Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Backyard, Hampton, VA

Last night we got about 10 inches of snow--which is very unusual for our area! I grew up in western Pennsylvania where this was routine. But that's one of the reasons that I moved south! I remember cleaning my car off with a broom and driving to work in weather like this. I didn't like it all. We are off work today--but I don't think there will be any long walks in our future!
Sammy did a few zoomies in the backyard!
A shivering PG just said, "Please let me back in!"

Wish you were here!
Sammy and PG

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA

This morning we met up with the Around Town Hounds for a walk at Hollywood Cemetery. To get there from Hampton Roads, take I64 to downtown Richmond. Follow the signs for Coliseum/5th Street. Turn right onto Main Street. Cross over Belvidere Street. At first stoplight, turn left onto Laurel Street. Go 4 blocks and turn right onto Albemarle Street. Go one block, cross over Cherry Street and the gates will be on your left.
We waited for a little while near the gates for the whole group to get together.
I don't know if I'd want to live in that house that is right next to the gates.
There is a trail sign right inside the gates that tells you some of the noted people buried in the cemetery and the locations of their graves. American presidents, James Monroe and James Tyler, are buried here as well as Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.
There are some interesting trees at this rural cemetery in the middle of a metropolitan city--probably very spooky looking at night! Hollywood Cemetery got its name from all the holly trees dotting the property.
The 90 foot tall granite pyramid is dedicated to the 18,000 Confederate enlisted soldiers buried at Hollywood.
The pyramid was finished in 1869. In addition to the enlisted men, there are 25 Confederate generals buried here, including George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart.
A statue of a dog stands guard on the grave of a young girl. Around 1862, a little girl named Bernadine Rees would regularly visit a merchant's shop with her mother, and the dog statue was outside of the merchant's business. The 2-year old girl loved the dog statue and would pet and talk to the "dog" whenever she visited. The little girl fell victim to scarlet fever, and passed away, and the mother was inconsolable. The merchant had been to the funeral, and offered up the dog statue to place on the child's grave, since she had loved it so when she had been alive.
The dog has stood guard on her grave ever since, and people periodically leave small gifts such as pennies and little toys as tokens of esteem or for good luck. The area of the cemetery where the grave is located is now known as "black dog hill." There are stories that the dog can be heard barking at night.
In addition to the famous graves like the little girl with the black dog, there are also accidental discoveries like this epitaph. "I love you all the way to the moon and back."
And a whole section of Miller headstones.
This crypt in the side of the hill has an interesting story that I found on Wikipedia:
The Richmond Vampire is an urban legend that began soon after a collapse on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's Church Hill Tunnel at Church Hill, a district of Richmond, Virginia, which buried several workers alive on October 2, 1925.
The story told of a blood covered creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its muscular body that emerged from the cave-in and raced toward the James River. Pursued by a group of men, the creature took refuge in the cemetery where it disappeared in a mausoleum built into a hillside bearing the name W.W. Pool.
Documents and periodicals confirm that the tunnel collapsed and a living being crawled from the wreckage. But it was a burly C&O Railway employee, Benjamin F. Mosby, who was loading coal into the firebox of a train when the accident occurred and the boiler ruptured.
Mosby's upper body was badly burned and several teeth were broken before he made his way to the cavern's opening. Witnesses reported that the man was in shock and some layers of his skin were hanging off his body. He died at Grace Hospital within the next day; from there the story took on a life of its own through decades of oral history.
With stunning views, Hollywood overlooks the James River and the downtown Richmond skyline. The greyhound group enjoyed their visit on this cold January day.

Wish you were here,
Sammy & PG

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA

This morning we took part in our First Day Hike, part of a national collaboration between Virginia State Parks and America's State Parks. We went to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.
There is also a photo contest as part of this First Day Hike--and Al was being clever with our photo of the park sign. He took the park sign's photo through the punch out hole in our state park parking pass. We thought we'd enter this one in the contest.

To get to First Landing State Park, from I-64, take Northampton Blvd.-U.S. 13 North (Exit 282). Go through eight lights, then turn right at the Shore Drive/U.S. 60 exit (last exit before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel). Take a right on Shore Drive and go four and a half miles to the park entrance. The park has 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beach frontage. Most of the trails are paved so it's very easy to walk. This park also rents two bedroom furnished cabins which are dog friendly. It would be a great place to take an inexpensive vacation at Virginia Beach ($131-$146 per night during prime summer season) and take your four legged friend along! You'd also have a semi-private beach!
We walked on the Cape Henry Trail which has a lot of information on the Chesapeake Indians. The Chesapeake tribe was part of Algonquin speaking Indians who lived up and down the East Coast.
Here we are next to a boat, called a quintan. The Indians of the Chesapeake relied on large dugout canoes as their main form of transport. They felled huge cypress and Atlantic white cedar trees and hollowed them out by burning patches and scraping out the wood.
I think these downed logs were felled leftovers from Hurricane Isabel.

"On April 26, 1997 sixty-four human remains of the Chesapeake Indians were reinterred at this site. The Chesapeake Indians inhabited this area from about 800 B.C. to about 1600 A.D. The landing by the English colonists at Cape Henry on April 26, 1607 while enroute to Jamestown Island was observed by the Chesapeake Indians. The Nansemond Indian Tribe planned and coordinated the reburial ceremony."--the inscription on the plaque.

In ancient times when a person was buried it was difficult to bury them deeply, and sad to say, scavengers and predators were a constant problem. So mourners usually brought stones with them when they came so that they could pile them onto the grave to discourage animals from digging up the body. The modern tradition of placing a small stone on a grave to honor the deceased seems to me to show how many people visit the grave and also harkens back to an ancient tradition which shows respect for the mortal remains. You can see stones on all the posts around the burial mound.

The Chesapeake Indians tracked time and seasons. Passing years were counted by the number of winters, or cohonks—the sound of migrating geese flying overhead.
I think PG heard a cohonk overhead! She didn't want to leave when the walk was over so we have to go back to experience the splendor and the beauty of this maritime forest.

Wish you were here,
Sammy & PG