DAY 68 July 31, 2009

Started the day off going out to Henricus Park which is supposed to be a historical site with people modeling the behaviors of the times. All I found was the gift shop locked and three apparent employees that did not so much as say hello to me. Guess I will keep my $5 and take a few photos gratis.

On to the first stop in the Richmond National Park. Drewry's Bluff (Fort Darling) is supposed to be well preserved. I arrived with the only other vehicle in the area being the ranger's. I met him as I was walking in and said hello. The further I walked the less sure I was of how much further I would need to travel and the more cognizant of the fact that I was out in the woods without a cell phone by myself except for the insects feasting on my poor body. I gave up and ran for the protection of my vehicle.

Next stop the official visitor center of the Richmond National Park at the old Tredegar Iron Works. I was surprised at the $3 per hour parking fee, but took my ticket and headed up the hill to view their very interesting video. This video actually put the Civil War from beginning (Manassas) to end (Richmond) into perspective. I feel like this is a must do stop for anyone traveling the Civil War Trail.

Next stop was Maymount-very hard for me to find with all the one way streets in the area. Once I arrived the weather was threatening rain, so I toured the east side of the grounds quickly. I enjoyed the display of various carriages, sleighs, and buggies in the Carriage House. I made it to the Mansion just in time to join the "children's tour" called Lions in the Library ($5). The guide told us that there were over 400 depictions of animals in this very elaborate home. The home even had running water and electric/gas lights, which was virtually unheard of in the late 1800's. The couple (James and Sallie Dooley) were quite wealthy from his railroad endeavors and no cast was spared in the public portion of the home. Back out to the car ahead of the storm, but not the wind.
I headed up to see the monuments on Monument Drive and then over to the Maggie L Walker Historic Site (NPS). I enjoyed learning about Ms Walker's pursuits-first female banker-via the video in the visitor center. I found it amazing that she was not only female, but black and had amazing success in her business pursuits. She was born at the end of the Civil War and women did not accomplish these type of feats at that time. They offer a tour of the house, but I was pressed for time and the rain had subsided enough to safely get to my car across the street.

On to Chimborazo Hospital (part of the Richmond NPS) at the other end of town. They show an interesting video depicting medical care during the Civil War and have a nice exhibit of medical paraphernalia. The yellow flage flying meant that it was a military hospital. I also learned that when a woman (name?) fussed enough about having her private hospital pressed into service by the military she was commissioned as an officer (captain?)-the only female in the Civil War.

The final stop of the day was the Holocaust Museum. I admit that I teared up several times-such inhumanity. I was quite unaware that, even after D-Day and Germany's surrender, the Jews continued to suffer displacement at the hands of their rescuers. It absolutely breaks my heart that my own country turned away refugees of this war. I cannot image how it must have felt to have been refused sanctuary by so many, even those professing assistance. So incredibly sad.

I walked out of the last site at almost straight up 5 pm on this Friday afternoon, but the traffic was not horrible until I passed Fredericksburg. I wandered up to Sterling for the night and was very pleasantly surprised that the manager had upgraded my room to a king studio suite. What an absolutely beautiful accommodation! I made the mistake of attempting to find sustenance in Sterling. After becoming VERY lost, I located a Popeye's Chicken and was pleasantly surprised by how tasty their chicken bowl was. It had beans and rice topped with unbreaded chicken strips and cheese. The food was good, but the service at this location was no better than that in Florida.

ROUTE: US 1 North> Downtown Richmond> I 95 North> VA 234 West> VA 28 North

Lodging: Hampton Inn & Suites Sterling, VA

Popeye's Chicken

$$$: $65 Hotel $3 Parking $5 Tour $5 Meal $26 Fuel = $104

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