Month: July 2014

Not All Who Wander Are Lost (The Tour)

  I have always wanted to drive cross-country. So when Claire left for college in California as a freshman in the fall of 2011, I told her about my bucket list dream and promised that one of her trips from Washington (the east coast one) to California would take place in a car with her dad. Guess who begins her senior year at the end of August?  And guess who passes a major birthday milestone next winter? With those deadlines looming, we leave on our drive tomorrow, August 1st.  It was now or never. And we are pumped about this trip! As we’d both driven much of the “southern” (i.e., direct) route in shorter trips, we decided to wander around a bit in the Midwest, the Great Plains, and the Pacific Northwest before we finally make our way to Southern California.  I’ve dubbed it our Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour.  I just wish I’d thought ahead to have t-shirts made!  (Cue the eye rolling by Claire.) So over the next 20 days, you’ll …

Just Another Beautiful Day in Silver Spring

Have I mentioned recently how much we love our local farmers market? Candice and I were downtown bright and early at 9 a.m. to do our weekly shopping at the Silver Spring FreshFarm Farmers Market. (Julie at Evensong Farm sells out of her eggs quickly, so the early bird gets the worm…or, more appropriately, the best eggs in the Washington area!) We now buy more than half of our weekly groceries at the Silver Spring Farmers Market, and today was no exception. As I was waiting for Candice to pick through the ears of corn at the Spring Valley Farm stand, I looked up and saw this beehive of activity around food, flowers, and community – and couldn’t resist the shot. After making our stops at Talking Breads (the scone this week was especially tasty with my eggs at breakfast), North Cove Mushrooms (for our usual pound of shiitake and oyster mushrooms), Blue Ridge Dairy (love the butter and Greek Yogurt) and many more stands too numerous to mention, Candice commented on how the sights …

Pokey the Preservationist

Last Friday I was sitting outside on a beautiful summer day at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, listening to Pokey LaFarge. Yesterday evening, I was skimming some YouTube videos to learn more about Pokey’s music when I came across a TedX talk entitled Pokey LaFarge:  Evolving Through Preservation. Whoa!  Could it be that Pokey is not only a great musician with a hot band, but also a preservationist? Well yes, that’s exactly what he is. Take a listen to this TedX talk from St. Louis – and after the music history lesson you’ll hear Pokey’s thoughts on how young people are taking old buildings and using them for new uses – just as they are doing with music and fashion. They are claiming these places and making them relevant today.  Just as we’ve been preaching in my day job at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. And as Pokey reminds us…he’s only 30 years old! Who knew that the next generation preservationist could come in the form of a hip traditionalist musician who happens …

An Amazing Day of Music at Red Wing

Saturday at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival was one of those days when the music starts off great and then – when you think it can’t possibly be sustained – it keeps getting better.  (The last day that rivaled this one at a festival was day two of Merlefest 25.  It is interesting to note that the Steel Wheels were involved with both!) Duets were the order of the day in the early afternoon at Red Wing II, beginning with Bernice and Bryan Hembree playing as Smokey & The Mirror.  He writes great songs (St. Alban’s Day, Will and Woody) while she has a powerful and beautiful voice (showcased on a cover of Dylan’s Buckets of Rain).  They were the first out of the chute today, and the Hembrees set a high bar. Mandolin Orange – an acoustic duo featuring Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz – were up next and played a beautiful set that we caught while eating lunch (and Kline’s ice cream!).  With just a guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, they crafted songs …

Pokey Laps the Field at Day One of Red Wing

The second annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival in spectacular Natural Chimneys Park began on Friday afternoon under a beautiful summer sky.  The promise of the inaugural festival – hosted by the Steel Wheels – brought out an even larger crowd this year.  And for the most part the music didn’t disappoint. My friend Oakley Pearson and I arrived in time to catch the full set of Furnace Mountain, a band from the Berryville, Virginia, area.  Comprised of Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Danny Knicely on mandolin and fiddle, Dave Van Deventer on fiddle, and Morgan Morrison on bouzouki, guitar and vocals, Furnace Mountain is a first-rate roots music band.  Knicely is an especially inventive mandolin player, and he displayed some great chops and songwriting skills in today’s set. Caravan of Thieves was a band I wasn’t familiar with, but they grew on me very quickly.  Their web site has a catchy – yet pretty accurate – description of this group:: Driving gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin lay the foundation for …

A Weekend (and More) of Celebration

  A pre-July 4th visit to Mount Rushmore, the annual craziness that is the Takoma Park July 4th parade, our traditional Independence Day picnic at the wonderful Franklin Knolls pool, Claire returns after six weeks in Vienna, Andrew knocks it out of the park with a National Anthem, Dad turns 89, and two days with dear friends to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary and an 80th birthday…I can’t imagine a better July 4th weekend (and a bit more). My celebration of things Americana began last week.  While on a work trip, a colleague and I took a short detour in the Black Hills of South Dakota to visit Mt. Rushmore. It was my first trip there, and the monument is as awe-inspiring as advertised. I took the expected pictures of the monument — from the front, with the state flags, and from the perspective down at the sculptor’s studio. Then I did something out of character — and took my very first selfie.  I was actually pretty pleased that I knew how to do it …