Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Virginia Festival of Awesome, Part 1 - Charlottesville

Last Saturday, I went with the ever lovely and wonderful Aine to my very first Virginia Festival of the Book, aka the Festival of Awesome. No, this was not an easy journey. For several hours we crossed time-worn mountains and fast-rushing rivers to reach our destination, lured by the promise of authors, books, and fun. Along the way, we braved the overfriendly denizens of a Chick-Fil-A and ignored the siren call of Dinosaurland, determined to get to the festival, and Aine to the Kim Harrison signing, on time.

Now, I can't say I've never been to Charlottesville before, where the Festival is held every year. But I was about 9 years old the last time my family stopped in town on the way to Monticello, so it's been a while. I never realized what a beautiful town it was, and when I come back next year (oh, I'll definitely be back), it'll be for the town as much as for the books.

It's one of those big little towns that feels so small, but it just keeps going and going. You're surrounded by history and colonial architecture, Revolutionary War troops used to travel down the city's main street, but you're also surrounded by cool restaurants, art galleries and countless book stores.

Charlottesville is a college town, the home to the U of VA campus, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised by all the book stores and cool cafes, but the place has a culture and a vibe that I've never experienced in any other college town. In other words, you can see why Virginia holds its Festival of the Book here every year!

Below are some photos I took along the town's main street, right next to the Omni Hotel where much of the festival takes place.

The town's car-free Main Street. I counted three bookstores, one movie theater, one gelato shop that I must try next time, and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at. Also, there was a place there that sold ladybug slippers. I want!!!

At first I thought this said, "Saloon Drunkya." Ah well.

Flowers. Um, pretty flowers. I bet Amy Brecount White would know what they are.

Couch made of glass and tile that sits in front of an Artists' Collective.

The view from the back of the hotel. BTW-I have about 15 flower pics and 5 pics of the actual festival. Hey, it's spring-time, after three blizzards and months of freezing temperatures, I'm psyched to finally be seeing green and growing things again.

Next up: How I Learned How to Get My Book on Oprah. Sorta. Kinda.

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