29 May 2013

from osu to the alabama gulf coast.

It was terribly difficult to get back to the grind today after 10 days of travel. My wanderings began with a quick stop in Pittsburgh for some hockey and grilling with my brothers. Fabulous initiation to the beginnings of summer! Then I was off to Columbus, Ohio and The Ohio State University for a conference and a class. I was almost exclusively working, but at least I was surrounded by quaint buildings and a lovely campus partially deserted for the summer.

Mirror Lake at OSU.
Orton Hall - Built in 1893.
I continued on from Ohio to Alabama - but not without some travel blunders including nearly running out of gas in a deserted stretch of West Virginia and very narrowly making a flight out of Roanoke. But - made it to Mobile on Friday, late in the evening, in time for drinks and some old fashioned mischief. Saturday was spent catching up with old friends over beers in the sun before heading to Fairhope for the lovely wedding. I don't believe that my iPhone did the bay justice... there is something about sunsets, the sea, twinkle lights, wine, and the company of good friends that cannot be matched.

Arriving at Emma's Bay House in Fairhope, Alabama.
The sun sparkling on the bay.
Sunset view from the wedding reception.

21 May 2013

spring on hhi.

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled with my dog to Hilton Head Island for my first weekend there in a long while. It was Mother's Day, and I had the wonderful opportunity to relax and celebrate with my Mum - sipping champagne on the deck and strolling along the beach. Total relaxation...


After arriving quite late in the evening on Friday, just in time to settle into bed, I was absolutely groggy when my dog woke me up for our morning stroll early on Saturday. It seems darker there, but that simply makes me appreciate the sunrise through the pines that much more. It may in fact be my favorite part of the day there.

Of course we spent the majority of the morning enjoying both coffee and champagne on the deck. We caught up and relaxed under the gorgeous blue sky.

The walking paths around Hilton Head are fantastic: cutting through parks, passing by the ferries on the marsh, and winding down lanes between summer homes at the point. The sun glinting off of the moss adorning the trees makes it feel like the perfect escape.

No trip with my Mum would be complete without miles on the beach. We watched birds, found shells, and communed with the sea life: crabs, jellyfish, and rays. Still too chilly for me to venture out for a swim, though...

Sunday morning brunch with my parents at my favorite cafe and I was on my way. Such a quick visit, but always worthwhile for family, fun, palm trees, boats, and the sea.

19 December 2012

first falling snow.

There's something enchanting
About the first falling snow.
The crisp, cold air.
Fresh, new beginnings.
Awakening of the senses.
Steaming, invigorating breaths.
Unconventional views -
To the unwearied eye.
The profound expanse of nature's expression.
The promise of adventure.
The comfort of a child-like exuberance.

09 December 2012

fall excursion.

The fall season of travel has come and gone. Unfortunately, the stress of work consumed me as I traipsed throughout the country. After returning from two remarkable trips to Colorado, (a Summit County wedding and Denver for the marathon), I spent a few nights in Pittsburgh before the start of my conference tour in chic, contemporary Seattle. I regret not having more time to explore the city, but I did managed to slip in a run downtown to the Space Needle and enjoy a happy hour 74 floors up from the docks. The sunset view across the sound was absolutely breathtaking! On my final morning there, I attempted to visit the original Starbucks. I was quite disappointed by it, until I later learned that I had never made it to the original - just visited the regular local corner joint. Regrettable, at best.

Following rainy days in Seattle, my next week in Georgia was a stark contrast. Nothing can quite compare to the warm afternoon sun filtering through the patches of moss suspended from giant, ancient trees... I began my time in Georgia with a short conference trip in Atlanta. Despite an unquantifiable amount of work on the docket, I did manage to stop by CNN center and the aquarium, as well as lounge in the sun at Olympic Park. Stress won-out, though, in the end, and I worked late, rushed through meetings, and spent an exorbitant amount of time seeking out good coffee shops and free wireless internet connections. My presentations went off without episode, and I was again traveling - this time to Savannah for conference number three.

I arrived on the east coast strung-out and exhausted, with a challenging presentation ahead of me. Once in Savannah, we had an afternoon meeting on a balcony overlooking the canal... with hot coffee and a cool breeze as I prepared hurriedly for the presentation. Again, all went well in the end, but I certainly didn't enjoy much of Savannah as I was transitioning from stress and adrenaline to relief and exhaustion. I'd love to return and explore - with my open container, of course. Finally, I spent just one night on Hilton Head Island - watching pelicans on the beach and stopping by the market for a bottle of chardonnay and some fruit and cheese to enjoy on the deck overlooking the marsh in the sunset. It was bittersweet, but a splendid escape from fifth year and all of the work that it entails.

28 September 2012

denver marathon.

Tower on 16th Street.
We arrived in Denver late on Thursday evening, and I could not have been more excited. A weekend in the city that I so longed to visit, combined with my first attempt at 26.2! I had high hopes for a wonderful trip filled with fun, friends, miles, mountains, and brews. I was not disappointed.

Friday morning, despite waking with a bit of a cold, we set out to explore the downtown area on foot. The day was absolutely gorgeous and I quickly fell in love with the city framed by mountain peaks. We ate a delicious brunch and sipped aromatic coffee; people-watching in the shade and taking in the cityscape. We strolled all around the downtown area, checking out the starting corrals, different legs of the race, and most importantly - the finish line.

The Mountain State Telephone and Telegraph Company. 
Dancing girls with bird buns.
Entrance to Civic Center Park.
View of City Hall from the center of the park.
The art museum.
Between naps and marathon preparations, we relaxed outside at patio cafes, enjoying the bustle from the shade of the verandas. That evening, we went for a short shake-out run with the sun setting between the mountain peaks in the distance. Dinner was delicious Italian fare, followed by a short night of sleep and an early rise for the race.

The bear!
Evening run with the city, sunset, and mountains in the distance.
The marathon was crazy and amazing and the hardest physical feat that I have ever attempted. The start was fantastic - chilly, the sun rising behind us, and tons of early race energy as our giant pack of runners headed down 14th Street (and past the giant bear). I remember circling around the ball fields, and feeling good, before heading up into City Park. That's where things began to get tough for me. I felt a bit devastated when we split from the half marathon course - there was no turning back at that point. I struggled through several more residential miles, through Washington Park, which was particularly rough for me, and back toward downtown. With renewed energy, I charged up the last hill in mile 25 to cheers from the crowd. Coming in to the finish line was a sublime blur - passing my cheering friends and striding into the chute. Afterwards, I relished in my exhausted but elated state... I'd do it again.

City Hall - Across from the starting corrals. 
We napped, then rose and sought out an Irish pub downtown for brews and lots of post-race food. Such a fun evening, checking out shops and pubs on 16th Street, enjoying brews with friends, and just being delighted about finishing the race. A fabulous end to an amazing weekend!

Enjoying a night out in Denver.

03 September 2012

summit county.

Headed out to Summit County for a lovely wedding weekend. Arrived in Denver on Friday evening and drove out to Breckenridge to enjoy the town. So quaint - I have fallen in love with having mountain views out of every window! Our lodge room was wonderfully cozy and decked out with a gorgeous, spacious bathroom, huge king bed, and a fantastic balcony with a view of the slopes. We snagged food and beer at the local grocery and relaxed after a long day of traveling.

Sunset outside of Denver.
We awoke the next morning to sunshine, blue skies, and crisp mountain air. A jog through the sleepy ski town was in order, and we were rewarded with amazing views. After touring the town, we met friends for breakfast before heading up to one of the mountain-top lodges. Poor weather at the peak led us to enjoy some brews inside the pub and return to the base to walk along the street fair. The highlight, of course, was the rubber duck race. It was surprisingly romantic to stroll along the stream, watching exuberant children cheering on their ducks, and relish in the afternoon sun.

Morning run in Breckenridge.
A caravan took us up to the wedding venue that evening - outdoors with a beautiful view of lake, mountains, and sky. The ceremony was lovely, and following the sunset, we enjoyed dinner, dancing, drinks, and good company in the lodge.

Summit County wedding.

Last view in the evening.
Sunday brought a tired, final stroll through the town and a last glimpse of the peaks before driving back into Denver for the long flight home. Still, Colorado has captivated me and I cannot wait to return.

30 August 2012

the duck pond at dusk.

A few weeks ago, I stopped at the Duck Pond on campus, just as the sun was beginning to set. It's amazing how close I am to the lovely areas of campus and downtown, yet I rarely pause to enjoy them between running to work and running to class, and well, simply just running. I hope to find some spare moments to explore all of Blacksburg - before it's time to move on again.