Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Charlottesville : Act Two

Act Two : Saturday

A beam of sunlight persevered through the wooden blinds, as a feathered local heralded in daybreak. A hushed kitchen clamor crept along the floorboards bringing with it a waft of brewing coffee. Breakfast would be served between nine and ten; there could be no delay.

As we exited our room, we met the acquaintance of yet another affable hostess, Virginia, DeLoach’s 14-year old black Labrador Retriever. In the dining quarters, a momentary lapse of grace hastily pursued by a perilous quiver of the coffee cup proved no menace for Ms. DeLoach. In mere seconds, our fireside table was stripped and furnished with a clean cloth as if my breech of elegance had never occurred. We began with an apple bran muffin fresh from the oven (for me) and local yogurt with homemade muesli (for BTG) and concluded with Virginia Ham quiches. A flirtation with the croissant bread pudding made me dubious of my standing in BTG’s life; he assuredly abstained.

As the sun held court in the sky, we embarked for Mr. Jefferson’s University, the University of Virginia. The air was brisk but not frigid, our noses comfortably red from the mile ramble. We stopped for a spot of caffeine at that Seattle coffee company and carried on with our stroll.

My narration would undoubtedly betray the genius of the campus, the only University in the US designated as a World Heritage Site.

“We wish to establish in the upper country of Virginia, and more centrally for the State, a University on a plan so broad and liberal and modern, as to be worth patronizing with the public support, and be a temptation to the youth of other States to come and drink of the cup of knowledge and fraternize with us.”

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Preistley.

After an adequate tour, we boarded the free trolley for the downtown Mall. We took our midday meal at Miller’s, best known for their hamburgers (scandalously delicious) and former employee, Dave Matthews.

Soon after, Gizmo the Corgi received us at Blue Whale Books with aplomb.

Here I would happen upon my most cherished acquisitions:

1955 Edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette – the last edition she edited before she died

Ager’s Way To Easy Elegance - an obscure encyclopedia of tips written by butler Stanley Ager.

A print of Andrea Palladio’s Loggia del Capitaniato.

BTG and I were transfixed with an architectural mystery as the day advanced. Perched high atop a petite peak, a gargoyle domicile kept a watchful eye on the University below. Our curiosity whetted, we employed our wireless devices to guide our discovery of the cloistered colonnade. After a false start which sent us the way of the University’s observatory, we were on the scent ascending an emaciated, anfractuous drive. Our eyes simultaneously registered the NO TRESSPASSING sign as a diminutive white car revealed itself around a bend (the owner!). We were offered no alternative but to descend in reverse (This is where I’m to commend BTG on his adept and lissome maneuvering down a veritable glacier). A few authentic words of apology to the owner (we’re lost!) and a genial laugh led us to dinner.

We fêted the day’s exploits with a feast at the Inn. An amuse-bouche of a savory apple tartlet was followed by Carolina shrimp and Andouille sausage over stone-ground grits, rockfish with Yukon gold and chive mashed potatoes (for me) and a mushroom “Perlau” (for BTG). A slice of red velvet cheesecake and fresh apple crisp blanketed our stomachs and hastened an ineluctable slumber.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunny Monday

As a self-anointed creative creature, waking each weekday for my daybreak pilgrimage to a sterile workspace devoid of imagination has hampered my spirits as of late. Such a scourge would normally be eradicated with even a modest nip from the demiurgic flask, which has regrettably desiccated. My beastly despondency be damned though, as the well is once again fertile with a little help from my friends, Lily Lemontree and HollyGoesLightly. Having been honored with the Sunshine Award by both of these esteemed ladies, I’m stirred to return to the parchment and permit the words to reveal themselves again. Before I am to proceed, however, I must pass along the Sunshine Award to ten blogs which enlighten and inspire me, a coterie in which my generous benefactors above are incontrovertibly included:

In absolutely no particular order:

A Bloomsbury Life
Little Augury
Miss Cavendish
Bow Tie Guy

Reggie Darling
The Neo-Traditionalist
(I’m seconding HollyGoesLightly’s nomination)
Habitually Chic
Frognall Dibdin’s Shelves
Being Manly

And now I must get to work on Charlottesville : Act Two, posthaste!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Charlottesville : Act One

I am dreadfully delinquent in my blog posting and I have nary an excuse save sheer fatigue of my wits. My ephemeral sabbatical afforded me respite and consequently, a regrettable delay in sharing with all of you the delights from my Valentine’s retreat with BTG.

Act One : Friday

The journey commenced most unfortunately. The days of horse and carriage would’ve proved more efficient. Notwithstanding the trials, we defied the grip of pessimism and soldiered onward, our destination beckoning.

We had the pleasure of boarding at The Inn at Court Square in Charlottesville. The Inn is comprised of two buildings, the 1785 and 1920 houses, with a total of nine guest quarters. Our accommodations, the Samuel Woods room, are contained in the 1785 house which was built by Edward Butler, a signatory of the Albemarle Declaration of Independence. This building is the only extant 1700s structure in the Court Square section of Charlottesville; it faces the historic Albemarle Court House and the famous Stonewall Jackson effigy. The DeLoach family (Ray, Carleen and daughter Candace) of Savannah purchased the buildings to house both the Inn and the DeLoach Antiques boutique.

Received upon arrival by the charmingly Southern proprietor, Candace DeLoache, we were welcomed to our room with complimentary wine and cookies. After comfortably imbibing, Ms. DeLoache supplied us with several recommendations for a quiet and casual dinner. A authoritative Charlottesville denizen, Ms. DeLoache consults with her guests in a manner allowing them to explore the town as locals, not tourists.

On her suggestion, we visited the C&O Restaurant on Water Street with the explicit instructions to be seated downstairs. The entrance evoked the time of Shakespeare with torch lights and firewood flanking the portico. We requested a basement table and were lead to a hidden staircase directly behind the reception desk, our dinner bewitchingly verging on the clandestine. Seated at a table for two opposite a mysterious door we could only assume was designed for surreptitious activities, we savored our Hendrick’s cocktails. We shared the mascarpone-filled, smoked dates (utterly divine) and dined on Steak Chinoise (for BTG) and an elfin potpie (for yours truly). Sufficiently satiated, we bundled ourselves for a brisk return to the Inn.

C&O Photos courtesy of Flickr.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Modern Manners Monday - Presidents Day

Photo courtesy of Robert Lautman, Entry Hall of Monticello.

After an inimitable weekend in Charlottesville with BTG, I’m incapable of liberating myself from a Jeffersonian vise. As an intimate of an ardent Jefferson scholar, his éclat has become ineludible. In celebration of our Founding Fathers today, an amuse-bouche to whet your desire from Mr. Jefferson himself.

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Valentine

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Whimsy

Photo courtesy of Lonny Magazine.

Whilst gorging on the current Lonny magazine, I unearthed this novel entryway. Quite "Through The Looking Glass", no? I believe I hear Alice knocking at this very moment!

Fetching Femme

Photo courtesy of Copenhagen Street Style.
My perambulation through the digital space is oftentimes stunted and consequently, routine. Seldom am I endowed with undisturbed hours to aimlessly ramble through the nooks and crannies of the internet. On occasion, the day appears to extend its reach, seconds slow and I am left with treasures such as the lovely lady above, dog-eared souvenirs of a precious afternoon.

White Out

"Lavacourt under the Snow" by Claude Monet.

Dear Readers,

As a winter's fury has benevolently provided a day of my own, I intend to zealously devour slighted reading material, if it will have me back. Furthermore, my intent is to furnish you with laconic musings as they arise.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Modern Manners Monday

"A Dinner Table At Night" by John Singer Sargent

Many hold the erroneous impression that etiquette and manners are laborious and impractical in a modern world. In fact, it is nonessential to be informed of proper protocol; etiquette, and thusly manners, requires only a single effort upon which all else follows: an awareness of one’s environment and his or her place within it. If one dissects each encounter of indecorousness, its provenance is assuredly anchored to an individual bereft of self-awareness. Technology has metastasized obliviousness, yet Luddite I am not. I live by one elementary edict: never allow a device to supplant humanity.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Modern Traditionalist Stork Selects

Whereas my sundry contemporaries have moored themselves to the matter of St. Valentine’s Day, may I proffer for your consideration an assemblage for those reveling in the grand bounty of romance.

Clockwise from upper left:

Engravable Sterling Silver Rattle, Silver Mine Gifts, $120

Sausalito Basket, Serena & Lily, $239

The World of Peter Rabbit Book Collection, Amazon.com, $100

Peter Rabbit 3-Piece China, Wedgwood

Hooded Animal Towels, Serena & Lily, $38

The Maestro

Photos courtesy of Vanity Fair.

Beguiling diversions whilst I idly await the arrival of a winter’s fury.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Midweek Missive

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Trifles

Robust ambitions for oneself, particularly those of the pecuniary kind, routinely involve monastic forbearance. At the outset of such an endeavor, one should avoid contact with all temptations…

Photo courtesy of The Sartorialist.

…as a riotous plummet is sure to follow.

Camden Leather Brogues by J.Crew.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Modern Manners Monday

Gymnasiums are inherently cruel and unforgiving establishments, a place of toil not repose. Upon entering, one should observe the golden rule of etiquette: treat others with the courtesy and civility in which you would desire to be treated yourself.

1. If the facility is replete with patrons, limit your use of a single apparatus to 30 minutes.
2. Remove only what you will employ in a single activity. Do not commandeer three sets of free weights, stability and medicine balls throughout your stay.
3. Eradicate any scent which escapes your own space, whether it be fetid or fragrant.
4. Vacate only after all remnants of your presence have been eliminated. Most establishments provide resources to aid in removal.
5. If bathing on site, act as if a small child were present. Keep your bits sheathed.

With gratitude,