Sunday, January 13, 2013

Touring Richmond

Great friends came into Richmond for the weekend and I had the opportunity to be tour guide for the day on Saturday.

We began our morning at the Great Shiplock Park near Tobacco Row. Having only passed by myself it was interesting to see the level difference between the canal and the river. On Saturday it was approximately 15 1/2 feet. It is impressive to reflect on how much a part of the Richmond economy the canal was in 1800's and amazing how they were to able to accomplish this type of engineering feat.

A quick Google search for the best place to go for breakfast in Richmond, had us stopping by Millie's Diner on Main Street. Best breakfast may have been an understatement. Definitely not your 'usual' place. I would have never picked it, but looks are definitely deceiving. The line to get in for Saturday brunch began lining up shortly before they opened and it was a full house the whole time we were there.

We headed over to the State Capital for a tour, while waiting for it to begin, we had the opportunity to explore the grounds. The fog being quite heavy hid many of the skyscrapers surrounding the Capital Square making for a very peaceful morning.  We began our tour of the Capital with a security check (I did find out something interesting here though - citizens are allowed to bring firearms into the Capital building as long as they are holstered and the carrier has the proper concealed carry permit).

The new underground extension was beautiful. You would NEVER know you were underground. They did a fantastic job of mimicking natural lighting. The statue of Thomas Jefferson is positioned under a rotunda just like the one of Washington on the second floor of the Capital.

The renovations that were done look fantastic! The tour guide was very informative and I even learned a few things during the tour. For instance I didn't know that during the War of Northern Aggression that the Capital building had served as the home to the legislature for both the state and the Confederate Government.

Next stop - the White House of the Confederacy - now tucked almost inside of VCU/MCV. The parking deck at the hospital was completely full, but we were blessed to find a spot on 12th Street within easy walking distance. Our guide, of the house, was very informative. I found it very interesting that one of the Davis sons had a fully functional miniature cannon with which to play. I'm certain that he must have rattled the nerves of his nanny, mother and neighbors.

The gardens behind the White House are lovely and a breath of fresh air in an area completely surrounded by the hospital and college.  I bet the gardens are delightful in the Spring and Summer. I wonder if they looked anything like they do now during the time that the Davis' resided here - perhaps not with their son waging war in the backyard with his miniature cannon!

Westward we went out Monument Avenue to have a look at the Confederate Monuments that line the avenue.

Our last stop for the morning was the Confederate Memorial Chapel. I miss timed our arrival and we missed the chapel being open to the public. We did have opportunity to visit with the Virginia Flaggers who were there working to have the flags returned to the chapel.

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