On our one-day bus tour, we arrived at the Jefferson Hotel a luxury hotel located in Richmond, VA, opened in 1895. In 1969, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Not only is the Jefferson Hotel known for its authentic opulence, it has become synonymous with its extraordinary dining, breathtaking architecture and flawless service. This is what we saw as we entered the hotel. The photo to the right is the rear view.
You can see the stairs that led us to our dining area. This particular day a group of school children sang Christmas carols as we journeyed up the stairs to our tables.
We did not stay in the hotel rooms, but we did enjoy the feel of luxury. We had a great luncheon with our bus group of 50 spread across five tables (10 each to a table). We sat on the second tier of the rotunda which gave us a birds eye view of the plush, phenomenal décor of statues, columns and paintings.
We were instantly served a mixed salad with a house dressing. After we finished the salad, the servers brought our meal, a choice of salmon or pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, assorted vegetables, and warm rolls. My thick salmon was garnished with a lemon sauce that seeped through the salmon. My taste buds savored every bit of this fine cuisine. Desert was a cheesecake garnished with fresh strawberries and whipped cream along with a choice of coffee or tea.
It is beautiful every day of the year, but exceptionally stunning during the Christmas season with its beautiful Christmas display of ornaments, an ideal time to visit the Jefferson Hotel.
We arrived at the reservation just before the guide finished the previous group. When we off loaded from the bus, our tour guide divided us into two groups. One group was led into the museum and the other half to the one room school house.
A display inside the museum showed primitive pieces of hunting equipment, pottery, tomahawks, tools and a small section of bead works and clothing.
I read a pamphlet about this one-room frame school house which for decades the state partially supported. This school on the Pamunkey reservation offered elementary education to a small number of children until it closed in the 1950s; but many Virginia Indians who desired to attend high school were denied admittance to the racially segregated public schools. In Virginia, they either had to leave home to attend a government Indian school in another state or quit school before completing their education. This Pamunkey Indian school is now part of the tribal museum on the Pamunkey Reservation.
Inside, three black chalk boards hung on the wooden wall. On one side of the room sat a wood burning stove. In the cold and chilly months, the warmth from the stove was a blessing to the young children. I enjoyed the history and heritage about this reservation.
The Pamunkey tribe is one of only two that still retain reservation lands assigned by the 1646 and 1677 treaties with the English colonial government. The Pamunkey reservation is located on some of its ancestral land on the Pamunkey River adjacent to present day King William County. Virginia.
Since we are on a bus tour, our time at the reservation was cut short. I wanted to see the fish hatchery that Pamunkey Indians maintain. One of the main staple of their diet is fish. The Pamunkey have maintained a philosophy that if you took fish from the water, you should put some back. I did learn a little information about their hatchery.
In 1918 they started an indoor fish hatchery with an 800 gallon holding tank, gas powered motor, hatching jars and holding tanks. As soon as the eggs hatched, they were gravity-fed back into the Pamunkey River. Since then, the Pamunkey Tribal expanded the hatchery from 12 hatching jars to 24 and upgraded the facilities and filtration system.
Now with a larger hatchery and more equipment to spawn the shad fish they can tag the shad to help document life history characteristics. Spawning shad (broad stock) will be manually spawned and fertilized eggs will be incubated in the hatchery. Upon hatching, the young shad fry will be intensively cultured for about a 16 day period. During their stay at the hatchery, the dry will be marked with Oxytetracyclin (OTC) on a set sequence of days that will give the shad produced from the PTG hatchery a unique tag. All shad produced from this facility will be released back into the Pamunkey River.
These very common small birds are friendly birds and are often surrounded by half a dozen or more of its kind. During cold winter months they feed on seeds and grains. In the spring, summer and fall they feed on insects, flies and mosquitoes. Normally sparrows are noticed in joyful conditions, sing musically and chatterers about the day’s business. There are times a sparrow will mourn; this only happens when the bird’s mate has been killed or its nest and young is destroyed. Although some people may consider them a nuisance and of no monetary value, but accordance to the Bible in the days of Jesus, these tiny birds were an article of commerce as they are now in the Far East.
I photographed this Egret from my kayak on the Warwick River; a 14.4 mile tidal estuary that meanders through tall grasses and cat-o-nine tails to cut its way into the James River.
This piece of paradise is a birders’ delight. I spotted Herons, Egrets, Sandpipers, and at least six other small bird species I couldn’t identify. One hairy critter smoothly swam across my bow. As it went ashore I identified it as a muskrat.
This beautiful peaceful setting is in Newport News, VA. In 2013 the population was estimated to be 183,412, making it the fifth-most populous city in Virginia. According to the United States Census Bureau the city has a total area of 120 square miles (310 km2), of which 69 square miles (180 km2) is land and 51 square miles (130 km2) (42.4%) is water.
Wow!!!! Here is another of God’s creations known by the non-scientific name as a dragonfly. I wonder if this insect inspired man’s flying insect called a helicopter. Maybe in the very existence of the dragonfly they were giant flying dragons and through time they dwindled down to the 3 to 5-inch colorful insect we see now during our warm and hot summer months.
It is written that the dragonfly in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and the perspective of self-realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity also the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.
Great Blue Heron contemplating its move. As a Heron, balance is tricky. I had this itch that needed immediate attention. My frustration is having an itch I can’t scratch. I was concern I’d make a fool of myself. After all we are known for gracefulness. I was happy to satisfy this itch and still stand respectfully.
Bullies are everywhere. I’m attacked from all sides. Those birds have the gull to try to take my food. This isn’t the first time I was bullied to give them my food. What is it with me, am I an easy prey?
Uncommon to my area of Southeast Virginia is the Red Throated Loon. I photographed this aquatic bird in late November at Messick Point on the Back River an estuary to the Chesapeake Bay. At my first sighting, the head was barley above water with its winter plumage of speckled blackish and white spotted feathers, it swiftly swam near the water surface like an otter. Once it surfaced the loon posed long enough for me to get a few nice pictures.
In doing my research for this Loon, it is said in The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, “Loons have difficulty walking on land because their legs are located at the extreme rear of their bodies, so they are seldom seen away from the water. They are extremely vulnerable to oil pollution; many have been killed along both coasts as a result of recent spills.”
What is important about today? This is a day life will begin and for others will end. The moment of new life what will the news announce? Is it another terrorist attack, Government corruption, worldly plagues, or catastrophic storms? At this point of life, there is no return to the security and comfort before birth. You now begin the journey through the Alpha and Omega. For others, their journey has ended. Did they accomplish their purpose here on earth or did they roam about aimlessly? Life has a purpose; it is in fulfilling those purposes that we find meaning and satisfaction in our lives.
Unselfish love is the key to fulfill life’s purpose. It is deliberate and purposeful rather than emotional, impulsive or self-serving love.