It was the last day of camp and we were all glad to have made it the full week and to be celebrating artistic accomplishments!
We dropped off the girls and my son and I spent the morning looking at Richmond architecture. I was specifically looking for ideas that would help us with the pending exterior renovation of our home. We are due for a paint job and a new roof and I wanted to see if there were some real life examples of what we were considering.
Richmond is a goldmine of architectural inspiration for Colonial style. We looked at many different types of paint schemes. One of the newer trends that gives a European look to a traditional Colonial home is to paint the trim and the house in shades of the same color. Shades of taupe and beige were particularly striking in this combination.
It was also helpful to see how certain colors and architectural features weather over time. If something still looks good with a little age on it, then it is likely a great choice.
We grabbed the girls from camp and had a few shopping errands to run first. We were surprised to find that back-to-school shopping is in full force with store aisles transformed into school supply meccas.
There is something so satisfying to me about school supply shopping. I love to browse all the new products and deals. It is also a wake-up call that the cash hemorrage is about to begin. Between summer vacation expenses, school clothing and school supply expenses, August can be as expensive as Christmas!
After our shopping trip, we grabbed lunch to go and made our way to our last Richmond attraction. I saved the best for last. We managed to parallel park the minivan into the last available parking spot and made our way across the bridge.
The Bridge to Belle Isle is a relatively recent Richmond tourism and recreation investment. A suspension bridge was created below the existing highway bridge allowing people to walk or bike across the bridge to Belle Isle. Belle Isle was a former prisoner of war camp for Union Soldiers during the Civil War and was then the site of a hydroelectric power plant. Now it is used solely for recreation with hiking trails and the main attraction, a rocky, urban “beach.”
There is only one hazard to be aware of on this beach and that is that the rocks near the water are very slippery! There is some sort of slippery moss or algae that grows on them that you can’t see. Three of us were caught in this trap. My daughter first discovered this as she gently stepped into the water, then suddenly lost her footing and slid right in to a shallow pool. I ran to fish her out and many kind people nearby also started to help. Fortunately, she was able to climb out herself and other than being wetter than she would like, was fine. The next person to discover this trap was me! I was walking quickly over what I thought were dry rocks. One had just a bit of water on it and sure enough it was mossy and slippery and down I went! The last victim was my son. He was sitting on the rocks dangling his feet in the water, slid just an inch toward that slippery moss and slid right into the water! I was right there to fish him out but it taught us all to be VERY careful.
The children could have stayed on the beach all afternoon and were sad when it was time to leave. We could not miss the children’s art exhibit that afternoon, however, and hustled toward the car.
The camp does a wonderful art exhibition of all of the children's work at the end of camp. It looks just like an art gallery and it is all put up very quickly with little more than masking tape.
We admired the projects done by children of all ages. In the older classes, the children were asked to work in teams to create installation art. This project done by three girls was fantastic.
The best part for me was the artists’ statement.
The statement said a lot to me. Some efforts are hard for others to appreciate. Simple things can be deceptively complicated. Artistic mess is as difficult as artistic order. It takes time to learn to create good art.
The art show was a great lift to the end of a energy-filled week. While we weren’t expecting to have Richmond in our summer plans, we are glad there was space in our lives to allow for this last-minute change. Rather than being exhausted with all the early-morning wake-up calls and the driving and touring, I left energized with new ideas and perspective. My children took a lot out of the experience too. I will remember most the times spent outside, watching them run joyfully in the sunshine. It’s what summer is all about.