Category Archives: outdoors

Fall stroll at the pump house

IMG_8923.JPGOn Sunday we went for a walk on the Byrd Park Pump House grounds. The pump house, a beautiful Gothic Revival-style building, is tucked behind Byrd Park and was the city’s pump house from 1883 through 1924. We strolled the property, seeing where the pump house at one time drew water from the James River, Kanawha Canal and a smaller canal. It’s an ideal place to take in the fall colors. Happy autumn! xo, marissa









The Kindness Wall

This evening at around 6, Harvey and I walked from our Fan flat to The Kindness Wall off Cary Street. The wall, officially called “The Light of Human Kindness,” is a interactive mural that “explore[s] the relationship of light and darkness and what can happen when art, technology and kindness come together to illuminate the power of human connection.”

Tomorrow evening at 7:30 the wall’s 1,000 LED bulbs will be illuminated, kicking off the RVA Street Art Festival, which will run through Sunday, Sept. 15 at the old GRTC depot. The festival will feature all sorts of fun, artsy things — mural sessions, sculpture and history about RVA’s transportation (just to name a few).

I have driven by the wall several times over the past few weeks as the words and bright geometric shapes were being painted on the side of the 80-foot-long wall at 2401 W. Cary St. So tonight, Harv and I decided to see what the wall was about and embrace the spirit of kindness.

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When we arrived at the mural there was a frenzy of activity: artists touching up paint, street festival coordinators finishing up electrical work on the light installation, families bringing their kids to look at the wall and folks taking Instagrams.

While puttering around the wall, Harvey found a paint brush and met a giant bear of a German Shepherd named Borealis.2013-09-10 04.50.55

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As we were leaving, we came across a mural painter further down the way form The Kindness Wall. I earnestly and awkwardly asked if I could take his picture and he obliged with a laugh.

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As a closer, I’d like to share some thoughts about kindness from some wise philosophers.

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“The best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” — William Wordsworth

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” — Lao Tzu

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” — Saint Basil

Peace and happiness, marissa

Richmond’s Great Wall

Spanning the south bank of the James River between the Mayo Bridge (14th Street bridge) and Manchester Bridge (9th Street Bridge) is the Floodwall, a concrete wall that protects Richmond  from floods up to 32 feet. This afternoon we set out with the dog to do some urban exploring on the Floodwall in Richmond’s Manchester District.

We parked in the Floodwall parking lot right off the Mayo Bridge on Hull Street. From there we walked for a few minutes along a paved path until we came to stairs leading up to the Floodwall.


We climbed the steps to the top of the caged walkway to find panoramic views of downtown Richmond, the chain of islands in the center of the James, and nesting ospreys, herons and geese.




We continued our walk west along the Floodwall. According to the City of Richmond, the north side of the river’s Floodwall is 4,277 feet and protects 150 acres of Shockoe Valley. On the south side, the Floodwall spans 13,046 feet and protects 600 acres of the Manchester District.




The last major flood in Richmond occurred in 1996. In January a large blizzard hit the area hard and a few weeks later there was a heavy rain storm causing the river to rise 22 feet. Later that year rains from Hurricane Fran caused the river to rise 23.8. Thankfully the city hasn’t seen such severe flooding since, and, I certainly hope I don’t. (Although I did have a nightmare about the city flooding the other night.)

20130902-152313.jpgIt was a high of 91 today, so we had to take several pit stops for Harvey. Behind the Floodwall there are views of the Manchester Distrtict — old box cars, factories, Legend Brewery and the Corrugated Box Building.




20130902-152413.jpgWhen we arrived under the Manchester Bridge we decided to climb down to the river for Harvey’s sake. Harvey sat in the water for a few minutes to cool off and grab a drink, and then we continued our walking tour.


20130902-152434.jpgI was surprised to see Hibiscus growing under the Manchester Bridge — beautiful white and pink blooms growing up along the banks of the James.

We continued up the path under the Manchester Bridge and it winded up a hill to a lookout just west of the bridge. Standing on this overlook we heard several voices below us.

20130902-152509.jpgIt wasn’t ’til I got home and Googled where we were that I found out that we were standing at the top a 60-foot granite wall that is a popular rock climbing spot. (Click here for more on rock climbing the wall.) Upon further reading I found out that the outcrop was part of the 19th century Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Bridge.

Pretty fun little day in RVA. Happy Labor Day! xo, marissa

Historic Garden Week: Laburnum Park Tour

Last week was the 80th anniversary of Historic Garden Week organized by the Garden Club of Virginia. One of the tours was of Laburnum Park, a neighborhood on Richmond’s north side. (You may notice that I’ve been spending a lot of time up there these days.) The tour was of a handful of historic homes and gardens. Here are some snapshots from my afternoon adventure. cheers, marissa

Richmond’s Canal Walk + Hydroelectric Plant

Last night Graham and I went for a sunset walk downtown along the Canal Walk. We parked off 14th and Dock streets and walked the length of the canal down to the Hydroelectric Plant. The Canal Walk is a 1.25-mile walk along the Kanawha Canal, which was completed in 1789. On our walk, I picked up a few history brochures at the canal boathouse and learned some interesting facts about the canal system.

  • George Washington wanted Richmond’s canals to be part of a transportation route from the Atlantic to Mississippi.
  • By 1840, the canal was completed from Richmond all the way to Lynchburg. At one point in the time the canal system reached Buchanan. Eventually railroads replaced canal transportation in the 1880s.

While walking along the canal, we walked under the 14th Street and Virginia Street bridges and then came to the Tidewater Locks. From there we walked over the locks and came to the old Reynolds Wrap Factory. We then made our way down to 12th Street where we came across the Christopher Newport Cross and then to the Hydoelectric Plant, which is covered in huge murals and graffiti. Check out some of the pics I snapped on our walk. xo, marissa