July was crazy busy for us and I never felt like I really had time to sit down and blog, so I’m doing it today. It started out with at the Pat McGee show at Wolf Trap on Jill’s birthday. I signed us up for the â€œVIP experienceâ€, which included a meet and greet behind the Filene Center, no food but we picnicked with a spread from our friend Linda (who also drove us there in her son’s big truck). The show was great (and so were our seats), played some new songs, classics, and choice covers (including â€œPurple Rainâ€).
The second part of the â€œexperienceâ€ was an intimate show at Jammin’ Java, starting with a set from Michael Tolcher where he was joined by Pat McGee and others. Pat McGee played the songs they couldn’t fit in during the second set, and brought up plenty of guests.
I had to work the next day, but on Saturday the 3rd we headed over to Dad’s to spend the day on the bay. Patricia was there, and we all walked down the boardwalk in the afternoon and got some Maggie Moo cones. Dad made hot dogs and salad for dinner, then we sat on his dock and watched the fireworks (Illa’s least favorite part of the evening).
The next day we headed home after I made schmorgles for breakfast. We’d heard that folks on Lake Thoreau lit off fireworks on the 4th, so after grilling hamburgers for dinner, we waited for darkness. And it did not disappoint, hours of explosions and light. It was also extremely entertaining to watch the cops force people to move who pulled over on South Lakes Dr. to watch. It would have been better if we’d had a boat to go out on the lake â€“ maybe next year.
Wednesday the 7th we headed back to Jammin’ Java as Todd Wright capped off his 40×40 project (40 songs in the 40 weeks before he turned 40, proceeds to benefit juvenile diabetes research) by playing all 40 songs. Ok, at least 10 were just part of a medley, but it was still impressive, plus I saw an old Expulsion friend.
Saturday the 10th I’d thought about getting up early to try and get free John Mayer tix at the Kennedy Center, but just stayed home. The rest of the weekend we got the office/library ready to paint and Jill started on that while I unpacked the CDs and DVDs and started getting the camping equipment ready.
Friday the 16th we finally sold the old house, not too much trouble with closing. Jill had to go back to work afterwords; I celebrated solo by steaming up a pound of crab legs. Saturday we went out to the new Village at Leesburg to see emmet swimming, a full set for a block party they had. We also stopped by Home Depot for some supplies, Jill was finishing painting. Sunday I went out solo to see Inception (Jill passed), enjoyed it a lot. We had dinner at Chef Geoff’s in Tyson’s â€“ needed to use up a Groupon. I had a lobster roll and Jill had the scallops, both tasty.
We both then worked Monday to Wednesday the next week, then headed out of town a little before midnight on Wednesday the 21st. We had toyed with going to Jill’s mom’s first, but it wasn’t the most direct route. We stopped for groceries at a Hannaford in Red Hook, NY, and got to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival a little after they opened. The Jewells had set up our tent for us (they’d gotten their the night before), and we staked it down and set up the rest of our stuff. It was steak and martini night, and we enjoyed that and music from the surrounding camps (picking up the slack as the festival changed from 4 days to 3). Friday we woke to rain that didn’t stop until dark. That put the kibosh on my plans to see the Emerging Artists Showcase, but I still went over to the Family Stage (’cause it’s covered) to see Red Molly.
That night we had the second annual Lemon Tree dinner with the Loozer’s Lounge (Jill made a lemon & goat cheese salad), then saw Gandalf Murphy at the Dance Stage and nice new discovery Dala at the Main Stage. I wore a sweatshirt for about five minutes, but took it off as it was still too warm, and never wore anything besides t-shirt and shorts the rest of the time we were there (it’s usually pretty cool in the Catskills at night). I closed out the day the way it began, with Red Molly again, this time at the Budgiedome.
Saturday I’d considered heading over to the Workshop Stage, but hung out and enjoyed Daddycakes and sausage instead. It was beastly hot that day, and when I did make it over to the Main Stage for the Most Wanted Song Swap, I was kinda happy we got a brief storm ’cause it cooled things off. No more relief as we went over to see Red Molly and We’re About 9 in the Sweet Harmony workshop, but we did sit in the shade of the sound booth, and they were both superb. After we made our annual fajita dinner for us and the Jewells, we saw Red Molly once again (this time at the Main Stage), as well as some of Gandalf Murphy.
Stuart and I made another trek to the Budgiedome that night – the special guest being Abbie Gardner (from Red Molly) plus Laurie MacAllister (also from Red Molly), Pat Klink (from We’re About 9), Sam Guthridge, Robby Hecht, David Glaser, Evie Ladin, Amy Speace and Sid Selvidge. My favorite musical moment of the weekend happened then, as Robby Hecht covered my favorite song from last year, A.J. Roach’s “Chemicals”, with harmonies from Abbie and Laurie. We also saw Carolann Solebello, who’s leaving Red Molly (they’ll have a new member when we see them again in September). Sunday we stayed long enough to see the Wake Me Shake Me workshop and the Gospel Wake Up Call at the main stage before leaving.
We got to Jill’s mom’s house in the afternoon and unloaded, then joined Jill’s sisters and Dominic for dinner at Opa Opa. We enjoyed some “beer on a stick” and Jill had the steak and I had the ribs, both pretty good. We had two empty growlers with us, so we filled them with our favorite beers, F-15 Double Red Rock for me, and for the Oktoberfest for Jill.
Monday the 26th we got some Dunkie’s for breakfast, then headed north to Vermont. We stopped for some light shopping in Barre and Montpelier, then wanted to get some lunch. Nothing appealed that was open, so we went all the way to Burlington and stopped at the Vermont Pub & Brewery, which we hadn’t been to before. We both ended up getting Reubens, which were excellent, and I had their “beer on a stick”, which was actually “beer in a cage” (and a good idea considering how windy it was) – my favorite was the hefe Beetlejuice.
We did a little shopping after lunch and stopped in Essex Junction to hit another yarn shop before heading back to Waterbury. Jill’s great aunt Kelley lives there with her husband John (we’d stayed with them for a skiing vacation in 2003), and they were out until early evening. Their friend Rose who was staying with them made us a nice dinner of meatloaf and sauteed spinach, then we socialized for a while. Later on we walked over to The Alchemist for a nightcap (and we had to try the beer cheese spread which paired very well with the Lightweight Ale).
Tuesday morning I was up before Jill, so I headed over to the train station to join everyone else to watch the 9:28 Amtrak train pull in, then we headed out. We stopped in White River Junction for another yarn shop, then in Whately for lunch at Tom’s for delicious hot dogs. We knew of the place from Dave, Jill’s stepdad, but found info on it at Roadfood.com, which I think will be an interesting new resource for us – we’re not just about the high end food.
We stopped in Northampton for more shopping, I picked up some CDs and shades while Jill got more yarn, then we hit Herrell’s for ice cream. Jill’s mom made us a tasty shrimp scampi for dinner, then we headed over to Jill’s sister Melissa’s house for a Pampered Chef party. It was a long presentation, and we didn’t get to stay to long after that as we were getting up early.
Wednesday we were on the road by 6:30. We decided to avoid any possible rush hour traffic and took 90 to 87, then 78 from 287 to 81 and 15. It was a pretty decent drive, only two minor slowdowns. As we approached Harrisburg we started getting hungry for lunch and went to Roadfood.com again, deciding on the Red Rabbit Drive-In. Unfortunately they are currently open only Friday-Sunday, so that was a fail. However on the way back to 81 we found a Sonic, so all was well (Om Nom Nom tots and diet cherry limeade). We even got home in time to pick up Illa that day – it was pretty hot and he got as close to the a/c as he could.
A two day work week is always fun (we usually take off the week of FRFF but Jill couldn’t get the time off), then another weekend, this time with really nice weather. I wasted most of Saturday buying a car, a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid (deliberately spent a little more for a newer one with less miles as the eventual battery replacement will be expensive). I’d forgotten how much fun sitting in a dealership is – no wonder my last car purchase was 12 years ago (luckily I had my Palm and a good connection). When I got back home Jill took me back to get my old car, then we enjoyed some hummus and veggies outside. Later on I grilled some ribs for dinner.
Sunday the 1st I slept in later than planned and didn’t get much done before we headed up to Baltimore around 4. We parked and walked over to Little Italy. Jill had Yelped as we were driving, and we’d called Aldo’s to see if they could fit us in. They could, and we were soon seated (luckily I’d brought nearly restaurant worthy clothes). We both had salads (arugula for me, spinach for Jill), then she had fettucine with lobster and I had the lamb chops, both excellent. I wasn’t quite done and we shared their Napoleon for dessert.
We walked over to Pier Six Pavilion, found our seats, then waited for Heart to take the stage. We’d had tickets to them before but had a conflict so had sold them, and I was looking forward to the show, like all of their stuff. The show was a nice mix of the ’70s and ’80s hits, as well as some newer songs from their CD that will be released at the end of the month (the best is Hey You).