Monday, October 17, 2016

Historic Columbia South Carolina

As I had written previously, our time in Columbia was challenged by Hurricane Matthew and the fact that it was for some businesses  a holiday weekend (Columbus Day).  Those facts did not deter us.  When we could not get anything done pertaining to my brother's estate we checked out the more popular tourist stops.  Columbia is the capital of the state, so we drove over to the state house.  John and I had seen it on our other visit to the city but my sister Gloria had not seen it.   Because of the hurricane it was closed on Saturday.  Despite the wind and a bit of rain we still walked around the capitol grounds.
In a previous posting I wrote about the statue of George Washington which stands on the capitol steps, but I did display a picture of it.  The statue was purchased in 1858 and placed inside the state house.  During the Civil War it was brick batted by soldiers from Sherman's army. It was not repaired, in 1887 it was moved outside on the grounds, in 1907 it was placed on the capitol steps.
Also on the capitol grounds we found the statue of a man who, it was noted on the monument,  was a United States Representative, Senator, Governor, and Supreme Court Justice.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt also gave him a title as "Assistant to the President" during the time he was in office.  No other man has ever served in all those capacities.  Interesting that until that day I had never heard of him!  The signage on the monument indicated that he was "most distinguished of his time".  The man was James Byrnes who lived from 1879 to 1972.  We learned more about him when we visited the Mckissick Museum which is on the University of South Carolina campus- the only museum opened on the Monday we were in town.  We also wanted to tour some historic homes while we were in town, however none were opened.  We did a drive around town anyway, searching them out.
The Woodrow Wilson home is noted to be an "important link to the United States' most pivotal era- the United States Reconstruction" after the Civil War.  Dr. and Mrs. Joseph R. Wilson, parents of Woodrow Wilson, lived here only a few years during the President's teen years.  It is South Carolina's only presidential site.

The last historic home I want to show here was once the temporary war home of General and Mrs. Chestnut.   They entertained Jefferson Davis and his staff here in 1864.   Jefferson Davis, President of the CSA, addressed the citizens of Columbia from the front steps.  This pretty much concludes what I have to write about our weekend in Columbia-  we thought that we would have to extend our time in Columbia through Tuesday because we were told that  the Probate Court building was not opened on Monday due to the holiday.  We had nothing better to do than to check out to see if that fact was correct.  Surprise!  Apparently that information did not apply to county buildings.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens

My family thought it rather strange when they received a text from me which said that John and I were at a zoo.  It does seem like a strange place to be when our business in Columbia was to take care of my brother's estate.  However, it was Sunday and official offices were closed.  It was finally a sunny day and not a time to tour museums (all were closed anyway because of Matthew).  The zoo parking lot was almost full.  A staff worker at the zoo said that this was a record attendance for them for this time of the year.  Many evacuees from other parts of the state were still in town, not planning on returning to their homes until Monday.
We came to the zoo because of the botanical gardens located within the park.  Walking by the Koala Knockabout though, we just had to stop and look at a pair of koalas.  It seemed that they were a baby with its mama.  She can not be seen in the picture above because she is gripping the tree on the other side.  I was just happy to get the picture of her baby- so cute!
To get to the gardens it was necessary to take a tram.  Ordinarily it would have been possible for us to hike along the Saluda Rver trail to the gardens, but it was closed because the storm knocked tree limbs and other brush over the path.  If we could have taken it we would have seen the ruins of a old mill, as well as the granite abutments of a covered bridge which the Confederates burned to stop General Sherman's army during the Civil War.
Within the gardens is a formal garden with a main canal which divides the garden in half with fountains.  In this walled garden is a labyrinth of "secret" garden rooms.  Pictured below is the knot and textured garden.  It is the most formal area within the walled garden and highlights a combination of textured plants.
  My favorite part of the formal gardens is called a Purple Wall, something quite different which I have not seen in other botanical gardens.  The plants here feature one color primarily.
 Lastly I have to mention another unusual area of the gardens which is called, appropriately enough, the Animal Garden.  Here plants are displayed which have animal names- names like lamb's ear, shrimp plant, elephant ears, pelican flower, fleabane and beebalm.  Guess you get the idea.  Pictured below is the bamboo zebra plant.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

In all of our years of being on the road hurricanes never crossed our path.  Seems like this is our year to experience them! We had just  encountered Hurricane Hermine in September and in the past week we had some interesting experiences with events pertaining to Hurricane Matthew.
 My brother Glenn passed September 16th.  This was a brother estranged from the family for about 40 years.  When my sister Gloria suggested that we meet her in Columbia, South Carolina to pick up his effects from the coroner, as well to meet Glenn's roommate, at first I thought the idea a bit ridiculous.  After considering it further, I concluded that I would like to get a glimpse into Glenn's life which he had kept hidden from us.  I think that John was ready for a road trip, he readily agreed to go.  And it so happened that the week which we had planned for our trip was the time when Hurricane Matthew was going to strike the coastal areas of the southeast!  We left last Thursday, thinking we would miss the storm as it was to arrive on the eastern coast of north Florida Friday afternoon.
Our trip of 500 miles, which should have taken about 9- 10 hours, instead took about 14 hours because of the hurricane.  Getting out of Florida was even a issue.  In the town of Brooksville it was slow going as a road was blocked  due to the fact that a corvette had run under a bus.  Fortunately no one was injured.  In southern Georgia we encountered more traffic jams-people were leaving the coastal areas (as Savannah).  Most fortunately many cars were going southwest, and we were going  the opposite direction.  We had planned to take interstate 95 but, fearing it would be congested, we took back country roads through Georgia.   That was very slow going as they were only two lane roads.  Stopping for gas took time also as there were long lines at the pumps.  In the larger towns we saw signs posted that all motels were full.  Thankfully we had motel reservations in Columbia- if only we could get there!  Later in the day we noticed police cars gathered along the evacuation routes and convoys of utility trucks.   Highway lanes into Columbia had been changed- going only in one direction into the city and away from the coast.  Such changes made it quite difficult to get to our motel, we wandered for awhile before discovering that the road to our motel was open - highway signs indicated wrongly that the ramp was closed! 
We made it finally to our motel, quite late.  On Friday Columbia had some wind and rain.  The Congaree River (pictured above) was close to flooding its banks.  Strong winds brought down large trees in the area, but that was the worse which the city experienced.  Our motel was filled with people who had fled the coastal towns of Charleston as well as Hilton Head, South Carolina.
 We had been told by the coroner of Lexington County that schools, and businesses would be closed on Friday because of the impending storm.  We took a chance anyway and were very fortunate to find her in her office.  She told us what she knew when she arrived at Glenn's house to pick up his body
(he had died a natural death from cancer).  She had met a neighbor as well as Glenn's roommate.
Later that day we drove to Glenn's house, pictured above.  His roommate is standing outside the building.  Over the years we corresponded with Glenn by mail and he shared all he had learned about our lives with Dave.  We were quite surprised how much he knew about us!  Despite Hurricane Matthew we had a wonderful time in West Columbia learning about our brother Glenn.  With Dave we visited restaurants which he and Glenn frequented.  We met waitresses who were willing to talk with us about our brother, as well as other people who knew him.   Fortunately Dave had a shoe box of Polaroids taken by Glenn over the years which he passed on to us, they also have provided us with snippets of Glenn's life over the years when he refused to see us.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Murals of St.Petersburg

John and I have been following articles in the Tampa Bay Times regarding the 2016 SHINE Mural Festival in St.Petersburg.  Seems that it was on Labor Day weekend when many of the artists were out and painting store walls as well as one street intersection in St.Petersburg.  It is a distance to go from where we are parked and there were some storms passing through that weekend so it was not possible to see the artists at work.  On Monday of this week we had some errands to run in St.Petersburg, so it seemed a good time to search out the murals. 
The mural pictured above was not done this year, but I thought it interesting as it depicts a piece of local history.  In 2013 the St.Petersburg Pier, a local landmark and popular tourist attraction was closed with plans to build a bigger and better one.  That has not happened, and I think the artist is expressing some very strong feelings about the passing of that landmark.
This years mural festival brought 21 new murals to the city.  Painted on the School of Art building are fish actively moving in and around each other.  The picture fills a wall of the building and continues around the side.  It was done by Pantonio a Portuguese artist known for his rather large dimension murals.  The only requirements for the mural artists is that they be 18 years of age and reside in the St.Petersburg area.  Some of the murals are created by several people, as the mural pictured below which was done by clients and one art teacher from Creative Clay art school and galleries.  Unfortunately it faces a parking lot and an unobstructed picture was not possible.
It certainly is a very colorful mural!  And I can say the same for the car and mural pictured below.
"The Car That Says Art" is parked in front of a creation by Ricardo Richey.  Some of the murals, as this one which we found by wandering down an alley, was a bit hard to find but always worth the extra walking.  While looking for them we walked passed art galleries and cafes, as well as a variety of boutiques and tattoo parlors.  There are also some abandoned buildings as well as buildings in the middle of reconstruction.  Murals found on many of the buildings certainly add a colorful flair to this older section of St.Petersburg!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fine Art Center in Dunedin

First off I must say that our life style has radically changed, at least for now.  John certainly would rather be on the road, but I enjoy my time with the grandchildren.
The weather continues to be quite hot, we had thought September would bring some relief but guess we will have to wait until October.  So we are still looking for indoor activities and Saturday we visited the art center here in Dunedin.  As I have written before, we often are surprised at what art museums in small towns have to offer.  And we were quite pleased at what we discovered in this art museum.  One exhibit was on Harmonic Divergence.  This exhibit of art was inspired by music.
There is a vegetable orchestra in Vienna.  The members have been building  instruments from legumes, cabbages and courgettes for twelve years.

  There are recordings of the band's music- which, according to museum information is described as "transparent, crackling, shrill, massive dark and hypnotic, funky and groovy". I would have to agree!  Also on display are instruments made of ceramic, as well as guitars made of scrap lumber with such treasures as door springs, saw blades and pot lids inside. They are painted with red barn paint.
The  exhibit, which I enjoyed at this museum the most, is titled" Dignity: Tribes in Transition".  Photographs on display here were taken by Dana Gluckstein.  For thirty years she photographed Indigenous Peoples around the world fighting for their land, their traditions, their languages, against large companies, their governments and missionary zeal.  In 1970 representatives from tribes in North America took their concerns to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.  Their declaration of rights was approved by all nations except a few- America and Canada did not sign it.  Fortunately President Obama signed it in 2010.  There is an article in this exhibit written by Desmond Tutu in which he notes that "umbuntu" is needed world-wide.  In the Nguni Bantu language it translates roughly to "human kindness".  It is the essence of what it is to be human, that we are inter-dependent with other human beings and the rest of creation.  A bit of human kindness is certain needed in our political discourses during this election year!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Trip in to St.Petersburg

We are now further north and west of St.Petersburg than we were this past winter.  So it is roughly a 20 mile trip into the city one-way.   On a rainy day a couple of weeks ago John and I decided to make the trip into the city to see Southside With You, a story about a day of courtship between President Obama and his wife Michelle which took place about 20 years ago.  It was a wonderful movie, by the way.  Theaters which show the independent films are few and far between, thankfully we found one in St.Petersburg.  After the movie we stopped to visit Florida's largest new and used bookstore.
Both John and I are voracious readers and I cannot believe that we did not visit this place last winter.
The place is very large, and we wandered from room to room looking at books for about two hours.
I was taken aback when I happened to look up and saw a cat peering intently at me.
I walked on further into that room and found two more cats, one curled up in a chair sleeping.  We ended up buying about 6 books- but this store's used books are a bit pricey, I can find cheaper used books at thrift stores as well as libraries.  But certainly not the large variety!

After the book store we drove on Central Avenue close to the downtown looking for the mural pictured above.  The pictures on this commercial building are on every outside wall and they tell a fable about an evil giant who stole gold from the local villagers.  Every evening while at the supper table he fed the gold to his dog.  The villagers wanted their gold back and consequently killed the dog.  Every evening, while the giant dined,  the villagers held the dog's head up to the giant's leg so he could feel the dog and feed it gold.  Eventually the village got all their money back.

In the picture above the dog's head is being held up by the villagers.  Quite a fascinating mural!  Yesterday, Labor Day, more painters were planning on covering more walls on the buildings of St.Petersburg.  Not sure whether they were successful, as we had a heavy downpour here in the late afternoon.  August seems to be the rainy month here, of course Hurricane Hermine did not help that situation as she brought heavy rain for several days.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hurricane Hermine and Granddaughter Clarissa

Both ladies arrived the night of September first.  Fortunately we were able to drive to the birthing center before the worse came that Hermine had to offer arrived.  The birth went easy (if one can say any birth comes easy) and about two hours after we came to the center, our granddaughter made her appearance.  She sobbed her heart out over the cruelty of the event, and has not cried that hard since.
Mother and baby are doing fine.  They were able to go home with Daddy ( Spencer), John and I by 1AM.  Despite storm warnings, John and I returned to our home.  Thought I would easily go to sleep and would have no problem staying asleep, but then Hurricane Hermine arrived.  Lightning flashed, a strong wind blew and our home shook all night.  We got little sleep.  Torrents of rain came down and when daylight came I opened our door to a watery world.  Despite the storm, our newspaper arrived!
During two days of the storm, Thursday and Friday, schools were called off and many shops were closed, but just like our U.S. mail, the newspapers still delivered!  Many local roads were flooded.
In those early morning hours after the storm blew through, flocks of water birds surrounded our home- herons, egrets, ibis and wood storks.  I could soon see large juicy worms hanging from their bills.  They were not the only ones who appreciated the rain, our grandson Nathan thought it quite important to scoop it up and water the grass.
Melissa asked me to find a copy of the Tampa Bay Times so she could show Clarissa the news of the day for September 1,2016.  Unfortunately the headlines for that day were: "Awful Arrival." ( in reference to Hurricane Hermine).  No question that the arrival of Clarissa was wonderful and a very blessed event!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Florida in August

This seems to be the hottest month.  John once had the theory that being near the ocean would keep us cool.  However, that does not take into account the fact that during the summer months the waters of the ocean get as warm as the temperature on land, so there is no cool moisture in the air to bring the temperatures down!  Our usual plan is to be quite a distance north to avoid the heat which we are feeling now.  That was not possible this summer because our daughter, her husband and child are living here and their second child is due any day now.
At least it is not dry here, the frequent brief rains keep plants and trees blooming so, despite the heat, we are still in a tropical paradise.  Down the road from where we are parked is the Dunedin Tree Arboretum.  Walking through this beautiful park a few weeks back we found a most unusual mushroom.  It certainly looks like a flower, but has all the earmarks of a mushroom.
It is impossible to stay inside all the time and keep one's sanity.  Yesterday, with our very pregnant daughter and her son Nathan, we drove over to Lowry Zoo.
We were surprised to see penguins outside in the 90 degree plus heat.  In the St.Louis Zoo they are in a building kept quite cool with air conditioning.  We soon learned that the penguins here enjoying their swim are from the southwest coast of Africa.  This breed of penguins, the ones still in the wild, are in high risk of extinction due to pollution and habitat loss.
Despite this being the hottest time of the year, it was interesting that out of the three times we have been here, we saw the most animals this time.  Or at least it seemed that way.  Checking out the people who were staring at him is a meerkat, another animal from Africa who loves the heat.
Most of the wallabies in their pen, however, were seeking relief from the sun.  Before we left the zoo we were treated to the sight of a Macaw Flyover.  We always seemed to miss that event in the past when we visited the zoo.  The sight of about 8 macaws flying over us was quite beautiful because of their bright blue and yellow colors.  It was almost as good as a Blue Angel show!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Day Trip South

John and I finally took a break from house repairs ( on our daughter's house), as well as babysitting.  Our plan was to drive to Sarasota, Florida, but we were a bit uncertain about going that far as thunderstorms were predicted there by late afternoon.  On our way south we stopped at the DeSoto National Memorial Park.  It is about 5 miles west from downtown Bradenton.
According to park information this reconstructed area is noted as being "perhaps the site" where
Hernando de Soto landed in Florida on May 30, 1539.   Born in 1500, de Soto was by this time a very successful conquistador.  By his twenties he had become rich from Incan plunder which enabled him to purchase the needed supplies and equipment needed for a foray into north America.  After arriving in Florida he left 100 men (he had a total of about 700) at a camp near the lading site to guard their supplies while he traveled northward into Florida.  De Soto had dreams of finding more silver, gold and precious gems in our country than he had found in South America.  It all came to nought, the mission was doomed by his unfamiliarity with the land, hostile Indians, and his strong desire for wealth.  The explorer died three years after landing in Florida.
Above is a granite monument to De Soto, which was placed in the park in 1939.  He and his men are at least credited as being the first to share information regarding the American land and its first people.  He had chroniclers along with him, their written narratives as well as archeological artifacts has helped us to learn of his explorations.  Surrounding the memorial are gumbo trees, some of the largest in the country.  They are often used as living fence posts in Cuba and the West Indies.
The largest one is dying from some black fungus.  There is a sign near it saying "Respect my space".
Our goal for the day was a botanical park in Sarasota.  However, we found this smaller one at Durante Park in the town of Longboat Key.  Not much there, but we found a colorful grove of hibiscus trees- all with differing colors of blooms.  While walking around there, in the heat of the day, we realized it would be foolish to tour a larger garden because it was just too hot!
We did make it to Sarasota, and while driving around in the downtown area we came upon this statute.  It was created by Seward Johnson in 2006, titled "Unconditional Surrender".  You may remember it, a picture taken in 1945 after the Japanese surrendered.  It is of a a sailor and his girlfriend ( a nurse) reuniting with a passionate kiss in Times Square.
That was our day trip.  Mostly what we gained from it was that we needed to return.  Sarasota has gardens, and museums to explore- but only when the weather is a bit cooler!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Safety Harbor, Florida

Helping our daughter and her husband get settled in their new home has taken up a great deal of our time since we have arrived in Florida.  The weather has also been quite interesting.  The first week or so it was quite warm and humid.  It was uncomfortable being out side until the sun started going down, and then the mosquitoes would dive down for their blood-sucking feast on any human found outdoors.  In the past week the weather has cooled down to the eighties, but now we are dealing with torrents of rain.  However, there have been nice breaks from that and on Friday John and I ventured out under over-cast skies to tour Safety Harbor.  The town is due east of us along Tampa Bay.  Local Indians were the first ones drawn to the area because of its five mineral springs.
A mural on the side of the Chamber of Commerce building depicts the history of Safety Harbor.  In 1539 Hernando de Soto named the springs Espiritu Santo, or water of the Holy Spirit. 
Our tour of the town took us to the oldest live oak in Pinellas County.  It is estimated to be 300-500 years old.  Its girth measures approximately 20 feet.  The tree is named for Dr.S. Baranoff, who in 1945 purchased the Safety Harbor Sanitarium.  It was an 18 acre health facility which included the five mineral springs.  The sanitarium is now gone, replaced by Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. 
 As we were gazing at the majestic tree I saw a man narrowly miss a low-hanging branch of it which stretched over the fence.  My guess he was playing Pokemon Go, as there were others nearby who seemed to be equally equally engrossed in their smart phones.
Our walk took us to Marina Park down by the harbor.  A wonderful floral smell was in the air, we attributed that odor to several trees which had beautiful pink blossoms.
We also walked out on the pier where locals informed us we could find manatees. We first saw dolphins off in the distance in the ocean, and, by patiently scanning the ocean, we did eventually see a manatee with her calf.  Again we saw people on the pier staring into their smart phones.  I felt like shaking them and informing them that while they were glued to their electronic devices they were missing out on seeing some awesome scenery.   Well, as my mother would say "each to their own".

Monday, August 1, 2016

Jamestown, Virginia

Jamestown is part of the historic triangle where the birthplace of America occurred.  It is located 10 minutes from Williamsburg and about a mile from the original settlement.  It is the area where London's Virginia Company sent the first settlers to the sandy shores of the James River.  For a variety of reasons we were able to tour this area more easily than Williamsburg.  We arrived there a when it was a tad cooler in the morning hours.  And even Nathan enjoyed the cool walk through a forest, on a boardwalk over marshland.  Our first stop was a recreated Indian Village.
 Virginia was settled in the midst of a Powhatan Indian chiefdom in 1607.   We stepped inside a reconstructed tepee which had a low-lying bed and fireplace.  Furs hung everywhere from the ceilings and walls.  We saw actors, dressed as Native Americans, active around their homes and fields.  From there we took a path down to the river's edge where several ships sit in the harbor.
We were able to tour three life-size replicas of the 1607 ships- Susan Constant, Godspeed  and Discovery.  The smallest ship held only 21 passengers and seemed to me as having very cramped quarters for a 4 and a half month ocean voyage from England.  The other two ships were a bit larger, carrying double that number, and accommodations were a bit improved.  I did not know that ships back then had brick fireplaces.
From the harbor we walked to the wooden palisade of  Jamestown Settlement's recreated colonial fort.  The  "public" buildings were built first, and they included store houses, a guard house for the military, and a church (at this time the Church of England was the only choice for the settlers).
Pictured above is the alter area of the church, on which the Lord's Prayer as well as the Ten Commandments and Creed are posted on the back wall.  Here we encountered an elderly man dressed in period clothing.  He was not the cleric, but said that he was the assistant to the first resident governor of the Virginia colony, Lord Del a La Ware.  An interesting side note here is that the government of the colony moved to Middle Plantation (Williamsburg) in 1699.
Actors dressed in period clothing were available to answer questions regarding the first colony.  I noticed tobacco crops growing outside of the settlement and learned how important that crop was to the first settlers.  John Rolfe grew the first crop in 1619,he and others quickly became rich exporting it to England.  The settlers also learn how great a crop it was also for their own use and chose to grow it over such boring crops as beans and corn.  A law was soon passed limiting how much tobacco could be grown.
After seeing the outdoor exhibits in Jamestown we moved inside to the rather extensive galleries inside which chronicle the nation's 17th century beginnings in Virginia.  While I stayed back with Nathan the rest also were able to also see the recreated archaeological site down the road.   So much to see, but in general it was quite hot outside.  Melissa and I chose not to see Yorktown in the afternoon because of the brutal heat and Nathan needed to rest.  Yorktown is, as a tour brochure notes, where "America became of age".  At this place is the battlefield on land and sea where we won our independence from England.
We have now moved to Florida, and are residing in the Clearwater area.  Our daughter Melissa and her husband have moved their residence further north up the coast.  We are assisting them get settled in their new home, and their second child is due later this month.  This blog site may be quiet for awhile now, but you never know.  

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Colonial Williamsburg

After a week in Washington D.C. we moved our motor home to Williamsburg.  Our son Dan and his wife joined us there, taking a cabin near where our motor home was parked.   Our plan for the several days we were there was to visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown- all important places during America's historical first years from 1607 to 1781.
Colonial Williamsburg is a total immersion experience which takes the visitor back to the late 1700s.  It was not unusual for us to see people as Commander George Washington riding the streets on his horse.  Or to experience Thomas Jefferson or James Madison engaged in political discourses.  Actors dressed in period clothing are everywhere in the village.  They only know what is going on currently in their lives.  We ate lunch at the Kings Arms restaurant where a woman greeted us and asked where we were from.  John launched into his usual spiel about our lifestyle living on the road in a motor home and she immediately stopped him. She inquired as to what he was talking about.  John then realized his mistake- no person in the 1700s could begin to understand the concept of automobiles, much less living and traveling in something as big as a bus!
Williamsburg is a small village which has been built around 88 original buildings dating back to the 1700s.  More than 400 other buildings have also been faithfully reconstructed in this 300 acre city of taverns, trade shops, homes and community buildings.  The Randolph house, pictured above, is one of the original buildings.  It was here that Peyton Randolph (born 1721 and died 1775), a wealthy land owner and public official lived.  He was speaker of the House of Burgesses, and first President of  the Continental Congress.  The docent who gave us a tour of the home asked us to consider that many signers of the Declaration of Independence visited and dined in this house.  Pictured below is the dining room, where many of those important personages took their meals.
The docent also asked us to think about the 27 slaves serving the Randolphs.  They must have been privy to many discussions about freedom and independence, but that was not to happen for them for another 100 years.  Britain had already freed their slaves, and offered the slaves in Williamsburg their freedom.  Two of the slaves took that opportunity, one of them had to return to captivity several days later when the British lost the Revolutionary War.
One of the rebuilt buildings in Williamsburg is that of the Governor's Palace which served as the executive mansion for Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.  Over the doorway both outside and inside is the crest of the King of England, and inside are a few portraits of English royalty- reflections of the fact that the colony of Virginia once belonged to England.  I found the entrance hall quite impressive with its awesome display of guns and swords.  This was common interior decoration of the day for English buildings back in the 1700s.  We were informed by the staff that Colonial Williamsburg has one of the biggest collection of Revolutionary weaponry in the world.
All total in this town there are about 100 lush gardens.  The palace gardens are pictured below.  There is no way we could have covered this historic town in one day.  We did miss many of the homes and trade shops.  Our son Dan and his wife were able to see and experience more than the rest of us.  They had not been there before as we had and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The heat was also quite oppressive while we were there.  It is just another one of those many places we hope to return to some day!