Archive for August, 2011

Summer Ends With a Real Bang

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Labor Day signals the end of summer. It’s back to school time and Fall is right around the corner.  Rocketts Landing is hosting a “Rocketts Red Glare” Labor Day Fireworks on Monday, September 5, 2011 beginning at 7:30 PM with a concert by The Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Fireworks start at dark bursting over the James River.  Organizers suggest you bring a chair or blanket to sit on,  a picnic or dine at one of their restaurants, and enjoy the fun!


Don’t miss this exciting event!

Richmond Symphony Subscriptions on sale now

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The Richmond Symphony has announced their 2011-12 season and subscriptions as well as individual tickets are on sale! The symphony will appear at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond’s recently renovated CenterStage in downtown at 612 East Grace Street. A pre-concert talk will take place one hour before the scheduled hour. Don’t miss it – it will provide insight into each program!

The Richmond Symphony schedules 2011/12 season at The Carpenter Theatre at CenterStage

The Altria Masterworks series opens the season with “The Miraculous Mandarin” featuring violinist, Elena Urioste, on September 17th and 18th. The program will feature work by Beethovan, whose compositions develop intense  harmonies, driving rhythms and a wide range of loud and soft dynamics.  The program will also feature Brahms’ work highlighting the middle of the orchestra, particularly the violas, clarinets, cellos, and horns. Steven Stucky’s “Dreamwaltzes” is on the program, bringing his 21st century approach to the work of his composing predecessors.  “The Miraculous Mandarin Suite” by Bartok finds its roots in the world of folk music, which he transformed into exuberance for the full orchestra.

On October 15th and 16th, the Masterworks series continues with a program focused on Shostakovich and Dvorak. Followed on November 12 and 13th by Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with guest pianist Anton Nel, featuring additional works by Rossini, Poulenc, and Stravinsky. Ravel’s concerto reflects a little bit of jazz influence from 1920’s Paris. Oh la la!

The series continues with 5 more concerts into 2012.  MORE INFO. Tickets.

The Richmond Symphony was founded in 1957 by a small group of music lovers who have provided Central Virginia with a professional orchestra that incorporates both traditional and contemporary works into a diverse repertoire including classics, jazz, gospel, contemporary, and popular music. Guest artists who have appeared with the Richmond Symphony include internationally known artists and musicians like Aretha Franklin, Andre Watts, Pink Martini, Itzhak Perlman, among others. The Richmond Symphony equals great music right here in central Virginia’s front yard!

If you happen to be planning a weekend in Richmond, check the schedule for the Richmond Symphony and get tickets to enjoy one of Virginia’s cultural treasures.  And, check out Richmond’s premier bed and breakfast in the historic Fan District adjacent to downtown for a great place to stay!



Calling all artists! En Plein Air in Richmond VA

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Saturday September 10, 2011 is the day! The story starts out that William Byrd stood on a hill overlooking the river in 1733 and thought that the particular bend in the river looked just like that of the river in Richmond-on-Thames, England. Byrd decided to name the new city where he stood Richmond.  That view is best seen from Libby Hill Terrace and on Saturday, September 10, 2011 between 10 am and 6 PM, the Historic Richmond Foundation is calling artists of all ages, amateurs and professionals, residents and visitors to preserve that view, which has remained virtually unchanged for 275 years, through artists’ creative work.

Libby Hill park has been reserved; plenty of bottled water, snacks and lemonade will be on hand for participants. So set your GPS for 2801 E. Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia and enjoy the view that named Richmond with other artists.  Make it a day and bring a picnic. It’s bound to be creative!  A follow-up event will be held on October 6, 2011, a party, art show, and art auction to create awareness of The Richmond View.

If you’d like to make it a special weekend, plan a stay at Richmond’s premier bed and breakfast – just 2 miles away, west of downtown in the historic Fan District.

Hurricane Irene is a Innkeeper’s Worry

Monday, August 29th, 2011

At Richmond’s premier bed and breakfast, attention quickly shifted from earthquake assessment to hurricane preparations on Wednesday, August 24th. There were normal obligations, breakfasts for guests who were debating the best routes home, laundry, ironing, cleaning, and stocking up. Of course, every now and again a telephone caller would ask: “Is the hurricane coming your way?”  Innkeepers and bed and breakfast owners are pretty talented, but I don’t think knowing the future is part of the job description or even in the cards.  At the last minute, one guest room cancelled and we breathed a slight sigh of relief, our responsibilities were looming less large.

A special treat for guests: a HURRICANE to drink to go with the one raging outside

Back to the preparations: water, lots of it! new batteries for the personal flashlights! groceries to make a hearty gourmet breakfast that need no cold ingredients! That really stretches the limits of creativity! Buy ice, make ice, get ice any way we can to stuff available space in the freezer. Fill the bathtubs with water so we can flush if we have no water. Make sure we have enough D-Cells for the battery operated personal fans in case the electricity is cut.  Keep the cellphones fully charged – makes them a little less accessible while they are plugged in but if we lose power we’ll have maximum capability. Fill the car up with gas so that if we have o go anywhere we can, and if cellphones need charging, we can recharge them in the car.

Friday afternoon, there’s a knock on the door — it’s our guests here celebrating a very special birthday. We get them settled in their room, give them a tour of the house, hospitality: a glass or two of wine and some hors d’oeuvres. We discuss local dining options for the evening and they walk to Pescadoes China Street for a delightful dinner.  Our discussion is paused while we take delivery of our farm fresh eggs from New Kent County. These eggs get delivered every Friday evening right to our back door!

After our guests leave for dinner, we print out the weather forecast for tomorrow and place sweet treats on their bed. Naturally, we’re chuckling at how silly this usual task seems in light of expected Hurricane Irene. They make it back to the inn, settle in, and no storm yet.

In the morning we have rain and some wind, Mike, chef, here at the William Miller House, whips up Hurricanes to accompany breakfast. It’s a hearty breakfast consisting of a Hanover County tomato, mozzarella, and basil scramble topped with parmesan, bacon from Keenbell Farms, bourbon maple sweet potato home fries, southern biscuits, and, of course, water, juice, coffee and tea. We directed our guests to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to check out the Faberge exhibit – thinking indoors is best and it’s less than a mile away.  They return to the inn early, by now wind is fierce, trees are blowing in the wind, branches are falling.  We breathe a sigh of relief. We know where they are, then quickly realize we are responsible for their safety now.

The wind and rain continue, the bed and breakfast grounds are littered with branches and leaves. The reservation for dinner at a local restaurant is cancelled when the restaurant closes. We offer them two choices: we’ll search out a restaurant that is open or please feel free to eat dinner with us in the innkeeper’s quarters.  After about a half an hour, the decision is made, they will eat with us. A sense of relief takes over when we realize they will not be out driving this evening in this storm.

We decide to dine in the dining room, our guests provided a special bottle of French wine they brought back from Europe, and we get to know them better over a dinner of baked potato, prime rib eye steak prepared sous vide, mixed green salad with tomatoes and candied pecans and a vinaigrette dressing.  For dessert, we presented the birthday girl, with a brownie with candles and a scoop of pistachio gelato! It was quite an enjoyable time for us and I hope our guests enjoyed it as well.

4 pickup truck loads of branches like this get cleared from our small urban property

The entire day on Saturday and into the night, we watched as the street tree through which our communications and electric feeds span the street, whipped and stretched the lines. We expected to lose both communications and power at any time, but thankfully we did not. We laundered everything we could in anticipation and ironed all afternoon just in case power would be out for days like with Isabell several years ago.  Our only issue is that the communications span over the road is now low and the first truck up or down the street will take it out. We have our fingers crossed.

Our guests left us Sunday morning to return home and check out the damage there. We took 4 pickup truck loads of branches and leaves from our yard and sidewalk to the city dumpsters to make the property presentable for our next guests!

Innkeepers just keep on going – sort of like that pink bunny!

Earthquake in Mineral Virginia

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The rumbling started just after 1:50 pm on Tuesday August 23rd.  At first we thought a truck was rumbling by or that nearby Virginia Commonwealth University was in the middle of another major construction effort, but it was too consistent and hung on too long! Cabinets on the wall vibrated, chandeliers were swinging, the pot rack in the kitchen was swinging, and a stack of old bricks in the back yard tumbled. The aftershock (a 4.5 magnitude) was almost unnoticed after the excitement of the first.  A quick survey of our bed and breakfast, built in 1869, showed no cracks in the foundation or chimneys – but after all, the house was already almost 30 years old when it survived the last major Virginia earthquake in 1897.