We spent our last evening with my dad at Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown, a favorite for when we have visitors. En route, I forced a picture in front of our old digs at the Barlow Center.
At dinner, I had a delicious fig jam, prosciutto, and honey pizza that I’m longing to replicate at home. The three of us walked back to Rosslyn together and said good-bye (but only for a week).
Jason and I headed out to Charlottesville after work the next day. We left late enough to avoid traffic and the drive itself wasn’t bad, albeit not terribly direct. We made it to our hotel around 9 PM. We were at a Holiday Inn Express, which I usually don’t mind, but this one had the loudest ice machine I’ve ever heard and it was right across the hall from our room. I don’t think we’ll be staying there again any time soon.
In the morning, we drove to and parked at the downtown mall. I was expecting a mall akin to the National Mall–an expanse of grass and not much else (except, of course, monuments to important people and events in American history). Instead, this mall was a blocked-off-for-pedestrians street with restaurants and shops along both sides and tables and chairs and benches in the middle. It was really chill, which was a nice departure from where we spend most of our time.
We stopped at Miller’s, which is of course where DMB got their start back in 1991.
Hungry, we headed over to The Southern for breakfast. When we asked the waitress what was good, she told us it was their first ever breakfast-serving day. I had an apple, bacon, and white cheddar frittata with a biscuit, and Jason did a “wake n’ bake” with pico de gallo, bacon, and cheddar. He’d hoped to include sausage but was told “No sausage today, baby.” This made me miss Lexington immensely.
After breakfast we headed to Blue Whale Books, where Jason found an out-of-print book about Mexico City and I bought a collection of essays by Barbara Kingsolver. We also decided to hunt down a new purse for me, since the stadium guidelines did not permit “bags or backpacks with multiple pockets or excessive zippers.” My original purse (more of a tote, really) has both. At Urban Outfitters we found some pretty heinous stuff, but also a little red purse with horse-printed fabric lining. We headed back to the car, transferred our important goods–which did not include our ponchos, as our weather app claimed no chance of rain–to my new purse, then embarked on our walk to campus.
It’s about 2 miles from the mall and the day hotter than expected. On the way, I got a text from Rashelle saying they were at lunch. Google Maps informed me that their restaurant was really close by, so we headed over to say hi. To our great delight, Patience and Dan were there too. We all headed over to the game together by way of the bookstore. This salient detail is important later.
We’d heard UVA’s campus was gorgeous and it didn’t disappoint. Hopefully we’ll make it down again sometime with more time to explore.
We got to the stadium pretty early, but got a nice view of the stadium. My favorite part was the student section on the grassy hill.
We stayed with our friends near their seats until 3:15 PM, at which point we headed up to our seats. The game was underway a few minutes later. The BYU fans had (unsurprisingly) traveled well; according to later estimates, there were 10-12k cougar fans in attendance.
The first quarter was fine, but nothing to write home about. I will say that the woman next to me had the most shrill, shrieking scream I’ve ever heard. It was like she took the pitch at which everyone was yelling and raised it two octaves + 4 steps, but flat. Oh, it was bad.
This is where things start to get interesting. After the first quarter, the announcer directed us all to leave the stadium in light of inclement weather. Now, at this point the sky was a little dark, but it wasn’t raining. A lot of people stayed, but Jason and I didn’t feel like hanging out in the crowded concourse of a largely metal structure in a lightning storm, so we hightailed it for the bookstore (the only location we knew of, since we’d been there hours earlier). We made it just as the rain started.
Turns out, it’s a good thing they stopped the game; the rain was torrential and there was indeed the promised lightning and thunder. We wandered around the bookstore and bought some goldfish crackers, trail mix, and Sour Patch kids to munch on while we waited out the downpour. The lights flickered a few times, but the bookstore never lost power.
About an hour later, the rain dissipated and Jason saw on Twitter that fans were moving back into the stands. We walked back over to the stadium, only to discover that the fans INSIDE the stadium already were going back to their seats; the rest of us would have to wait outside the gates until the danger had officially passed. We stood around outside for another forty-five minutes or so before being let back in. While this was mildly annoying, I was at least grateful we weren’t like (almost all) the other BYU fans with six or seven bored children underfoot.
The game resumed at 6:20 PM, but with a much-diminished crowd. The BYU fans stuck around because most of us had nowhere else to go (also: pride) but the student section was pretty well decimated. I wouldn’t want to stand on that soggy lawn either.
My high-pitched neighbor was back for a few minutes, but she and her party left for better seats. My eardrums were grateful.
We made it through the second quarter and halftime, but another rainstorm began in the third quarter. Thankfully, Jason and I had purchased new ponchos at the bookstore; the rest of our section moved into the concourse to wait it out. It poured and poured, but there was no lightning so the game continued.
After thinking for a few sweet minutes that we had the game in the bag, BYU threw an interception and couldn’t keep VA from scoring a touchdown. It was a huge bummer, but at that point I think everyone was glad to be able to go home. The ponchos kept our bodies mostly dry, but our feet were soaked and I had inadvertently sat in a puddle. We met up with the Carters at the gates and walked with them to their car. They drove us to our car, and the four of us had a quick dinner at Five Guys. I always want to like Five Guys and am always disappointed; this time, though, perhaps the sting of defeat had something to do with it too.
Jason and I were on the road by 10:30 PM, and got back home around 12:45 PM, far later than we usually stay out. The drive wasn’t bad (but then again, I wasn’t the one driving). We were both grateful the next day for afternoon church.