Agecroft Hall

This Saturday I was very happy to catch up with a dear friend, who moved from Charlottesville to Richmond years ago. Even though Richmond is just a little over an hour away, it’s just far enough and we are both so busy that we don’t get to see each other very often.

My friend took me to Agecroft Hall, a 15th century Tudor estate originally built in Lancashire, England. By 1925 the house had become the victim of industrialization and had fallen into disrepair. The last living heirs were forced to sell it at auction. Thomas C. Williams, Jr., a wealthy entrepreneur in Richmond, bought the house for $19,000 and had it dismantled, crated, and shipped across the Atlantic. Over the course of two years and at the cost of $250,000, he had it reassembled as his own personal estate in the Windsor Farms neighborhood, on a hillock overlooking the James River. Sadly, Williams died only one year after moving into the house of his dreams.

In honor of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this Saturday, Agecroft Hall hosted a “Bard’s Birthday Celebration” with singing, games, dancing, acrobatics, and other performances.

In the grassy lawn as you approach the house is a stone that bears the identical inscription that is on Shakespeare’s tombstone at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon:

The English gardens, designed by renowned landscape architect Charles Gillette, are a marvel. We caught the peak of tulip season:

The Knot Garden:

We were so taken with the lovely gardens, we decided to go on to Maymont…to be continued tomorrow.

Shopping in C’ville

I recently got to spend a delightful Saturday with my best friend Janel, who came for a short visit. We spent a leisurely day wandering around the Downtown Mall, which has some of the best shopping anywhere.

Our first stop was the bustling farmer’s market on Water Street , where you can find everything from bee pollen to cut flowers.

The Downtown Mall is dotted with boutiques that have beautifully curated collections. Here are four of our favorites:

At Roxie Daisy on Water Street there are elegant displays in predominantly neutral tones:

We especially loved their collection of cards:

O’Suzannah on 4th Street is organized like a box of watercolors with its monochromatic-themed displays that make you want to linger for hours. This, for example, is the blue section:

The charm of the displays at Caspari on West Main is the gorgeous mix of rich hues:

A stop at ChaCha’s, headquarters for kitsch and neon on East Main, is obligatory.

Someone bought the Barbie chandelier shortly after we popped into the store:

On the way back home we capped off our expedition with a stop at the brand new Pearl Bakery on Main Street:

How to summarize the day?