Thursday, our second day, we joined the spring garden tour in the Kingsley Street area of Richmond. All but one of the homes were in the same block, and the luncheon was at the Greek orthodox cathedral at the end of that block. The interiors were great. Lots of 18th and 19th century furniture. If they had any 20th they didn’t tell us.
After lunch we drove to the outbound part of the tour. The house at Tuckahoe plantation was built in 1733 and was the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson until he was 10. It has remained in the Randall family until the present and one of the more interesting we have seen.
We also visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts before returning to our hotel Thursday. Admission is free and it’s open until 9 on Thursdays and Fridays so it’s easy to stop by if there is time left toward the end of one of those days. They had a special exhibition on flower painting with a works by Renoir, Monet, Manet, Gauguin and others. “Basket of Flowers on an Alabaster Pedestal” by Spaendonck was said by others to be more real than nature and I agree. To me the famous impressionist flower paintings seemed done by talented sixth graders in comparison. Of course my taste in modern art is less than notable.
We knew parking would be tight around the Virginia state capitol building on Friday so we used the shuttle to get there and back. A class of fourth graders had just started as we arrived, so we joined them and learned quite a lot about the oldest lawmaking body in America. Our tour guide was several cuts above average. It was plenty grand, but smaller than others such as Texas and California that we have seen. Probably because, designed by Thomas Jefferson, it’s so much older.
We had lunch at the Japanese Tea House at the Lewis Ginter botanical gardens. Spring is late this year and the day while sunny was pretty cold, so we didn’t see quite what we might have outdoors. The indoor conservatory and butterfly area was nice though. On the way back it was still afternoon so it was back to the Museum of Fine Arts until 8:30. The Amuse restaurant in the museum had an opening at 6:30 so we ate there also.
We hit some cold weather, and Saturday and Sunday will have rain, but we did hit the garden tour. It’s also restaurant week. That worked out nicely in Charleston last summer. The museum restaurant was participating, so things were fancier than we would normally have.
I called the visitor center and learned of six historic homes we could tour. We’ll see three of them that are walking distance from each other and the Museum of the Confederacy tomorrow. I asked the lady why she didn’t mention Tuckahoe and was told it’s a private residence and hardly ever open except for an occasional garden tour.