Richmond Virginia in 24 hrs

Richmond Virginia

Richmond seemed a lot closer (to Baltimore) before we got stuck in traffic headed south on I-95. But, we eventually made it to our hotel (which had two extremely small elevators, not pictured, and a boom box for our convienence, also not pictured.)

To back up slightly, we (George, Sheena–which you may recall from here, and I) had planned this quick trip to Richmond around a solo-Mike Cooley show at The Capital Ale House back in June. As with any trip, I did a little poking around and ask for suggestions on places to go and eat. I had said list in hand that included restaurants, historical sites, outdoor activities (my notion of what can be completed in 24 hrs was a bit overreaching) but quickly realized the trip would be closer to a montage of quick stops then a photo essay on Richmond’s rich offerings.

As shown above clockwise from top left: Starting off at 11:38, a bit later then planned. Traffic. Buzz and Ned’s BBQ (I ordered beef, Sheena ordered pork and we split them, both were good, but we leaned more towards the pork. Coleslaw and Mac and Cheese were both great. George got a meal on his own, and it came with two sides and  garlic bread, which I thought was a bit odd (cornbread is the way to go, hands down.) The stage at The Captial Ale House (the show was great). My first Angry Orchard Apple Ginger, which was great, But even greater was the cool ice block that was inset into the bar and used instead of coasters. And finally, as our morning farewell to the city we barely saw, chicken fried steak and eggs at Weezies.

Eleuthera, It’s not for everyone

Eleuthera, Bahamas

Seems an odd tourist slogan, I’m not sure if it is official but I did see it peppered around the island back in May during our visit. While Eleuthera is a part of the Bahamas, it seems a world away from any vision of a Bahamas vacation I had ever seen. I believe there are only 2 actual resorts on the island, most people seem to opt for rental houses, which is what we did.

As a quick note I would say a few things to anyone thinking about visiting; If you plan on doing any exploring you will need to rent a car (don’t forget: “keep left, die right”), it might be a good idea to bring some food (especially if you are particular or sensitive)—restaurant open/closing times are a loose estimate of what may happen, on a few occasions a 20 min drive left us in front of a closed restaurant (after having been advised they were open on such-and-such a day/time). After a few days, I could see what they meant by ‘it’s not for everyone’ you definitely have to have a bit of adventure in your heart. The other must haves: sunscreen, bug spray, snorkel and mask, bottled water and sunglasses.

During our visit in mid-May, it had been a bit cooler then usual and the breeze across the water made it a little chilly to swim on some days (but with the beaches all to ourselves that did little to stop us.) The most noticeable adjustment upon return was having to wear pants, I’m pretty sure I was a bathing suit or cover-up for the duration of the trip.

Shown above (clockwise); The plane ride in, Gaulding Cay Beach, The Queen’s Bath, Surfer’s Beach, Coffee/Lunch shop in Governor’s Harbour, and the cove our cottage overlooked in Gregory Town.

Seahorse Guest Cottage (with Prints!)

Seahorse Guest Cottage in North Beach, Md

Late October we took a quick little trip down to the Seahorse Guest Cottage in North Beach, MD. We’ve stayed in our fair share of rental houses, (full disclosure: we do know the proprietors) but this was by far the cleanest and most comfortable we have come across. In addition to the cottage being perfectly decorated with some really lovely mid-century modern furniture (which is unfortunately not pictured above), you’re only a few blocks away from the Chesapeake Bay (which fortunately is pictured above).

Added bonus: seasonally available art and music studios with porch. Although out of season, Gus made use of the artist studio porch to work on his bone chewing skills even though he is already quite the master chewer.

If you need yet another reason to visit the Seahorse Guest Cottage, on display (and for sale) is some local artwork, including my ‘Down By The Bay’ print series.

If you go: Don’t pass up breakfast from Blondie’s, a short walk for a great croissant breakfast sandwich.

The Lost River Paintings

15 pages= 15 paintings

I had a grand idea–purchase a pad of watercolor paper, 15 sheets=15 paintings (in 3 days). I forgot to take into account a few key things including-I haven’t painted in gouache (ever, my watercolor skills were average at best) which was to be my medium, and these 3 days (visiting Lost River, WV) were also to include relaxing, ice cream after lunch, mid-day naps, and long walks with George and Gus.

I ended up with 3 paintings (plenty of walks, ice cream and one mid-day nap), and the way the first one started out I am pretty satisfied I got through 3. I tried the first two without any pencil sketching and the first was very much just a warm up, the last (I’m not sure it would be considered plein air, maybe just a still life?) was a painted from two dead bees which were found dead in the sink drain and I decided to do a little pencil sketch first.

Lost River Echinacea

Lost River Farm Shed

Lost RIver Bees

I left my heart in Lost River

Having grown up on Long Island, it wasn’t until I traveled cross country, through Colorado, that I can remember really experiencing being surrounded by mountains. For me, it was a comforting feeling. And I felt that same sense of comfort and calm as we drove into West Virginia to Lost River.

Lost River Cornfield

Lost River Farmhouse Muffins

Lost River George Washington National Forest

Lost River Deer Mandible

Lost River Farmhouse

Lost River

From the top down: 1. The site of my failed plein air painting, the perspective proved too much for my rusty skills. As we were driving to the farmhouse, we caught NPR’s Science Friday, they were discussing the book club book of the week—Flatland, which in retrospect was very fitting. I will be posting the few paintings I was able to get through—I’m thinking there may be a woodcut in the works, the geometry of the cornfield is still calling to me. 2. Morning muffins, although we were never able to connect with the caretaker of the farmhouse we were renting, we were greeted in the morning by a basket of delicious muffins—thank you. 3. A short walk toward the George Washington National Forest and we came upon a stream. If the weather had been warmer I would have dared to dip my toes, Gus on the other hand did not hesitate and trotted right in. 4. Deer mandible, the coloring of the teeth was beautiful. If I new anything about cleaning bones I would have made a necklace. 5. The farmhouse, charmed. 6. The Valley, as we drove away we had to stop to steal one last look.

And lets not forget about food—The Lost River General Store had a nice selection of lunch items, tasty ice cream, and pretty large selection of beer. The proprietors were very nice and introduced Gus to their pup–who looked a lot like our guy. For dinner (both nights) we ate at the Lost River Grill–wood paneled walls and super friendly service, the country fried steak was so good that George was still talking about it after we got back to Baltimore. If you still have room after dinner (the first night I had the meatloaf and could barely get dessert in, although it didn’t stop me from trying) go for dessert. The second night I left some space and got the ice cream sundae cheesecake–cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust, fudge (top and bottom) whipped cream and a cherry. Seriously, don’t forget to leave room for dessert (they also have fresh baked pies, the cherry is worth a stop.)

Map (noun): a representation of the whole or a part of an area

A few weeks back we took a trip over the bridge to the wonderfulness that is the Eastern Shore of Maryland, here are a few highlights:

Md Eastern Shore Memorial Day map

I’m hoping to get back over that way again soon (4th of July falls on a Wednesday, and you know what happens on Wednesdays on the Eastern Shore!) but will be busy until then working on some custom work as well as getting new work (prints!) ready for the First Sunday Art Festival in Annapolis on July 1.

You (do not) got this

Dixon's Auction/Crumpton MD Toys

My friend Sheena and I headed over to Crumpton, MD last Wednesday to check out Dixon’s Auction. I had been there twice in the past (the first time I did not bid, the second time I made George bid on an item that no one else was bidding on–it was a mirror that I gave to my brother and I’m pretty sure it ended up in the trash.)

When we arrived we made the mistake of going into the main building first. While an Amish-run restaurant and some other Amish eating/food options are housed there it also contains the small items auction. Tables fill the main floor area and people are crowded around what looks to be a golf cart/trolley of sorts that sits high above everyone. There’s the man calling the auction and a woman recording winning bidders and prices and another woman who holds up single and small groups of items from the tables. The caller was speaking so fast that the words all morphed into a single long sound–it sounded much like how I would imagine speaking in tongues would sound. It also became apparent that almost everyone bidding was a regular–the caller would refer to them by name which made the whole thing even more intimidating.

We decided to head over to the office to see if we had to pre-register. The lovely lady behind the desk must have detected my fright as she waved me over and kindly walked me through the process. “…You can bid outside with cash, just wave your hand and they will come over for you to pay them.” We emerged from the main building into the bright sunlight with a bit of renewed excitement. Heading over to the first of three fields I sighed in relief when I could actually make out the prices the caller was saying. The auction was in process, the caller was in a (regular height) golf cart/trolley driving up and down the aisles of furniture and assorted lots, never really stopping for too long. We browsed the items and I saw a really nice Chicken Nesting Box (which I of course I would have no use for that involved chickens) but it was too deep and then we found another similar box that was smaller but really dirty. Sheena went to open a drawer on a neat old desk and the knob came off in her hand, she casually stuck it back on–no bids from us.

We then went towards the second field which had a bit more of a hodge-podge of lots. Smaller items and more non-furniture stuff. There was an air hockey table, an old console TV, a crate of old phones, a pile of scrap metal, scaffolding, (which I turned to Sheena and asked, do you think they are auctioning that off? which of course they were, why else would it be there?)

Dixon's Auction/Crumpton MD Phones

Stick with me here, we are getting closer to the part where I finally try to bid on something.

Field three, across the highway was the final field and we probably missed about half the items. From what we could tell, folks brought moving trucks filled with items to auction and as the auction progressed they would pack up items that weren’t bid on and move the trucks in closer to the remaining items.

Sheena: Did she just pay $70 for two mattress/boxspring sets?
Me: Yeah, that is gross, they are laying in the dirt
Sheena: Not to mention they are used mattresses

The first item I decided to bid on was a double outdoor sink, it looked a bit like a stock tank and was on a stand. I was thinking I could use it to display my cards when I sell at craft fairs. I did a few casual passes and picked it up to see how heavy it was (easily moved by one person) and it had wheels. I soon realized one very important thing: If you want something, chances are that someone else is going to want it too, even if it seems like no one is interested.

In this case, she wanted it more then I did, 170 bucks more then I did. I didn’t even have a chance to bid before the price went above my max. I was pissed and even more pissed when she couldn’t lift it by herself (she was fairly young and should have been able to move it alone,) and I didn’t like her hat.

I shook it off and we decided to head back to the main building to grab some Amish pretzels and lemonade. The other item/s (two small wooden winged tables) I wanted to bid on was in the last row so we had some time. We also decided to move the truck closer to the field so ‘when’ I won we wouldn’t have to lug them across the highway.

Sheena: You got this
Me: I don’t know, that lady with the stupid hat is hovering
Sheena: No, she totally wants that iron patio furniture
Me: I hope so, look at that old lady though–she seems interested….she is manhandling it
Sheena: You got this

I’ll spare you the part about the guy who decided to start talking to me about tattoos when the trolley was approaching, I guess he couldn’t tell I was focused. Again, the bidding rose pretty fast and I didn’t have a chance to bid–although this time at 90 bucks the caller looked at me and said: 100? I shook my head no and walked away with nothing but a pretzel and some lemonade (which all told is not too bad, it could have gone way worse.)