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Tuesday, 20 September 2011
After my short stay in New York, it was time to head to Virginia for a workshop at the Airlie Center. It would be hard to imagine anywhere more different from the bright lights of the big city, with 1200 acres of beautiful countryside. Everything was trees and lakes. We saw plenty of deer and geese, and the staff assured us that there were bears, skunks and coyotes in the vicinity. I'm only sorry that my head was so full of tough research questions (and jetlag) that I didn't have that much chance to explore the area.
I did, however, make sure I had plenty of time to explore the food. Airlie grows a lot of its own vegetables, and you could really tell from how beautifully fresh it all was. The buffet format made it possible to try a little of everything at every meal, and there were at least a couple of veggie and vegan options each time.
As well as growing their own food, the Airlie Center uses environmentally friendly and recycled products, and has recycling bins all over the place. Although I didn't actually see any there, the beautiful butterfly garden is specially planted with butterfly-friendly plants.
I didn't even get around to going for a swim, although we did have a discussion meeting at the poolside one day. While the ten minute walk from my room to the main buildings was a nice stroll, it felt a bit far to walk back while dripping and in need of a shower!
The bar was a nice environment to continue chatting into the evening, with very generous measures of gin in their G&Ts, and loads of free snacks.
And can anyone shed any light on why you might want two double beds in your room? (At a conference centre...?)