Day one: High moderne to 18th century revival

Written at 5:54 am Pacific time on Saturday, June 5: We landed at Dulles a few minutes before 7 am yesterday morning. After pausing for a Starbucks fix in the terminal, we started looking around for the mobile lounges. —A moment here. I don’t think I appreciated the quintessential weirdness of Dulles while I was flying from it as a consultant, but man. Those mobile lounges. The big ol’ flying wing. You just know Eero Saarinen was hanging out with Austin Powers in the shagadelic sixties when he designed the place. On the plus side, riding in those lounges you get an unparalleled view of the airport’s real activity, which as Lisa put it appears to consist of very large slow moving machines trying to run into each other.

We got out of Dulles and navigated reasonably successfully back out into the suburbs. We wanted a proper breakfast and decided to head back to old haunts, so we made for McLean and got full breakfasts at La Madeleine, the local chain farmhouse-French restaurant. Then we realized we hadn’t packed for a weekend of rain, so we napped half an hour in the car to wait for Nordstrom’s to open so Lisa could go in and buy some more rain-appropriate shoes. Ah, the joys of travel.

We eventually made it to Charlottesville and checked in to the Inn at Court Square, which if anything actually excels its appearance on its website. Our room is furnished with antiques and looks out onto a park, and was gorgeous even in totally pouring rain. (Oh yes. So much for beautiful pictures of the Grounds.) We grabbed a late lunch at Michael’s Bistro and killed time until the first event, the class dinner, at which we met up with a few old friends. More on that in a moment.