Maymont Park, part 2; the mansion tour

IMG_1950When you visit Maymont Park, be sure to sign up for a tour of the mansion.  Seriously, take the tour of the mansion!!!  While many historical homes are open to the public, quite often, they are furnished with replicas or pieces from the time period-sometimes just a few to supplement the collection and other times, the majority of the furnishings fall into this catergory.  This is where Maymont Mansion shines; nearly everything in the house actually belonged to James and Sallie Dooley.  From the painted walls to the light fixtures and table ware and furniture.  Because they did not have any children, they made the decision to leave the mansion and its contents as well as the land around it to the city of Richmond.

The front parlor is set up to receive guests just as Mrs. Dooley might have.  So much of this room glittered with gold; on the walls, on the light fixtures and the room itself was glowing and pink.

IMG_1951The thing that caught my eyes-the ceiling.  All hand painted and all original to the house.

IMG_1952The depth of the details, all hand applied and beautiful.

IMG_1953Throughout the house, not a detail was spared.  In the parlor next to the front parlor, the details were mostly silver in color.  While this light fixture is actually sterling silver, the rest of the details in this room were actually aluminum, a metal which was more precious than platinum in that era.

IMG_6399Of course, my favorite room was the dining room.  The table was set for a formal dinner with the best furnishings they had.

IMG_6400The glasses, the china and the flowers…overly ornate, perhaps but I would love to set a table like this!

IMG_6401To preserve the quality of the furnishings, the lighting is low and it was a challenge to take photos with a hand held camera.

IMG_6402Coveting the glasses is not a sin…

IMG_1955And while my camera was challenged, my cell phone was not!

IMG_6407Standing just outside the dining room, this was the overall view of the table as my camera saw it.

IMG_1954and this is what my cellphone saw.  Same room, same lighting-cell phone cameras are pretty sophisticated!

IMG_6404One of the main features of the house are the Tiffany stained glass windows in the stair well leading to the second floor.  They are 15 feet tall and some of the most beautifully detailed windows I have ever seen.

IMG_6405It was a bright sunny day and the windows glowed with the light.

IMG_6409IMG_6414A visit to the estate just to see the windows is well worth the time!

IMG_6417Some of the few things that did not actually belong to Sallie Dooley are actually clothing such as this dress.  While it is from the time period, it was not hers but it is still a stunning example of the era.

IMG_6421In her bedroom, a trunk of ladies gloves and lingerie was on display.

IMG_1957And then there is her bed.  She had a love of swans and this is the actual bed she slept in.

IMG_6420Obviously hand carved and painted, it is the thing of fairy tales…

IMG_6426Her bedroom was just one of the many rooms in the house that gave you a real sense of who they were.  Please take a trip to Maymont Park and visit the mansion and gardens, you will not regret it!

To read about our walk through the gardens, click here

Leaf Peeping at Waller Mill Park

 Since moving to Williamsburg in September, I have spent a bit of time exploring the trail system around the city.  It has become a way to occupy my time; without a large garden to tend to I have the opportunity to wander trails.  On a recent Sunday, I took my husband out to Waller Mill Park to hike the Lookout Tower Trail.  To learn more about the trail system in the park, the City of Williamsburg has a page on their website that offers a pdf file that I recommend downloading.  It is called Great City Walks and the trails in Waller Mill Park are included.

Waller Mill Park is home to the reservoir system that provides water to the City of Williamsburg and James City County and with that in mind, it is not a free park.  However, the $2 entry fee is well worth the money.  The park has limited hours and it closes by 5pm each day but if you have an hour or two, you can get a lot of exploring in.  For those of you not interested in hiking, you can play disc golf, rent a paddle boat or canoe or bring your own non-gasoline powered boat, fish, picnic or bring the dog to the dog park.  To learn all of the rules and restrictions, visit the homepage for the park.

We arrived at about 2pm and figured we would be finished with the nearly 3 mile hike in about an hour and 15 minutes.  However, there was so much to see on the trail it took us two hours!  The close up photo of the moss and lichen growth on the rock in the photo above is just one example of the distractions we encountered.  To see more of our discoveries, you will have to explore the cellphone photos I posted on my Instagram feed, I did not take photos of every mushroom we found using my camera because we may not have made it out of the park before closing time!

 The views of the foliage were beautiful.  The day was overcast and that was a good thing.  We took our time and just enjoyed the surroundings.  This area is just beginning to put on a display of color, the cold snap we are expecting should change that.

 On this afternoon, there were a few boaters paddling around and hikers with dogs but for the most part, we were on our own.  It was truly a peaceful place to be and I plan to make this a regular destination.

 The boat launch near the parking area had one of the best views of foliage in the park!  It was hard not to pull camera out and I could easily have spent an hour or more on the dock.

 The reflections were every bit as enchanting as the view itself.  To my husbands surprise, and possibly his dismay, I actually laid down on my stomach to take these shots.

 The ripples in the water distorted the reflection and the random leaves floating on the surface of the water caught my attention.

 There was a pair of ducks swimming near by but I never even thought to get them in the photo

The clouds in the sky look even angrier due to the distortion of the reflection.  
Go on out to Waller Mill and hike the trails, you will not regret it.  Keep in mind that this is one of the rootiest trail systems I have been on.  Watch your footing, something tough to do on a leaf covered pathway.  If you have bad knees or ankles, this may not be the place for you since it is guaranteed that you will trip over at least a couple roots along the way.  For those with limited mobility, you may want to stick to the Paved Bike Path, a two mile walkway, look for it on the map.