Monday, March 13, 2006


(Originally posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 by Tim)

Cathy and I had a very relaxing weekend on our first Babymoon. As I understand the term, a babymoon is a vacation you take together before your child is born and your life becomes chaos for the next 20 or so years. We had a very nice and relaxing time and we?ll probably work in another babymoon before the blessed event.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast in ?Historic? Abingdon, Virginia. Abingdon is cute little town about an hour and a half drive west of Christiansburg. It?s very touristy with many little inns and b&bs. Its most interesting claim to fame is the Barter Theatre. This theatre was founded by Robert Porterfield during the depression. He was starving in New York with a gaggle of his fellow actors and he knew that there was an abundance of food in the farmlands of western Virginia. He opened the Barter with a starting ticket price of ?40 cents or the equivalent in produce?. Most theatre patrons paid for their tickets by barter and it is not surprising that the theatre ended it?s first year with ?$4.35 in cash, two barrels of jelly, and a collective weight gain of over 300 pounds?.

It?s quite an amazing place?I should actually say places. They have now expanded to two buildings and a traveling group. Times have changed as we weren?t able to pay our way in with a couple of jars of jelly and our killer vegetarian gravy. Tickets were a $37 a piece and the place was packed. We saw Greater Tuna which is a comedy set in a small town in Texas. It?s one of those performances where you have two actors playing a large number of parts. It was enjoyable and we will probably make our way back down there to see another performance in the future.

Probably the 2nd claim to fame for Abingdon is the Creeper Trial. It?s 34 miles of old rail road track that has been pulled up and replaced with a wide walking/running/biking path. Cat and I drove down on Friday night, had breakfast, walked 7.5 miles, had lunch, power napped for an hour, had dinner, saw the play, went to bed, had breakfast, and headed home. Cat really planned a perfect vacation. Usually, I feel like we don?t have enough to do on these things, but this was just perfect. Ok, maybe it was just a little too much, but it was a lot of fun and I didn?t feel like we were killing time at all.

The only thing that would have made the trip better is if we had exercised some more restraint and it had had some more halves in it. On the way there, we stopped at Taco Bell (a driving tradition for us). I should have had half as many bean burritos. The next day, we really should have walked about half as far as both of us pulled something in our legs and were hurting for the next day or so (yes, we?re old). Then, we went out to lunch at The Starving Artist Café. This place was quite nice. We went there on the recommendation from someone I accosted on the hiking trail. ?Hey! Are you local?? Take a look through the menu, it?s quite interesting. I had the Claude Monet, which doesn?t appear to be on their online menu. It had smoked turkey, herbed cream cheese, and granny smith apples. It turned out to be a little bland for my taste, but it was cool to try something new. Cat had the Frieda Kahlo (also not on their online menu) and enjoyed it. It was a vegetable fajita done up in a soy sauce. We?ll have to try to redo that one at home. Lunch was also something that should have been done in halves.

Another thing that made the weekend very relaxing is that last week was Cat?s spring break and this week is my spring break. As a result, neither of us was feeling particularly pressured by course work. I?m planning on getting a lot of work done on the house and my grants and presentations for April done this week. Wish me luck.

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