City Lights / Holiday Lights

Recent travels took me to Virginia’s Capital City.  It is always a special treat to go to Richmond during the holidays.  Many of the businesses add white lights to the outside of their buildings and the city scape just glows.

In addition, the James Center creates a reindeer forest each year and I felt like (and acted like) a child as I walked through.  I didn’t have a tripod with me, but sure had fun trying to capture the magic.  My son and I used to go every year when we lived in Richmond years ago, and the place brings me great joy.

If you are a lover of Christmas lights, you need to stop through Richmond during the holidays.  You will not be disappointed!

Virginia Women’s Monument

During my visit to Richmond a couple weeks ago, I was able to attend the Groundbreaking for the Virginia Women’s Monument. I’d attended an event several months prior and learned about this amazing project, and immediately started doing my part (my very, very small part) in helping to get the word out about it.

In 2010, the General Assembly established the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission to “recommend an appropriate monument in Capitol Square to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia”.

“Voices from the Garden is the first monument of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of women’s contributions.  Voices takes the form of an oval shaped garden that encompasses twelve bronze statues of significant women from different centuries, backgrounds, and areas of the state.  The statues will be surrounded by a glass panel, etched with names of other noteworthy Virginia women”.

It was a bright, beautiful December morning, and I was glad that I arrived early as the seats filled in quickly and it was soon standing room only.

  One of the attendees was Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818 – 1907).  The actress (I wrote down her name, but regrettably I lost the slip of paper) portraying Elizabeth stayed in character during the ceremony and shared some of her story.

A slave who bought her freedom, Elizabeth became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidant during the White House years.

She established the Contraband Relief Association, which provided support for recently freed slaves and wounded soldiers, and she wrote a book called “Behind the Scenes in the Lincoln White House: Memoirs of an African-American Seamstress”.

Governor McAuliffe, long a champion of this project was present as was Nancy Rodrigues, Secretary of the Administration and a chief fundraiser for the project.

After the ceremony, many people picked up a shovel and took the opportunity to be captured in a photo.  Of course, I had to as well!

The inspirational woman on the right, in response to my comment about how I didn’t really break the ground said “oh yes you did.  We ALL did, and we still are”.

How right she is!

Fundraising still needs to be done.  Please follow this link if you’d like to contribute to the Virginia Women’s Monument.

Day 3 – Ashland / Downtown Richmond: More Trains & Historic Buildings

What a treat it is to have a day off during the week!

With a meeting in Richmond on Monday and a conference in Williamsburg from Wednesday through Saturday, it just made sense to stay in the Eastern part of the Commonwealth.   My friend Becky lives in Ashland, and I was lucky to spend last evening with her and our friend Tim.  This morning when she left for work, I left to explore the town of Ashland.  I enjoyed a hot breakfast blend and a bagel while catching up on email, blogging, and bills at Ashland Coffee and Tea.


Ashland is another historic train town and much of the quaint downtown area has a train theme.078003




Freight trains pass through town on a regular schedule and even better, you can still take the passenger to various places in Virginia and the Northeast





Ashland is more than trains, however, and the architecture of the buildings and the neat little shops and adornments made it difficult to put the camera away and made me reluctant to leave.  I adored this sculpture of J Malcolm Pace III, also  known as “Jay”.  The plaque reads “Newspaper Editor / Publisher, Community and Church Leader, Randolph Macon College Supporter, Musician, Friend and Family Man”.  What a tribute!

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And then there are the windows …




Eventually, I had to move on to the next stop: Downtown Richmond.  I spent 7 years in Richmond while attending the Medical College of Virginia and I have always loved the downtown area.  Too may folks who live in the suburbs never leave the land of malls and chain restaurants and what a shame that is.

Today I discovered the Canal Walk, a project to restore a canal system that was started in 1784 and was heavily damaged during the Civil War.  It truly is a walk through history!





With time running short before I had to leave for my next stop, I found myself at Sam Millers Restaurant on the cobblestoned Shockoe Slip.  The bartender Nathan, in addition to bringing me a yummy cup of crab soup and a Southern Tier stout, was a good source for information and directions.



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Finally, I could delay no longer and it was time to leave for Gloucester to meet my friend Janet for dinner a at wonderful Thai restaurant.  Gloucester would be a fun place to explore and I plan to return when it’s still daylight!  But tonight, the rain began to fall and I still had one hour to go before arriving at my final destination: Williamsburg – home of my parents and the 2013 Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners Conference.