Christmas Day on Duke Of Glaucestor Street

Colonial Williamsburg (CW) is a popular vacation and holiday destination, yet we are often in Williamburg, Virginia to visit my parents who retired there over 30 years ago. With the moniker of “the world’s largest living history museum”, CW comprises approximately 301 acres featuring “iconic sites, working tradespeople, historic taverns, and two world-class art museums”. Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area houses restored and historically preserved buildings, 88 of which are originals, including Bruton Parish Episcopal Church. The church was established in 1674 by the consolidation of two previous parishes in the Virginia Colony, and remains an active Episcopal parish.

While our primary purpose of visiting is to see and enjoy family, Christmas Day found us walking the streets of CW, a safe, outdoor activity in these days of Covid.

The Capitol Building

One of my favorite things to see are the wreaths that adorn the doors. Each year, Colonial Williamsburg holds a wreath making contest. Wreaths are judged on the types of natural materials used, the creativity and elements of the design, and the originality and faithfulness to the spirit of eighteenth-century decorative ideas. I didn’t have a chance to see all of the wreaths while there, but I did capture of a few of my favorites created with turtle shells, eggs, peacock feathers, oyster shells, pinecones, artichokes, pomegranates, and other natural items

Eggs, Turtle Shell, Orange & Cloves, Smudge Sticks from Dried Sage
Peacock Feathers, Lotus Pods, Pomegranates
Oyster Shells and Pomegranates
Artichokes, Pomegranates, Pinecones, Lotus Pods, Okra Pods

Aren’t they just so creative and beautiful? As always, if you are ever in the Williamsburg area over the holiday season, be sure to plan to take a tour.

Our Version of a First Day Hike

First Day Hikes is an initiative of America’s State Parks, and hikes are offered, with waived entrance fees in state parks across the country. To be honest, I thought that this was just a Virginia thing, but all over the US folks are encouraged to “take a hike to inspire those New Year resolutions that are centered on getting or keeping fit”. Virginia has 41 State Parks, yet Greg and I have only visited 11. We have work to do!

We didn’t make it out to our local Claytor Lake State Park on New Years Day, but we did take our version of a First Day Hike. It was more an “Urban Walk” on Main Street and across Memorial Bridge over The New River but even still, it was great to be outside.

While I mourn for the Earth when it is 70°F in January, we definitely enjoyed the breeze as we walked over Memorial Bridge, enjoying the views.

Walking along Main Street offered views of historic architecture as well, while the clouds added much to the scenery.

Perhaps next year, we will do an official First Day Hike, but our Urban Walk was a great start to 2022.

Cheers!

Greensboro: Denim and The Gate City

Long before becoming the third largest city in North Carolina, Greensboro was known for being the largest denim maker in the world. As Greg and I walked around the city last weekend, we saw many signs of this denim history. As I stopped to capture this mural, the driver of the car that was idling right in front backed up so I could take the shot. How very cool! And how perfect that the guy leaning against the fence was wearing jeans. We stayed at Hotel Denim and would have eaten at Blue Denim restaurant if the tables had not been booked all evening.

To commemorate Greensboro’s rich history with the denim and textile industry, Wrangler, VF Jeanswear spearheaded a public art project, dubbed “Jeansboro”, of painted jeans sculptures all throughout downtown.

Greensboro is also called Gate City because by 1890 there were more than 60 trains passing through the city each day. It had become a major transportation center, largely because of the denim industry.

We enjoyed the street life, the historic buildings still in use, and visiting the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum opened in 2010 as a comprehensive museum of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It commemorates the Feb. 1, 1960, beginning of sit-ins at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, by the N.C. A&T Four college students, reflecting careful planning carried out with colleagues at Bennett College. Their non-violent direct action challenged the American People to make good on promises of personal equality and civic inclusion enunciated in the Constitution”.

Did you know that MLK was due to be in Greensboro the day that he was assassinated? He canceled his visit in order to remain in Memphis to continue his work with striking sanitation workers.

We only had 24 hours in Greensboro and are already ready to go back and explore some more!

The Wool Factory

Yesterday I had the good fortune to attend a gathering with some of the board members of the National Women’s Political Caucus – Virginia (check us out!) at a super fun place called The Wool Factory, “a unique collaboration between chefs, brewers, winemakers, and coffee roasters aimed at creating a distinct food-and-beverage destination”.

As always when I travel and explore new places, I must know the history and the Wool Factory’s website provides it! Originally a water grist mill (1795), and later burned by the Union Army (1865), the Charlottesville Woolen Mills was established in 1868 and “became nationally known for their excellent production of fine military fabrics and uniforms, furnishing cloth for the majority of railroad workers and military schools”. The mill closed in 1962 and “the majority of the surviving mill buildings standing on the site today were built in 1920-1930s”.

What a cool, cool place this is! The beers are named after the original wool fabrics that were produced at the mill. Needing a light cold beer after a 100 mile motorcycle ride, I opted for the Poplin followed by the Flannel No. 2. These paired well with the Peruvian Chicken.

The excellent company of board members and friends kept me from exploring the site further, but I will be back with camera again in hand for further photo ops and the trying out of new beers (they also have cocktails!) and elevated bar food.

If you are near Charlottesville, Virginia be sure to plan a visit to this historic woolen mill.

Bristol Tennesse / Virginia

Public Art: Take the Stage – Val Lyle, Sculptor

Back in December, Greg and I had the chance to spend 24 hours in Bristol, a city that straddles the state lines of Virginia and Tennessee. I posted about that quick visit and gave it the title 24 Hours in Bristol, and I almost, without realizing my mistake, gave this post the same title since that is about the same amount of time that we spent there.

We were in town to watch a debate between the 5 Democratic candidates for Governor of Virginia. After that, I managed to find a few moments to capture some of the flavor of this city.

The Paramount, preparing to reopen!
Under the bar …. it just caught my eye as I walked by
View of the backside of the City … I loved the subdued colors
Just a little fun with succulents
Evening on State Steet, the right side is Virginia; the left side is Tennessee
Public Art: Wall Mural reflecting the Virginia is For Lovers theme

Next time, we’ll try for a longer stay!

The Candler Hotel – Atlanta

The Candler Building was built in 1906 by Coca-Cola magnate and former Mayor Asa Griggs Candler. Standing on the site of one of Atlanta oldest churches, it was the city’s first skyscraper and tallest structure at 17 stories.

Now in the Hilton Curio Collection, the building underwent painstaking restoration and reopened as a hotel in 2019. Some of the features include:

  • Beau-Arts style, drawing upon the principles of French neoclassicism and incorporating Gothic and Renaissance elements
  • Picturesque, hand-carved marble staircase capped with The Candler Hotel’s iconic winged lion
  • Ornate décor using brass, mahogany & marble materials, that weaves an intricate family story is infused throughout the hotel
  • Lobby featuring two original Tiffany glass windows
  • Mysterious secret bank vault below ground
  • A historic Ballroom, completely transformed
  • A variety of window styles and layouts on each of the 15 stories
  • Detailed arched windows with elaborate cornices that crown the building, radiating its historical effect on downtown Atlanta

Moss and Lichen in Historic Fredericksburg

Just a quick stroll through historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. I have no idea how old this wall is but it was next to a home that was over a century old.

Atlanta: Decorated for the Holidays

My son’s negative Covid test meant that we were able to travel to Atlanta for a 48 hr stay over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Despite being home to over 6 million people, we were able to remain socially distanced and follow precautions while thoroughly enjoying the outdoor festive decorations.

These images are a mixture of Fuji and Android, most taken on the fly in cccoooolllllddddd temps.  I’m definitely not bragging about these shots … just trying to give you a taste of the city!

We stayed in Midtown and despite the frigid temps, the sun was shining and we braved the cold to explore the area.

We stayed at the Georgian Terrace Hotel which opened it’s doors in 1911.

The Georgian Terrace Hotel is right down the street from St. Marks United Methodist Church which was erected in 1902.

 

We spent Christmas evening at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens which boasts an incredible light show set to music.  Truly magical!

What a joy it was to be with family in such beautiful outdoor surroundings.  I am a fortunate woman indeed!

Stay healthy, my friends!  Wear a mask!  Do it for others if not for yourself.

24 Hours in Bristol

Covid-19 Update:  Since I picked back up on blogging, I’ve been sharing brief updates about our travels.  Rest assured, we are taking precautions.  Wearing masks, eating outdoors or take out (or in empty restaurants), and hand sanitizing. 

We are doing our part to keep ourselves and therefore, others, safe!

*****

Bristol Virginia and Bristol Tennessee are two cities that share more than a name.  They share a Main Street!  State Street, which runs through the middle of these two cities is the official state line, and the iconic sign shown below is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bristol, Viriginia was officially designated the Birthplace of Country Music by the U.S. Congress in 1998, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, attracts 75,000 visitors per year.

Bristol, Tennessee is the home of the Bristol Motor Speedway, a place that hosts a fantastic holiday light show which runs for 8 weeks throughout the holiday season.  Part of the proceeds from the lightshow support the Speedway Children’s Charities.

Recently, Greg and I spent 24 hours in Bristol … both Bristols!

We stayed at The Bristol Hotel, a “Virginia remix of a Tennessee Classic” built in 1925 and recently renovated into a gorgeous boutique hotel.

We enjoyed cocktail hour on the rooftop bar, enjoying the views of the city and of the Appalachian Mountains.

After that, we spent a couple hours winding our way through the lightshow at the Motor Speedway.  What fun!

Brunch at Vivian’s Table the next morning offered delicious food and fun photography.

It was a quick, but super fun getaway in the middle of this busy holiday season.

I truly hope that you are finding some moments of happy during these difficult days.

Stay Safe! Wear a Mask!

The Original Tiny House

My contribution to Monochromia this week. Joe gave this image the perfect title, which I changed from the original title.  This log cabin is part of the Wilderness Road Museum in Newbern, Virginia. The museum and surrounding cabins were closed when I road by last Sunday afternoon, but I believe the cabin was built in the early 1800s.

Monochromia

What does the title have to do with the photo?

Not a darn thing!

Instead, it’s referring to the fact that Joe had to remind me to post this week.  And i’m sliding under the wire with 90 minutes to spare!

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