In my last post, I was sharing about my parent's visit and all that we were doing and seeing. Well, there is plenty more to write about!
One day while my husband was working, the three of us went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden. I was really impressed--it was huge. It was so large, that there is a tram that takes you on a tour of the property. We did that to get a layout of the land and when it was over, we walked a short ways to see what we wished. The weather threatened to rain a bit that day, so we didn't want to get too far from the car. Since I'm mentioning the weather, I do have to say that for nearly all of the visit, it was as close to perfect as one could imagine. The temps were in the 70s, and it wasn't humid--and except for this outing, the skies were blue and clear. We were really lucky.
One of the areas that we walked through was the rose garden. It was so lovely!
This rose bush above dates from 1790! I wished it had been in bloom, but we just missed it. The gardens were begun back in the depression and the WPA or CCC (I can't remember which) helped do the work of digging the canal, etc.
I wished I had visited before as it would be great to see it change with the seasons. A big portion of the property originally was an azalea garden, so it must be stunning earlier in Spring.
The garden is right next to the airport--in fact, a grassy bluff separates the two properties. It is possible (and even encouraged) to climb up to the top and watch the airport traffic, so we did. When I was a child, we would often go to our small regional airport to watch planes take off and land. I've always enjoyed that. It seems like modern airports have done away with good places to view, and especially with all of the security we need now.
We drove back home and had supper and then loaded chair into the car to go to the first of the weekly summer concerts by the TRADOC Army Band on Fort Eustis. I wrote about some of them last year, too.
It is a little back-lit and so difficult to see, but the band is under that lovely band shell. You can see the James River is right next to the park. Everyone attending got a ticket for door prizes. They gave out three prizes and I actually won one!! I'm never very lucky, so it was fun to win. The prize was a bag full of products advertising the Army! I don't see myself using much of it, but perhaps my husband will, since he is the army guy in the family.
Our last trip was a weekend trip. We left on Friday afternoon heading towards the mountains. On the way, we stopped outside Richmond at the Cold Harbor Civil War battlefield. Richmond was the Confederate Capital City and so was featured in more than one military campaign. The first was early in the war as part of the Peninsula Campaign. It was early enough in the war that if I remember correctly, Lee took command of the Confederate forces around that time. The second was later in the war and was part of Grant's Overland Campaign--Cold Harbor was part of that. This summer is the 150th anniversary of the Overland Campaign and in fact, we we were there just 2-3 days after the anniversary of the battle. Not much of this battlefield is owned by the parks system, but there was enough of it with the earthworks from both sides still visible.
This is the only monument on the battlefield. After visiting Gettysburg, Antietam, Manasses, etc. this battlefield seems almost insignificant, but in fact it was a bloody, bloody day. One of the famous quotes of the battle: "It wasn't war, it was murder." Once we did the tour and stamped our passports, we were on our way again.
We were off to visit Shenandoah National Park the next day and had a cabin to call home for a few days in Gordonsville, VA. It is northeast of Charlottesville. We arrived in late afternoon, got unloaded and settled, and explored the resort property. We saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers again.
The next morning we set off for Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. It was beautiful! Our original plan was to drive the entire thing--there are 4 access points--the southern and northern end and two in the middle. We entered from the second to the south end and only made it to the next "intersection." We stopped along the way at scenic overlooks, at one of the visitor centers (got the passport stamped) and then we decided to hike down to a waterfall. It was 3/4 of a mile down the trail to the falls and then 3/4 mile back. It sounds easy enough, but it was 3/4 of a mile DOWN and then 3/4 of a mile UP. UPHILL. STRAIGHT UP!!! No, it really wasn't that bad, it just seemed like it at the time! Luckily it was a cool day and the trail was mostly shady.
On the way down, we spied this cute little chipmunk.
Mom and Dad. Again, this is the way down. I wasn't thinking about taking pictures on the way up! I was too worried about breathing and climbing, ha ha.
This was the top of the falls. You could continue hiking another 1000 feet further down to the bottom to be able to see the entire falls, but I took a pass. This is one of the times that it wasn't about the destination--it was about the journey.
An example of the scenic views from Skyline Drive
After our hike, we stopped at the next picnic area to enjoy our picnic lunch. Have any of you picnicked lately? Remember how fun it is to find a table in the perfect spot, spread out all of the food, and then start shooing away gnats and flies? Actually, I think picnicking is charming and becoming a lost activity. These days we grab a bag of food at the drive thru and eat in the car. What is it about the outdoors that makes any food, including a bologna sandwich, taste so much better?
After lunch, we continued the drive until we hit the next interchange where we sadly had to leave Skyline Drive behind. The clock was ticking and we had a destination: The Virginia Quilt Museum. The real reason for the trip was the artists' reception for the Hampton Road's exhibit. I have two quilts hanging there! That is a subject worthy of its own post, so I'll be back next time with that story.
Have a great day!