Discovering Fredericksburg

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We’ve been coming to Fredericksburg, VA consistently for 11 years, since we first approached the Digital Creations team (now called Zope Corporation) about a possible investment.

Since July 2001, the number (and length) of visits increased dramatically and has remained steady. That’s because since then, we have both been involved more in the operational details of Zope Corporation than we had been previously.

From other posts, you may know that I am back in the swing of regular exercise, something I had done a good job of for a number of years in a row and fell off the bandwagon last fall. When we’re in Fredericksburg (which can be two weeks a month) I am more inconsistent. There were times when I was religious about using the tiny gym in our hotel. There were also long stretches of blissful laziness. 😉

To combat that laziness, Lois took matters into her own hands (even though she doesn’t exercise at all, she’s judicious in supporting me and even in pushing me if I admit to being lazy). Unbeknownst to me, she sent an email to a number of the single guys at Zope asking if they wanted to walk me. Specifically, the subject line of her email to them was Walking Hadar 🙂 (smiley included in the subject line). When I finally saw it, I felt like a doddering old man. 😉

Tuesday evening, four of us walked along the Fredericksburg Canal (after work). It was a slightly more leisurely pace than I normally walk at back in NY, but it was beautiful and the company was excellent. We walked for just under an hour, and the four of us grabbed dinner at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

A quick digression. Lois is a history buff of the first order. For seven years she has been begging me to visit the various battefield sites in Fredericksburg. For any number of reasons (mostly because I’m mean and lazy she would likely say) we haven’t gone (and therefore she hasn’t gone). Now back to our story…

On Thursday evening, the same gang of four decided to try a different walk. We chose one of the battlefield sites, located on Lee Drive. I admit to feeling a little guilty that I would get to see the battlefield site before Lois would, but that’s just the way things were going to work out…

So, after work, we met at the base of Lee Hill. It’s a reasonably steep uphill climb of roughly 1/4 of a mile. At the top are two canons, a few placards, and not much else. We came down a few minutes later. We drove to the next parking spot (perhaps another 1/4 of a mile up Lee Drive). We entered the trail there into the woods (after seeing the two obligatory canons at the head of the trail).

In total, we walked in the winding woods, up and down hills, for roughly an hour. There was little about the walk that made me feel battlefield, or even anything historic, but it was a great walking trail and good exercise. The company was good (again), but less chatting, because the trail is very narrow, so we walked single file. At the end, rather than walk back through the woods, we walked back along the road itself (where people were jogging and biking as well). We chatted a lot more then.

When we got back to the cars, our total walk time was just under two hours. It was a very nice workout. We decided to throw away the entire benefit of the exercise, and grabbed dinner at Five Guys (hamburgers and fries).

Before Tuesday’s walk, we had planned on getting together Saturday morning for a walk as well. This time there were five of us. We lost one of the original gang of four (he was supposed to be out camping over the weekend, but his plans changed a number of times). We picked up two additional walkers. We decided to redo the second part of Thursday’s walk on Lee Drive.

This time we returned through the same woods rather than taking the road, so the total trip (since we skipped the first Lee Hill part) was 90 minutes round trip. We walked single file, very little chatting, and maintained a reasonably good pace throughout. Since the end was mostly uphill, we finished on an exercise high.

We parted for showers and a drop of down time, then all met for lunch at Uno Chicago Grill. We also picked up the guy who walked Tue and Thu making seven in total for lunch (Lois joined us for lunch as well). Here’s a photo of all of the guys, Lois took it, which is why she isn’t in it. Plus, she didn’t walk with us, so she didn’t earn the right to be in the photo. 😉

Zope Guys Uno Chicago Grill

After lunch four of us went to see the new movie WALL-E. It has superb animation and the story is cute, but to me, there was nothing special about the movie. I chuckled a bunch and there were zero unpleasant moments, so it was a relaxing way to spend a few hours. That said, the young kids in the audience squealed with delight, so that’s the only age group that I can highly recommend the movie to.

Anyway, all in all, great exercise, great company, a touch of history (if a little underwhelming), a mindless (but cute) movie, followed by collapse in the hotel room. Thanks guy, and thanks to Lois for making it all happen!

P.S. When we travel, I have various tray tables with me for different situations. In the hotel, I use a tray table meant to serve breakfast in bed, but I put a laptop table (from Bed Bath & Beyond) on top, since my laptop is way too heavy for the thin part that the plates are supposed to sit on. For a number of reasons, I forgot (first time!) to bring the tray table and laptop table. Luckily, I had an identical tray table at the apartment (where we left from this time), but no laptop table to put on top.

I decided that I would either buy a new one ($10) or perhaps just get a single piece of plexiglass or wood at Home Depot. I mentioned that to Rob Page (CEO of Zope Corporation) and he told me that he could cut me a piece of wood to do the trick.

Indeed, he did, and here are the photos to prove how well it fit and worked. I prefer it to my laptop table, so I’ll be traveling with this block of wood from now on. You can also get a sense of the size of my beast of a laptop. It weighs nearly 14 pounds with the power supply brick, which is why I need a table to support it rather than putting it on my actual lap…

Block of WoodBlock of Wood and the Beast

Thanks Rob! 🙂