Virginia Johnson

Making Time for Thank-You Notes

One of the most important things to teach children about the holidays is how to express their thanks for what they have received. Plan to set aside a few hours to have fun and give thanks.

Tips for Timely Thank-You's

Santa shouldn't be the only one making lists. In the excitement of opening presents, cards have a tendency to get lost very quickly. Have a sheet of paper and pen handy to jot down the givers, the gifts, and the receivers. No need to make a production of it, but this list will come in so very handy later on.

The Fall of the Bastille

 On July 14, 1789, a Parisian mob broke down the gates of the ancient fortress known as the Bastille, marking a flashpoint at the beginning of the French Revolution.

"What is the third estate? Everything. What has it been up till now in the political order? Nothing. What does it desire to be? Something."
--Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, French political activist

Coaching Day at Stratford Hall

 On Sunday, April 24, 2005, the parade of 19th-century-era coaches came again to historic Stratford Hall, once home to two signers of the Declaration of Independence, a Revolutionary War hero, and Robert E. Lee. The triennial event is a major fundraiser for the National Historic Landmark in Westmoreland County.

Ride for a Lifetime

In a world filled with SUV's, ever-rising gas prices, and hotels that cater to their customers' perceived desires to be surrounded by plush conveniences, some eccentric souls will look for opportunities to kick back, simplify, and enjoy a break from the daily smog-encrusted rush.

On a bicycle, the world seems a different place. It certainly moves at a different pace, faster than on foot but slow enough to experience the sweet fulfillment of the day. Getting back on a bike after many years is a pleasure you should not put off.

A Return to Sunken Road

On May 29, 2005, a public dedication ceremony was held at the Richard Kirkland Monument, adjacent to the newly restored Sunken Road. Workers spent months burying power lines, removing pavement, and restoring the stone wall. All of this recreated the look and feel of what became one of the bloodiest pieces of ground in the Civil War.

Burning with Creativity: Authors Who Suffer from Mental Illness

You don't have to have a mental disorder to be a great author, but those lightning leaps of imagination and hours spent constructing fascinating stories, multi-layered in meaning and unique in style, can sometimes be linked to mental illness.

Many of the 20th century's great writers, including Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and William Styron, suffered from mental illness. During May, which is Mental Health Month, take a moment to examine the difficult lives of these writers.

Making the Most of Strawberry Season

First, a Little History

Originally, strawberries were wild things. Their unique flavor and sweetness led to their cultivation. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson grew Alpine Strawberries, a European import, among other varieties and shared the seeds with his friends. The plants were hardy and delicious, but the berries were tiny. Jefferson remarked that "100 would fill half a pint." Wild strawberries grew freely in abandoned fields and woods and were gathered by Indians and colonists alike.

Rappahannock Romance: Planning a Local Wedding

If you met here and fell in love here, why not marry here? The region has many lovely venues, whether you prefer a riverside retreat, an historic site, or a formal ballroom. Having your wedding in your community also has advantages for those who have never visited our region as well as local guests.

Flowers, photographs, gowns, and tuxes are all part of a big wedding day, but there are some significant extras you can factor into your occasion to make it even more memorable:

Fighting for Civil Rights: A Battleground in the Old Dominion

From October through the end of December, 2006, the Fredericksburg Area Museum hosted a traveling exhibit, Civil Rights in Virginia.

Teachers were encouraged to bring middle and high school students to the museum to come face to face with this turbulent time in the state's history. An excellent exhibition curriculum guide, The Story of Virginia: Becoming Equal, is available for educators.

Online Auctions for Fun and Profit

Game tickets, antique china, power tools, jewelry, laptops, cars, pianos--they're all available online, new or used, cheap or pricey. If you haven't learned the in's and out's of the online auction yet, this is a good time to start. With the holidays just around the corner, think of online auctions as another option for finding gifts, decorations, and those gotta-have's that always seem to pop up around this time of the year. Have a house bursting at the seams with too much good stuff already? Downsize online, and pick up a little cash to cover the holiday bills.