Heading South

I can’t believe it’s Thursday already and I still haven’t blogged about Huntsville. It *might* have something to do with the fact that we are currently in Florida, and all I want to do is be outside in the sunshine, not inside chained to a computer. Nevertheless, there is blogging to be done!

I was hoping Alabama would be warmer than it was. I was all ready for short sleeves and open toes. Alas, it was still quite chilly, but nothing compared to Chicago or Detroit. There was no snow on the ground. The temperatures were in the 40’s and 50’s, and although it was brisk out, it was bright and sunny – a vast improvement over the weather we’ve had the past couple of months.

Huntsville didn’t start out great – completely because of an annoying travel day. Our flight out of Detroit was incredibly early, and coupled with having to leave extra time to drive the 40 miles from Troy to the airport, I was exhausted by the time we arrived in Huntsville. I had rented a car for the week, so I drove into town and arrived at the Holiday Inn ready to check in and take a nap. Many of the company members had made reservations at the Holiday Inn through Hotwire, rather than through “Spamalot”, because the Hotwire rate was $40 cheaper a night from our company group rate. I knew I would be getting into town early though, and so to be sure to get an early check-in, I booked with the group rather than through Hotwire. Unfortunately it didn’t do me any good – I arrived at the hotel at 10:30am, and didn’t actually get a room until 1:30pm. I was so upset (mostly because I was tired), but also because I felt like an idiot for not booking through Hotwire and saving myself some money. Ah, well. Lesson learned.

After getting settled in my room, I decided to let off some steam and shake off the bad mojo of check-in. Yes, I did some jumping on the bed. And you know what, it worked! I totally felt better afterwards.

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Downtown Huntsville was cute and clean, but rather empty. There were a lot of empty storefronts. It didn’t feel sad at all, like some of the towns we have visited – for example, Birmingham, which is only a couple of hours away. Huntsville was just empty and quiet. So, I was glad for the car that I had rented for the week. I drove to the grocery store and stocked up – another thing to be grateful for, as there were only a couple of restaurants downtown.

On Tuesday we finished loading the show in and had a successful opening. The local crew wasn’t the sharpest, but as usual, everything worked itself out somehow. The theater was part of a big performing arts complex, so there was plenty of room – much welcomed after the squeeze of the Fisher. Our office for the week was kind of funny – we were in a large room, sharing with company management, Wayne (our wardrobe supervisor) and Ben Whiteley (our conductor), who had a pipe and drape dressing room rigged up by Props within the room. When Ben and his associates were sitting and chatting within the pipe and drape room it was like they were in a fort they had built in their living room out of bed sheets. It was kind of hilarious.

On Wednesday, Ryan and I drove a few minutes out of town to Monte Sano Park to do some hiking. It was cloudy in the morning, but we hit the right window of time for a hike in the afternoon, because the weather cleared up and was warm and breezy and perfect. The park was a wooded stretch of land up in the hills with some nice views of the valley. It was so peaceful to walk around there – we didn’t even talk much, just enjoyed finally being outside again after a few very cold months of winter. We timed our hike perfectly because as we got in the car to head back downtown, the raindrops started to fall.

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The next day we had an understudy rehearsal in the afternoon before the evening show, so no fun activities for me that day. But on Friday, I went to Fleet Feet, a local running store, and was fit for some running shoes. I’ve been doing a program called Couch to 5K, which is essentially interval training over eleven weeks, culminating with being able to run three miles on a regular basis. I’ve been really enjoying it so far, but didn’t really have the best shoes for running – so I decided to remedy that. The experience at Fleet Feet was really cool – I spent about an hour there, getting my feet measured, running on a treadmill and having my stride videotaped and then trying out a few different pairs of shoes before finding a pair that seem perfect for me. I came back to the hotel with a pair of Brooks, and I love them!

It was also just warm enough to do one run for the week outside. I ran the pathway around the park across from the hotel on Friday morning instead of staying inside and running on the treadmill. My ears were a bit cold, but it was really nice to run outside in fresh air.

After my shoe shopping was complete, I headed out again for some photo-taking. Huntsville has some cool old cemeteries, and so I stopped at one to take a few shots.

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I also stopped at a big open field that I had passed a couple of times throughout the week. It was just begging for a self-portrait to be taken there.

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On Saturday we had two shows followed by Shot Night. I’m sure I’ve explained Shot Night before, but everyone in the company takes turns hosting – we do it every Saturday night (Sundays if we are not loading out). Its fun to get together socially after a long day. Sometimes Shot Night is quick, sometimes it evolves into a full-blown party. Jovon hosted our Huntsville Shot Night – it was a pretty hardcore shot – Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort and Rose’s Lime Juice. Yeow!

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Ben, knocking one back.

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Lyn trying a shot

After Shot Night, we all headed to the lobby to a party thrown for us by the theater. Now these types of parties are often hit or miss, but this one was definitely a HIT when it came to the food. What a spread! I especially loved the baked brie with chutney on pita chips and the chocolate covered strawberries. Yum! Ryan and I had fun hanging out with Suzanne, Vicki and Tom. Good people.

Carissa at the party

Carissa at the party

Suzanne

Suzanne

On Sunday we had our final two shows in town. In between, Ryan and I had dinner at the only place we could find that was open – Mason’s Pub. It turned out to be a great meal though! I had a really good salmon BLT. It was a great find at the last minute! The day before we had also happened upon a great coffee shop – Old Towne Coffee. It had a patio out back where some guys were playing guitars, and there were a few people sitting out front with their dogs, too. It was so cozy and inviting – I so wanted to stay, but we had to head back for the evening show. I love it when I discover good local spots in a city.

Old Towne Coffee

Old Towne Coffee

Taking photos on the dinner break

Taking photos on the dinner break

The sun setting as I head back to work

The sun setting as I head back to work

And so, the week in Huntsville came to an end. I had a very relaxing week. I didn’t visit the Space and Rocket Center, but a lot of the company did. Huntsville is home to Spacecamp and NASA training, hence its nickname “Rocket City”. Ryan went on an outing with some others from “Spamalot” where they did some diving in a pool at the Space Center that simulates weightlessness. The astronauts train there to get used to zero gravity. I saw lots of photos from the day, and it looks like everyone had a great time.

Huntsville was a charming, sleepy, happy town with beautiful houses, friendly people and very pretty surrounding country. It was so nice to escape the cold north and head towards warmer temperatures. And this week, we are in warmer temperatures still – Florida! But more on that next week.

Spamalot moves on to Florida!

Spamalot moves on to Florida!