The weekend

I had a lovely weekend, beginning with dinner on Friday night with two of my favorite bloggers, Emily and Becky, and various spouses, sisters, and friends at a place called Bloodroot, a self-described feminist vegetarian restaurant and bookstore (the website explains their philosophy, particularly in this essay). Every single one of us got lost on the way there, but it was well worth the trouble of finding our way. It’s basically one large room with books at one end, right next to the kitchen, and tables at the other. Hobgoblin and I arrived first and so had plenty of time to look at the books, which was dangerous, because I came across something I couldn’t resist: Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray, an 18C novel that isn’t widely available. In spite of my best intentions, how could I resist?

The restaurant is a cozy, casual place, the kind of place where you can get to know the owner a bit (which we did) and can easily strike up conversations with strangers (which one person in my group did), and where you’ll find a notice that asks you not to inquire about or comment on the number of calories in the food because it feeds into our culture’s dangerous obsession with body image.

The conversation was lively, which was no surprise, but I was a bit surprised to find fellow athletes and outdoors enthusiasts in the company, and we had fun talking about the local parks and cycling culture. It turns out I’ve been riding my bike past Becky’s house for a long time without knowing it.

Then yesterday Hobgoblin and I headed down to New York City to celebrate my birthday (which is tomorrow — unfortunately no good for celebrations, as it’s my first day of class). We headed for the Morgan Library and Museum, an institution I had never visited, and now I’m wondering why not. Many thanks to Emily, who’s recent post gave me the idea to go. It was fabulous, and I recommend you see it if you get the chance. You can look around Pierpont Morgan’s library, which is stunning — actually you can see his study and his librarian’s office as well as the library, and all three rooms take your breath away. It seemed like he had every book published in the 19C or earlier, every one of them beautifully bound.

The rest of the museum had some wonderful items as well; my favorite part was the medieval and renaissance manuscript collection (all those illuminated manuscripts) and the collection of more modern literary artifacts, including a handwritten page of Joyce’s Ulysses and poems by Auden and Eliot in their handwriting.

Then Hobgoblin and I spent some time in bookstores, this time without buying anything (amazingly enough), had a nice dinner, and headed home. Not a bad way to spend a weekend!

21 Comments

Filed under Books, Life

21 responses to “The weekend

  1. You are going to love “Adeline Mowbray”!

    Happy birthday, and good luck with the first day of classes…

  2. Cam

    Happy Birthday.

    The website for Bloodroot is “food for thought” regarding politics and food.

  3. What a lovely weekend! That museum sounds amazing, and books and food together – fantastic.

    Happy Birthday.

  4. Sounds like a dream weekend! Happy birthday, Dorothy, hope this is going to be a wonderful year for you.

  5. What a lovely weekend! And a very, very Happy Birthday for tomorrow/today!

  6. verbivore

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend – and Happy Birthday to you!

  7. We used to have similar bookshop in London called Silver Moon, which when it first opened had a cafe in the basement. However, it became very commercial, expanded and somehow lost its way before eventually having to close. I do hope this doesn’t happen to Bloodroot which sounds superb.

  8. Happy Birthday Dorothy! It sounds like you had a nice weekend, and hopefully today will be nice as well (despite having to work!). The Morgan Library and Museum sounds wonderful. I suppose they don’t allow you to just wander around and pull books off the shelves? It’s nice to know his collection was preserved!

  9. Happy birthday, Dorothy! I’m glad you had such a wonderful weekend.

  10. zhiv

    Happy birthday! Sounds like you had fun–I’ve wanted to go to the Morgan Library a bunch of times (and don’t get to NYC very often), but it was closed for a while there I think. I’m wondering if anybody has read the Jean Strouse biography of Morgan, which I think might have won some prizes and looks pretty interesting. I read her Alice James biography way back when, and I remember it as being a breakthrough book. So part of the intrigue is how do you go from Alice James to JP Morgan, and I would be interested in a good book about Morgan’s collecting history regardless. But I like that kind of stuff. I’ve moved on from my biography mode, more or less, but I thought I would mention the constellation of a good library, good biographer, and interesting subject.

  11. Happy Birthday Dorothy! I hope that you’re having a fabulous day, beginning of term notwithstanding.

  12. Thank you for your comments everyone! I had a great weekend, and a fine day today — nothing special, as I had class, but I did get a bike ride in (in the 20 degree weather!) and just got back from yoga class. Not too bad!

  13. birthday greetings! great idea going to the morgan library. i’ve been wanting to see the irving penn exhibit there.

  14. Happy Birthday! (It’s your “birthday week,” as we refer to it in this house.) Friday was so much fun. Glad you would make it, and also so glad you enjoyed the Morgan. Fantastic, isn’t it? What a great birthday treat!

  15. Happy birthday! What a wonderful way to celebrate. I have the Bloodroot cookbook. There is a chocolate cake in there that is to die for. I hope your celebrations continued into Monday even though it was the first day of class.

  16. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you already had a wonderful celebration. That restaurant sounds delightful.

  17. Happy birthday! Sounds like a great time.

  18. Thank you everyone!

    Snackywombat — the Irving Penn exhibit was really cool — I highly recommend it.

    Stefanie — I thought of you when I was at the restaurant — they are very good about letting you know which dishes are vegan or could be vegan if you request it.

  19. Belated happy birthday! If we had known on Friday we could have stuck a candle in the chocolate cake. I agree with Emily that this is your birthday week, so I hope the fun stuff continues.

  20. Not a bad way to spend a weekend? It sounds simply heavenly. Happy Birthday!

  21. LK

    How fun! So glad you enjoyed your weekend, and happy belated birthday! Many happy returns!

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