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.
But this was not the innkeepers’ first earthquake in central Virginia: guests visiting Richmond on Tuesday December 9, 2003 were resting their feet after a day of sightseeing, when a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck about 4 in the afternoon. The guests were familiar with earthquakes and told us what was happening. We just assumed it was construction, since VCU had a major expansion underway at the time. The epicenter of the 2003 quake was in Goochland County, just west of Richmond, and it was actually 2 events that took place 12 seconds apart.
We are grateful and fortunate that paintings and wall art needed to be readjusted, but at this point, that is all. Our thoughts and wishes go out to all those who did suffer some impact from this round of Mother Nature.
We look forward to greeting our guests this weekend as we batten down the hatches to prepare for Hurricane Irene’s onslaught. There’s even a special breakfast treat in store for our guests……..