Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Homecoming Weekend at William & Mary

We spent William & Mary’s homecoming weekend in Williamsburg, not because I wanted to hang out with fellow alumni, but because that’s when they schedule a lot of the events I want to see. It was actually my 30th reunion year, but I didn’t register to go to any of the events specifically designed for alums. To me, nothing says “recipe for awkward” like an expensive cocktail reception with people you don’t really remember, and who certainly don’t remember you. But we had a great time anyway, so I will give you the highlights in photo form:

Although the forecast was threatening rain, it held off long enough to get in the Homecoming Parade, which was canceled last year because of bad weather. The parade marches down Duke of Gloucester St., the main street in the restored area. Historic eras collide when the 18th century costumed interpreters turn out to watch the 21st century parade. That's the colonial courthouse in the background, and the Pep Band in the foreground.

This float represents William & Mary's unofficial Triathlon: Climbing the wall of the Governor's Palace, streaking through the Sunken Garden, and swimming in Crim Dell.

Just for kicks, here's a couple of photos of the Homecoming float our campus apartment complex created for Homecoming 1975, my sophomore year. Those are my roommates, Jane and Leslie, carrying the banner. I was a budding art student, and I made the backdrop on the float. "Like Puss 'n Boots, Bobcats Will Beg for Mercy!" I have no clue who the Bobcats were.

While we were waiting for the parade to start, we walked around the Farmer's Market in Market Square, and ran into Dr. Pat Elliott, the owner and founding cheesemaker of Everona Dairy near Rapidan, in the countryside between Fredericksburg and Orange. We'd been to an open house at her dairy before, which is a great little outing, and were excited to hear that she's planned another one for Sat., December 6.

Right after the parade, we stopped at the student center for a buffet brunch. We started with made to order omelets. You can choose all veggies, and even fat-free egg substitute, but all the omelets start with a ladleful of oil, so there really isn't a healthy choice here. Actually, you wouldn't go to W&M for the food, and I'm sure the students get sick of basically the same lineup everyday, but for us, it's still a treat.

After his enormous sausage and cheese omelet, my husband moves on to southern biscuits covered in goopy gravy, some corned beef hash, and the piece de resistance, the homemade Belgian waffle. As soon as he sees that wafflemaker, his eyes light up. They had one at the hotel we stayed at, too, so he managed to have one at each breakfast. As the guy in front of him on line said, waiting for your waffle to bake is the longest 2 minutes of your day.

Before the game, the Pep Band plays for the tailgating alumni. I discovered this great trick that if I take a photo of my son while he's playing, he can't avoid the camera. We also got to see him play in the Wind Symphony on Friday night.

The Pep Band at the football game. I'm generally more interested in the band than the football, but in this case, there was a lot of scoring, we beat the Rhode Island Rams, and the rains held off, so it was a good day on all counts.

We ended Saturday evening by taking our son out to dinner at the Kings Arms, one of the colonial taverns in the restored district. I went when I was a student, so thought it would be nice for my son to experience it once before he graduates in May. The ambiance is lovely, with dining by candlelight and service by costumed wait staff who regale you with historical tidbits. Definitely don't go for the food. It's overpriced, and pretty pedestrian. But, hey, I promised to do something extravagant this weekend, right?

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