Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg Celebrates 300 Years

When I looked over the Virginia Gazette Daily News Release this morning, I noticed a link to photos in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Bruton Parish Church. How amazing. In our part of the world, a building with a history of 300 years is quite unusual.

Then I remembered that the iconic Williamsburg landmark which has been photographed and painted thousands of times is part of my "Snapshot in Time" book about the Williamsburg Inn. For these little books, I like to focus on a few side trips that make visits to these old hotels memorable. Bruton Parish Church is one of those focus stories.

Here are two brief segments from my book:

When local residents consider the dramatic stories of Colonial Williamsburg, Bruton Parish Church is one of the buildings that usually comes to mind. In continuous use since 1715, the salmon-colored brick structure is among the most historic buildings that line the streets of Colonial Williamsburg today. The current building is the third of a series of "houses of worship" dating back to 1660. The first structure at Middle Plantation (the name for Williamsburg before it was incorporated in 1669) was most likely built of wood.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, and Patrick Henry were among the men of the Revolutionary War who attended Bruton Parish Church. During the Battle of Yorktown, the church was used as a hospital or a storehouse, possibly both.  
"Bruton Parish Church" ©Mary Montague Sikes

I enjoy living close to Williamsburg where history thrives in the restoration area. Taking a stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street and heading down side streets never gets old. How fortunate Bruton Parish Church,  Williamsburg icon has survived for 300 years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bryce Canyon - A Picnic for the Photographer's Eye

"Pink Cliffs Rising" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Bryce Canyon is a truly exotic destination. The glowing pinnacles rise up from the canyon providing a picnic for the photographer's eye. When viewed from atop the rim, the scene becomes a wonderland of magic.

Our daughter arranged (a year in advance) for us to stay at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon, and it was a wonderful choice. The original building, designed in the 1920s by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, has been restored and is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The furnishings in the lobby were commissioned to replicate the original hickory furniture. The food in the Lodge dining room was good but pricier than that at Zion Lodge. However, it was convenient to be able to dine at facilities near the rim of the canyon. A guide book says visitors can see 60 million years of geologic history in the amazing formations. We were impressed with the wide walkway that edges the canyon with benches along the Rim Trail. However, there were no guardrails.
"Lodge at Bryce Canyon Lobby" ©Mary Montague Sikes

We used the shuttle to go to several of the lookouts. The elevation at Bryce is well over 8000 feet. At the nearby Agua Canyon overlook, it is 8800 feet. Since this is double the altitude at Zion, we never quite
adjusted during the shorter stay at Bryce.    

As I look at my notes and photographs, I'm already longing to return to the Utah National Parks. There are so many things we did not visit or get to see. It is truly the place for photographers, both amateur and professional.
"Natural Bridge" ©Mary Montague Sikes

"Agua Canyon Sign" ©Mary Montague Sikes

Monday, August 3, 2015

"Call Her Captain" and "Live Your Dreams"

Our daughter, Alicia, is featured in the cover story for the Summer issue of the the South Carolina Honors College magazine, AHA! "Call Her Captain" is the title of the article. We are very proud because she has worked very hard on the way to become a pilot with a major airline. For a woman, that was not an easy road.

"You can be anything you want to be." 

Over the years, I've told that to my children and to the students I've taught. I like it that Alicia is promoting women in aviation. She encourages the little girls who fly with her to get interested in becoming pilots.

Alicia grew up in a time when opportunities for women were finally beginning. They no longer needed to choose between teaching or nursing.
I'm glad the little girl who dreamed of flying while she sailed through the air on the swing set in our yard has fulfilled that dream. I'm glad she was competitive and played football with the boys and participated in "Pass, Punt, and Kick" when the other little girls didn't.

"Live your dreams. Believe in your dreams." These are the words I have on the desk in front of my computer. What important words they are.