Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


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Church Hill, Richmond, Va.

Probably my most favorite neighborhood in Richmond was Church Hill. We spent a lot of time walking around Libby Hill Park and the streets, checking out the historic homes.

This neighborhood is one of the earliest incorporated areas of the city. It’s on a hill that overlooks the James River, downtown and other neighborhoods.
I would love to live in this neighborhood! It’s just so quaint, especially with the Italianate houses, which you know I love. 🙂
Check out this streetscape. So wonderful! I love it.
Check out this sunset.

The statue was erected in 1894 for Confederate soldiers and sailors. It’s at Libby Hill Park, where we saw several kids biking and dogs fetching early in the evening.
We also saw a Segway Tour pass through. The people stopped to check out the view below. The Segway Tours take people to various historic and interesting sites throughout the city. We thought about taking the tour, but opted to explore areas on our own.
Here’s a link to the site for the Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods and one to Church Hill’s own news website. These are good sites to learn more about the history of the neighborhood and what’s currently happening in the area.
Below the hill, is Shockoe Bottom. We parked at Libby Hill Park one morning and walked down the hill to eat breakfast/brunch at Poe’s Pub. Chris and I both ordered frittatas, which may sound like a light breakfast, but it wasn’t! Both plates were loaded with eggs, cheese, sauce and veggies. We could have easily shared one between the both of us. 
This pub would be a great place to grab a bite to eat or a drink with some friends. The pub hosts several bands throughout the month, from rock and blues to R&B and country.
If we lived in Church Hill, I could imagine us walking down to the pub often during the week.
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Richmond, Virginia’s State Capital

While in Richmond, we walked around a bit at Capital Square. Lots of traditional government buildings and statues surround the square. Here’s some photos, including the governor’s mansion.

The Capital Building.

This is the George Washington Equestrian Monument.

The smaller statues are of Andrew Lewis, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Nelson and John Marshall.
There are also statues representing colonial times, revolution, Bill of Rights, independence, finance and justice.

Not really sure what this building is, but it’s beautiful. One of my favorites we saw in the city.

The governor’s mansion.


Monroe Park, Richmond, Va.

We stopped at Monroe Park one chilly afternoon in Richmond. The park is surrounded by Virginia Commonwealth University and is heavily used.

The day we were there it seems students were moving in. Cars lined the streets along all four sides of the park; and students and their parents pulled out sleeping bags, laundry baskets and luggage from the backs of cars.

There must have also been an event because people were serving warm soup to what seemed to be the local homeless population.

Walking through the park we’d see a sweatshirt and bags on this bench, a shirt at the foot of that tree and bags of clothes sitting in the middle of the grass without anyone nearby. It was like a large living room where people leave clothing lying on furniture and the floor. Weird.

According to this site, the college students use the park frequently for events. It’s sort of like a town square for the college, I guess.

And, in a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch article, the park is slated for renovations. You can learn more about the park over here, too.

Here’s just a few photos we took the day were there. If I’d thought about it, I’d taken photos of the bags of clothes, the event and the students moving in. But then that would have felt like I was invading people’s privacy, so I don’t know.

Very nice building across the street from Monroe Park.
Another nice building across one of the streets from Monroe Park.


Richmond, Va.

Last week, the family and I headed to Richmond, Va., for a weekend trip. That includes Sidney! We found a nice hotel that would take our pup. (Thanks, Residence Inn!)

It was a very nice trip and I didn’t think about work or any stressful issues the whole weekend. We ate fabulous food, saw beautiful things and enjoyed time as a family.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share some of the things we saw and did while on our way to and in our state capital.

First up, I want to show you some architecture we snapped photos of. There were lots of beautiful buildings and homes in the area. I won’t show all of them here. There will be more in future posts specific to neighborhoods and areas we checked out.

So, here we go:

Main Street Station and the Farmers Market

Main Street Station is still in use today. It started rail service again in 2003 after it was shut down in 1975, according to the city’s website. It’s a beaux arts building that sits very close to I-95. After walking Sidney around downtown, we went in to check out the interior. Beautiful!

It would be cool to take a train from this station to Washington, D.C., or other areas up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

See Main Street Station next to the bridge on the left? The farmers market is on the corner here.
There weren’t very many people at the Farmers Market, but it’s got a nice set up near the Main Street Station.

Tobacco Row

Tobacco Row is an area of former tobacco warehouses and buildings that are above Dock Street and the canal. Most of the buildings now appear to be lofts, apartments and restaurants.

The old Lucky Strike building and smoke stack.

Cary Street, looking down Tobacco Row. Dock Street and the canal are to the right, down an embankment.

Evidence that a trolley car once operated on this street.

One tobacco building is now home to the Virginia Holocaust Museum. We did not go in. Chris has visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. and he wasn’t interested in going through another. I, however, hope to visit the D.C. museum one day.

This is behind the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Do you see the “Halt” sign on the gate? It also says “Stoj!,” which I believe is Polish for “stop.”
This is a prop located behind the Holocaust Museum.

Probably the coolest buildings are the River Lofts at Tobacco Row — apartments built in the historic tobacco warehouses.

One building’s exterior walls are still up, but the interior has been demolished and turned into a courtyard for residents. It is a very interesting reuse of a historic building.

The smoke stack still stands in the courtyard and has a fountain around it.

Some walls still remain in the building and are visually appealing to the courtyard, I think.

This is the fountain surrounding the smoke stack, which is the darker brick in the upper left of the photo.

Plantings are set around the courtyard to bring nature indoors (or maybe this is now considered outdoors) and there are many tables and chairs for residents and their guests to use.

We were tempted to tour one of the lofts, but, pressed for time, we decided against it.


Shelbyville, Ky.

On our way to Evansville, Ind., to spend time with Chris’ family, we stopped in Shelbyville, Ky.

I don’t know very much about Shelbyville except that it’s near Kentucky’s capital, Frankfort, and is home to one of our employer’s central offices.

We spent a couple of hours walking around and checking out the historic downtown. We always check out a city’s downtown to gauge how well local businesses are doing and to admire the architecture.

There were a few locally-owned business, including a coffee shop, gift shop, fabric and needlepoint stores, clothing store and, I think, a furniture store.

Here is some of what we saw:

Shelbyville looks very busy for a Thursday afternoon, a couple days before Christmas.

This 1902 building is in great shape. Shelbyville appears to take very good care of its buildings. In fact, there were a couple buildings surrounded by scaffolding, so I assume those were getting a face lift too.

I’m trying to capture the whole feel of this building — from the stained glass windows to the columns and entryway. I don’t think this picture does this building justice.

I really liked this cute building. It sticks out among the brick buildings, but it has character and I’d love to live/work here.

Another shot of the house/office.

The building to the right is the visitor center and museum. The shopping directory is located in the front yard.

I’d love to know more about this historic building. It appears that not only was it a school, but at one time was or is an inn.

Here’s a shot of the inn’s sign. I love how the tree and vines frame the walkway.

This is some sort of jail. I wonder if it’s still used. I doubt it, but there was a cop car parked along the road beside it.

Even if it’s no longer used as a jail, it may still be used as an office, as indicated by this sign.

This is Shelbyville Fountain. You can read info about it in the photo above.

The shopping signs outside the visitor’s center and museum was very helpful. Shops are listed by category and a map shows you want street and building to find them. I think every shopping district should have one.

I’ll write about Making Ends Meet, a shop I visited while we were in Shelbyville, in a few days.


Evansville, Indiana

As you read this, we’re probably settled in for Christmas with Chris’ family in Evansville, In. We usually head to Cincinnati for a while too, but not this year. Since we visited family in Ohio in August, we’re not going to stop by this year.

Here’s some photos from November 2007 that I snapped on my first trip to Evansville and my first trip, ever, to a state that wasn’t on the East Coast! Make sure to read the cutlines, I’ll explain the photo and posts links.

The city’s greenway, which runs along the Ohio River.

The Four Freedoms, a monument along the greenway, facing the Ohio.

University of Southern Indiana. My father-in-law tutors there.

The old courthouse, built in the late 1800s.

The old jail, located across the street from the old courthouse. It was also built in the late 1800s.

An old art deco Greyhound bus station 
The Gerst Bavarian Haus, a German restaurant, is my favorite place to eat in Evansville, with Emge’s Deli a close second! (Ignore the crazy man running at the camera.) There’s also Turoni’s Pizza, which is a favorite for the locals.

We also visited the Evansville African American Museum. It was fabulous! I was very impressed and loved all the detailed and interactive exhibits.

I have yet to visit the Angel Mounds — another Native American burial ground. I’ve been told that the mound is usually operating on off-season hours when we’re there, so we haven’t been.

In a later post, I’ll share photos from the Mesker Park Zoo, a small zoo in Chris’ hometown. We’ve already visited it a couple of times together. It recently added a rain forest exhibit and I must go check that out!

Have a very merry Christmas and talk with you soon!


Wheeling, W.Va.

On our trip to West Virginia, we spent a lot of time in Wheeling.

At one time, this was a bustling city and it has the old, gorgeous buildings to prove it.

This is the Capital Theatre. The city is working hard to renovate it and use it for cultural arts.

This was one of Chris’ favorite buildings. The second picture below is a close up and shows some more detail.

Chris was also impressed with the National Road bridge at the edge of town. It was the first federally funded highway.

We walked across the bridge one evening and explored the structure and the river below.

For me, I particularly liked what I think are Italianate homes. One side would be a shop with the shopkeeper’s home on the second floor. The second half of the building would be rented out.

This was my favorite building.

This is the gate seen in the middle of the building. It leads to a backyard.

There was also a neat market area called The Centre Market. It had neat architecture and so did the surrounding buildings.

Part of the market is seen in the left corner. In the back in a business district.

We also saw Independence Hall, where West Virginia broke from Virginia and joined the Union in the fight during the Civil War.

While in the area we checked out Wheeling’s Sternwheeler Festival. Sternwheelers are boats with wheels in the back.

We got to go on one boat and talk with the captain. He has worked on boats most of his life and has traveled up and down the Ohio and parts of the Mississippi.

Here I am talking to the captain on his boat.

The boat we visited, is the third from the left.

This is a pretty cool city, filled with history and beautiful buildings. It would be worth a trip to check out. We didn’t even begin exploring the city’s many trails, so that would certainly be something to check out.

In a later post, I’ll write about Oglebay, a large municipal park in Wheeling. (It’s pronounced Ogle-bee.)