Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Richmond Road Trip - Part 1

We spent a few days in Richmond, VA. I've loved Richmond for a long time, due to special memories (another post, perhaps), but what I notice every time I visit is the way North and South overlap there. The Fan district, for instance, has an amazing hybrid of the best of southern urban aesthetics, mixed with the best of northern row house blocks. The city is friendly like the South, but gritty, edgy, direct and stimulating in ways that remind me of the North.

We visited the Science Museum on the second day - a day that started out cloudy and drizzly. The first exhibits were on physics, space, and aeronautics, and were fascinating, but all the noise, crowds, and bright lights in the dark exhibit space made me notice the muted gray natural light coming in the exit doors.

Then I noticed that the exit was not alarmed, or prohibited, and it went down the old access to the tracks. The museum is in a refurbished grand train station, built in 1917. So I called the others over and we went through the doors and down onto the old platforms. Marvelous. Deserted. Windswept and melancholy. Fresh air and wide open space.

Then I saw the huge steam engine off on a siding, and time stopped for me. I love old trains, and can spend hours looking at them.

We wandered all over, and took numerous close-ups of the engine, then visited the other mechanical residents of this quiet enchanted space outside the museum - a trolley and a deep sea sub used in a number of salvage missions (including finding and recovering an unexploded hydrogen bomb!) in the 1960's.

There were a few other things I particularly enjoyed about the morning we spent in the Science Museum - but I'll save those for another post.

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