Happy Halloween from Spider-Town, USA

pumpkins in urn © The Gracious Posse

My mission: find attractive Halloween decorations, like the pumpkins and urn above, around RVA to grace The Gracious Posse’s Halloween post.

spider web with ghosts © The Gracious Posse

My discovery: Richmond has officially become Spider-Town.

white spider web with black spider © The Gracious Posse

It’s not just because spider webs lace all of my window sills and outside door frames.

spiderweb on sideporch © The Gracious Posse

Arachnid lovers abound throughout our beautiful neighborhoods.

spider crawling up pretty Tudor © The Gracious Posse

Maybe it has something to do with the University of Richmond’s eight-legged mascot,

Richmond Spiders’ banner © The Gracious Posse

but you can’t drive down a street

spider web on corner Fan house © The Gracious Posse

without seeing at least one of these giant creatures webbing a home.

Halloween spiders spinning white web © The Gracious Posse

From the looks of things,

spider web gracing Fan porch © The Gracious Posse

Halloween has become Spiderween.

black spider on green door © The Gracious Posse

Coming face-to-face with these larger-than-life (right?) arthropods

Halloween spiders at the windows © The Gracious Posse

makes my skin crawl,

giant spiders hanging on elegant home © The Gracious Posse

though I must admit their bold black webs do make quite a design statement.

Halloween spider’s black web © The Gracious Posse

I wouldn’t call my aversion arachnophobia,

Halloween spider’s gossamer web © The Gracious Posse

but I just may have a fear of being taken over by gossamer strands while I sleep?

Halloween spider web on aqua house © The Gracious Posse

While my fellow citizens have embraced the redeeming qualities of these insect-eaters,

pair of Halloween spiders on an RVA home © The Gracious Posse

I just can’t imagine adding anymore to the real-life specimens hanging around my house.

large white spider web gracing RVA porch © The Gracious Posse

Can you?

Spiders highlight a Halloween tableau in  RVA © The Gracious Posse

Either way, we wish you Happy Halloween from Spider-Town, USA!


October 31, 2014

Bench Make-over Inspired by The Carolina Inn

A vacant spot in the foyer of my home has been begging for an occasional bench ever since we moved in some eighteen+ years ago. Unfortunately the space is tight, so I have been on a rather lengthy quest to find just the right one. About a year ago Alison and I unearthed an old piano bench at a local consignment store with the correct dimensions, but it required a major rehab.

bench-before © The Gracious Posse

The folk arts-y Noah’s Ark scene no doubt enhanced a child’s room once-upon-a-time, but it needed to disappear. I scoured the retail fabric sources in RVA but came up empty on inspiration. Thank heavens Alison thought of the obvious: why don’t you remake it to look like the benches you love at The Carolina Inn?

Bench at Carolina Inn © The Gracious Posse

Well blow me over and call me Pearl. Post haste I contacted Sarah Wiley at Huger Embroidery to see if she could design an interesting B image, not a monogram this time, to appliqué or stitch in the center of the bench just like the iconic C design that is used on furnishings throughout my favorite Chapel Hill haven.

C applique © The Gracious Posse

What she created was simply perfect for me. This reverse and interlocking B is unique and yet classic. Designer Liz Hart helped me find the just-right color of linen for Sarah to stitch the image and make the bench skirt. Once I saw her lovely appliqué, I chickened out on the DIY upholstery, and Liz sent it to her workroom.

B applique close-up © The Gracious Posse

Rarely does the execution perfectly match my vision,

bench from front © The Gracious Posse

but this bench adds just the right touch of pretty functionality to my foyer.

bench from side © The Gracious Posse

Although it took me longer than I would have liked, going from inspiration to reality was worth the wait. Thank you to my local resources for enabling me to fulfill my vision.

salutatione&aOctober 29, 2014

The Wright Brothers’ Legacy in Kitty Hawk ~ A Lesson in Hospitality

What do the Wright Brothers and hospitality have in common? You’re about to find out.

LDB, Tex (my blonde canine) and I spent a gorgeous Columbus Day weekend on remote Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. From this out-of-the-way destination on our return trip home, we passed by the Wright Brothers’ National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. After the briefest of discussions, we agreed, we’d better stop and check it out. Who knows when we’ll have the time and opportunity again? So we made a u-turn into American and aviation history.

First Flight Plaque © The Gracious Posse

The memorial pays tribute to the brothers’ 12-seconds of history that changed the world. I was expecting an indoor museum, perhaps with a replica of the first flyer, but this side trip had much more in store for sharing and celebrating the Wrights’ creativity, determination and daring.

Birds-eye view of flight markers at Kill Devil HIlls © The Gracious Posse

The aerial view above shows the museum (which does house a replica) on the right. In the middle of the field are reproductions of the hangar for the plane (left building) and camp shelter for the brothers on the right. Numbered 1 to 4 are the landing markers

flight marker collage © The Gracious Posse

for each of their four flights. The large boulder above marks

lift-off marker collage © The Gracious Posse the lift-off point for each flight.

Notables in the rest of the park include the first flight sculpture seen below

First Flight Sculpture © The Gracious Posse

and a soaring monument

Wright Brothers' Memorial © The Gracious Posse

atop a large mound overlooking the entire park.

I certainly did not expect to find a lesson in city marketing and hospitality amongst the lessons in flight mechanics. In a letter from William J. Tate, Postmaster of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Tate sent an appeal to the brothers to locate their test camp at Kitty Hawk, stating

If you decide to try your machine here…you will find a hospitable people…

hospitable people © The Gracious Posse

No doubt the positive welcome that the Wright Brothers received aided and abetted their remarkable success which changed the course of mankind. The legacy of hospitality the Wright Brothers enjoyed in remote North Carolina has endured for more than a century and made Kitty Hawk’s name stand synonymous with aviation history.

The Richmond area has extended a similar invitation to the international bicycling racing world for next September’s UCI Road Championships. It marks the first time in almost 30 years that this competition will be held in the United States. With RVA’s warm southern hospitality, we expect our own hospitable people to help Richmond leave a similar mark in the annals of international bicycle racing.

October 27, 2014