Tuesday, September 24, 2013

belated: a summer friend

I've been a little bit wayward with my posts this year (like that one time I posted about our trip to Paris 5 months late), but I'm hoping to be really active in the next few weeks to really catch up on all of our summer happenings!
Sunday was officially the first day of Fall, so it's time to embrace it and say goodbye to summertime.
That being said, I'm going to be posting about summertime for a while...
Maybe I'm not quite ready to say goodbye!

Late in June, I had one of my very longest friends come and visit me.
By longest, I mean, since I was four and I went to get the mail and she kidnapped me and brought me to her house across the street.
I'm not sure why I wasn't more afraid - maybe it was because Amber was exactly like young Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia (if you've seen it, you know what I mean - if you haven't, don't.)
Amber lives with her grandma and great-grandma, who have both been mothers to her, adopting her at a young age. They were a little more concerned about the kidnapping. Where did you get this girl!? 

That house across the street became a magical retreat, a home away from home.
Just like Leslie, Amber was bright, outgoing, imaginative, and an instant friend. She literally hand-picked herself a best friend from the roadside.
Luckily, for everyone involved, she stopped kidnapping children after that. 

She came by train. From Arizona. Yeah, I know. 
She rode a train for 3 days straight, seeing the countryside and slowly but surely arriving in Lynchburg.
It was the first time she's ever left Arizona, or traveled significantly anywhere.
And not only that, but she was doing it by herself!
I would like to take credit for inspiring her to make this journey, and for getting her started on all of her future travel and adventures. :)

We had a really great week.
She spent a lot of time at home, enjoying the weather (and the occasional rainy day) and reading and sketching while we were at school and work.

One of the first things we did was take her to our favorite sushi place, Wasabi.

She also got to meet some of our friends here in Lynchburg!
Over the summer we played a lot of volleyball, so on one particularly beautiful day she came along and watched our game!
The weather was gorgeous and the sand felt so good in our toes. She took a bunch of pictures, which was amazing, because we didn't have any pictures of us playing before. It was one of the defining activities of our summer, so I love having these now!

Best picture ever. This is probably when Dusty tore his pants. 

I love them!

We also got to do a few other things with our friends, which was really fun.
Of course those things included our favorite dessert huts -- Caribbean Snow and Mister Goodies!

There's really not much better than a snow cone hut. Especially when the air is warm and sticky, but there's a nice breeze, and you can get a scoop of ice cream in the bottom of your snow cone cup. Perfection.
We stood around, some of us sitting on at a picnic table, talking and eating our treats.

Mister Goodies is great to go after dark. They have amazing (and inexpensive) ice cream, which they pile on in huge delicious swirls. The best one is the dreamsicle, orange and vanilla! Yum.
Their little hut is covered in lights, and often has a giant inflatable ice cream cone up top. We've gone before when there was live music in front of the many picnic tables, and their menu is quite extensive! I'd like to say I want to try it all, but I think I'd gain 5,000 pounds.

During the week, we chilled out at home, and had a lot of home-cooked meals. We watched some redbox movies (like Hansel & Gretel, and Warm Bodies) and started up the new season of SYTYCD!
Amber has never watched So You Think You Can Dance before, and suffice it to say, she's now hooked. We had a lot of fun watching all of the auditions, since we were a few weeks behind.

She patiently observed some of our photoshoots for Voguish, and we also played some board games, including Clue which was one of our absolute favorite games growing up. 

I am always Mrs. White.

The best part about having people visit us is always going to some of the best, most unique aspects of Lynchburg. Which for us, usually means the restaurants and the downtown area!
I love showing people my favorite nooks and crannies around town. The places you won't find anywhere else, and the places we'll miss the most once we're gone.

One such place is Milan!
Amber got to come and visit me at work, and we went out to lunch. Milan is one of my favorite spots, but I don't get to go there very often. It's one of the top choices whenever my office goes out to eat for a special occasion, like someone's birthday or something, which is how I discovered it. But other than that, Dusty isn't crazy about Indian food and I don't know many people who would go there with me.

They have amazing hot chai tea, and the lunch buffet is delicious.

The biggest bummer of the trip was that Amber got sick! And, in turn, so did I.
We spent one of our weekend days sleeping, and watching movies. It was rather sad. We stayed in our pajamas and just lounged.
Despite us both being sick, though, we powered through and got to do a few last things. Some of my favorite things!

I took her on a tour of downtown. All that really means is we got lost and saw a lot of random stuff.
But I pretended I was just a very thorough tour guide.

We wound up back along main street, and I showed her a few cool spots before we went to the Ploughcroft tea room!

The last time I went to Ploughcroft was for a special Jane Austen event, which was so fun!
I love going to tea rooms. This one is small and cozy, and is always lovely.

Obviously, the downtown experience is incomplete without lavender lattes
The White Hart closed down, but earlier that day Dusty and I had gone downtown to the farmer's market and had breakfast together. Amber was sleeping in, since she had been feeling so sick.
After breakfast at Market at Main, we saw the little sign for the Black Water Coffee Company in the lobby of the bank next door, and decided to check it out.
This coffee company is the coffee that White Hart served - I remember them posting that their little shop in the bank would remain open, but I had never been there.
Well, little did I know, it was a fully functional little coffee bar and they had everything that White Hart had. Including the amazing lavender latte!

Anywho. With this newfound knowledge, I knew I had to take my friend to try one.
White Hart had been one of the places she was most excited to see when she was finally able to visit, so when it closed down, it was very sad, indeed.
Now that the White Hart is open again (as of September 14th), it seems a little sad that she missed it by only a few months!

At least she got to taste the smooth deliciousness that is the lavender latte.

One of the last things we did was go to the Farm Basket.
I wanted to take her somewhere where she could grab a souvenir or two, and Farm Basket is the perfect place for that. It has an amazing gift shop, as well as yummy food and a beautiful backyard with a little creek and lots of greenery.

We hung out on a picnic table in the back, taking pictures of the creek and enjoying the beautiful day. We bought little chocolates, and Amber was able to buy some souvenirs for her family!

The last little treat was going further downtown, over to the Rivermont area to drive down some of our favorite streets and look at the pretty old houses. We also stopped by Magnolia Foods, which is a specialty deli/gourmet food type of shop. It's pretty adorable.
We also saw this kind of amazing bug car outside. Still unsure of its purpose, but I respect it.

We looked around for a long time, and settled for sharing a cupcake and getting some cold pineapple sodas!

What these photos don't show is that when we opened our bottles, they exploded everywhere. 
By fizzy lizzy, they mean crazy fizzy. The entire table was covered with sticky pineapple beverage, and for some reason they were quite stingy with the napkins up front. Maybe there's such a thing as being too fancy for napkin piles?
Anyway, I went into the bathroom and snuck out a ton of paper towels to sop up the mess.
We drank the rest of our delicious pineapple drinks, ate the cupcake and got out of there before they realized what slobs we are.

She had to go back to the train station late that night.
It was sad to see her go, especially since she still had such a long journey ahead of her!
But it was such a great visit and I can't wait to see where she goes next.
Hopefully she'll get the nerve to fly next time ;)