Running in Philadelphia

Christmas shopping,  done.  Drinks or coffees or walking dates every day with friends I’ve neglected during the term, ongoing.  Syllabi for winter quarter, done.  Tree up and decorated, done.  Cookie bake off,  planned. 

So it must be time to think about the 2009 MLA Convention: Which sessions will I plan to go to? Am I ready for my session? Which friends back east will I get together with in Philly?  Which cocktail parties shall I attend? Can I fit 3 fat novels, my netbook, winter boots, dressing pumps, running shoes, and actual clothes in my carry-on luggage?

And, most importantly, where can I RUN in Philadelphia? 

Since I’ve become obsessed with started long distance running, whenever I travel now I seek out the prettiest running trails (though I’m quite partial to my own local river trail).  And clearly I’m not the only one since most cities now have websites devoted to runners, including Run for Fun – PhiladelphiaUSA.travel.

If all that snow melts by the time I get there, I hope to run in Fairmont Park or this 8 mile run that will take me at some point to the famous Art Museum steps (remember Rocky?). 

In June 1870, a young Kate Chopin was on her extended honeymoon with Oscar, and they stopped for a few days in Philadelphia.   Biographer Emily Toth notes that the city itself didn’t thrill her at first, but Chopin conceded in her journal that “Fairmont is pretty though, a very pretty park, and I hardly think we will see any lovelier view in Europe than we had from the rising ground of the park, of the Schyulkill River, bright and sparkling–with its picturesque little boat houses–the city–like Campbell’s mountain looking more enchanting in the distance, and the full round moon staying the departure of twilight.”

Well I probably won’t be in a romantic mood at MLA09, and it will be just a bit colder in December than in Chopin’s June (despite global warming) but the next full moon does peak next week.

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Summer’s Golden Days

bike-traffic-along-stanleyBack from nearly 2 weeks visiting stunningly beautiful  British Columbia (Victoria and Vancouver) with a stop in Port Townsend, Washington.  Vancouver is one of those cities that seems to have done it right: lots of green space, and miles of trails for runners, including my favorite one through Stanley Park along the water.  The weather was so stunning, we spent most of our time outdoors (strolling, ferry riding, eating and sampling brews on outside patios), missing, alas, the famed Museum of Anthropology–which just means I need to go back.

Victoria was also beautiful, a smaller city, and we stayed across from the bay again, at the charming Dashwood Manor, so near another stunning running trail along the Straight of Juan de Fuca. We also visited Butchart Gardens and recognized what the flowers in my garden would look like if I lived in such a climate (without deer, and with a full time landscaping staff).  Also visited a few wineries and a gin distillery, and we discovered that there are folks out there who do serious gin tastings (it’s delish, btw–we bought a bottle). 

Several of our road trip stops were at past (ancient history?) Hollywood locations, including Roslyn, WA (where Northern Exposure was filmed), and the bar (now called Water St. Pub, it has great beer) and the officers’ quarters in Port Townsend, WA,  where An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed almost 30 years ago.

(But no, we didn’t do the “Twilight” tour, in case you were wondering.)

So now I’m back: laundry and food shopping are done, pics are downloaded but not sorted, and I have a MA thesis to read, so I’m sitting in my new (and improved) office at work trying to focus and not be distracted by all the bloggings I missed while I was travelling.

There are twelve more summer days until the fall term meetings begin (yes, I know those of you on the semester system are already hard at work, but we on the quarter system, we who teach well into JUNE, get a lovely reprieve in fall).