The day dawned overcast and misty. Sunshine was promised by 10 AM. We headed out early to the Petersburg area. Our first stop was at the Petersburg National Battlefield Park.
Petersburg Virginia was subject to a nine month siege from July 1864 to the end of March 1865. It was the longest siege of any city in US history. Gen. Grant believed that the eventual submission of Richmond depended upon taking Petersburg first. Petersburg was responsible for supplying Richmond with food and ammunition.
The trench warfare, foreshadowing World War I, took a tremendous toll on the soldiers and the Petersburg residents. When Petersburg was finally taken in early April, Richmond was evacuated by the Confederate government immediately thereafter. Gen. Lee surrendered at Appomattox within a week.
After the battlefield, we began our first day visiting the Virginia garden week sites in Petersburg. The garden tours are better described as house and garden tours. It is a fund raiser for the garden clubs and their members have arranged multiple floral displays in each home. However, it was still pleasant, entertaining, and educational. A second stop had a display of botanical paintings.
There were eight stops on the tour. Most were homes. One of the stops was a neighborhood pocket park that had been reclaimed from an overgrown ravine over the last several decades. One of the founders of the effort was a 70-year-old woman living across from the park. She devoted thousands of hours to the task. Today, the park is a testament to her and the neighbors of the area.
At another location, Centre Hill mansion, we met two sisters from Stillwater Minnesota. They fly out to either Virginia or South Carolina to attend their garden events each year. The mansion was featured in the recent movie Lincoln. Chris and I have decided we must see it again to locate the scenes and locales that we have visited the last several days.
There was a distinct disappointment in the tour, however. Homemade goodies and treats were to be served at the last stop. It appeared to be store-bought lemonade and cookies however. We passed. We drove to a home cooking restaurant south of the city which of course had closed for the day half an hour before we arrived. Well, one of these days we will learn to double check the hours of everything. And the sun came out as we headed back.
We took an “alternate route” to Williamsburg and used the free VADOT ferry over the James River to shorten the driving route. The ferry runs every 25-30 minutes. We were the fifth to the last car on and just avoided having to wait for the next ferry.
Ed April 23 8 pm