Return to Irvington

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“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
-T.S. Eliot

June 16, 2012, Irvington, VA: We are back in Irvington for our first anniversary! We are wine tasting at The Dog and Oyster (now a vineyard with a name!), swimming beneath tall pine trees, revisiting Hope and Glory Inn, taking an evening boat cruise on Carter’s Creek, dining at Trick Dog Cafe, retracing our steps and reliving our memories. This place, like many, is home now. We are thrilled to be back.

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Map of Mornings: Springtime on the Grounds of UVA

This is one in a series of morning photo essays documenting neighborhoods around town.

April 15, 2012, Washington, DC: I took a long walk with friends yesterday morning, beyond the Charlottesville they know as adults and back into the Charlottesville they knew as students. The grounds of the University of Virginia in springtime are not to be missed at any age.

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Adult Life in a College Town: Charlottesville, Virginia

April 14, 2012, Washington, DC: I never lived in a college town, even in college. For all the perks of big cities, one of the downsides is that they mask the richness of university life that exists there. University lectures and special events and sports can take second fiddle to the countless options available in the wider city. Life in a college town, manageable in size and absent the distractions of a major metropolis, was something I never experienced.

But I’ve long imagined what great places these towns can make for people of all ages — not only for young twenty-somethings but for professors and children and adults living nearby. I imagine that the intellectual curiosity of a school would seep into the culture of the place, that energized students would keep a community young.

I returned to Charlottesville this weekend — one of my many trips there over the years — to explore the realities of adult life in a college town.

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The Long Way Home

“What is home if the road that draws you away from it is more familiar, more comforting? Home is what you find when you get there.”
-Colleen J. McElroy, A Long Way from St. Louis

December 23, 2011, Washington, DC: And so it begins for so many people. This annual trek. This long drive home for the holidays. Nobody wants to see a photo of the New Jersey Turnpike. No one wants to be reminded of that short stretch of Delaware that’s inevitably oh so long. Instead, picture a cheerful Woody wagon venturing out for a happy surf trip, playing Christmas tunes through a piney wood of sparkly white lights. There. A much more pleasant depiction of holiday travel.

And yet what would this annual ritual be without planes, trains and automobiles? It’s hard to remember what it was like to stay put for the holidays. For those of us who don’t live near family, this is routine. This is comforting. This is part of the holiday experience. We pack our bags and we head out. It’s what we’re used to. It’s what we do.

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Our Surroundings: Unplugged

Photo credit: Family archives

September 13, 2011, Washington, DC: I’m going through a phase where everything seems very measured. Not in a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race sort of way, but in an everything-feels-over-calculated sort of way. It’s getting on my nerves. Remember playing in the park and spending time just dawdling before our phones got so smart? Before we had phones? When maybe we had a big day, won a three-legged race, and nobody posted it on Facebook?

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Repeat Travel: August in Saratoga

August 22, 2011: This is the first in a series of travelogues featuring great places through the eyes of people who choose to return there time and time again. These people are not tourists, nor are they locals. They are repeat travelers who intimately know their destinations — not as home, but as a place on the map that repeatedly urges them to pack their bags.

Would you like to contribute to Neighborhood Nomad? If so, let me know.

The Place: Saratoga Springs, New York

The Traveler:
Beth (Three cheers for mom!)

When do you visit: Every August

What made you first decide to go here? What keeps you coming back?
August means I get to toss a small duffle in the car and head to Saratoga Springs, NY, with my husband David who loves the trip even more than I do. He started going to the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course  with four of his college friends in 1974 and to this day it’s an annual trip for them. He and I go the weekend prior.

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