On Valentine’s Day weekend, my wife, Christine and I got to do something we haven’t been able to do very much since the arrival of our daughter in 2008 — travel. It is also important to note that my wife’s birthday fell on the 17th of this month. That being said, my mother-in-law, Bonnie, known as Noni by my daughter, came into town for the long three-day weekend as a gift for her birthday. She watched our daughter, Ainsleigh for the weekend. Ainsleigh also got a bonus from the weekend, a new toy kitchen set (sink and cabinets) from IKEA. Bonnie, also bought her a new children’s table.
While all of this spoiling was going on, Christine and I got to travel two hours south to stay an an in the area of Richmond, Virginia known as Short Pump. It was a great hotel and has only been open since August 6th.
While we were in Richmond, we acted like irresponsible children, ourselves. We watch two movies at an actual movie theater, Dear John and Valentine’s Day. Both were decent and worth a viewing from a guy’s perspective.
Below are a couple pictures we took while driving down Monument Avenue in Richmond. Each of the houses were in a word, beautiful. It reminded me of a greek row on a university campus with neoclassical architecture and bold columns with brick façades. I really enjoy looking at those types of houses and hope that one day, our family can live in a place like one of those. In all we saw Monument Avenue, the White House of the Confederacy, Church Hill and the very church where Thomas Paine gave the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. All of the sites were amazing.
While we were at the hotel, we spoke with a couple from the area, checking out the hotel because it was new. They too had a young children at home and were on leave by drafting their parents to watch them for the evening. They spoke of the Northern Virginia area as a foreign place that is “different” from the rest of the state. They were still amicable about it, but they said that they were “sorry” that we were from Alexandria, Virginia as though it was a bad thing to be from there. It really reminded me a great deal of Nevada and how the northern part of the state views Las Vegas. It was as though people from Las Vegas “didn’t get it” when it came to life anywhere north of Clark County. Having lived in both Reno and Las Vegas, I can see from both perspectives how each side views the other. Being in Richmond and seeing the White House of the Confederacy was truly something and an experience I think that everyone should have, at least once in their lifetime. As a southerner would likely say, by and by, we had a wonderful weekend and were glad for some respite from the everyday surroundings of family life with a young child at home. By the end of the weekend, we were ready to once again reunite with Ainsleigh. She missed us and we too, missed her while we were away. Indeed, in just about every store we shopped in while in Richmond, Ainsleigh was on our minds because we were sizing things up to see if Ainsleigh would enjoy this toy or that shirt, etc.
Also, while we were there, we managed to stop by Zollinger House, ΣΦΕ’s National Headquarters. I can’t seem to go to Richmond without stopping by. No one was there on late Saturday afternoon and we weren’t expecting anyone to be there, but it was nice to stop by and say hello to the house. We even saw a tile in the front entrance that I had purchased as an undergrad as part of a donation to the ΣΦΕ Educational Foundation.
Yep, it was a relaxing weekend, to say the least.