Neighborhood Nomads
places we belong

Tag: Virginia

Chesapeake Rainstorms


“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide, is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; and all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, and the flung spray and the blown spume and the seagulls crying.”

-John Masefield

October 16, 2013: The doom and gloom of Washington politics was getting to be a little much for us, so we escaped over the weekend for the sunnier shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Here’s what we got instead: rain, rain and more rain. A drenching, dumping rain that soaked the landscape and those of us spending the weekend there to the very core.


In lighter spells, water spit and sprayed and hurled itself in all directions as we traipsed this stretch of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula where the Chesapeake meets Mobjack Bay. It was the kind of rain that reacquaints you with card games you haven’t played in decades, the kind of rain that has you monitoring high tide and flood zones, the kind of rain that encourages you to walk the beach in wellies and foul weather gear and click your heels over the sand at the first glimpse of clearer skies.


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Miles From Monday: Virginia Vineyards

Sharp Rock, Sperryville, VASeptember 3, 2012, Washington, DC: There’s not a single stoplight in all of Rappahannock County, Jim tells us as we finish our $4 wine tastings in the barn at Sharp Rock Vineyards. There’s also a zoning law that protects the county from the dreaded sprawl and subdivisions, he explains: Just one new dwelling is permitted on every 25 acres. Even out here near Sperryville, Virginia, people are quick to talk about what makes home special.

Return to Irvington


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
-T.S. Eliot

June 16, 2012, Irvington, VA: We are back in Irvington for our first anniversary! We are wine tasting at The Dog and Oyster (now a vineyard with a name!), swimming beneath tall pine trees, revisiting Hope and Glory Inn, taking an evening boat cruise on Carter’s Creek, dining at Trick Dog Cafe, retracing our steps and reliving our memories. This place, like many, is home now. We are thrilled to be back.


Map of Mornings: Springtime on the Grounds of UVA

University of Virginia, April 2012, Photo Credit: Kate Gallery

This is one in a series of morning photo essays documenting neighborhoods around town.

April 15, 2012, Washington, DC: I took a long walk with friends yesterday morning across the grounds of UVA, beyond the Charlottesville they know as adults and back into the Charlottesville they knew as students. The University of Virginia in springtime is not to be missed at any age.

Adult Life in a College Town: Charlottesville, Virginia

Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Va., April 2012

April 14, 2012, Washington, DC: I never lived in a college town, even in college. For all the perks of big cities, one of the downsides is that they mask the richness of university life that exists there. University lectures and special events and sports can take second fiddle to the countless options available in the wider city. Life in a college town, manageable in size and absent the distractions of a major metropolis, was something I never experienced.

But I’ve long imagined what great places these towns can make for people of all ages — not only for young twenty-somethings but for professors and children and adults living nearby. I imagine that the intellectual curiosity of a school would seep into the culture of the place, that energized students would keep a community young.

I returned to Charlottesville this weekend — one of my many trips there over the years — to explore the realities of adult life in a college town.

Traditions of Wedding and Home

June 17, 2011, Irvington, VA: Irvington, Virginia is about 50 miles from Williamsburg, Virginia, fewer as the crow flies. The town (pop. 628) is situated on the tip of Virginia’s Northern Neck, surrounding a body of water called Carter’s Creek. It lies near the mouth of the Rappahannock River, where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, Irvington is a unique combination of country and coast. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s a slower pace. It’s the perfect place for this weekend’s wedding.

But Irvington is not my home. Nor is it my soon-to-be husband’s home. We are putting down roots there starting only now. And we’re beginning with a rehearsal dinner celebration on a vineyard without a name, amidst a transition in ownership. Fitting, I guess, that even the place where we will say our vows tomorrow is in flux, in transition, a spot on the map where the old sign has come down and the new one isn’t yet up.

The Plan – A Year Spent Traveling Through My Many Hometowns

Tandem Bike, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

June 16, 2011, Washington, DC: Okay, so maybe it seems an odd choice to begin a year-long study into the concept of home with nearly three weeks of travel. But here’s why it makes sense to me: In 32 years, I have lived in 27 houses or apartments in a dozen cities or towns. There is no one place I call home. I grew up with parents who spent weekends visiting open houses. I love to rearrange furniture. Movement has always been part of the home equation.

And so I begin this project with travel. For the next 365 days, I will study the sociology of our homes, our neighborhoods, and the power of physical place in a virtual world. I will visit each of my past hometowns and learn about the pulse of the neighborhoods in which I have lived, from Montreal to San Francisco, Chicago to New York.


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