Stumbling Upon Virginia Tech

We slept in this morning, deciding it was more important to be well rested than to exercise before two long days of driving home.  We left Wytheville VA around 11 this morning, planning lunch at Gillie’s in Blacksburg.  We read good things about Gillie’s—lots of vegan choices and a great way to start the journey home.  Parking was a bit challenging, but we soon found a lot within close walking distance.  Twenty-five cents-an-hour was a far better deal than we expected and we dropped in our two quarters, ready to eat and then explore the fun-looking little downtown area after lunch.

Gillie’s was hoppin’ busy.  We managed to get a table right away, and as we waited for our waitress, we took note of the re-purposed tables and chairs, all old, mostly oak, and the interesting selection of flatware, plates, and glasses.  Nice to see this kind of recycling on Earth Day!  We ordered coffees with soy milk and two vegan entrees to share.

The seitan and mushroom burger with chipotle vegan mayo was yummy, as was the grilled veggie open-faced sandwich with vegan cheese.  As we ate, we noticed how many other diners seemed to be either college students or professors.  We asked the waitress if we were near a school.

“You are!  You are at Virginia Tech!”

We had no idea.  We pressed her with more questions and learned that Virginia Tech is also a school with a very well-known and respected architecture program.

“One of the best in the country!” she chirped.  She told us her roommate had majored in architecture, and this was project pin-up week.  I looked at Savannah.  I knew we were both thinking the same thing.  How could we have missed this school?  And when could we come back and have a real visit?

We gorged ourselves on dessert.  Vegan chocolate espresso cake with chocolate ganache frosting.  We shared one slice, but were full enough afterward to have a little trouble breathing.  Glad to be able to stand at last, we paid our bill and took to the town to walk off some of lunch.

We looked in lots of shops—dress shops, import shops, Virginia Tech’s school store.  The people we met were kind and friendly.  The town felt safe.  We strolled along in the damp spring air, the smell of cherry blossoms filling us with hope.  We found a tee shirt bearing the school mascot drawn into an intricate abstract design for Savannah to bring home.  She will wear it as a reminder that there is a new choice, one we stumbled upon by surprise.

We drove the rest of the day in the rain, talking excitedly about the possibility of Virginia Tech, wondering what they would have to offer, what it would be like to be in that friendly community for five or six years of college.  Of all the states we drove through, we both thought Virginia was the most beautiful, with it’s rolling hills and tall mountains, its farms, green pastures and grazing cattle.  As we flew by the scenery along the highway, I heard my daughter breath the word ‘cows’ over and over again in awe, and the click of the camera as she took one picture after another through the rolling raindrops on the windows.

Tomorrow we will drive the rest of the way home—back to daily life—but with the promise of a new choice in our pockets.

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2 Comments on “Stumbling Upon Virginia Tech”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Elizabeth,
    I’m very disappointed that you haven’t been in touch with your southern cousins on this trip. Lisa’s first husband went to Tech; she could give you good information about the school. We both could, in fact, give you good info. on many schools in and around this area. As you had to have traveled I81 to get where you were going, we could have arranged to meet somewhere.

  2. Craig Says:

    Cows…… I love it.
    Sounds like VT was a great find.


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