Tagged: Outside

Virginia vineyard

Last weekend we went out exploring with a friend. We’ve been to a Virginia vineyard before, last summer, and thought it was about time for another trip. This time we headed further, out West to the beginnings of the rolling Shenandoah hills. It is just beautiful and peaceful out there. Lots of green, wide open spaces, no sirens, no car horns, relaxing.

We chose to go to DuCard vineyards on the basis that they had a singer performing that afternoon. The singer was Curtis Prince, he had a lovely voice and was playing the kind of songs you want to listen to on a warm spring afternoon with a glass of wine in your hand.

The vineyard is small but the setting is just lovely and the wines were good, plus as an added bonus a lot better than the ones we had tried last year. We especially enjoyed the rose and the Popham Run Red, both of which we bought a bottle of to enjoy at home.

If you ever are in that neck of the woods I would thoroughly recommend a visit, even without live music, a glass of rose on their patio with the sun gently warming you is well worth the effort.

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Washington DC Cherry Blossom 2012

Springtime in Washington, D.C. really is glorious. This year especially. We’ve had about six days in a row with temperatures in the twenties (Celcius that is), which has meant that the cherry blossoms are out early. They were due at the end of March but we went down to see them this weekend and they were already looking wonderful.

Below is a new type of cherry tree for me, the weeping cherry tree, it has the most beautiful branches fir to bursting with blossom which dust down to the ground and sway gently in the wind.

And finally, some gentle pink amongst the white. It would seem that the pinker blossomed trees flower later than the white blossom ones as when we were out and about most of the trees were white. This one though was tinged pink and looked ever so pretty.

Springtime in England

I’ve just got back from a work trip to Europe, I managed to combine it with popping over to England to go to a wedding and then surprised my mama for her birthday. It was rather lovely. During my brief trip I went for a walk with my parents, we were lucky, the sun was shining and spring was beginning to show its face. It reminded me how beautiful England can be and how nice it is to tramp around in the countryside and see life beginning to get going again with the longer warmer days.

Walking again

The temperature dropped today, suddenly it’s cool. Which has been rather wonderful. This evening as I left work and stormed along I suddenly remembered how much I love walking. In London I walked to and from work, about 35-40 minutes each way. It kept me sane and vaguely slim.

Then I moved here, winter was fine, J and I traipsed everywhere, got to know the new city and generally explored. Until the summer hit. When you walk a few steps and are sweating, more than a lady should, more than you feel comfortable and so you resort to air conditioned buses, not going for weekend strolls and generally hiding from the heat and humidity.

Tonight it was back. That release of joy that I get from charging along the pavement. The sanity that walking for half an hour brings and hopefully the calories it burns (of which currently there are a lot to be burnt).

I’m looking forward to the cooler days. To walking home from work again and to having that time all to myself to think, process and enjoy the city.

Going up the Washington monument

J’s cousin is visiting us (hence some of my quietness, hosting takes up quite a lot of time) and in an inspired organised moment I booked tickets in March to go up the Washington monument in July. It was amazing and I’m so glad we went. Not only are the views spectacular but the building itself is stunning. Despite being 123 years old it looks very new, has a super whizzy elevator and it awe-inspiring once inside.

The Jefferson memorial, Reagan National Airport and looking out into Virginia.

The White House! You can also see here how green it is still, I imagine in a few weeks these lawns will be a lot browner…

The World War II and the Lincoln memorial. Such a shame they are working on the reflecting pool at the moment, does rather ruin the view. Although you can see how huge the Lincoln memorial is and I have to say it’s even better in real life. Of all the memorials the Lincoln really is the best and most amazing (in my opinion anyhow…)

DC BBQ Battle

Today we went to the DC BBQ Battle, held the entire weekend a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue was devoted to BBQ and the eating, cooking and general lifestyle of it. It was an experience. A lot of pork was being cooked and of course eaten…

This smoker/BBQ machine was pretty cute. They tended to range from the sweet and pretty like the below to the huge and pretty or just plain practical.

Mmmmm, prepaing the ribs. (Although I’m more of a pulled pork girl if I’m honest).

Couldn’t help but share this pic…

And finally, an entire lorry devoted to a sausage grill. Astonishing.

It was a great experience, one of those things you’ll probably only do once but once nonetheless…

And now for a few BBQ free days we think.

Home…

We went back home a short while ago. It was the first time for six months and I was ready. Ready to see my family, my friends and my city. The wonderful London. I miss it, I miss them, I miss lots of things.

The visit was jam packed and brief. We didn’t get to see everyone we wanted but we did our best. J fitted in two weddings, we managed families and friends and plenty of catching up. I guess the one thing it really wasn’t was restful but then again that wasn’t why we were going 😉

I used to walk past Horse Guards Parade every day on the way to work, I still love seeing it, even when the weather isn’t quite so good.

The Algerian Coffee Stores is one of my favourite shops in London. They have the most amazing selection of tea, coffee and sweets. Plus it looks so cute.

Then we walked through St James park and I couldn’t resist photographing these gorgeous flowers.

I also used to walk past this sign every day and it always made me smile, kind of out of place but also very fitting.

Not that I want to wish time away but I’m looking forward to going back again already.

The Preakness Stakes

On Saturday May 21st John and I went to the 136th Preakness Stakes. It was my first time to the horse races and to Baltimore and it was a good time. Helped by a gloriously hot day where I feared burning in a matter of seconds and some wonderful races.

The course is in Pimlico, the idea of this made me smile having lived in the other Pimlico for so long.

We drank black eyed Susan’s (no idea what is in a Black Eyed Susan), placed a few bets, won a few bets, lost quite a few more, enjoyed the sunshine and the convivial atmosphere.

All in all it was a rather wonderful day and we might just go back next year…

Azeleas

At this time of year Washington, DC, really is beautiful. It’s green and full of flowers. The most plentiful flower is the Azelea, which is everywhere in all it’s many variations and colours. I’d never really seen it before and kept noticing it, drawn to it’s brightness, delicate flowers and glorious riot of colour. I thought it rude not to share with you the fabulousness.

The deep pink ones really are this colour. So bright and so joyful.

Arlington Cemetary

A weekend back J and I had friends in town and together we went out to Arlington cemetary. It was a beautiful spring day, bright with the most amazing blue sky but thankfully not too hot.

We joined a DC by foot walking tour of the cemetary, which was great and I would highly reommend.

The cemetary is a beautiful place, so full of nature and greenery and incredibly calm and moving to visit. After a certain year all the gravestones are the same. They are also placed to be in horizontal lines which stretch out as far as the eye can see in some places.

One of the Kennedy’s, Edward I think, had this simple white wooden cross as his tombstone.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is famous and not quite what I wa expecting. They have a guard watching it at all times so you can’t actually get very close to it. It’s also interesting that now they have much better record systems the number of unknowns is decreasing hugely.

Every half hour they change the guard who watch over the tomb of the unknown soldier. It’s an interesting display. The inspection of the new guard (as shown below) is very twiddly. Also all the guards have to be between 5’10” and 6’2″ and have a 28″ – 32″ waist! This is so the guards can fit the uniform and look uniform too!

The graves range from many years but some are newer than others. This one with the rock stood out to me. The rock has written on it:

Never forgot
Forever loved