Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: OLA: Rediscovering Virginia

Monday, April 16, 2012

OLA: Rediscovering Virginia

the only president the Confederacy ever had, Jefefrson Davis,
at the Davis Circle in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
In 2008 and 2010 we made short trips to Virginia; the latter one with our current RV, M’A ‘turn. We thought we had covered the state well. This 2012 trip was supposed to be just a stop for our observance of Holy Week on our way to Nova Scotia for summer. Our Visita Iglesia (visit of churches during Lent) in Richmond, Gloucester, and Williamsburg was spiritually satisfying but this visit surprised us with historic sites we did not even know were there!

the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, Virginia
Our 2012 Virginia Visita Iglesia
The capital of Virginia is Richmond, an hour away from our campground, Thousand Trail’s Chesapeake Bay. So on Maundy Thursday, we went to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond. It was begun in 1903, completed in 1905, and consecrated in 1906. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places. What a beautiful place of worship and rest at the center of this metropolis of 1.2M!

Church of St. Therese, Gloucester, Va
On Good Friday we visited the Church of St. Therese in Gloucester about twenty minutes from the Chesapeake Bay resort: population, 35,000. What a very charming place for parishioners to gather for bingo, a dance, a dinner fund-raiser, etc! Though very charming, the chapel was quite small so we decided to celebrate Easter Mass in Williamsburg, 45 minutes away, at the chapel of the College of William and Mary, the second oldest educational institution of higher education (1693) in the US  (Harvard is the oldest, 1636). The University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines was founded in 1611!

inside St. Bede Catholic Church, Williamsburg, Va
The Chapel, constructed for the college community in 1932, is now called the St. Bede Catholic Church.  In early Georgian in design, the chapel’s brick was handmade from local clay according to 18th century methods.  The memorial pathway, to the left of the main entrance, is lined with marker stones from different states and foreign countries. The mass was celebrated at the Parish Center (too many parishioners attended) but the chapel is extra beautiful with its spring flowers blooming!
   
The White House of the Confederacy
The Seat of Confederate Governance and Education
But, as usual, we hustled around to see some historic sights after visiting each church. Richmond, after all was the seat of the Confederacy. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find the White House of the Confederacy, the main building in the Museum of the Confederacy. It was a house loaned to President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis for four years, 1861 to 1865 when the Civil War was raging, so he could govern the confederacy better. What an educational discovery…how truly deep the division of America was during the Civil War.
  
Presidnt James Monroe's tomb at the Presidents' Circle
Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va
Memorial to the Confederacy, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond Va
Nearby is Hollywood Cemetery, named after the holly bushes that dotted the property. Overlooking the James River, it is the resting place of two United States Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as the only Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis. It is also the resting place of 25 Confederate generals and 18,000 soldiers, more than any other cemetery in the country. So, 20 years after it opened, a 90-foot granite pyramid was built as the Confederates’ memorial in 1869. What an intriguing discovery…the pride of the confederacy even if it lost!

President John Tyler's tomb at the Presidents'A Circle
Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va
The College of Willliam and Mary, founded 1693
The College of William & Mary (current student population, 8,000) educated U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler as well as U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, Speaker of the House Henry Clay, and 16 signers of the Declaration of Independence. The Wren Building is the oldest college building in the United States. Its Wren Chapel can be used exclusively for functions of members. What an interesting discovery…this community of scholars in such a historic and pretty campus!

Wren Buiilding, College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Va
Six discoveries, three churches and three historic sites in three Virginia cities, make us ponder: ‘Should we spend more time in each place to make such discoveries or try to cover as many different places as possible given that we are already sexygenarians?’ We should have started the cruising lifestyle earlier! We are just glad that more than tourists, we can also be pilgrims!