Tag Archives: downtown mall

instaround.

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The sun was shining earlier so I decided it was high time for a walk around the neighborhood, but by the time I got home and ate lunch, it was cloudy and the temperature had begun to drop.

I’ve been playing a bit with instagram since I got an iPad Mini for Christmas. The above photos were taken today and yesterday. The quality’s sub par, of course, but it gives me a chance to catch moments and places I’d otherwise miss since I don’t like lugging my DSLR around with me every day.

surprises

blowing out candles blur excitementalmond pave paradox pastry birthdayWe threw a surprise birthday party for my boss on Wednesday. My coworkers and I gathered at a pizza place on the Downtown Mall while we waited for her daughter to find a reason to get her out of the coffee shop. Once they passed, we scampered to the shop to set up. We ate delicious pizza from Vita Nova and had Almond Pave from Paradox Pastry (delicious and gluten free!) for dessert.

She didn’t suspect a thing. She insisted I take my picture with some birthday balloons since my birthday was yesterday. I love the coffee shop staff, so it’s always great to hang out after hours.

*Photos were kept to a minimum in this post to respect the privacy of friends and family. But there are lots of great ones!

tom tom founder’s fest

tom tom founder's festival

The banner went up for the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival about a month ago when I still worked downtown; I kept telling myself I’d look it up when I got home. I started to hear of food trucks and live music and talks. Friday night, Daniel told me that he was having an awesome time perusing local art, enjoying a bustling downtown atmosphere, and attending a poetry reading. Since I worked ’til 10, I was determined to make the most of it on Saturday.

My friend, Greta, and I headed downtown around noon. We stopped in for some bing (dumplings) and peanut salad at Song Song’s Zhou and Bing, then headed over to Low Vintage, my favorite vintage shop in town, where we bought a few items and chatted with Nora, the owner.

low vintage lo4

The weather was perfect for a lazy stroll down the mall. Eventually, we meandered over to Lee Park to enjoy the live music. We sat on the grass and ate locally made popsicles – I had the Strawberry Hibiscus and Greta had the Banana Macademia Nut. We took our time people watching and generally enjoying the atmosphere.

charlottesville downtown mall flowering tree strawberry popsicle

Spring festivals make sense. We’ve suffered through the dark winter months and we need to celebrate. We need something to gather outside for, to come out of the woodwork for. We need to be reminded that we exist together in a community and that we collectively deserve to enjoy the moment before it passes.

tt5 purple flowering tree

If you live in the Charlottesville area, think about taking part in the final events of the weekend – they’ve got a few interesting talks lined up for this afternoon.

tree lighting

We headed downtown with my sister yesterday evening to witness the annual downtown Christmas Tree Lighting. Since we arrived early, we stopped by the coffee shop to say hello and pick up an iced mocha and mini muffins.

The tree lighting was a bit anticlimactic, but the weather was mild (though a cold front blew in swiftly last night) and the sky was teal after the sun set. After the tree was lit, we got some dinner at The Whiskey Jar, then shopped around before heading home.

I didn’t manage to get a single clear picture of the lit tree, so the above will have to suffice.

Today is my sister’s last full day in town. We plan to buy a tree and make the house festive this evening. Christmas has been a letdown for me the past couple of years. I really want to invest time and energy in the season this year – I want to do things the right way and be thankful and warm and content.

Obama in Charlottesville

a.k.a., the most thrilling day of my existence. 

Regardless of how you feel about Obama or the party he represents, if you had been in downtown Charlottesville yesterday, your veins would have been coursing with the tangible, electric, energy of thousands of people, first awaiting Obama’s arrival and then crowding in around a perimeter secured by Secret Service agents outside the local campaign office to catch a glimpse of him, snap a picture, shake his hand.

a man serenades the line with jazz

I had to work at 1, so I took the bus downtown around 11 am to avoid the anxiety of limited parking due to road closures. Once there, I meandered the Downtown Mall, camera in hand, to take in the crowds. It was important to me to capture the overall feeling and sense of anticipation rather than just a couple shots of Obama. People started lining up before I got there even though the gates weren’t set to open until 1:00. By 12:30, the line extended back several blocks from the Pavilion, from one end of the mall to the other (some report that it actually extended past the pedestrian mall in the final minutes before the line began to inch forward). It took an entire hour to herd all attendees through the gate; my coworker and I watched them move forward in line from the shop’s large window.

Crowds extended to the end of the Downtown Mall

I didn’t get to attend the event due to work, but my boss, a local small business owner, had a VIP ticket which allowed her to stand at the front of the auditorium. She took some great pictures and got to shake Obama’s hand.

After the speech ended, the coffee shop was overwhelmed by customers eagerly awaiting smoothies and other cold drinks after several hours in the late summer heat. As the final customers trickled in at the end of the rush, we noticed that a crowd had started to gather outside of the shop. Someone shouted, “Obama’s coming!,” and my manager and I immediately ran outside. The area was secured by a dozen or more Secret Service agents. After 15 minutes of waiting, we heard cheering as a caravan of black cars drove down 4th street. Within seconds, the cheering escalated, and there he was! I was maybe 100 feet from the President of the United States: an international figure, a fixture of American politics, a talking point of every American household! I held my camera above my head to try to get some usable shots. It was exciting to see what I had managed to capture at the end of the day’s events.

People crowd in to catch a glimpse of the President

Obama visited the campaign office and brightened the day of many hard working volunteers and staff members. A girl at the restaurant next door shook his hand and her coworkers all high-fived it, as if the thrill of her experience would rub off on them.

As we began our closing tasks at the shop, two girls sat at separate tables, crying. One had been an active campaign volunteer who couldn’t get past the Secret Service to shake Obama’s hand. The other was at the front of the crowd as he arrived, and she, much to her surprise and joy, had shaken his hand. That image summed up the spirit and passion, the sheer emotion – impossible to interpret at times –  of the day for me.

uva

Today we went over to UVA so that Daniel could turn in some paperwork and get his student ID. I enjoyed the view immensely (besides all the insane construction – the middle of the grounds looks post-apocalyptic). The building where his department is housed is in a beautiful, modern style. After we completed his student duties, we journeyed to the downtown mall to visit Daedalus Books, a used bookstore with three stories and over 100,000 used books. We also poked around a stored called Artifacts, where we got to pet an adorable Pomeranian.

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