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.
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.
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.
The town I live in is Newport News, Virginia in the United States. The East end is the industrial area made famous for its military ship building. Mid-city once farm land has developed into a commercial hub of office and medical centers, shopping areas, and many chain restaurants and the North end is residential and houses a large military base.
Located in center city are a few coffee shops like Starbucks, Aroma’s and Panera Bread company. They are not like the quaint cafes that are found in small towns were everyone knows each other and will take time to sit and chat.
Here in my area of the world, coffee is the most popular drink. I wonder is it the coffee the people enjoy or the many sweet additive ingredients that go into a coffee? It is very rare I see someone drink their coffee black. I like my coffee from fresh roasted beans brewed at the right temperature with nothing to cover that steamy aroma and taste.
As you guess I am of the older generation with some on-coming of arthritis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. As an alternative means to control these issues. I enjoy a good hot tea such as ginger and lemon which helps with the aches in my knees and ankles. Then roasted dandelion root that gently stimulates the liver. Also, a good Earl Grey black tea to sip as I read a book. My favorite tea is a green tea with hibiscus made with whole tea leaves steeped in a small teapot and poured into a china cup.
How would you describe your coffee taste? Why is a certain tea better for you?
Like most takers of fish, the Great Blue Heron waits for long periods of time for a fish to get close. When the fish is within striking distance and with lighting speed the Great Blue Herons’ beak jabs into the water in an attempt to clamp onto the fish. Here you see the Great Blue Heron attempting to swallow the fish whole. In the other picture the same Heron turned, now you see blood from the stab wound of the Herons’ beak.
Camera used is a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70-400mm, ISO 800, 230MM, f7.1, AT 1/800 Sec. Location Lions Bridge, Newport News, VA 4/21/17.
I see a Barred Owl from the corner of my eye. Is it stretching its wing or getting ready to fly? With intense eyes, the owl stares. I am concerned and a little scared. I raise my camera and push the button. Now I know this event will not be forgotten.
Photo and poem by Richard Smith
Camera used is a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70-400mm, ISO 3200, 400MM, F7.1, AT 1/1000 Sec.