On this particular day, My journey starts at Newport News Park, in Newport News, VA. The park offers a 5.3 mile, hard-packed gravel, bike loop beginning at the Campsite Office. The path is fairly well shaded with an overhead canopy from beautiful trees. About half- way through the loop, a placard on the trail indicates George Washington’s Headquarters.
If you decide to further your bike ride another 5.6 miles and back, this loop crosses into the Colonial National Historical Park, in Yorktown, VA which leads to George Washington’s Headquarters, this route is mostly flat and wide wooded trails and some paved one lane roads.
Gravel bikers, mountain bikers, and hikers will see ramparts still in place from battles past.
This section is known as the French Artillery Park, it was an open field where the French established its ordinance depot. Damaged pieces where brought here for repairs.
I biked a little further on the trail, wondering where this will lead me. My bike computer reads I am six miles into my unknown journey. I thought, should I turn around or keep on. About 20 yards ahead of me, I got spooked when two deer ran in front of me; not knowing if there were more, I stopped and took out my iPhone ready to take a picture, but I didn’t see any. My history lesson continues as another placard appears.
A little further on the trail was Daboville’s Headquarters. It is difficult for me to visualize this area was inhabited and with plantation buildings.
On one side of the gravel road, stands a lonely marker, known as the Essex Lodge Cemetery. It is dedicated to the memory of those who rest here. The forebear’s and descendants of Thomas Wynn. Host of General George Washington, October 1781.
This simple cross is thought to mark the burial place of about 50 unidentified French soldiers killed during the Siege of Yorktown.
Now, I am off onto a beaten path; where I see a group of turkeys. There are a dozen or more, but as biked closer most of them scattered into the brambles. I took a picture, but I only could photograph two turkeys.
I hope you all enjoyed gravel bike ride through history. Comments are welcomed.
A lonely sparrow stands high on a tree to search for his mate. With a shrill pitch sound, he desperately sings a lonely song, that can be heard all around. In the distance an echo he hears, the happy sparrow tilts its head from side to side, he spreads his wings and flies to meet his love so dear.
This is a photo I took, that inpired me to write the avove paragraph. I hope you all enjoy.Comments are welcome
While in Lancaster, PA, my wife and I toured the Amish area. Through our tour guid, we learned about the passion and purpose, which inspires these Godly people. Their Christian spirituality is the framework that sets their lifestyle.
The picture below show mules that are the power force to pull the plows, hay wagons, balers, hay cutters, and wagons through the acres of farm land.
Tractors often must be adapted for off-road use only, lest they provide the opportunity to go too far from home. This usually means steel tires rather than rubber.
The Amish look to God for help in this dangerous world. When they are face with problems, their first instinct is to pray rather than to seek a quick fix. They learned patience; they feel demanding a quick fix signals a lack of trust in God.
I hope you enjoyed this little article and have an opportunity to tour and visit an Amish community.
When looking at the Angel Oak Tree, it’s like a walk through a mystical time period. Spots of hazy, heavenly, light shows its beams through the leaves onto the branches. I expected nymphs and winged fairies to flitter under the huge canopy of the massive oak tree. This centuries-old tree continues to grow near a dirt road that leads to the Angel Oak tree; which is surrounded amongst many Low Country trees.
The Angel Oak tree is located on St. Johns Island, about twelve miles south from downtown Charleston, NC. When I saw the Angel Oak Tree in 2019, it is free admission. There just aren’t many free places to stop, and this is one that is definitely worthwhile.
This peculiar tree is said to be one of the oldest living oak trees east of the Mississippi River. Arborists estimates the Angel Oak tree is 400 to 500 years old. Several reasons for the Angel Oak’s longevity is its natural hardiness, long taproot, and widespread root systems, that anchors the tree deep into the ground. This is how it has survived natures elements of winds, storms, earthquakes, and hurricanes through-out the centuries. It does show scars from natures elements; but the old oak tree still stands strong and brave.
The uniqueness of the tree is that it grows both up and out. Its massive, twisted, and gnarled branches reach out like tentacles from a giant monster. It’s said, by tour guides, the tree stands 66.5 ft (20 ml), the trunk measures 28 ft (8.5m) in circumference and produces shade that covers 17,200 feet (1,600 m2).
Local folklore tells of another source for the name of the tree; ghosts of former slaves are said to appear as angels around the tree.
In her Ghosts and Legends of Charleston, Denise Roffe interviewed a woman descended from the slaves who toiled on the island’s plantations. She recounted the legends of the tree, including that it was once home to huge birds (likely vultures) who fed on the bodies of lynched slaves. The old woman continued saying that many people were buried under the tree including Native Americans who met under its shady branches. She stated that these spirits still gather around the oak and that they also work to protect the tree.
Recorded history traces the ownership of the live oak and surrounding land to year 1717. When Abraham Waight received it as part of a small land grant, the tree stayed in Waight’s family for four generations, and was part of a marriage settlement to Justus Angel and Martha Waight Tucker Angel. The Angel Oak tree is now owned by the City of Charleston and has become the focal point of a public park.
Many weddings and engagements take place under the canopy of this beautiful historical tree.
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.