Vampire Legends & Dead Presidents

Old cemetery’s are full of ghost stories and legends. The are filled with those who are long forgotten and recent memories of loved ones. They can be beautiful and eerie. This particular cemetery is located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia nestled along the James River. The Hollywood Cemetery’s history began in 1849 and is home to many of great men who proudly served their nation as well as family burial plots and some of our histories most notable names. The cemetery is one of the area’s main attractions.

grave market, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

I enjoyed an afternoon roaming the rural garden style cemetery with my friend and her son. We passed many people picnicking, biking and relaxing among the grave markers. Some plots have long been forgotten and have been slowly overgrown with plant life, while others remain clean and tidy. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the many mausoleums throughout the grounds. Although many great people are buried in Hollywood Cemetery, artists, writers, and many long forgotten citizens, our day was to see some of the names we recognized most and the beautiful stone work of time gone by. There are several memorials to those who once helped shape the country I call home. In 1869, a pyramid was constructed as a memorial to the more than 18,000 enlisted men of the Confederate Army buried in the cemetery. Te cemetery is also the final resting place to two US Presidents, the president of the Confederacy, 25 Confederate generals, including JEB Stuart.

grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

But first and formost…

The Vampire Legend

I have never been big into vampires, I am not familiar with the recent Twilight phenomenon nor many legends throughout history. But I always enjoy a good local legend. The Richmond Vampire legend began around 1925. The story goes, a bloody creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its muscular body, emerged from a cave-in and dashed towards the River. The creature was pursued by a group of men and took refuge in Hollywood Cemetery. The creature then disappeared into W.W. Pool’s mausoleum never to be seen again.

grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

I wont spoil the fun by including the historical facts to this even, but if your interest feel free to check the facts on the Richmond Vampire on wikipedia! Disclaimer: As with most legends there is an explanation, it will spoil the fun!

Dead Presidents

Virginia is the birth place to 8 presidents, thats more then any other state. Something we Virginians are proud of, so it’s not surprising that we find two of them buried here. Three of them are buried out of state, including one at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and the other three are buried at their homes, scattered throughout Virginia. James Monroe and Zachary Taylor’s graves and located next to each other at the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful river below. Hollywood Cemetery is also the final resting place of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy, among the four years of their succession from the Union (United States). His grave and memorial is located lower in the cemetery, next to what I like to refer to as mausoleum row.

John Tyler:

grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

James Monroe:

grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

Jefferson Davis:

grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

Mausoleum Row:

grave marker, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

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#FriFotos “Exotic″, January 20, 2011

In determining what photo I should use for this week’s #FriFoto’s exotic theme. I started with the definition: Adjective: Originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country. Noun: An exotic plant or animal. Synonyms: outlandish – strange – foreign. This could include, well almost anything and nothing was coming to mind that stood out from the crowd. So I narrowed it down to “strange” and “outlandish”… I recently went to a drag show brunch, and well, maybe this was key! Read my blog on Godfrey’s Drag Show Brunch in Richmond Virginia!

Drag Brunch

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Drag Show Brunch

One of the hottest restaurant & night clubs in Richmond, Virginia boasts the number one brunch beating out the elite Jefferson Hotel’s brunch. For several years running, this small chain restaurant/night club has been topping the brunch chart’s with their famous Drag Show Brunch.

Drag Brunch

This brunch not only has fantastic entertainment, but amazing food. It is required for every member of the party to purchase a brunch entrée, and I was hesitant about how the food would be at an event establishment like this one. But The food was fantastic. I enjoyed Eggs Benedict, several of my friends choose the Quiche special. And the screwdrivers were not poured by with a weak hand!

Drag Brunch

The bar itself is long and narrow, folks are squeezed into tables to accommodate for the popularity of the establishment. The entertainment is absolutely brilliant, these ‘women’ are dressed in bright fun colors as their favorite singers and the whole restaurant is rocking out and singing along with the queens. To name a few we had Lisa, Cheer, Tina, Reba, & Dolly:

Drag Brunch Drag Brunch

Drag Brunch

Drag Brunch Drag Brunch

This is a performance not worth missing, also, it’s not just ladies in the audience! And yes… these ladies perform for tips, so make sure and have your dollar bills ready.

Drag Brunch

Word of advice — book well in advance, this place is way too popular to accept walk-ins! Check them out online.
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Meet Virginia

Living in the greater metropolitan area of Washington DC, also known as Northern Virginia. I often forget how beautiful the state of Virginia is, and how much it offers us. Although I love the hustle and bustle and streets filled with angry drivers and the locals complaining about too many tourists on the sidewalks, it’s really nice to take a step back and spend a weekend in the slow-paced, laid back, friendlier area’s of the state I call home.

Virginia is very diverse, we have mountains, beaches, rivers, lakes, cities, farms, winery’s, history, intact historical cities, battlefields, amusement parks. Even in the midst of Fairfax County, we have Mt Vernon Estate (home of our first president, George Washington), Huntley Meadows Park (a beautiful stroll though marsh land), and the rapids and hiking of Great Falls. Fairfax County is nestled right next to the historical city Alexandria, which still contains original structures and cobble stone streets for another time. However, this amazing city, is just as practical and functioning as it always has been.

Down by the River

This blog was inspired, because I was invited to the Chickahominy River (off the James River) a few weekends ago. The area was beautiful, the river was amazing. We swam, boated, jet skied, docked at a restaurant for an afternoon drink and even fished!

Chickahominy River, Virginia

fish, Chickahominy River, Virginia

I am very proud of the fish I caught, although he wasn’t overly big, but we did send him back to live out his days back in the river. This area is a bit slower paces, but a calm and relaxing way of life!
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Old Town Alexandria on the Potomac

This is and remains one of my favorite places in the world. This historic city has been around since long before the US declared their independence. There are even a few cobble stone streets preserved for authenticity! The city houses the well-known arts center, the Torpedo Factory, offers a beautiful walk along the Potomac river, and offers a farmers market on saturday mornings in front of the Town Hall!

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Restaurants are in abundance in this area, everything from American to Sushi. It’s not hard to find something that will make everyone happy. Old Town even has 3 ice cream shops, oddly or smartly, all located within a few feet from each other, on a warm summers day nothing is better than stopping by for a cone of your favorite scoop. One thing that is lacking are book stores. Old Town officially has no book stores left open. They do however, have a movie theatre. Not long ago renovated from a single theatre with a balcony, to two theatre rooms. Noise can occasionally be a problem, but at least you can enjoy a pint of beer while enjoying your film.

Face Fountain, Canal Center, Alexandria, Virginia

One of my favorite walks is up the riverside past the canal center, this beautiful fountain lives there. Alexandria has a large Art movement and is home to the famous Torpedo Factory.

Alexandria has very deep roots in the beginning of our country. To celebrate the Scottish heritage of community, they started the Virginia Scottish games. Now grown so large, that the games needed to be moved out west of the area to be able to hold the whole of the games in one area! See here for  my blog on the Virginia Scottish Games.

View Alexandria City’s Website!
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Mount Vernon Estate

For those of you who are less familiar with this estate and gardens, Mount Vernon was the home of the first president of the United States, George Washington. This historic manor home is well-kept, the estate is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA) and funded primarily by donations. The colors and furniture are as true to the way the home looked when George himself was alive. Many of the furniture did actually belong to him.

Mount Vernon aerial view

In recent years a museum has been built on the property to further display and educate those visiting the plantation. The upper gardens are beautiful when in season, there is a small orchard, as well as a small farm site including a 16-sided barn designed and built similar to the one George built. The MVLA has also recently broken grown for a Library due to be completed in 2013. “For the first time, Mount Vernon’s vast collection of books, manuscripts and archival materials will be organized, conserved and made available to researchers in building reflecting the highest level of security, climate control and architectural design.”

Mount Vernon & US Flag

This is a full day out, I would suggest getting there early and seeing the house first, as the line grows long as the day progresses. The gift shop upon exit also offers a full food court as well as a sit down restaurant open for lunch and dinner (most days). My favorite is the peanut soup.

Images courtesy of Mount Vernon Estates’s website.
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Richmond Virginia

Virginia is full of history, and our capital city is no different. Set on the James River, it is infamous for being the capital of the south during our Civil War. Originally a location of a Powhatan tribe capital known as Powhatan, Shocquohocan, or Shockoe. Which is where the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond gets its name, a popular living area among university students. Richmond boasts two great universities, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond. The hustle and bustle of Richmond is by far quieter than DC or NYC, but the greater Richmond area is home to 1,258,251 people making it one of the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) in the country.

A really great day out in Richmond is Maymount Park. This property includes a stately home, historic buildings, a carriage collection, a nature center, a children’s farm and multiple gardens. I spent a cold brisk day wonder the gardens with a good friend of mine. Even in the dead of winter, this park seems to be full of visitors!

Maymount Park, Richmond, Virginia

Maymount Park, Richmond, Virginia Maymount Park, Richmond, Virginia

Maymount Park, Richmond, Virginia Maymount Park, Richmond, Virginia

If you find yourself in Richmond, check out the Drag Show Brunch at Godfrey’s in downtown. It’s a fantastic time! Just make sure and schedule in advance, they book up quickly! Read my post and see pictures here.
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