The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier, a resort in West Virginia, is a four-hour drive from Alexandria and is surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains. It’s a self-contained community, with restaurants, shops, a pool, gym, tennis courts, movie theater and casino. Forty-four U.S presidents have stayed at the Greenbrier, and in the 1950s, a bomb shelter was built here to house Congress in case of war.

Ben and I had a long weekend at the resort, spending most of our time reading and dining. I was hoping to set up shop with my laptop in the writing room (below) until a wedding party invaded for pictures. Luckily, I had already snapped a few pictures myself.

Random Thoughts

  • Ben and I took a self-guided tour of George Washington sites in Alexandria this morning. I saw his pew inside of Christ Church, and I learned that he drilled his troops at Market Square, both for the French and Indian War and later for the Revolutionary War. The Civil War Hospitals tour is next on my list (I’m still mourning the loss of Mercy Street).
  • For our anniversary trip in June, Ben and I have decided to take a day off from London to visit Paris. I was resistant at first (I didn’t want to shorten our time in England), but Paris is too exciting to pass up.
  • Closer to home, I’m making a list of the places that I’d like to visit in DC, Virginia and Maryland. After a year of exploring, I thought that there wouldn’t be much left to see. But my list already has 20 items, with plenty more to go.

A Weekend In New York City

Last week, Jackie, Lauren and I got together in New York City  for a few days. It was a reunion, as Lauren currently lives in Scotland and Jackie is in Philadelphia.

We revived our tradition of junk food dinners (Thursday’s was Chester cheese puffs, vanilla ding dongs, Pringles and chocolate donuts), shopped at Mood Fabrics, and took a carriage ride around Central Park.

We also went to the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which I’d been wanting to visit for years. Of everything I saw this weekend, I took the most photos at the museum.

President Lincoln’s Cottage

I’ve been wanting to go to President Lincoln’s Cottage for awhile. When I finally made it last week, it didn’t disappoint.

The Lincolns lived in the cottage every summer from 1861 to 1864, and the president made the thirty-minute commute to the White House daily. He would sometimes leave before his guards had the chance to accompany him, likely because it was of the few opportunities that he had to be alone.

He wrote the Emancipation Proclamation during one of his summer visits, and the back porch was one of his favorite places to sit and think.

The house tour is long (ours was about an hour). The interior of the house is mostly empty and no pictures are allowed, but there are videos and other interactive features that help to illustrate what it would have been like in Lincoln’s time.

Lincoln last visited his summer home on the day before his assassination in 1864.

The back of the house:

The front:

Lincoln’s Cottage is in DC’s Petworth neighborhood (about a 20-minute drive from the National Mall) and has free parking. I’ve come to appreciate free parking for the rarity that it is in DC. Yesterday, when Ben and I stopped at Barnes and Noble, I was excited that parking “only” cost $6.

Random Thoughts

  • I’m taking a short trip to NYC from Thursday to Sunday with two of my friends. I’m looking forward to seeing them again and also to shop at Mood Fabrics (made famous by Project Runway).
  • I usually love to plan vacations but the amount of procrastination I’ve done on our England/Ireland trip is out of character for me. We’ve booked our hotels, and that’s about it. I still have no idea how we’re getting from Dublin to Galway. After NYC, it’ll be time to buckle down and figure out the logistics.
  • If anyone has any suggestions on what to see in London or Dublin, please send them my way!

Hollywood Cemetery

I’m not much of a cemetery person, but I have to admit that Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond is pretty interesting. We took a self-guided tour using their interactive map and spent about an hour and a half wandering the grounds.

The photo above is the graves of the “Gettysburg Dead,” soldiers who were killed at Gettysburg and later sent to Richmond for burial.

Jefferson Davis, president of the confederacy, is buried here with his wife. (The shrouded woman next to him is more than a little creepy).

A couple of years ago, Ben and I visited the White House of the Confederacy, where Jefferson Davis lived, but I don’t remember much of it and would like to go back.

President James Monroe is also buried at Hollywood Cemetery. His tomb is nicknamed “the birdcage” because it’s a cast iron cage.

Katherine Hepburn’s Oscars

These are Katherine Hepburn’s Oscars on display in the National Portrait Gallery.

Random Thoughts

  • I had such a good birthday! Ben and I celebrated by spending the day in Georgetown, having lunch and taking a self-guided tour of spy sites. It was unusually warm, so we went to Meridian Park to read for awhile before heading back to Alexandria for dinner.
  • I also received a lot of delicious food as gifts – brownies, hot chocolate, two boxes of chocolates. People know me well.
  • We drove to Richmond yesterday to see Hollywood Cemetery where Jefferson Davis is buried (pictures coming next week). We shopped in Carytown and had dinner at my favorite Richmond restaurant, Tarrant’s Cafe. I really like Richmond, and it’s usually a little bit warmer than Alexandria. Richmond’s high yesterday was 70 degrees, while Alexandria’s was in the mid-60s.
  • We binge-watched HBO’s “Big Little Lies” until we were caught up with the season. The first episode was slow-going but it got better from there. I really hope that Perry gets what’s coming to him.