We arrived at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point on April 10th. Pelican Point, the base RV park, is very nice. This is a relatively new park, located well away from the busy areas of the base. The sites are paved with full hookups, and half of the sites are pull-throughs. In addition to a bathhouse and laundry room, there is a small community room. There is a boat launch a short distance from the park, and a bike path that runs all the way to the Exchange/Commissary.
We have Key West friends that live in the area and we made arrangements to meet them while we were there. We met Lynn at her house and drove to Beaufort to Dave and Clara’s house. Beaufort is a beautiful waterfront community. Clara grew up in Beaufort and they live in the family home. They are familiar with all the great places to eat and took us to a wonderful seafood restaurant.
We kayaked on the Alligator Cut, the river by the RV park, that is a branch of the Neuse River. I’m not sure where the name came from, but we didn’t see any alligators.
We headed to Richmond, VA on Saturday, April 16th. In Richmond, we stayed at the MWR campground at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Located south of Richmond, it afforded us a great base for exploring the city. The campground is small, only six sites, laid out in a circle, with plenty of open space between the sites. With a campground so small you would think it would be easy to schedule, but that must not be the case. As we were setting up another couple arrived and were booked into the same site. Fortunately, after a series of phone calls we got it all sorted out and we both ended up with a free night to compensate us for the hassle. We shared a couple bottles of wine and had a good laugh about it.
We arrived in Richmond on Saturday, and Sunday was Easter. We found a very nice church close to the campground – Beulah United Methodist Church. It was an enjoyable experience with our favorite hymns, a solid message, and they even gave us bags of candy as we left the church.
I love exploring history where it actually happened. Our first stop in Richmond was the American Civil War Museum. They did a good job of summarizing the conflict, but it seemed a bit superficial. I guess knowing so much history can be a problem sometimes. Exploring history is not always pleasant. It causes you to face both the good and bad of our nation’s past. This museum accomplished the goal of presenting the past so we can apply what we have experienced and learned to our future.
After the museum, we had a full schedule ahead of us. We walked under the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge to Belle Isle. There is a pedestrian walkway suspended under the bridge. This was certainly more pleasant than walking next to the busy traffic of US-301.
Belle Isle has been the site of a fishery, a Civil War prisoner of war camp, home to the Old Dominion Iron and Nail Company, and a hydroelectric plant. It is now a green space for the city of Richmond. There is a network of walking and biking trails, and picnic areas. You can visit the ruins of the hydroelectric plant and the nail company, as well as the site of the Civil War prison camp. The trail network was a bit confusing at times, but we avoided betting lost and enjoyed walking the trails.
Next we walked to the Virginia State Capital Building. This building was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and has a statue of George Washington that is an exact replica of him. The sculptor made a plaster cast of Washington’s face and extensive measurements of his body before he even began his work. We took a guided tour that gave us the history of the building as well as the history that surrounded it.
After the Capital Building we walked a few blocks to have an early dinner at the Sine Irish Pub. It was a nice, relaxing meal after a busy day.
On our way back, we walked along the Canal Walk that included a section of murals. I found this one particularly interesting.
The next day we took it easy and we explored the area around the campground. We were surprised to learn that the Richmond DLA was home to a herd of elk. A local farmer, James Bellwood, had imported some elk from Yosemite National Park and Washington State and they evolved into a good-sized herd. When his property was sold to the Army for the Richmond Supply Depot, his heirs insisted that the herd be continued and maintained on the property.
On Friday, April 22nd we drove to Fort Belvoir, VA and Washington, DC.