The Annual Needlework Show in support of the Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, VA has become a tradition for New Jersey Needle Artists members. While several members exhibited at – and visited – the Show in the past, NJNA has been submitting needlework pieces as a group since 2015.
NJNA members rose to the occasion again this year despite the restrictions due to COVID and submitted 25 pieces to the 58th Annual Needlework Show. Since we haven’t been able to meet in-person this year, we had to come up with an alternative to our usual practice of collecting the pieces at our January meeting. Fortunately, our members are flexible and we gathered 23 framed pieces, one Christmas stocking, and a pillow before heading down the NJ Turnpike/I-95 on Friday. In years past this trip was made in February so weather was always unpredictable. Although we still traveled under gray skies and cooler temperatures than I would have liked, the trip down was smooth sailing.
While we usually look forward to this trip each year as a chance to get away, this year it was even more anticipated as we haven’t been able to do much traveling. Mr. M and I stopped for lunch in Catonsville, MD at our new “favorite” spot, Matthews 1600. We found this restaurant last year when our previous “go to” eatery in Ellicott City closed down. Matthews 1600 is located in a historic building (circa 1862) that started as the Terminal Hotel and was a station at the end of the line for the Frederick Road horse car line. The building was renovated in the early 2000s and reopened as Matthews 1600 in 2004. It has an extensive food menu and the appropriate beverage menu to appeal to Mr. M.
On Saturday, we headed to Woodlawn to begin the process of check-in. As a result of COVID, everyone who submitted pieces to the Show had to pre-register on-line and pay their entry fee directly. This really streamlined the process as I didn’t have to deal with individual checks/cash for the pieces. We were able to unwrap all of our pieces and place them on tables in the check-in room. The QR code on each Submission Form was scanned and an email was generated almost immediately indicating that the piece had been registered. The volunteers checking in our pieces also assigned each piece its own Show Number.
The volunteers who check in the Show pieces have developed a really efficient system; we were done and on our way in under an hour. In years past we would then head into DC or Old Town Alexandria to visit a museum. COVID restricted our ability to plan for a museum visit so we headed over to Mount Vernon and had lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.
The Needlework Show will be open from Sunday, May 2 through Monday, May 31 (except Tuesdays). Timed tickets are required and are available on the Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House website. I encourage you to visit – the needlework is exquisite and it’s an easy trip to make. With the show held in May instead of March, the weather should be great. And I just learned that the Smithsonian Museums and the National Gallery of Art will be re-opening in mid-May, so I’m hoping I can book some tickets for the weekend we’re there.
Stay well and happy stitching!