Here's Jen and Sara standing on the walking stones in the Japanese Garden. The huge pond is filled with koi and there are several trails leading different ways from here.I found this old tree a short walk away from the main house. It's still hard to see in the photo, but I swear it looks as though someone could be living inside. I dubbed it the Fairy Tree although I think more likely it would hold an elf or dwarf. There is a whole side of Maymont that we didn't even enter as we were all getting a bit tired at this point. The Nature Center focuses on Virginia wildlife and boasts bears, bison, and various birds of prey. We also didn't make it to the mansion, visit the Wetlands, or the Cactus garden. Next time? We had a great time hanging out as a family again although the trip was fairly short. Jenna was off on an adventure to Brazil shortly after our trip and Sara and I stayed for Spring Bada Bing on Sunday and then returned to real life. Hopefully we'll have an opportunity for another family trip soon.
Field Trip: Richmond, VA
Sadly, it is rare for our small family to get together on our own for anything. We're all busy folks and my baby sister Jen lives in DC, so it's just hard to arrange. A few months ago we used my trip to Richmond for Spring Bada Bing as a great excuse to make it happen. My mom and dad drove from NC, Sara rode with me, and Jenna drove from DC to meet us. Per the recommendation from the Richmond Craft Mafia, we started the day with breakfast at Millie's Diner. It is a slightly funky & fun little restaurant in Richmond. The brunch menu is written on a chalkboard on the wall and boasts amazingness that includes Huevos Rancheros and a Veggie Mess. We arrived early to beat the crowd and were seated immediately. I ordered the Heuvos Racheros. It's a HUGE plate of food and is wonderfully yummy. The pretty sauce on the side? Sriracha. How'd I find out? The hard way. After breakfast we decided to walk a bit and headed back up the road toward the farmer's market we passed on the way in. I was fascinated by the industrialness of area. I don't much about Richmond and just didn't really expect it. Several of the brick buildings have murals painted on them. I had to include this sign. Because it is awesome. You can see Sara in the background quickly loosing patience with me and my camera. And look! The Poe museum has evidently been watching Portlandia and decided they would put a bird on it. :) It turns out that Richmond is a greener city than I imagined. Take a gander at the solar trash compactors. And the rain barrels at the market. I had a great time visiting the Farm Bus. Not only was it wonderfully decorated, but it was filled with produce, honey, meats, eggs, cheese...it is basically a mobile farmer's market. The proclamation on the bottom of the bus door. If only we all followed their sage words of advice...can you imagine how different the world would be? Well, one day a week at least? After finishing downtown, Sara suggested we headed to Maymont Park. Originally the park was a 100 acre estate owned by James and Sallie Dolley. The property includes their former home, a collection of historic buildings and carriages, and a variety of gardens. When we entered the park, I was more than a bit surprised to find that many of the trees were skirted. Not in the way you'd like, but in actual skirts. Like clothing. Strange right? It turns out that each year, Virginia Commonwealth University's sophomore draping class takes on tree skirting as a project and the results (aka fashion show?) takes place at Maymont. This was one of my favorites: We walked throughout the park during our visit. No particular goal in mind, just walking. Here's Jenna and I standing in front of a carved tree. The roots were amazing, but you had to feel bad for the poor thing with all the names and sayings chiseled into its trunk. Here's the view heading down the hill of the park into the Japanese garden. Even with all the people milling around, it was an extraordinarily peaceful place.