Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Finally.... Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C.

I have along list of places to visit, and although I have been in Washington DC several times, I have yet to see the Cherry Trees in blossom around the Tidal Basin.  Last year I was here in April but the weather had been unseasonably warm and by the time I arrived on the 2nd the blossoms were gone.

I was so hopeful they would be in bloom this year, but when I arrived Thursday morning the prospect seemed gloomy.  The trees were bare and it was cold.  But Friday the sun was out and the announcers were projecting peak bloom for the weekend.  We drove down Sunday afternoon and I was in luck -  the Cherry Trees were in bloom.

Not only were the trees in bloom, thousands of people had come out to celebrate at the Cherry Blossom Festival. The whole city was abuzz.  Happy to see the warm days and the pale pink blossoms.

Yep - that me - right in the middle of the celebration

We ran into a crew of documentarians  who were interviewing people who had recently relocated to the area - Yvonne took the mike and explained why she had chosen to make this part of the world her home.

It's time to go and the men consult a map to plan our walking route to Ruth Chris's Steak House.

Why is there never quite enough time to do EVERYTHING I want to do?  Would loved to have time to browse through the National Portrait Gallery.  How can a photographer go to the capital and not see this collection of portraits?  

After dinner we make our way through the darkened streets, find our car and drive back to Haymarket.
Maybe I will return  and bring the girls on An Adventure with Nonnie - there is so much to see and do - I know 
they will love it.

If you would like to see the Cherry Trees in blossom but don't want to fight the crowds you can see these beautiful flowering trees at several other sites around the city

Middleburg, Virginia

We drove through the rolling hills of Loudon County through the hamlet of Aldie and found our way to Middleburg.  A quaint little town with a main street filled with shops and restaurants, beckoning travelers to stop and stay awhile.

 We could see right away we were in horse country - not the western horses we are used to, but those trained for Steeplechase and Fox Hunting..

Robert strikes a pose in front of the Red Fox Inn - the oldest building in town.

We stopped to chat with a man who gave us a great big smile and told us he was the breakfast chef at Market Salamander - it was enough of an introduction for us, so we made our way to the corner of Washington (the main street) and Pickering.

We found Market Salamander to be as charming as the town.  A combination of deli, wine shop and gifts - a wonderful place to eat and then browse.  I had a serving of beets with feta - yummy.

The staff was helpful and friendly. The young lady who brought our drinks told us (after some questioning by us - of course) that there was a "fox hunt" planned for Sunday - and invited us to return.
She also told us about the owner of Salamander Market's new endeavor - The Salamander Resort and Spa - scheduled to open sometime this summer.

We learned that the Salamander Market and the Resort were both the vision of Sheila C. Johnson - co founder of BET.  http://press.salamanderhospitality.com/pr/sh/salamander-resort.aspx  The resort should be spectacular when completed - another reason for us to return to "horse country" in Northern Virginia.

We continued our stroll, past the United Methodist Church, the Post Office and little speciality shops.

I stop to buy tea at this little shop.  Moroccan Mint for Yvonne and Acai Mango Tango for me.
Olio 17 E Washington Street - 540.687.3004

Always wishing for more time in the places I visit - I would have loved to taste the olive oils - but....  well you know the story - the people I was driving with wanted to move on to greener pastures.
so long Middleburg - perhaps I will return one day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Visit with the President of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Our committee is charged with the task of developing a program to help students who attend or plan to attend a Historically Black College or University.

These schools have been and continue to be a critical part of our community's educational journey. Until 1954 when Brown vs Board of Education ended "separate but equal" school systems, HBCUs were the number 1 option for most black students who wanted to attend college.  Both my parents and their siblings attended HBCUs, my daughter received her undergraduate degree from an HBCU and my brother received his doctorate from an HBCU.

Today HBCUs, especially the graduate programs, enroll people from all ethnicities and from many different countries, but it is still true that these school serve an important role in the African American community. There are 105 of HBCU schools ( 3% of all  U.S. colleges), "they enroll 12% of black college students, produce 23% of all black college graduates, 40% of the nation's black science graduates, and 60% of blacks holding engineering degrees.   In addition, it is astounding to learn that currently, 50% of all African-American professionals and public school teachers, 75% of African-American Ph.Ds, 80% of black federal judges, and 85 percent of all African-American doctors matriculated through the HBCU system." (The Grio )

Charles R. Drew University a few miles north of us is  a HBCU. It is the only university in the United States that has the dual designation of HBCU and Hispanic Serving Health Professions.  

Charles Drew is best know as a medical school designed to train physicians interested in working in urban environments. They also offer degrees in radiology, pharmacy, and physicians assistants.

Two members of our committee had the opportunity to meet with the President of Charles Drew University, Dr. David M. Carlisle.M.D., Ph.D last week.  We were there to ask if he thought a group like ours could provide support for students enrolled at Drew?  He gave us a resounding yes and we had some time to talk about some of the ideas from our committee discussions.

He gave us a tour of the campus and left feeling that this campus would be a great place to direct our energies to support students who need just a little more help to stay engaged and finish their college education.

Jazz at Spaghettini's

Our friend Marion lives in Lelystad, in the Netherlands and was here in the Orange County area for a few days recently.  A group of us got together and took her to Spaghettini's for a little night music.   We sat in the lounge area, had "small bites" to eat, a couple of drinks and were entertained by a great group of really fine musicians led by Jason Weber - a super Sax player.  If you like jazz - you will want to get acquainted with Jason. www.jasonweber.net

At intermission Marion jumps up to meet him and I jump up right behind her with my little G15 - a great workhorse - even in low light.   ( these two images would probably have been much better if I had trusted the little guy and left the flash off).

A great night our on the town.