Our first destination is the State Arboretum of Virginia, UVA's Blandy Experimental Farm. We give the secret librarian handshake and quick as a wink, we're inside the Blandy library.
As cool as libraries are, we're really here to see the Ginkgo Grove. The 300-tree ginkgo grove is the largest such grove in North America. Seeds collected in 1929 from a single mother tree on UVA grounds were planted at the Blandy Farm and 300 of those seeds grew to maturity. We enjoy the privilege of walking under the ginkgo canopy more than 80 years on.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is definitely a Michael Graves building. Upstairs, the main gallery is topped by a stylized timber structure suggestive of a Shenandoah Valley barn. I quickly remember another Graves-designed ceiling, the barrel vaults at the NCAA office. Mr. Graves likes for us to look up.
Six acres of gardens surround the museum. We find the Chinese garden unexpectedly impressive. Moss, stone, water, bamboo, and Koi are expertly stitched into this nearly hidden, serene, and superb Shenandoah landscape.
Our fun day ends with another drive-in movie, Star Trek Into Darkness at the Family Drive-In in Stephens City. While Bengie's Drive-In had boasted of the largest screen in the country, the Family Drive-In boasts of being the only 2-screen drive-in theater in Virginia (and perhaps one of the smallest screens.) The theater guy and UDITOA report 9 drive-in theaters are still operating in Virginia, but I can only find 8 (Christiansburg, Goochland, Keysville, Lexington, Marion, Moneta, Norton, Stephens City). Does anyone know the 9th?