#15 Richmond, Virginia April 14 - April 18,1999
Wednesday, April 14: "On to Richmond" was the cry for the 15th Class of '50 mini which was hosted by Jack Maxwell and his wife Adrienne. The historic five-star Jefferson Hotel, built in 1895, was headquarters for this gathering. "Welcome to the Jefferson" was the staff's genteel greeting upon our arrival. Margaret Austin, coordinator with the Historic Richmond Foundation Tours, supervised the mini's activities, including registration. A silver shot glass, engraved "P'50 Richmond '99," is a treasured keepsake. Cocktails and a buffet were served in the hotel's elaborate Empire Room.
Thursday, April 15: Each morning started with a buffet in the hotel's Rotunda. Tour America buses transported us on a rainy ride to Charlottesville where we toured Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's mountain-top home considered to be one of the country's most beautiful houses. Guides delicately dealt with new DNA evidence that Jefferson fathered a child by his slave Sally Hemings. Servers in Colonial garb were at our beck and call at a fried chicken buffet in the historic Michie Tavern. Built in 1784 the inn was moved to its present site in 1927. Then on to James Monroe's summer home, Ash Lawn-Highland. We spent the evening at Maymont, an intact 100-acre turn-of-the-century Edwardian estate in the heart of Richmond. Rain hampered late-arriving caterers but the barbecue fare was delish; the Dixieland band played spiritedly. Afterward, many enjoyed Maxwell's hospitality suite at the hotel.
Friday, April 16: Well-versed tour guides spouted history as we bused south past hundreds of pines damaged by an ice storm last Christmas Eve. The sun broke through as we arrived at historic Williamsburg, the colonial capital of Virginia. Docents in period dress conducted tours of the restored area and the Governor's Palace. There was time to visit the Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Museum, featuring folk art, and to see the vast collection of English and American decorative arts in the impressive DeWitt Wallace Gallery. In Charles City we toured the Shirley Plantation, the 18th-century James River home of the Hill and Carter families since 1723. Cocktails and a delightful dinner were enjoyed in the Coach House Tavern at Berkeley Plantation — Benjamin Harrison's family home and site in 1619 of America's first Thanksgiving.
Saturday, April 17: A day to enjoy Richmond's rich history. The highlight was a dramatic reenactment at St. John's Episcopal Church of the Virginia Second Convention where Patrick Henry uttered his famous speech. Then a visit to the Jefferson-designed capitol. In the Rotunda our guide raptured over George Washington's statue under an unusual interior dome. Next we toured the White House of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis' home, and the nearby Museum of the Confederacy. A walk through the pleasure garden at Agecroft Hall completed our morning. Lunch was at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which has the largest public collection of Faberge as well as the Mellon collection. We toured the Virginia Historical Society's permanent exhibit "The Story of Virginia, an American Experience." Dinner in the Empire Room. Anne Buxton invited all to '01 mini: "Charleston Revisited."
Sunday, April 18: Brunch at the Jefferson marked the end of this reunion.
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