Ramble On

Sunday, January 13, 2008

SMART Car Revisted

The Smart cars are coming soon. Chris keeps me posted on the status of the dealership out in Tysons Corner, and now we have this WaPo article that gives a review.

Also, while I am on the topic, here is a photo of a Smart in Berlin, taken during my May 2001 visit. The city council had passed a special law related to parking the little cars - this one is parked illegally, but you can see the flexibility they offer. In Berlin, three Smarts are allowed to park in two parallel spaces. That's part of what makes them an ideal city car in my opinion - and it seems to be how the Post columnist feels about them.

Now: will I buy one? It wouldn't work for the cabin, where we need all wheel drive and cargo space. But for the city - I'm already sold.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More to do at the Caverns

In addition to the caves themselves, the owners at Luray Caverns have a couple of additional attractions that can take up some time.

There is a garden maze - empty and closed the day we visited, although it was a great day.

There is also a collection of antique wagons and cars - two views here. Mary told me that when the National Building Museum (http://www.nbm.org/) did their architecture of the highways show a few years back, this museum is where they got the loaner Model T. There are quite a lot of interesting cars there, but the collection ends in the '30's. And they really haven't done much with the displays, as you can see here - just rows and rows of cars that you walk by...really just glorified storage for somebody's very cool collection.

Of course, there are a couple of souvenir stands at the cavern and there is a cafe. Most of this stuff was closed for the season this weekend, however.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Worth a Visit? Yes -

It was only a matter of time until we visited "the beautiful caverns of Luray." We'd learned that the Luray Caverns are probably the second most important economic engine in Page County - they bring in 600K tourists per year (agriculture is more important, but readers are welcome to correct me). So on Sunday, since it was raining in the morning and our hike was postponed, we took a drive over to go spelunking.

There is pretty significant lore about the caverns - they were discovered in the 1870's and are the largest ones in the area (I know of two or three other caverns in the area so far).

Here are a couple of highlight photos, with apologies for the motocam quality - which doesn't do the sites any kind of justice. There are higher quality images at http://www.luraycaverns.com/ along with descriptions of some of the related activities and development there.

The underground tour covers about a mile and a quarter and takes an hour. The route is paved, but there is a staircase down into the caverns that descends about 40 feet - it may be accessible but is not specifically advertised as such.

The third photo looks down into the "Wishing Well" - a pool of water where people are invited to through in loose change. Well over a million dollars have been donated through this feature.

Also, the town of Luray elected to put up a small memorial to its war dead down in the cavens, since more visitors are likely to see it there. There are bronze plaques in honor of the fallen from WW1 and WW2, Korea and Vietnam.

We have heard about local government meetings being held down there, dances and balls, and weddings. I have no doubt that at some point during the last 6 years, Dick Cheney has been there too.

Wassily Joins the Family

The cabin was built in the early ‘50’s, so as often as we can, we hope to be able to use mid-century modern furnishings in it. It is one of the fun aspects of the place, to try and decipher what influenced our builder, and then to try and imagine what the earliest furnishings looked like.

Our friend Barbara visited this weekend, and offered us this Wassily chair, which we sincerely appreciate. Here is a description of the chair from an unsourced commercial site…

Marcel Breuer designed the Wassily Chair in 1925-26 while he was working at the Bauhaus in Germany. The Wassily Chair was not designed for the non-objective painter Wassily Kandinsky, despite popular belief; Breuer's design was inspired in part by the curved tubular steel handlebars on his Adler bicycle. Kandinsky had admired the completed design, and Breuer made an additional copy for Kandinsky's personal quarters. Chrome plated steel tube frame. Saddle leather seat/back/arms.

Also, Mary gave me this fire pit over the holidays. When I considered these things over the last few years, I imagined that you put a pile of firewood in them and set the blaze, but that is really not the case…you can’t load ‘em up and start an inferno. But I bought one of those fake logs made out of sawdust and wax, and that made for quite a cozy little situation out there during my initial use of the fire pit - looking forward to more of this.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year Thoughts

Here we are at the start of a new year – 2008. A happy and prosperous one to everybody! This year will be one of exciting change, and hopefully, full of positive developments for each of us as the result!

An old friend recently commented that the Hawksbill Cabin reminded him of the Tor House, poet Robinson Jeffers’ home in Carmel, California. Jeffers died in 1962, and was deemed a controversial artist in poetry circles. I’ve always found the strong natural images in his work to be inspiring, so taking a moment to reflect on some favorite Jeffers poems is a fine way to start 2008.

This one is from a volume I picked up in Big Sur a few years ago, Robinson Jeffers: Selected Poems


A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again.
I will go down to the lovely Sur Rivers
And dip my arms in them up to the shoulders.
I will find my accounting where the alder leaf quivers
In the ocean wind over the river boulders.
I will touch things and things and no more thoughts,
That breed like mouthless May-flies darkening the sky,
The insect clouds that blind our passionate hawks
So that they cannot strike, hardly can fly.
Things are the hawk’s food, and noble is the mountain,
Oh noble
Pico Blanco, steep sea-wave of marble.