Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Neighborhood: Willow Lake

This is Willow Lake, a beautiful pond on land adjoining the Inn.  It's about 4-5 acres, and is spring-fed. Until about 40 years ago, the owners of the property used the lake as a watering hole for cattle and livestock.  Now our dog Mikey and his owners think it's a very enjoyable place for walking and taking in the scenery and wildlife.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Heritage Theatre Festival at UVA

From the 2012 Production of "1776"
Since 1974, the University of Virginia has hosted the Heritage Theatre Festival, a collaboration of professional directors, designers, technicians and actors producing summer repertory musicals and plays.  Here is the line-up of shows this season: Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Culbreth Theatre, June 27 - July 6; "Red" by John Logan, at the Ruth Caplin Theatre, July 3 - July 13; "Tuna Does Vegas" by Ed Howard, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, at the Helms Theatre, July 18 - August 3; "The Marvelous Wonderettes, by Roger Bean, at the Caplin Theatre, July 23 - August 3; and "Next to Normal", with music by Tom Kitt, and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, at the Culbreth Theatre, July 25 - August 3.  These productions are fun, well-done, and a great way to spend a summer evening in Charlottesville.  If you plan to stay over after the show, call us about accommodations.  
 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ed Roseberry's UVA and Charlottesville Photographs

Alas, the Biff Burger Restaurant, with its $0.15 burgers, is no more!
You'll enjoy viewing the pictures and a videotaped interview of Ed Roseberry, a 1949 graduate of the University, who thankfully developed an interest in photography during his days as a student.  Now 88 years old, Ed captured a variety of subjects in his black and white images, from Hollywood film stars in town to shoot the movie "Giant", to concerts and big weekends here at UVA.  Many of the buildings and landmarks shown in the photos are still around, and it's interesting to compare the "then" with the "now."  Unfortunately the Biff Burger Restaurant and Carroll's Tea Room were long gone by the time I, Bob, came to Charlottesville.  However, I have fond memories of shopping at Eljo's on the Corner, driving up and down Main Street before it became a pedestrian mall, and eating dinner once at the Gaslight Restaurant.  Thanks to UVA, the Alumni Association, and Messrs. Roseberry and Barefoot for sharing these materials.      

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Filippo Mazzei, the "Unknown American Patriot" from Tuscany

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation recently announced that it has acquired the papers of  Filippo (Phillip) Mazzei.

So who was Filippo Mazzei?  He trained as a physician in Tuscany, but he is best known in Virginia as the man who in 1774, with the support and encouragement of Thomas Jefferson, first tried to establish a commercial vineyard in the American Colonies.  He planted vines on land that is now the site of Jefferson Vineyards, and he built a house, known as Colle, which still stands. Unfortunately, his timing was bad, as his venture was disrupted by the American Revolution.  He returned to Italy, his home country, in 1779, and began working as an arms dealer for the American cause.

But Mazzei became much more than a winemaker and a merchant.  He and Jefferson shared not only a passion for wine, but also an interest in politics.  In fact, some historians and even President John Kennedy have credited Mazzei with introducing the concept "all men are created equal" to Jefferson.

After the American Revolution, Mazzei stayed in Europe and became a political writer and roving diplomat.  He represented the Polish crown in France during the French Revolution, where he again met up with Thomas Jefferson.  He died in 1816, at the age of 85.  In 1980, in honor of his contributions to the founding of this country, the United States published a commemorative stamp with his name and the title "Patriot Remembered."

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Taste Wines at Montpelier and Monticello!

Monticello's Wine Festival is held on the West Lawn
of Thomas Jefferson's home.
May brings us two of Central Virginia's most prominent wine festivals -- the Montpelier Wine Festival at James Madison's estate in Orange County on Saturday, May 4th, and the Monticello Wine Festival at Thomas Jefferson's home on Saturday, May 11th.   These festivals will feature wines from some of the area's best vineyards, including Barboursville Vineyards, Trump Vineyards and Virginia Wine Works (all of whom received gold medals in the recent Virginia Governor's Cup wine competition).  These are
great opportunities to sample some superb wines, learn about Virginia's leading vineyards and winemakers, and experience the homes of some of our country's founders.      

Sunday, April 28, 2013

UVA Reunions Weekend

In June, UVA will host Reunions Weekend, and Bob's Class of 1973 will be celebrating the 40th year since its members walked the Lawn and took their degrees.  The UVA Class of '73 will hold its reunion dinner on the porticos next to the Rotunda.  Interestingly, in November, 1824, another 40th (+) reunion took place at the University, when the Marquis de Lafayette returned to America, and was honored at a dinner at the Rotunda attended by former presidents Jefferson and Madison, and by the president at the time, James Monroe.  It had been just over 40 years since Lafayette had helped America win the Revolution.        

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saving the Rotunda


If you're interested in historic preservation, you'll appreciate this story about the Rotunda, which symbolizes the University of Virginia and the vision of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.  Since last year, the Rotunda has been undergoing some major repairs.   It will soon have a new copper roof (the 4th covering since the building was constructed beginning in 1822), and the scaffolding erected during construction will be coming down, just in time for graduation exercises.  For a fascinating account of the history, construction and renovation of the Rotunda, see this article which appeared in the Winter 2012 edition of the University of Virginia Magazine.