Monday, February 14, 2011

The Day of Fun

With the arrival of warmer temperatures, I promise a return to the regularly scheduled programming. But before that, I wanted to share another kind of adventure I had yesterday.

For those who don't know, I have been a part of a pair of people (a couple, you might say) for quite a few years now (seven...but who's counting?). We've never been big on Valentine's Day. We had a long-distance relationship for the first three years, and we weren't always together on what many couples might consider the "major" milestones or holidays (i.e., anniversaries, Valentine's Day, etc.). On top of that, our relationship has encompassed the end of college and the beginning of our lives as "regular" adults, so we haven't always had a lot of money to throw around. I imagine another reason we aren't big on it is that we're just not very sappy, especially in ways that might be considered "public."

A few years ago, we came up with our own non-sappy and wallet-friendly alternative to V-Day. We call it Brian and Kelsey's Day of Fun (title shamelessly stolen from an episode of Friends in which Janice convinces Joey to have Joey and Janice's Day of Fun in an effort to win him over). This year, Day of Fun (or DOF, as it shall henceforth be known), was yesterday, February 13. We did it a little different than in years past, when we've had a full day planned from the outset. This year, Brian took the morning and I took the afternoon, and we planned activities without telling each other what they were.

So, at 9:00 am on Sunday, we were up and at 'em and on our way to our first destination. Brian had told me we would be about an hour away from home, so I really had no idea what we were doing. We ended up in former capital of the United States, current capital of Maryland and home to the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
I had no idea Annapolis was so cute! I'm a little mad at myself for living in DC for five years and never venturing out US 50 to check it out. Nerds that we are, the first thing we did was check out Annapolis Running Shop, where we bought new kicks and I got new running knickers...because we didn't already have enough athletic clothing hanging out in our apartment.

Then we walked around the City Dock for a bit, dropping into boutiques (I had to acquire an Annapolis shot glass...I'm one of those classy collectors) and admiring sailboats.
Us, in front of sailboats
Brian's ultimate goal was to tour the Maryland State House. It's the oldest state capitol building in continuous legislative use, and just like the US Capitol or any others, you can go inside! It also was the US Capitol temporarily before the capital moved to DC. The outside of the State House can be seen in that first picture up there.

State House, sideways-style

They are in the process of doing an "archaeological investigation" inside the building right now, and they are restoring the original Senate chamber to what it would have looked like back then in colonial times.

You can see Brian perusing the original draft of George Washington's speech resigning as commander of the Continental Army, which he delivered right in front of that blue cubby hole in the wall.

The governor of Maryland at the time also adopted the Articles of Confederation in this room, making them the 13th and final colony to ratify and establishing the "perpetual union" of the United States. I get a tingly, historical feeling just thinking about it.

Current Senate Chamber

Of course, the Maryland legislature still meets in this building (although not in this room). Their digs are pretty spiffy, in my humble opinion. I also liked the prolific trash cans, presumably to keep the chambers as spic and span when occupied as when they're vacant for the weekend.

On our way out, I saw a sign in a hallway that admonished "No Lobbyists Allowed." I'm registered as a federal lobbyist, and not registered to lobby the state of Maryland, but I felt a little unwelcome nonetheless...

I was unable to find my REAL camera before we got in the car to leave and only had my iPhone, so taking pictures of the stuff around the State House wasn't as exciting as it could have been, but I got some nice shots of Brian playing with a cannon that dated from the 1600s (which also apparently sat at the bottom of the St. Mary's River for like a century...oh, if that cannon could talk).
And right at this moment, the flung cigarette butt of an
absent-minded tourist lit the long-dormant gunpowder...
We also looked at the governor's mansion (of which I did not take an acceptable photo) and the legislative buildings (of which I did).
The other MD government buildings.
Terrible photo of the
governor's house. It's behind
the gate, trust me.

Our next stop was the Ram's Head Tavern and Fordham Brewery, which has been around in some form or another since the 1700s. We naturally tried the Fordham Brewery sampler.

After lunch, my part of DOF began...and the first stop was decidedly less high-brow than our tour of Annapolis. I discovered this crazy place up in Columbia, Md., thanks to a January post in the Going Out Guide at It's called Monster Mini Golf. And it's hilarious. How do I describe this? The picture on the website gives you a glimpse, but is really not sufficient. It's indoor miniature golf, on a course full of monsters and gravestones, painted in neon and lit up with blacklights. We had to wait about a half hour before it was our turn to hit the links, so we entertained ourselves with a round of Guitar Hero (I wiped the floor with Brian) and a few rounds of Skee Ball. Just enough to earn us 23 tickets, which we promptly exchanged for a handful of Tootsie Rolls. This is the stuff of DOF heaven.

When we got on the course, it was a complete blast. There was a DJ in the corner playing songs we all know and pretend not to like, and there were dance contests and trivia contests and just general happiness all around. We weren't the only 20-somethings taking it all in, either. There were a few kids' birthday parties going on, but it wasn't really the complete kindergarten sh*tshow I had sort of expected. What WAS a sh*tshow was my golf game. Brian beat me. Sad day...I hate losing. Which is why I challenged him to a second round of Guitar Hero and once again proved my dominance, restoring some of my dignity.

Our final stop of the day was the only romantical one, and really it has an unhappy ending so it's not all sunshine and roses. The AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Md., is a national treasure. It's an artfully restored theater first built in 1930s that is also the home to a film and cultural center of the American Film Institute. The theater shows first-run major motion pictures as well as documentaries, arthouse films and classics. (There is a Ginger Rogers retrospective going on right now, and a Hitchcock one coming up...must-see.) We went to see a 50th anniversary showing of West Side Story, which Brian had never seen. West Side Story was based on the stage musical of the same name (which was in turn based on a novel), featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by the unmatchable Stephen Sondheim. To this date, it holds the record number of Oscars for a musical, with 10 total including Best Picture. For those who aren't familiar, it's also based on that oft-copied and much analyzed Shakespeare drama, Romeo and Juliet. I warned Brian of that beforehand...didn't want him expecting a warm and fuzzy end...

With the movie over and the sun going down, we headed home to watch the episode of Jersey Shore we missed on Thursday and cook something for dinner. Our day wasn't expensive or flashy or even particularly romantic, but it sure was fun :).

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