Thursday, October 27, 2011

A "New Yew" for Historic St. John's Church Cemetery

For almost two hundred years, a sprawling yew tree sheltered the grave of Elizabeth Arnold "Eliza" Poe, Edgar Allan Poe's mother, in the graveyard of historic St. John's Church.  In 2007, the tree was removed by the city, leaving a huge void in the landscape surrounding one of the burial grounds' most famous residents.  A new yew has now been planted and will be dedicated on October 30--though it is certainly much smaller than its more aged predecessor.

Yew trees can thrive for hundreds of years and are often found in cemeteries.  The yew that was cut down in 2007 possibly pre-dated the construction of St. John's Church, which was constructed in 1741.  "Eliza" Poe was a local actress who died in 1811 at the age of 24, possibly of tuberculosis.  Her son Edgar was not yet three years old.

She was buried at St. John's, although the congregation reportedly was not pleased about having an actress buried in their churchyard.  Acting was not considered a particularly worthy occupation at the time, so she was buried well away from the church on the outskirts of the property.  The precise location of Eliza's final resting place was not precisely known until The Raven Society of the University of Virginia determined that she had been buried within a few feet of the old yew tree.  The Raven Society erected a memorial marker on the spot in 1927.

The new yew tree will be dedicated at noon on October 30.  What better day to commemorate a graveyard location associated with the life of Edgar Allan Poe?  This year also marks the 200th anniversary of Eliza Poe's death.  St. John's Church is one of Richmond's oldest and most significant historic sites.  It is within a short drive of Maury Place at Monument.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Restaurant Week in Richmond: October 24-30

This is the 10th year for Richmond's annual Restaurant Week.  Savor a gourmet, three-course meal for only $25.11 at some of Richmond's hottest restaurants this week.  And the best part of the bargain is that your dinner out will help feed children, homebound neighbors, working poor families, and the elderly on fixed incomes--all who greatly need the healthy food provided by the Central Virginia Food Bank and Meals on Wheels.  A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit those charities.

Maury Place favorites such as Acacia Mid-Town, Six Burner, Avenue 805, Tarrant's, Bacchus, Bistro 27, Mezzanine, Millie's, Water Grill, and Zeus Gallery Cafe--among many others--are participants.  Your dinner at a participating restaurant will lead to a million more meals for those in need in Richmond.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Xu Bing: Tobacco as Subject and Medium" Now Featured at the VMFA

Having opened on September 10, 2011 and running through December 4, 2011 in the Evans Court Gallery at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Xu Bing: Tobacco Project explores the production and culture of tobacco as seen through the eyes of one of China's most innovative and contemporary artists. The exhibit combines important pieces from the artist's earlier projects at Duke University in North Carolina and the Shanghai Gallery of Art in China with new work inspired by visits to tobacco farms, warehouses, and cigarette factories in Virginia.

Xu Bing uses tobacco--as a material and a subject--to explore a wide range of issues, from global trade and exploitation to the ironies of promoting a potentially harmful substance.  As a printmaker and bookmaker, he is especially fascinated by the visual culture of packaging and marketing tobacco.  In exploring the complex relationships between people and tobacco, the project ultimately concerns fundamental issues of human culture and of tobacco as a medium of social exchange.

Xu Bing's first visits to Virginia included a tour of the Philip Morris manufacturing center in Richmond and trips to a historic tobacco warehouse and several family-owned tobacco farms in the Southside region of Virginia.  He also conducted research at the Valentine Richmond History Center.  Maury Place at Monument is within walking distance of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Richmond Rated 5th Luckiest City in the United States!

Men's Health magazine has rated our own Richmond VA the fifth luckiest city in America.  Virginia's capital scored an A- on the magazine's luck scale to secure its place between Wilmington, Delaware, and San Francisco, California.  San Diego, California has the largest supply of luck, according to the magazine.

The luck criteria included the most winners of Powerball, Mega Millions, and Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, most holes-in-one, and fewest lightning strikes.  It also incorporated the number of deaths from falling objects and the least money lost on lottery tickets and race betting.  We certainly feel very lucky to live in such a lucky town!

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Raven, Terror & Death!

It has been 162 years since Edgar Allan Poe's mysterious death, yet his words live on and continue to evoke a following today.  Richmond's own Edgar Allan Poe Museum has just unveiled "The Raven, Terror and Death: [An] Other Artistic Tribute to Edgar Allan Poe.  It is the United States debut of an art exhibit featuring more than sixty American and Mexican artists and their interpretations of Poe's 1845 classic poem "The Raven."

Select artists from both the United States and Mexico were challenged to interpret "The Raven" in honor of the Day of the Dead, Mexico's national holiday when families celebrate life by paying homage to loved ones who have died.  Coincidentally, "The Raven" was published in the same year that the United States annexed Texas, which led to the Mexican-American War in 1846.  The exhibit includes a variety of works--illustrations, paintings, commentaries on mortality, sculpture--and more.

During the years that Poe spent in Richmond, he frequently took walks through Shockoe Hill Cemetery to visit the grave of his first love, Jane Stanard, and the graves of his foster parents, John Allan and Frances Valentine Allan. The exhibit is included with museum admission ($5-$6) and will run through January 1.  Maury Place at Monument is just a short drive from the Edgar Allan Poe Museum.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Beauty, Power and Passion of Virginia Opera!

Richmond is blessed with several top notch performing arts organizations, such as the Richmond Ballet, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Virginia Opera--just to name a few.  The Virginia Opera opens its new season in Richmond on October 21 and 23, 2011 with a production of Verdi's Aida at the Carpenter Theatre at Richmond's CenterStage.  Future productions in the 2011-12 Season include Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel,  Glass' Orphee, and Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.  For further information, visit www.vaopera.org. Richmond's Carpenter Theatre is just a short drive from Maury Place at Monument.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Tristin Lowe: Mocha Dick" on display at the VMFA through November 27

Now featured in the 21st Century Gallery at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through November 27 is Tristin Lowe's colossal sculpture Mocha Dick, a 52-foot-long re-creation of the real-life albino sperm whale that terrorized early 19th century whaling vessels in the South Pacific and inspired Herman Melville's epic Moby-Dick.  Lowe's sculpture is a large-scale vinyl inflatable understructure sheathed in white industrial felt.  It is on loan from the West Collection of Philadelphia and was created in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum of Philadelphia.  Maury Place at Monument is just steps away from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Byrd Theatre: "Richmond's Landmark Movie Palace"

Congratulations to our own Byrd Theatre for recognition by USA Today Travel as one of "10 Great Places to See A Movie in Splendor."  The vintage theatre is in Carytown, just a short walk from Maury Place at Monument.  The recognition is well timed and precedes two special evenings at the Byrd.

Coming up on Saturday, October 7, 2011 is an evening of music from the Byrd's "Mighty Wurlitzer" original theatre organ.  Grammy nominated organist Cameron Carpenter will play a variety of compelling selections on the Wurlitzer. This promises to be a not-to-be-missed evening.  Tickets are $35 for general admission and $75 for VIP admission.  All proceeds will benefit the Byrd Theatre Foundation.  The show begins at 8:00 p.m.

On Friday, October 21, 2011 at 7:30 p.m., the Byrd will be screening the original Lon Chaney classic "Phantom of the Opera" featuring organ accompaniment by Ray Brubacher, who is the organist at the Kennedy Center. Tickets are $10, and all proceeds benefit preservation of the theatre's historic organ.

Visit www.byrdtheatre.com for further information.


Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Lewis Ginter: Richmond's Gilded Age Icon"

As a war hero, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Lewis Ginter was many things to Richmond.  Ginter was commended for gallantry on the battlefield and performed special missions for Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson during the American Civil War.

After the war, Ginter was the first major marketer of the hand-rolled cigarette in America.  He developed one of our country's first streetcar suburbs right here in Richmond and built the historic Jefferson Hotel.  Union Presbyterian Seminary and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden both were founded on land donated by Lewis Ginter.

Beyond the well-known history of this Richmond icon, many aspects of his personal and professional life remained unexplored--until now.  Our good friend, Brian Burns, has written a new book, "Lewis Ginter: Richmond's Gilded Age Icon," that delves into the hidden history of Ginter's extraordinary life to fill in the gaps between Ginter the man and Ginter the legend.  We are happy to offer this biography of Lewis Ginter for sale to guests of Maury Place at Monument.
Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument