Thursday, December 20, 2001

I'm back in Alexandria now, and finished up the last of my Christmas shopping early this morning. I was down in Springfield to go malling, so I got to try out some of the recent additions to the "mixing bowl" project where I-95, I-395, and I-495 all meet at the same time. Traffic is horrible during this in-between time, but it looks like things may actually run smoothly when everything is finally open in about twenty years.

A Few Days Up North: Part I of III

The trip to grad schools was a fairly successful one. I drove down to Montclair, VA early Monday morning and we finally left the area around 9:30, missing most of the commuter traffic that plagues the D.C. area. The drive to Princeton was uneventful other than tolls (we spent about $36 on tolls by the end of the trip). We got to Westminster Choir College around one in the afternoon and poked around the campus. The school itself was a tiny plot of land a couple blocks from Princeton University, and it's billed as the music college of Rider University, which was about ten miles down the road in Trenton. The campus itself seemed more like an old seminary, and definitely didn't have the bustle associated with big schools like Tech and FSU. Most of the faculty were involved with end-of-the-year juries, but we managed to snag an admissions person to answer some questions and point us around campus.

The school was so small that we had poked around every cranny by three or four o' clock, and if we hadn't had a motel reservation in New Jersey, we would have just driven straight on to Boston. Since that kept us in the area, we drove around Princeton a bit, and then checked into the fabulous Red Roof Inn in downtown Trenton. Since New Jersey is the home of those foolish U-turn / left-turn circles that are really nothing more than glorified dog exercise areas, it wasn't surprising to find that Route 1 was split down the center by miles of uninterrupted "Jersey" walls. Our motel was right in the middle of such a stretch, and on the wrong side of the highway, so we had to drive several miles in either direction in order to find a way to drive in the other direction. After dinner at Applebee's, we watched Ocean's Eleven at a gargantuan twenty-four screen theatre in town. It was huge -- bigger than me, even. The movie wasn't particularly deep, but it was funny enough and provided a couple hours of light entertainment. It's the kind of movie that you can enjoy without thinking too hard. After the movie, we headed back to the motel and turned in early so we could leave early the next day for Boston.

To be continued tomorrow...

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