Weekend wrapup

Decent weekend. Chris Whitley was his usual crazed self Friday – I was disappointed they didn’t have either of his new cds available. The bad part of the evening was discovering my tire going flat after the show, due to a horrendous pothole on Lawyers Road. It held air ok for the ride home (and I was able to find my hubcap).

Saturday I was going skiing until the ice on the slopes quashed that idea. I accompanied Jill to the Mall where we met up with one of her cousins, Justin, and his family. We went to the National Museum of American History for lunch, then checked out a couple exhibits (including the new Beatles one, natch). Saturday night, Jill worked, and first I put the spare tire on the car and unclogged the kitchen sink, then went to Sterling Cinema Draft to see Getaway Car. I never knew you could have an office chair mosh pit. A nice place to have a show, the wait staff were great and they had a lot of beers on tap. And it’s 10 minutes from me. Hope they get more good acts.

Sunday, I helped out as a volunteer in the Herndon Festival, working on some contracts for the musicians performing. Caught up on my tv shows and the newspaper, watched some of the Grammys, made some Buffalo wings. Didn’t make it to bed until 1:30, but I was up ’til 3:30 the night before.

This week’s shows

Tonight (if it’s rain in the afternoon, and not ice): Gavin DeGraw with Matt Nathanson at the 9:30 club. Both good singer/songwriters.

Tomorrow, Howie Day with Stereophonics, also at the 9:30 club. Howie uses loops so he can be his own band. It’s incredible to watch.

Friday, Chris Whitley with Jon Shain, at Jammin’ Java. I usually call Chris a psychotic blues singer, but Curt Fields from the Washington Post says “one of my favorite performers. His voice is evocative, his songwriting is incisive and he’s not afraid to take musical chances, having created work that has ranged from electronica-influenced country to blues-infused pieces.”

Saturday, GetawayCar at Sterling Cinema and Draft – they’re just starting bands in February, and why not have one of the best local bands?

Weekend away

Fabulous weekend. At my company’s Christmas party, Jill had won us a weekend getaway at the Meander Inn, a bed and breakfast near Wintergreen, 40 minutes southwest of Charlottesville.

I worked from home on Friday so we could leave around 4:30. We left about 15 minutes late, so we ran into plenty of traffic until Gainesville. We were planning on arriving at the b & b at 7:30, then making a dinner reservation at 8 at D’Ambola’s, an Italian restaurant nearby. We were in the middle of Charlottesville at 7:30, so we called the b & b. They had recommended D’Ambola’s, and when Jill explained the situation, they told us to go ahead and eat and they’d leave us a key. We were glad they did, the food was great. I had lamb stuffed with spinach and a tiramisu cheescake.

We ended up getting to the b & b a little after 9, and our hosts, Francesca and Alain, were still up. We briefly chatted, then unloaded our stuff. We went out on the deck, over the ice, to use the hot tub. We couldn’t figure out how to turn on the jets, so we just soaked. We went to sleep soon after, because we had a big day planned on Saturday.

I was up at 7:15 for a 7:45 breakfast of fresh eggs (they have chickens) and sausage. We got rolling, picked some rentals up for Jill at the Ski Barn because we forgot her boots. We finally made it out on the slopes, and conditions were excellent. The only downside of the day were the huge crowds. I never took the 6 person express lift because the lines were so long. I particularly enjoyed the Highlands side, especially Cliffhanger. The worst wipeout I’ve ever seen happened on the blue slopes. A girl, obviously a begineer, was having trouble maintaining a snowplow as she approached the lift. She was having trouble slowing down, and I thought she’d fall, but instead she smacked hard against a wooden fence. The ski patrol came over quickly, but I didn’t see what happened to her.

Jill went in and hung out near the fireplace around midday, but I kept going until 3:30 – we weren’t coming back and I still had some stamina. By the time we got loaded and on the road, it was after 4. We had time for one winery (they all closed at 5), so I voted for Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, only 500 feet from the b & b. I wanted to try their fruit wines. We ended up getting their Blackberry Wine, Rockfish River Cyser (an apple and honey blend), and Strawberry Melomel.

Dinner was included with the b & b package (as well as 3 bottles of wine to take home, and another with dinner), so we changed and relaxed for a while before then. We ended up eating with two other couples, Chris & Lucinda and Syam & Shannon. The food was amazing; we had squash soup with ginger and cornish hens wrapped in bacon. For dessert I had cheescake while Jill had a raspberry torte. We ended up chatting with the other couples and the hosts for several hours, until we were the only ones left. At that point we went for the hot tub again (we’d asked how to work the jets). After that, we were exhausted and were asleep well before midnight.

Sunday started with Eggs Benedict, one of my favorite breakfasts. We packed up and got going. First we hit Wintergreen Winery. One of the 3 wines we got from the b& b was from here; Jill got two different bottles. I elected not to partake in any wine tasting today because I was driving. We were going to make only one more stop at Afton Mountain Vineyards, but Veritas Vineyard & Winery was on the way there, so we stopped at both, picking up several more bottles.

We weren’t in a rush, and stopped on the way back in Charlottesville. We got some snacks for the Super Bowl party we were going to, some glass bowls for centerpieces, and a bookstore. We still were early, so we went to Chili’s. That was a mistake. The place was packed, and it took 35 mintues to get a couple appetizers.

We showed up early to JD & Sue’s Super Bowl party, but they let us in anyway. We watched some Discovery Channel shows before the big game. We were only able to stay for the first quarter, then we had to leave to make it to The Old Brogue to see Beth Patterson. She was great (and turns out to be a big Rush/prog rock fan) – she even covered an Iron Maiden song! I videotaped the game and watched the rest I hadn’t seen after the show, then went straight to bed.