8:15 am, April 30, 2004
Thursday we had some breakfast, yummie eggs and scones. Around 8:30 and were on the road by 9:30. Arrived at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory by 10:45, so we were able to catch the 11 am tour.
On the tour with us was a bunch of students, which was actually pretty fun since they were of elementary school age and could barely contain their wonder (plenty of "ooohs and aaahs). The tour guide answered all sorts of questions and then we watched a short film and took a bus ride through the faucility to see all the telescopes. The information provided by the guide about it all was very interesting, and then seeing the Green Bank Telescope up close, wow!
After the guided tour, we grabbed some lunch at their Galaxy Cafe and dropped by the gift shop to pick up a couple things (yay, t-shirts!). Then decided to take a nature trail down to the GBT. The trail was pretty soggy and we actually lost part of it for a bit, but it was cool to look at the huge dishes from behind the trees and get some pictures while approaching the huge GBT.
We went back via the 2 mile road that the bus took so we could see the telescopes better, and get our pictures taken with the Tatel Telescope (85-1, now part of the The Green Bank Interferometer), which was the first telescope used for the SETI project! We got pretty close to one that had been decommissioned in 1999 (no gate around it like the rest). By the time we got back to the car it was about 2:30. What a great day! Even if I now notice that I'm a bit sunburned, oops.
On our way to find some dinner we stopped at a little bookstore in Petersburg. Little old bookstores are the best, I was able to pick up a few used books (10-50 cents each), and a new book. The woman there was really great, and when we asked for a recommendation for dinner she didn't disappoint, and said that Annee's Cottage in Moorefield (12 miles away) was good. We left and were happy to fgind that it was a great little place for dinner.
We came back here to the Inn around 8 and were able to relax in the outdoor hot tub for a while. And so ends an amazing day.
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