A capital weekend -- and the end of a long journey

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Greetings from the self-proclaimed "Cutest Café in Georgetown" (Snap, 1062 Thomas Jefferson St, open 11 to 11 most nights, til 10 on Sundays, crepes, bubble tea, free wifi), where I'm grabbing a quick bite of dinner to complete a wonderful weekend in the Washington area.

Planning to meet up with friends when visiting a city is always a tricky business. Just because I'm free doesn't mean they will be. And planning several different meetings is even trickier -- you can't firm up plans with Friend B until things are set with Friend A

This weekend everything fell into place --

  • a spur-of-the-moment visit with a former colleague and his family in Annapolis, en route from Delaware to DC;
  • breakfast, lunch, and a full Saturday morning of talking urban planning and touring new developments and redevelopments (The Kentlands, Bethesda Row, downtown Silver Spring) with a college classmate who works for Montgomery County's planning agency;
  • a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian and a serendipitous opportunity to hear Bartlesville native singer/songwriter Becky Hobbs;
  • breakfast and traditional Anglican worship with a blogpal at the historic Falls Church;
  • lunch with a fraternity brother and his kids at a conveyor-belt sushi place in Tyson's Corner (warning: website is flash app with automatic music), followed by dessert at a fancy coffee and sweets shop;
  • a free concert at the Kennedy Center by Tulsa Celtic trio Vintage Wildflowers (archived broadcast should be available here in a couple of days);
  • and, in between all that, strolls around downtown Annapolis, Capitol Hill, Eastern Market, the National Mall, Foggy Bottom, the Watergate, the Potomac, Falls Church, the C&O Canal, and Georgetown.

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Add to that the time I spent last weekend at my MIT class of '86 reunion / ZBT Xi centennial, and dinner several times this week with my uncle and aunt, and it's been a time of renewing and deepening ties with friends and extended family.

The weekend also marks the end of an intense nine months of travel related to a project at work. Since last August 23rd, I've been away from my family 190 days, with no more than three weeks' break between trips, and all but 11 of those days have been devoted to the day job.

My trips were focused on three cities: San Antonio, Texas (101 days), Fairfield, California (44 days), and Dover, Delaware (34 days). Earlier in the year, I spent 78 days in Wichita on a different project, spread out over five months. These few cities join a handful of other places where I have been for a month or more over a short span of time:

Lawrence, Ks.
Bartlesville, Okla.
Brookline, Mass.
Ocean City, New Jersey
Quezon City, Philippines
Altus, Okla.
London, England

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I thought I might get more accomplished during my travels, but it didn't work out that way. I read a few books, did a bit of blogging, but it was hard to resist the urge to explore the area and spend time with old friends. The extended time away was a hardship for the whole family, but it was interesting to spend enough time in these cities to begin to get to know them well.

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I've never traveled so much in such a short span -- 30 days away over the course of a year is closer to typical -- and I don't expect to repeat the situation.

Don't expect my blogging pace to pick up anytime soon. Now it's time to renew my ties with my immediate family. Eventually it'll be time to renew my acquaintance with the city that has been my hometown for 42 years.

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I mentioned getting to hear Tulsa-based Celtic music trio Vintage Wildflowers -- Melissa Schiavone (lead vocals, flute, penny whistle, banjo), Dana Maher (harp and vocals), and Abby Bozarth (fiddle, guitar, and vocals) -- on June 12, 2011, at the Kenne... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 12, 2011 7:07 PM.

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