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Friday, May 2, 2014

Berkeley Plantation

A couple of miles from Shirley Plantation we headed down another pebbled road to Berkeley Plantation.

The view from the back of Berkeley's main house
The plantation has quite a history, starting from 1619, and you can read about it here, but when you visit in person you can watch a film about it in the basement of the large estate. Behind the walls of the film projector, what was once an underground tunnel now sports a museum. I found it to be very interesting and informative. While you're waiting for the guided tour to begin, or after its ended, you can check out the Coach House and view some more exhibits, including info on their slaves, and other stuff including recommendations for restaurants. Fair warning...there are only two nearby.

A costumed tour guide was very knowledgeable and interesting when we toured the inside of the home, but for me, the real star of Berkeley are its grounds.

You are allowed access to various gardens, a grave yard, the first Thanksgiving Shrine, historical markings, and the shores of the James River.

It's quite beautiful, so tranquil. I felt like I was standing still in time with my feet embedded in the sand and eyes gazing across the river experiencing what the early settlers felt and saw. With no one around, the soft lapping of the tiny waves, and bright sunlight dancing diamonds in the river, one could easily transport themselves into another history past. Very spiritual in nature.

Anyway, here's some photos and you can see for yourself what I'm trying to convey...

I never realized the extent of retribution the signers of the Declaration of Independence underwent

This is where Taps was written by a Union soldier. There's a recording you can play. It made me weep.

We spent more time here than we did at Shirley so we missed lunch and realized it was too late to see any other plantations. I sorta felt after the two we saw that day, you've seen two, you've seen enough. So, we decided we would partake in an early dinner. We drove to Charles City and stopped at a converted farmhouse restaurant which was set in the middle of plantations and farms called Charles City Tavern. Although they wouldn't start serving dinner for another hour they took pity on us and allowed us to sit at the tiny bar. After a drink we moved into a screened porch area that overlooked the peaceful landscape. Every once in a while a car would drive down the road, but the birds singing drowned them out. The staff was friendly, the food was excellent -- tasted farm fresh, generous portions, and selections you'd be surprised to find in the middle of nowhere -- well worth the wait, and I highly recommend it..

I'll close this post with this...

Virginia is indeed quite beautiful, but I still want to be buried back in Brooklyn...

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