November 6, 2012

Traveling Through Historic Virginia, Part 2

By the 4th day of the trip, we were a little stiff from the 6 or 7 hours of walking in Williamsburg on Day 3!  But, it was back on the bus for a ride down the historic James River Road where many plantations once rested and the cotton, tobacco and slave trade flourished.  I'd read novels with this area as the locale, so I was especially interested in the drive and our stop at the Shirley Plantation, a plantation still in the ownership of the same family for 11 generations.  It was such a beautiful setting, with the cotton fields beside the house and the James River behind, and our guide had a fabulous story to tell.
 Then it was back to Richmond for the second part of our city tour and our 1862 Confederate dinner.  We drove around in the different parts of Richmond, stopping at the Tredegar Iron Works that manufactured cannons during the Civil War and driving down Monument Street to view the statues and historic homes. We had a very interesting tour of the "White House of the Confederacy" where Jefferson Davis lived during the Civil War.

At the end of the day, we went to the Renaissance Hotel for our entertaining 1862 dinner.  The Colonel and the Lady and the Songster entertained us during and after the meal.  The Colonel traveled among the tables, poking fun and trying to stir up trouble wherever he went and later dressed one of our travelers as a Confederate soldier. 

The Lady showed us all the clothing a woman of the times would wear and the important accessories she would need.  

The Songster entertained us with music of the era and had some join in on clackers and tambourines.  
It was a wonderful evening!

The next morning, we went to Monticello.  I wish we would have had more time there as they have a new museum/educational center and we just didn't have time to visit it.  Even though we have been there before, one always learns something new when visiting Monticello.  
Our last stop of the trip and where we would spend the night, was The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.  The drive there was scenic and the last twenty miles or so were climbing the mountain on a two lane highway, curving and twisting, enveloped in the colorful autumn trees.  It was hard to get a photo that would express the massiveness of this sprawling resort, established in 1766.  The original inn burned and the one today was build in the 1920's.
It would be interesting to see the decor of all of the 800 plus rooms, but this was our room.

The spacious front porch and rockers tempted us - what a pleasure on a beautiful, autumn day.  The two ladies in the rockers dressed in black and red with heads together in deep discussion...yep, my sis and me.

It was a lovely ending to a great week of no-worry tour bus travel...and to a place that neither of us had ever heard of before and probably would not have sought out on our own.  Now the bags are unpacked and we have great memories tucked away.  Time to plan next year's adventures!


November 5, 2012

Traveling Through Historic Virginia - Part 1

We just returned from a bus tour through Virginia, with the emphasis on places of historical significance.   We began in Washington, DC, arriving in time from Ohio to view the World War II Memorial in daylight.  It was truly an impressive sight with so much symbolism, and it really gave one a sense of the vastness of the war and its toll.
 It became dark quickly, so the rest of the tour was Washington, DC by night from the bus and then we made our way down to Alexandria,Virginia and a much needed hotel rest.
We were very busy the second day, visiting Mount Vernon, Fredericksburg and then taking a guided tour of Richmond, Confederate capital for the South.  One of our stops in Richmond was St. John Episcopal Church, the place where Patrick Henry gave his "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech. 

 The church was surrounded by a graveyard where some of the large stones were placed on legs so they looked like tables.  Eventually, the legs gave way and then brick bases were made for the very large stones. 

 We had a wonderful tour of the state capital building in Richmond, with a chance to sit in both the old House and Senate rooms, as well as a look at the new 12 million dollar underground addition. 
 We stayed at Williamsburg for the next two nights, with a whole day of leisure to tour the old town.  Dinner one evening was at the King's Arm tavern there, with fine fare of 1776 including peanut soup, small greens, roasted chicken, sage potatoes, green beans and squash, and pecan pie or rice pudding.  We were entertained by songs of the time.

 To be continued...