Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waterside, Wine Fest, and Beautiful Weather

Hey y'all! Where the heck did October go? I was dreading it because it was going to be so busy, then I woke up and it was November! Whew! It least it's out of the way though.

I'm behind. Really, really behind (this is a picture heavy post, so you can skip my blabber to see them if ya like). I have so much to share! October stayed pretty mild for the most part, and fall didn't really hit until the end of October. I walked in the JDRF 5k with the fam, offered blood pressure screenings with some of my classmates at an American Heart Association Heart Walk, picked and painted pumpkins, attended a pharmacy conference, wined and dined at a wine fest, survived Sandy, and did a little gallivanting too. My plan - to share it all throughout this week.

First things first. Thanksgiving. I love it. The smells. The sounds. The meaning. It will NEVER get old to me. And the food ain't so bad either. I'm responsible for the cran sauce this year. What's that? Cran sauce comes in a can? Wrong. My nannie has made some decadent cran sauces over the years, and while mine may not be fancy-shmancy like hers, it will be pretty awesome. You just watch - I'll keep ya posted.

Enough turkey day talk, let's get back to that wine fest I mentioned. One of my very best girlfriends lives just down the street from me at the beach and she has a little part-time gig at Total Wine. When she told me she got this job, all I heard was, "Susan, I got a part-time thingy at Total Wine, so I can get mad discounts on wine for you and share all my wine perks since you're my favorite person in the world." Okay, okay - she may not have said that per se, but she has been sharing the wealth.

The weekend that I painted pumpkins, Sara (wine perk girlfriend) texted me that she might possibly have a Town Point Wine Fest ticket for me for the following weekend. Remember that pharmacy conference I mentioned? Well, it was taking place at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, and the Town Point Virginia Wine Fest was taking place just down the street at Town Point Park . . . just minutes after my conference wrapped up. Sounds like perfect timing all around, right? Right! I took it as a sign to attend. She and I used to do so much together, but since pharmacy school kinda took over, we haven't been able to hang as much. This was the perfect opportunity. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day - even got a little sun on my face.

I called her after my conference was over, and she and her main man (Matt) were headed my way. If you don't know anything about the Hampton Roads area, well . . . there's traffic. Kinda like DC traffic, except kinda worse. If you don't know anything about Norfolk, VA, well . . . I'd call it an urban city (much like Richmond), therefore parking is . . . your worst nightmare. Another cool tidbit - Norfolk is a huge naval hub. HUGE. With all of that being said, I just summed it up that they would be a while - good thing I brought my camera!

I leisurely walked along the Elizabeth River, passed by Town Point Park, finally making it to Nauticus (told her to meet me there). If you're ever in or around Norfolk, please make it a point to visit Nauticus. You won't regret it for a second. It is literally fun for persons of every age. Nauticus is a naval museum that also happens to have the USS Wisconsin Battleship available for you to explore! There are tons of Navy veterans standing around telling you stories and tons of information that only they would know! I've been in the museum and on the ship a few times, and it's always fun for me. Maybe I'm a nerd?

Once I got to Nauticus, I parked my behind on a park bench and people-watched for a good hour or so, and let me tell you - it was some of the best people watching I've done in a while. I knew that this was a busy area, but I could not understand where the hoards of people were coming from! They couldn't all be coming for the wine festival?! I finally figured out that there's a cruise ship port to the left of Nauticus, and people were boarding the cruise ship! Lucky ducks!

Here's where I shut my trap and let the pictures speak for themselves.

This is Navy industry at its best. This pretty sunrise greeted me on Saturday morning before the conference (Portsmouth, VA just over that way).

These items were inside of a financial building that I had to walk through, to get to my conference. I'd love to have a scaled down version of the ship for a nautical themed bathroom. For whatever reason, I couldn't get that idea out of my head all day haha. That neon mermaid may not have a place in my bathroom, but neat none-the-less. 
There's a story about the mermaids. Ever been in a city where there are different statues of the same thing? For example - Richmond has fish, the Outer Banks has winged horses, and Norfolk has mermaids. I'm certain there are tons of other cities that have statues like this, but those are just the ones that I know of. Essentially, the same statue can be found around the city, but each one looks different. Don't ask me how or why, they just do haha.

Here's where my stroll along the Elizabeth River started. Why the black and white of the bridge? This isn't just any bridge. This is the Berkley Bridge. What's special about it? Glad you asked! See the tower in the picture on the left? It contains a watchman because this bridge is scheduled to open up at various times throughout the day. This means that traffic stops, the bridge opens, and ships pass through. It's called a bascule bridge (according to Wiki). Pretty cool right? One of my dad's long-time friends is in the Navy, and one year, we joined him on his ship for friends and family day. I actually got to be on the ship and watch the bridge open so that we could pass through! Pretty cool I'd say. 

I pretty much just love this. Who says I can't get good bokeh with my lens?

I think they may have missed their boat . . .

This street cart vendor reminded me of an old-timey carnival.

This is my where nautical-themed bathroom idea began to expand . . . every time I snapped a pic. 

See? More mermaids.

Finally made it to Nauticus. Prepare yourselves for the enormity that is the USS Wisconsin.

The last time I was on the Wisconsin (about three years ago), she was still a fully functioning ship - meaning she could still be used whenever deemed necessary (not sure if that's still the case). What's even more crazy? She's only sitting in a few feet of water!

There's the cruise ship I mentioned, just behind the Wisconsin.

Sorry for the weird plant all in focus - this is where I got lazy and people watched. Do you see that long line of people waiting to get on that cruise ship (this is when the line was short too)? Crazy amounts of people! But then again, look at how big that cruise ship is!

Could. Not. Pass. This. Up. These two fellas were a riot. They've probably been friends longer than I've been alive, but they were a hoot.

Here's the museum. Go. Do it. Please!

Nautical-themed bathroom idea took over here. Could you not see this blown up large on a canvas?? It's all I see. Nautical-themed bathroom is a happening. 

Sara and Matt finally found somewhere to park, they found me, and we went on in to the wine fest. People from every walk of life enjoy wine apparently haha. Who knew? There were tons of people - largest wine fest I've ever been to. 
I bought a bottle of the Red Star 2010 from Veritas. I've had their White Star at another wine fest, and absolutely loved it. I've not been to Veritas before, but it's in another very beautiful area of Virginia and has won quite a few awards. Jefferson Vineyards' Pinot Gris still remains my favorite.

The cruise ship was ginormous!! We were at the wine fest for a few hours and it was still in port right before sunset. She finally started to pull away and everyone at the wine fest was waving at them and those on board were waving right back - it was hilarious!

Sara and Matt - take 3 out of like 20. 

The day began to draw to a close, so we headed back to our car (Matt was so kind to be DD) with pizza on the brain. As we rounded the corner, the sun decided to give us a little show, and boy did she!

It doesn't get much better than that, does it? I'm so thankful for friends that are understanding of my chaotic and stressful life - ones that pick up right where we left off.