Through the years, Neil Peart has given his fan so many insightful "notes from the road." His latest, The Sweet Science, lives up to the high standard he always sets for himself, delivering a lengthy report filled with wonderful details (hat tip Ed).
As a native of North Carolina and a resident of Virginia for the past 18 years, I enjoyed reading this one a lot. Bubba details his motorcycling on the first leg of the second part of Rush’s Clockwork Angels tour. He writes lovingly about staying at the Mayberry Inn in Mount Airy. Then he rekindles his love of Virginia, visiting Monticello and enjoying once again uninterrupted rides in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Peart also professes his love of Catawba rhododendrons and dogwoods.
Here is one of the passages.
Throughout our northward progress up the East Coast, people’s yards were aglow with vivid pink and purple blossoms, fruit trees and lilacs. In the woods, I noticed sprays of white flowers on small trees among the greenery, and I wanted to know what they were. Like the redbuds in the spring of 2011 (see “Eastern Resurrection”), the more I noticed these flowering trees, the more curious I was to know their name. Eventually I stopped at the side of the road, walked over to one low-hanging branch, and picked a few of the flowers and finally identified them for sure — dogwoods.
Peart has been traveling the back roads of the states for the longest time now (He first started his writings to Rush fans in the early 80s, via the Rush Backstage Club). He knows more about our country than most of us here.
Anyway, thank you Neil, for another great travel report. Not sure if it will ever happen, but you deserve some kind of honorary citizenship to the United States!
Good to be home, and back in front of the big screen. San Francisco and the Bay Area were great as always, kind of a sister city to Washington.
Work now continues on my book. Will be starting in on the map, a must get right project with a lot of details. Feeling the pressure, but it’s a good thing.
Just noticed Cap Weather Gang’s outlook for the summer. Now that’s high pressure we can live with too!
We expect this summer to be quite pleasant in the scheme of things. All summers in D.C. have periods of uncomfortable heat and humidity. That is unavoidable. But given that context, we should mostly avoid the incredible heat that plagued the last 3 summers. We favor lots of days in the 86 – 93 range with heat waves short-lived. Thus, we anticipate our coolest summer since 2009, and a 50-50 chance at our 2nd coolest since 2005.
By Jaded Roberts
Special from The Garlic Times
“There’s no cheering in the press box.”
In journalistic circles, that axiom is certainly an ideal reporters strive for.
When it comes to crying in the press box, well, the scribes are human after all.
We’re talking about a poll conducted last week by Gallup. In a warm up of sorts, 500 credentialed journalists were asked a series of questions about the 2016 Presidential election. One question stood out above the rest - "What would be your reaction if Hillary Clinton decides not to run for President in 2016?"
68% said they would be “devastated.” 22% checked “extremely disappointed.” 9% said “disappointed.” 1% went with “it doesn’t matter.”
Calls to press agencies were not returned, but one reporter, speaking on the request of anonymity said, “There’s a joke going around about the five who said it doesn’t matter. One of our colleagues quipped, 'Bet they work for a non-profit.'”
From an unlikely source, I purchased a book about Market Square yesterday. Talking with Jane Jordan, a vendor at the Farmer’s Market, our conversation turned to Marquis de Lafayette. One of Jane’s watercolor paintings depicts the front door at 301 South St. Asaph. The famed General and close friend of George Washington paid this corner spot a visit in 1824.
Turns out Jordan drew some of the illustrations for a new book by Alexandria resident Tiffany D. Pache, titled “The Market Square Cookbook, Alexandria’s Founders, Farmers and Food.” Picking up on my interest in Alexandria’s history, Jane reached into a bag underneath her table, and pulled out some copies of Pache’s book.
“The first fourteen pages,” she said, “cover the history of Market Square. The author did a great job with her research.”
After handing Jane the twenty-two dollars, I began to thumb through the book. As if on cue, Pache walked up. We talked briefly, she signed my copy, and I thanked her for her book.
Paradoxically, Market Square, believed to be the longest continually running farmer’s market in the United States, is not covered as much as it could be, vis a vis historical markers. The large stone tablet on the north side of City Hall touches on some aspects, but this historic block is a prime candidate for an interpretive marker of its own.
Drawing on her abilities as a journalist, and research she conducted at the Special Collections section of the Alexandria Library, the author has given us a sorely needed look at one of the grand institutions in the entire Washington region. And food lovers need not worry. This is a cookbook with over 50 pages worth of recipes.
Pache traces the history of Market Square from its inception in 1750 to the present day. A proud and importmant moment for Alexandrians came in 1752 when the Virginia House of Burgess approved the move of the county seat and courthouse from a site near present day Tysons Corner to Alexandria.
Through the years, the arrangement of Market Square's properties went through a series of changes. Pache explains them all with ease, and provides several drawings showing each different phase. Readers will be fascinated to learn the market was once subdivided by Sharpshin Alley and Market Alley. The Market House’s third floor held the City’s Museum.
A nice bonus are color photos and bios of some of the vendors who sell their products at the Farmer’s Market. Jane Jordan is one of them, and I thank her for her thoughtfulness and the sale of the book.
And, of course, to all the vendors and farmers present and past. It is you who keep this great tradition alive and well. In the language of General Lafayette - merci beaucoup!
The Alexandria Archaeology Commission got a close up look at Jones Point Park yesterday. Fran Bromberg, with the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, led the group on a guided tour of the park's 20 new interpretive markers.
The members of this board work closely with governments and foundations to help the archaeology programs in Alexandria. The Commission was established in 1975, the first of its kind in the nation. Some very fine individuals serve in this capacity, and give of their time to make the city a better place to live.
So isn’t it appropriate their first stop was a rudder? A large one at that!!
Nice travel piece on Oman in this morning’s Post. Brought back good memories of our assignment there in 1994-1995.
The writer, Henry Wismayer, took the opulent, pampered route. Oman is certainly great for that, especially if you want a soft introduction to the Arab world, something on the opposite end of the intensity scale, i.e., choking, chaotic Cairo (which we loved). Muscat is also perfect if you like neatness and order. They even have a law that says you have to keep your car clean.
If you want the rugged Lonely Planet approach, Oman offers up plenty of that, too. In the spring of 1995, about 40 of us, expats from the embassies and business community, plus a couple of Omanis, set out for the Wahiba Sands Desert. Staff Sergeant Terry Peters, who spearheaded the weekend outing, had showed us a map. Using an unpaved road, our plan was to drive our jeeps and SUV’s through the desert to a secluded beach spot, where we would pitch our tents and have a good time.
We unwittingly took the wrong road, and ended up at the desert’s equivalent of a dead end. Long story short, we got stuck and had to abandon our plans. Pitched our tents in the middle of the desert, drowned our sorrows in bottles of Heineken, and slept under a canopy of stars so brilliant I can’t begin to do their majesty justice.
There’s a theory that the reason you never hear about certain places is because nothing bad ever happens there, and thus the media never cover it. Oman fits that bill perfectly. It is safe and the people are very friendly.
I love this photo the better half took at Wakhl Fort. Copyright Roberta Chew.
A traditional khanjar.
A great expat tradition, running "the Hash." Man, the things those bloody Brits and Americans will do for free beer. "On-on!!"
The Wahiba Sands. Still haven't read Thesiger's account...
I also paid a visit to Ivy Hill Cemetery. It is a beautiful place, and the situation is a very commanding one. – Ezekiel Homespun, Alexandria Gazette, October 13, 1859, "Pen Portraits of Alexandria, Virginia, 1739-1900," Edited by T. Michael Miller.
Cemeteries are sacred ground but they can also serve as a place that can educate us about the past. In Old Town, historical markers can be found in graveyards at Christ Church, Old Presbyterian Meeting House, Contraband Cemetery, and the Alexandria National Cemetery.
Northwest of the historic district on sloping former farmland lies Ivy Hill Cemetery at 2823 King Street. Established formally in 1856, the first burials at Ivy Hill took place in 1811. Unlike those other cemeteries in Old Town, Ivy Hill Cemetery is mostly unseen from passing cars.
We’ve talked about going, and finally decided to do so this morning. In the main office, we picked up a map and tour published by the Historical Society of Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Here are the highlights of our visit.
The Circle of Honor Firefighters Memorial. The obelisk is dedicated to seven firemen killed in the 1885 fire on King Street.
This is a American Hornbeam tree. Very distinctive, in the way its branches start high up.
The cemetery has plenty of shade and privacy. Timber Branch Creek runs along the lower portion. The Historical Society’s Fall 2007 Newsletter notes that, “it was common for families to gather under the trees on a Sunday afternoon while the adults caught up on the news and gossip, while the children played.
The brochure guides you to 17 spots, including the graves of Dr. Werner von Braun, Banjamin Stringfellow, Nicholas Trist, Elton B. Hummer, and Anne S. Frobel.
In closing, we provide a reminder about cemeteries.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the beautiful grounds at Ivy Hill. We ask only that visitors behave in a way that shows respect for those who rest here. While the cemetery is park like, it is not a public park; moreover, it is not public property, it is private property. We are dedicated to the preservation of the cemetery grounds as an attractive, reverent setting for the sacred burial of the dead; accordingly, we ask and expect all persons entering the cemetery to observe our rules and regulations.