Monday, October 15, 2018

Mother's Day at Tuckahoe Plantation

Now that all the backdrop and history has been presented, on to the Mother's Day photos at Tuckahoe Plantation!

On Mother's Day, Tuckahoe offers a Peony Picnic. We bring our own food for a picnic anywhere we want on the grounds. (We did!) We may pick and pay for peonies from the lovely formal gardens. (We loved taking scores of photos.)  We may pay for a house tour. (We did!) And there were yard games. (Photos below)

My son set up his mini-tripod for a family photo.

Behind the house overlooking the river valley...


Their view of the James River...


Yard games...which were great for my daughter's spatial reasoning, too!


First it was bean bag toss...




Then croquet!




It was our first warm day of the season, and being near Richmond, a bit humid. Thankfully Gelati Celesit Ice Cream had their food truck there with scrumptious flavors. Yum!

It was a great day with my kids, to visit a lovely spot I've always wanted to visit.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tuckahoe Plantation Boyhood Home of Thomas Jefferson

From May 13, 2018

For Mother's Day my kids took me to a place I have longed to visit, Tuckahoe Plantation: Boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson. It's also where one of my favorite movies was taped, Hallmark Hall of Fames: The Love Letter. Here I wrote about this time travel into the Civil War, a love story between Scotty and Lizzie that crossed the miles of time.

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As we drove up the drive I could just imagine Scotty on his bike...then I imagined Thomas Jefferson playing with his friends.

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Built in the 1730's by the Randolph family, William Randolph and his bride, Maria Judith Page, resided here for many happy years with their 3 children. Unfortunately, the parents died, leaving the children orphaned. William's will asked that his cousin, Jane Randolph Jefferson, and her husband, Thomas, (and their children) come to live at the home to raise the Randolph children. This is how Thomas Jeffferson, aged 2, arrived at his boyhood home. They lived there for the next 7 years, until Thomas Mann Randolph came of age. Thus Thomas Jefferson lived here until the age of 9, and received his first days of education at the school house located on the property, in attendance with his siblings and cousins.

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Many thanks to my son for the picture. I squeezed over to one side to showcase the roses trailing up behind me...which reminded me of the photograph Lizzie had taken of her in the movie.

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I'm guessing that some of the scenes shot with Lizzie writing her poetry in the garden were shot in this more informal garden, rather than at the more formal ones on the other side of the property (shown above).

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Finally the moment came to tour inside the house!!! No photography allowed, but you can see it all (and more) if you get the movie The Love Letter by Hallmark.

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The current owners live on the property, so we weren't allowed upstairs. (Couldn't see Lizzie's room, which happened to be shot in Thomas Jefferson's bedroom.) But the parlor definitely looked familiar from the movie, with all the wood paneling.

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It was an absolutely lovely day. Many thanks to my kids for taking me here.  (More details tomorrow about the Mother's Day event here.)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hallmark, Tuckahoe, and Thomas Jefferson: A Review of The Love Letter

May 2018

I haven't shared yet about Mother's Day, but it was the most wonderful Mother's Day I've ever had. My kids took me to Tuckahoe Plantation, which was the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson.

Tuckahoe was also used as the home of one of the characters in one of my favorite movies, Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Love Letter.


This is a masterfully written (and acted) time travel movie set in Boston, Massachusetts. Scotty is a computer game creator. His current project is to design a computer game based on the Battle of Gettysburg.

Meanwhile Scotty purchases a Civil War era desk at an antique shop. While cleaning it up he discovers a secret compartment, where he finds a letter dated from1863, written by Lizzie. Lizzie has written the letter to an imaginary man of her dreams, to whom she bemoans the arranged marriage she is being forced to make.

When he can't get her off his mind, he jokingly composes an email to Lizzie, giving her counsel to make her own choices in life, then signs it, "Who knows? Perhaps I'm the man you seek. Signed, Rhett Butler."

Enter Scotty's mother, an eccentric fun loving lady who is learning Italian for her upcoming trip to Italy. When Scotty tells his mother about the desk, the secret compartment, and the letter, she gets an idea!

After a bit of research and shopping, she brings to Scotty an antique stamp from 1863, along with period accurate parchment paper, and ink. After instructing Scotty to write a letter to Lizzie, she tells him to take it to the oldest post office in town, which happens to date back to the Civil War. "Oh, and go at midnight. I don't know why, but somehow it sounds so mysteriously perfect!"

In shock Scotty argues that this is not logical, that it wouldn't work. "But wouldn't it be amazing if it did?" his mother begs.

Later that night, Scotty can't sleep. He goes to his computer to look at the email he had previously written. After staring at that for a moment,  he deletes it. Then he pulls out the quill, ink, and parchment to compose a more serious note to Lizzie. Then in the quiet darkness of night, he drives to the old Civil War Era post office and drops the letter in the "Local Area" chute. Walking away he shakes his head as though he's crazy, and returns home.

The setting now fades to Boston of 1863 where the post master drives his carriage up the tree lined lane. He pulls some correspondence from his bag, walks to the door where the maid answers. He hands her the mail, which she places on a table in the parlor. The camera pans to the envelope on top that has Lizzie's address across the front, written in Scotty's hand.

Thus begins a most amazing and unbelievable correspondence that crosses the miles of time. (swoon)

My VHS copy of the movie has a behind-the-scenes feature where the cast and director speak about the making of this wonderful movie. By the way, Scotty is played by Campbell Scott, son of George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst (who portrayed Murilla in Anne of Green Gables). This movie is sometimes shown on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. I'd love to have the DVD Collector's Edition with behind the scenes, but apparently it's no longer sold by Hallmark.

It is from my VHS that I learned that the setting for Lizzie's house was Tuckahoe Plantation, boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson. Tuckahoe is located outside Richmond, which saw the Civil War up-close. They describe how they "remodeled" the house to look more 19th century. Several of the other scenes were shot around other parts of Richmond. Apparently the ballroom dance scene was filmed at the Jefferson Hotel. Rumor has it that the most poignant and final scene of the movie takes place at St. John's Church, yes the church where Patrick Henry gave his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech.

 It was just the biggest thrill for me to finally get to visit this plantation, just a few hours from my home. It is usually closed to the public. Actually the grounds are available for self-touring for a small fee. In-house tours are available by appointment to groups. This is also a famous wedding venue. I follow their facebook page just to follow as much as I can.

So, for Mother's Day they plan a special day for Mothers. Because this post is long enough, I'll tell you all about it in the next post. I have gobs of lovely photos of the stunning gardens where I imagined seeing Lizzie around the corner. And I got to tour the house where I imagined Scotty and Lizzie "meeting." Oh...and I imagined Thomas Jefferson, too!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Turn of the Century Bike Sighting

July 22, 2018

There are lots of bicycle riders in the Purcellville area of Northern Virginia. But to my surprise, I found this turn of the century model against a store front one day.

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And yes, I saw the bike rider (dressed in today's biker's attire) riding it while his buddy rode a more modern bike.

It's amazing how he just hopped on and off.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Have you seen Andy or Barney?

Feb 2018

I think they left their police car in Northern Virginia...

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Apparently they are quite popular.