Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apple Pickin'

 
Even though the weather's been cooling down for a few weeks and the leaves have already started changing, it's hard to believe that this past weekend marked the first of the fall season. To me, fall means hay rides, pumpkins, scarecrows, and sunny afternoons. Well, the pumpkins aren't quite ready around here yet, but it sure is a perfect time for apples. In Virginia, all the good apples seem to be somewhere else (like North Carolina), so it's kind of cool being a little closer to so many farms up here. So, that's what we set out to do on Sunday--apple picking at Long's orchard.


Like several other farms around here, Long's is known for its apples and cider mill, along with other money-making crops. You can buy bagged apples in the on-site store, but what fun is that when you can ride out on a tractor and pick some yourself? Not to mention--fun comes in numbers, so we met up with a bunch of fellow VT-turned-GM friends. Let me introduce you (Brad snapped a few pictures against their will, so I'll be nice and keep the photos kind of small):


(Left to right): Mike, Corey, Renee, Lynn, and Brian
I wasn't paying attention at the time, but I have it on good authority that Brad got punched in the stomach after taking one of those pictures.

     
We decided to pool all our apples in the same bag--a half bushel is a lot more than it looks.

Hay Ride!

 After watching Brad stuff a bunch of random apples in the bag, I told him he'd better try one to make sure he liked them.

He tried one. Didn't like it.

So, he started putting them back in the tree.
(Not kidding.)


After apple picking, we went across the street to get some cider and donuts. Check out all the stuff hanging from the ceiling of the . . . cider place . . .


MMMM.
There was also a giant rocking chair!
Brian took like 10 shots of this same pose before we realized that he was totally taking advantage of our camera. It's okay, though . . . I think I like the candids better, anyway.

   


Goats. They're cute, but can't be trusted.

Renee, moments before her hand got head-butted

Annnnd . . . the corn maze. We only got lost a couple times. For a little while.



Feeling victorious after conquering the field, we ended the day over in the play area.
And what can I say? Boys will be boys.

 



The only thing that could've made a better ending to the day would have been jumping on a giant, air-filled pumpkin bounce, which we may or may not have actually done. The guy in charge might have made several kids get off so we could take over, and I might have fallen down about eight times. But there are no photos, so it must not have happened.

I hope you're enjoying the beginning of fall, too. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ann Arbor

 

 

   

 

On Thursday night, we took a drive to Ann Arbor to see our friend, Christina. Christina was in band with Brad and me in high school and coincidentally, she's now a grad student at the University of Michigan--so, we're basically neighbors again! Agenda for the evening: dinner and a personal tour of campus and the downtown area.


 
Little gargoyle sculptures in a campus tunnel

After strolling down sidewalks and marveling over how much Christina knows about her school campus, we made our way to a beautiful library.

 
Inside, we weren't allowed to talk or make any noise, so I got these next couple images online to avoid getting in trouble over camera clicks. I sincerely hope they're all from the correct library, considering the fact that the University of Michigan has over twenty. Regardless, there's definitely a Harry Potter vibe going on with these photos and the place we visited. So, we'll consider that enough proof that both are the same place.

      
View these images and others from the library here.

Next, we hopped down the street to see all the local shops and restaurants--too many fun things to look at. As usual, I slowed down the pace every time I stopped to snap a shot. Luckily, Brad and Christina are cool, so they didn't seem too irritated.

 

    

Not one, but two cool theaters on the same block.

And a book store with a name that reminds me of my sister.


There's a Google office here! Just hanging out by the side of the road!
Several restaurant menus, two streets, and one homeless guy later, we (Brad) finally chose a place to eat dinner. The decision? Connor O'Neill's, an Irish pub that serves delicious shepherd's pie. I took a lovely photo of my selection, but sadly, the file was corrupted; so, you'll just have to imagine how yummy my dinner looked. To paint a picture: meat, potatoes, and cheese are sometimes the only things you really need.

After dinner: Cupcakes! Christina took us to The Cupcake Station, a cute, little bakery that serves all different flavors of cupcakes--Drumstick (complete with cone and chocolate on top), German Chocolate Cake, some type of bumpy thing that reminded me of Snooki's poof, you name it. We even talked the girls who work there into changing their closing-time special from Buy 2, Get 1 Free to Buy 2, Get 2 Free. Better to give them to us than to throw them away, right? As Brad put it, "Hey, we're doing you a favor."


  
 

That's Christina on the left, although I'm sure you could narrow that down based on the amount of people I've mentioned so far. She and Brad like eating cupcakes and smiling.
And, of course, our trip back to the car had to be as scenic as it was on the way out. Sometimes, things just look cooler at night.

 
I have to say that the Michigan Theater was born to rock those lights.


Brad: "Robot supply and repair? What's that for?"
Christina: "Um, robots."
Brad: "Really? They have robots in there?!"

It's only a matter of time before I decide I can't live without one of these shirts.

After I realized I hadn't gotten a picture of anything that included the U of M logo, Christina the Tour Guide was nice enough to find this giant M for a photo opp. Apparently, students camp out here before games . . . then again, I learned a lot of stuff on Thursday evening, so that fact might only be partially correct.
Me: "That's a good one! This will be your profile picture." I'm always right about these things.
Awesome evening, but definitely not long enough. I see another visit to Ann Arbor or a friendly kidnapping of Christina in our near future . . . plus, she made us some yummy cookies, and I have to get her pan back to her.

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