We are going to walk you through our experiences celebrating our 33 years of marriage! We had the opportunity to stay at a lovely bed and breakfast for one night and visit the VMFA to see the Man Ray exhibit. We explored a little bit of Richmond before heading home. As you read the journey, please think how you could do this alone or with friends or family! I’ll try to make note of that as we explore.
We stayed at the Museum District Bed and Breakfast located at 2811 Grove Avenue in Richmond, VA. We knew we were going to see Man Ray at VMFA so we were curious to know if there was a B&B within walking distance. To our surprise, we found this gem of a place. VMFA is right across the street! We stayed in the “most luxurious suite named after the US Congressman who originally built the house in 1922. This suite was his original master bedroom.” When I booked the room we were running late for our family anniversary dinner, so I did not look into the details of the room or how close the place was to the museum. When we arrived, everything was an amazing surprise! The parking was safe, close, and accessible. Melinda greeted us with joy and laughter. She walked us through the house and to our room. She even offered to help with our luggage! People! The room! Every corner was a kid in a candy store experience! I kept announcing things and she would smile. A fireplace?! Yes! A desk to sit and write?! Windows with bright light shining into the bedroom?! The bathroom was like a spa. We had an old claw foot tub beautifully painted in the color of plum, two sinks, a double shower with a steamer that transposes your shower into a sauna/steam room. We also had a French bidet! We had the biggest laugh trying to figure out how to work the bidet, and it was such an added self-care item. I understand the French a little better after that experience! I’ll leave it to your imagination! LOL!
We loved the light coming through the bedroom window along with the trees! We felt like we were in a treehouse. At one point, Parish said, “I love this space and time with you.” My love language.
They had a Bose radio and little heater for the bedroom. We found a great radio station that played songs from our generation (“rock and roll, pop, and soul”). One of the songs from the past we took the time to listen to the lyrics and talk through it. The “why” and the era of the song. We both love music. The book shelf in the office room had books that spoke to us. We read through the history of rock and roll and a book about caring for you soul. We had great conversations. If you know us, you know which book was held by Anna or Parish. I had bought enough snacks for us to hangout in the room. Check in is at 3:00. We enjoyed the room and stayed in. It was just too fun of a place to go out.
5:00 Social Hour Refreshments
We went downstairs at 5:00 to visit the rest of the house and we met a couple, who just like us, wanted a night away to celebrate their marriage. We sat in the parlor and had lovely cheese, crackers, and other delights. We found out that they are friends with our neighbors and they attend church together. She’s a retired teacher who will homeschool her three children. She worked in Chesterfield! The connections were amazing. They reminded us of Victoria and Spencer. Young, raising children, and she was pregnant with her third child. They were headed to Edo Squid, their favorite restaurant, and they shared all their family memories going there. Another good restaurant within walking distance of the B&B is The Stables. We have eaten there in the past. You need to make a reservation.
After they left, we went into the room with games and a piano. I had not played piano in years. I sat down and went through all the books they offered. The books were from the 1970’s and had teacher notes written for, wait for it, Anna, and her progress in taking lessons as a child. We laughed. I played old songs, new songs, and hymns. I felt like Elizabeth Bennet when she was asked to play at a party. I stumbled through the songs and played despite my clumsy attempt. It felt good to play and sing. I found an old hymn from my childhood, “Bless Be The Tie That Binds”. My soul was swept away to that old country pew on Sunday morning holding my daddy’s hand. Oh, my daddy, the tie to our Savior is still there. Parish went back to his childhood playing with a yo-yo. He is an expert in yo-yo tricks. No pictures for this scene. We were to in the moment to pause and take pictures.
We ordered dinner from Fat Dragon using DoorDash. Easy, quick, and yummy. We love documentaries about anyone’s life. We found a story about Z.Z. Top. We were surprised by their long history of music. We really only knew their music from the 80’s and their MTV moments. When we got home we asked our daughter if she knew Z.Z. Top. She said, “Who?” I guess their “bad and nationwide” proclamation is history but they will remain a legend. Did you know there is a story behind their long beards? It includes a moment of rest and rejuvenation from a long tour.
The nice thing about our suite was the space. You could bring family and connect to another room to enlarge the suite, or someone could sleep on the sofa. The sofa was comfortable and long enough to have a good night sleep. Also, the King sized bed was spacious and comfortable. They also offer a carriage house that is detached from the house and in the backyard.
Breakfast in the morning
We enjoyed the room so much we decided not to come down for breakfast. They offer an option of breakfast in your room. We got up early so we could enjoy the fire, and I had the opportunity to write on my blog using the old desk. I loved looking out the window and with the window raised a bit, I could hear the birds. I have not been able to write for over a month due to various happenings and illness. I found such joy sitting there in the quiet. A writer’s paradise.
The breakfast was made to order with exquisite options.
We enjoyed the gift shop, cafe’, and Amuze restaurant. We had all the time we needed to explore the Man Ray exhibit. The B&B had a Man Ray book for us to look through so we prepared for the event. We also opted for the audio tour which brought intimate engagement and explanations beyond reading the plaques beside the photographs. I’m still pondering that time in history in Paris, the people he photographed, and his support of the woman’s movement and expression. I could write another post on my thoughts and feelings around their stories. I was deeply moved by someone’s art expressing love and connection for all--inclusion and understanding. Man Ray had the gift of going beyond the typical headshot to the expression of the person’s life.
Our reservation for lunch at Amuze did not disappoint. We had a window seat looking over the VMFA grounds and the older building they renovated and expanded into. When I was a little girl, the building was a nursing home.
My great Aunt Kate lived there. We would visit her little room in the facility. I loved her joy, contentment, and the sharing of a peppermint. I’ve always been fascinated by time. If I could have seen into my future sitting in the Amuze restaurant, 33 years married, and 56 years old, how would I have comprehended my life at that age seeing into the future? Looking back and making the connection does something to me. It’s what you saw as a youngster when your elders would get that far away look and reminisce while telling you a life story. You really didn’t get it when you were naïve and self-centered. I told my husband that we should explain these things to our grandchildren so that when they are older they will make connections. “This is what Ace and Gigi meant. I get it now.”
We left the VMFA and travelled down Cary Street Cary Town to just look at the shops and buildings. We settled on exploring a thrift store and quick snack at Kregger’s before coming home. We enjoyed the outdoor vibe, hospitality, and history of the restaurant. A family owned business with a story to tell. We loved the thrift store! Parish found 2 dress shirts, and I got a book for my oldest daughter about “love connections and activities” for your children. I also got a book on Carol Burnett’s story! I can’t wait to read! We enjoyed the shirts he bought–the material and the buttons. More stories and something learned. Did you know their is a fabric called Modal that is eco- friendly?
Coming home, we were able to connect with our youngest daughter before she headed out. We made it a point later that night to use DoorDash again and order Mexican food while watching a movie. We laughed and said that will be our look back memory when we celebrate our 50th. DoorDash and Tacos.
Wherever you go in life beauty, stories, and connections are in abundance. I can close myself off from them when I’m overwhelmed. When I have the time to breathe and explore, I am my true self and filled with hope. There are so many conversations we experienced that surrounded purposeful curiosity. I can’t write them all. Some brought laughter. Some conversations brought frustration and tears. That’s okay. Those conversations were necessary and brought closeness. When you can be fully known in a relationship and keep loving each other, you will grow deeper in love and find a place of understanding that goes beyond your expectations and judgment. I guess that’s called grace. A gift our heavenly Father expresses over and over again despite our ignorance. Just like the child listening to the elder and lacking understanding of the depth and meaning, we sit at His feet listening, learning, and growing in understanding until we are in our forever home.
I hope you can scroll through the pictures below to visual see all the things I shared! I do believe you could enjoy this space as a self-care retreat for yourself, with family, and as a couple.