Well, with school starting a week from tomorrow, I've been trying to fit in as much as possible before my time becomes extremely limited and summer officially ends. This weekend two of my favorite people came to town: my cousin Kevin from San Diego and Lisa, one of my best friends who currently lives in Brooklyn, but is about to defect back to Texas. We are all pretty laid back. I'm probably the one who could be wound up the most, and that says a lot. I say that because we came at the weekend without a real plan of action. Kevin didn't even have a solid ticket out here. He was flying standby across the country, and I had no idea if he'd end up flying in to Dulles, Baltimore or Philadelphia--a pretty wide berth of airport options. Amazingly, he made it in to Baltimore around 4:30 p.m.--a remarkable feat given the fact that his best bet first thing in the morning was a flight that got into Philly (three hours away) around 10:30 p.m. Lisa made it to DC around 8 p.m. despite some pretty raucous thunderstorms. So everyone made it in one big piece without any real incident. Our original plan was to go into Philadelphia that evening, but that plan was thwarted with the change in arrival times, but it all worked out for the best. We had a great night with some "gallon drinks" and great Mexican food at Oyamel. Incidentally, on the cupcake front, Lisa paid her "hotel fee" in Billy's Cupcakes, which were very much appreciated given the state of the cupcake union here in town...
Kevin had only about six states left to complete his US map, and several of them were right up here, so it became our mission to indulge in a little state tag and help him complete his map. I believe the states he needed here were West Virginia, Delaware & Pennsylvania. With my pretty limited (but ever-growing) knowledge of the geography here, I had no idea that West Virginia was just directly north of the area where I work (like only 20 minutes away). Well, after a good recommendation, we ended up in Harper's Ferry, WV, which is just at the corner of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. I believe Harper's Ferry is known for the fact that the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet at that point. It's a tiny quaint town that's stuck in time and reflects its civil war heritage (the south still lives there). Of course, we couldn't help but keep an ear out for banjo music and pig squealin' seeing how previously our only reference to West Virginia was the movie Deliverance! What we saw instead was a beautiful town with an awesome spot to go canoeing/rafting/floating. Lisa of course couldn't resist buying a shirt that said, "Paddle faster. I hear banjo music..." And I'm thinking of creating a float company there called Deliverance Canoes with the slogan, "we deliver you to the river" and offering a free pork dinner following the float (if you make it back....)
Anyway, it was a great day. We ended the day with a visit to two of the MANY wineries in the NOVA (Northern Virginia) area. Apparently they're trying to make NOVA the Napa of the east coast. It's a gorgeous countryside and apparently great weather for growing grapes. We first stopped at one winery called 8 Brands (I think) and just happened upon their first birthday party, which included free tastings, food and live music. It was pretty hot in there though, so we boogied to the next place before it closed. Thanks to the incredible navigational skills of my iphone (which I believe to be in cahoots with all toll roads and now back-country non-paved roads), we ended up on this unpaved back road in the deep sticks of NOVA, and I really swear we heard the banjos strumming along that route!! We made it to the next place in the *nick* of time. Literally they closed the door at 5:40 and we got in around 5:39. It was a cute place--though the lady didn't quite understand Lisa's shirt and asked her if she was a banjo player... Later that evening, we kept it low-key and drank some of our newly acquired vittles in the moonlight by the pool and conked out early.
Today we hit the next two states on Kevin's list: Delaware and Pennsylvania. I have been to both quite a few times as my company is headquartered in Wilmington, DE, and we always flew into Philly as it's the closest airport. But since we really were so close (it's about 2.5-3 hours to Philly from DC depending on traffic), we had to help him out. We headed out this morning for Philly and hit Delaware in the process. Upon looking at the map, Kevin couldn't quite understand why Delaware was a state (he thought perhaps it should have been incorporated into one of the other surrounding ones). However, when he did a bit more research, he discovered that Delaware was actually the very first state, so he quit dogging it and gave it its proper reverence. We then did the nickel tour of Philadelphia (took a pic of the liberty bell through the window, walked by Independence Hall/Square, discovered Barry, and ate at the City Tavern, which is a cute little place that is set in the 18th century). It was a fabulous weekend!
I have orientation at Georgetown tomorrow, and classes begin in a week. I've got some more fun plans for the week, and hopefully the summer will end on a high note (even if it ended right now, it'd be a high note though!)
I'm still taking reservations at Hotel Danley DC, so jump on the bandwagon and come on out!! :-)