thank you very much for your kind comments.

Kyna said...

Noelle, you'll have such an awesome time there! :) I appreciate you stopping by when you've got so much going on in your life at the moment. :) I may have some time tomorrow or maybe the next day, and I'll post the next set. I'm in the middle of a 9 day working stretch...

Christine B. said...

Glad to see there are folk out there that feel the same way I do about Wal-mart (we call it Wally World in my house). That little student room wasn't much smaller than my dorm room the year I lived on campus. No fireplace either...what a rip!

Glad to hear you made it to 29, but don't worry...thirty is much worse. All of a sudden I got lines on my face. Why didn't anyone warn me??

Christine in Alaska, and 33

Ellada said...

I love your post and every time you make me laugh.
Nice trip and again, just for you:

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I had to laugh about the part where your husband only has his shoes and shampoo :)
I loved the tour. I've never been to Virginia, but would love to visit and see all the history there. Looking forward to the Monticello pictures too.

Meredith said...

Happy belated birthday, Kyna! I hope it was a blast -- and may this year be the best yet!

Love those serpentine walls, and yes, the dropout bag is the best college merchandise I have *ever* seen, bar none. :)

Kimberly said...

Great trip, Kyna! Beautiful campus..lovely buildings and history surrounded by green lawns. I don't worry about leaving stuff's part of the fun of it!

Edith Hope said...

Dear Kyna, I know that I have been absent for several weeks now, but I fear I have returned totally confused. Are Chuck and Mr. A one and the same? Or have you acquired a new husband/partner in my absence? At the start I quite expected to see Chuck/Mr. A posing without clothes, or in yours, but, alas, this was not to be.

The tour was delightful and I shall look forward to reading more of your exploits.

Kyna said...

Christine: But did you have to walk out into the snow to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? This tiny room had only one door, and it led to the sidewalk :D

Ellada: Merci! :D I'm so glad, and thanks for the birthday wishes!

Catherine: I laughed when you said you laughed about Chuck's shoes and shampoo. Chuck asked why I laughed. I told him , and he sort of went 'Hmph' :D I have the day off tomorrow, so that's when I'll have my post about Monticello up :)

Meredith: Thank you! I wanted to get a t-shirt too. And they had 'Dropout' shot glasses :D I thoguht that would be too much, so I settled for the bag.

Kimberly: Yeah, I don't think he was really that upset. But only because I paid for some of the clothes that he bought the next day LOL. It's a good thing I didn't leave my bag at home, because I would have had to go to somewhere better than Wal-Mart. It was my birthday weekend after all! lol

Edith: I love you. I hope you don't that's too forward. :)

Chuck and Mr. A are one and the same. You can tell by all the surly tattoos. Sorry to disappoint. I have a picture of Chuck doing naked cartwheels across the lawn of Monticello, but I don't know if he'd be ok with me posting them on the internet. Actually, I don't think the police were ok with the whole situation at all.

I got SO tired of typing 'Mr. A' when Chuck was so much faster. The post I spilled the beans in was:

Maybe worth a read. I was thinking the other day, 'What happened to Edith?' Glad to hear from you, thanks for the comment so I know that you're back! :D