Category Archives: Virginia

Spring changes…

April is turning out to be a month of big changes for me and the month is still young…

a week or so ago I had my hair cut and donated fifteen inches to a good cause (I have donated hair in the past but this time around I learned how much it costs to make a human hair wig confirming that monetary donations are very much needed as well)…

for the first time in my life I have braces and what an adventure that is going to be for the next year or so…

late last year we had some work done to reduce the size of part of our herbaceous border getting rid of wild blackberry and honeysuckle vines to name just a few marauders (I Love them in a wild setting but it wasn’t good that they were choking out so many other plants)…

now we are watching to see what survived the clean out before we do any new planting…

I had fun recently altering vintage spools of silk thread that my always generous friend Carmen shared with our mixed media group using a bit of shredded map, wire, moss, rose ribbon trim and a shiny egg or two for the little chick to sit on and the little boy is from the top of a small valentine candy box that I altered years ago (I created the frame using distressed copper mesh and brads)…

the blue Muscari/Grape Hyacinths are definitely a favorite spring flower of mine ♥ they seem to pop up everywhere…

I am tagging along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover to celebrate T Stands for Tuesday and

wish you a happy day…

Little Free Library…

in browsing the website of the Fife and Drum Inn that we selected for our 5 day stay in Colonial Williamsburg recently…

I interpreted the photo above  (courtesy of the Fife and Drum) to mean that there would be a Little Free Library so I packed up a stack of books to deposit when we got there…

turns out it had nothing to do with books at all and each of the rooms in the inn had one = a little house to hide the television from constant view…

we got some chuckles out of that and then did a search and found a “real” Little Free Library a couple of miles away in front of an interesting looking shop…

we never made it back that way during business hours to go inside but we did leave our books (Mr Magpie always laughs at me because I can’t help but tidy up the book boxes a bit)…

being within walking distance of Colonial Williamsburg gave us   several opportunities to stroll around looking for signs of spring…

we were drawn again and again to the 18th century vegetable gardens where the gardening methods, tools and gardeners were all colonial style…

it was a favorite spot back when we visited in December of 2015  (2015 photo above)…

after one of our walks we shared a rich hot chocolate and Linzer bar just a couple of doors down from where we were staying  snapping two more traveling tea cup shots…

wishing you a Happy T Day on this last Tuesday of March along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

Botticelli calling…

we were thrilled to learn of a unique opportunity to see some of Sandro Botticelli’s works being shown for the first time in the U.S. and not all that far from us at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia…

after visiting Williamsburg a couple of years ago to celebrate my birthday we had imagined making a return visit in springtime so we made a long weekend of it…

this is the largest and most important display of Botticelli’s works in the United States featuring 24 paintings from international lenders…

on 15 April the exhibition will open in Boston, Massachusetts which is the only other opportunity to see these paintings together in the US…

we were delighted that photography was allowed (excluding professional photography or use of a flash) although it was impossible for a photo to do justice to the exquisite details…

the first night in Williamsburg we ate out under the stars with the full moon shining down on us…

the temps dipped down each day after that so it’s good we chose that first night to eat al fresco…

we took the Traveling Tea Cup along so there will be more to share at another time…

here’s wishing you a Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover

birthday getaway Anne Hathaway style…

at the end of November we took a little break from home improvements and drove about 2.5 hours southwest toward the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia…
magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-near-staunton-va

we booked three nights at the beautiful Inn of Old Virginia and stayed in a lovely room in the renovated barn where some of the exposed beams date back to Civil War times…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-inn-at-old-virginia

there were some beautiful sunrise views from our balcony…magpies-nest-jim-szymkowicz-sunrise-over-blue-ridge-mtns

breakfasts at the inn were delicious with such great attention to detail…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-inn-of-old-virginia-breakfast

it had a relaxing atmosphere with very gracious hosts…

magpies-nest-inn-at-old-virginia-restored-barnthe nearby town of Staunton (pronounced STAN-ten) is known for being the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson who was the 28th president of the U.S… magpies-nest-staunton-va-xoxo-doorsit is home to the American Shakespeare Center with a replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre… magpies-nest-staunton-shops

we enjoyed a performance of The 12 Dates of Christmas which was thoroughly entertaining and captivating in the beautiful wooden theatre…magpies-nest-giant-watering-can-and-garden-pots

one of the main reasons we chose Staunton was because of a special tea room…magpies-nest-streets-of-stauntonwe even brought our Traveling Tea Cup along…magpies-nest-anne-hathaway-cottage-tea-room-with-the-traveling-t-cup
I could hardly believe there was a REAL thatched cottage in Virginia which reminded us of the thatched cottages in the UK when we visited back in 2013 (photo below)…magpies-nest-stratford-upon-avon-uk-tour-2013

that is us standing in front of Anne Hathaway’s real cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon and we stumbled upon Hathaway TEA Rooms there and enjoyed a huge tea for two out in the garden…magpies-nest-anne-hathaway-birthday-tea-dec-2016 back to Virginia where we celebrated my 5 December birthday at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Tea Room (tea for one and Mr Magpie had the Plowman’s Lunch…we shared a pot of Earl Grey)…magpies-nest-jim-szymkowicz-1600s-english-farm

such a fun time and I didn’t even get to tell you about our visit to the Frontier Culture Museummagpies-nest-1700s-irish-farmbut I’ve kept you so long already…magpies-nest-frontier-museum-reflections

wishing you a very Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

Helianthus time again …

a local cut your own farm (Burnside Farms) planted over 30 varieties of “cutting” sunflowers (Helianthus) on about six acres in successive crops to ensure at least six weeks of blooming flowers…Magpie's Nest Burnside Farms Sunflowersour August tropical heat and humidity kept me indoors a good bit and I almost missed them…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz BEES

very happy that I made time to visit last Wednesday which was the last low heat and humidity day we would have for awhile…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Sunflower Paloozasuch a delight to see fields of flowers again this year

Pollinator habitat with so many cheerful blooms…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Morning Sunflowers

these two little girls were having lots of fun frolicking in the fields…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz two girls frolicking

I took a quick photo of the flowers I cut before I left the farm (the sun bleached out the deep red of the top of my parasol)…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Parasol cut blooms water

the cut blooms last a long time if you watch the water level…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Sunflowers and Figs

we are still waiting for our replacement carpet in the sun room as we had a bad experience with the first toxic foam padding that  smelled horrible even after a week of airing out…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz sunflower hair

we soon realized we could not live with it…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz sunflower lady reflection 1

so we are back to the concrete floor for now and have ordered new carpet and padding with low VOC which is what we should have gotten in the first place…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Front and Back we got excited rushing things a bit settling for what was quickly available… 

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz morning light

joining with T Stands for Tuesday and wishing you a happy day…

Magpie's Nest Sunflower Lady

I also created a digital sunflower piece for Art Journal Journey’s NATURE’S WONDERS theme which ends on Wednesday…

August Visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens…

between scorching hot summer temperatures and all of the upheaval with our home improvements it had been four weeks since we last visited the aquatic gardensMagpie's Nest Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens wildlife

instead of a packed parking lot like at the end of July we were one of just a handful of visitors bright and early on Sunday…Magpie's Nest Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens August Panorama

even though there were fewer blooms than earlier in the summer the lotuses (loti) did not disappoint standing tall in the morning light with pearls of dew sparkling like diamonds…

Magpie's Nest Morning dew on lotus leavesthere were lots of handsome lotus pods with their rattly black seeds…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotus seed heads

and a fair number of fresh buds too…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Loti all stages

the bees seemed extra busy…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Bees

this visit the tropical ponds really captured my attention…Magpie's Nest Tropical lily pond

the plants in these ponds have to be overwintered in greenhouses each year since they are not natives…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Victorian water lily in bloom

we were lucky to catch the big Victoria amazonica water lily in bloom as it only opens when it is cooler in the mornings and closes in the midday heat…Magpie's Nest Fred on Head water bottle

in the photo above you get an idea of how tall the loti are this time of year… surpassing Mr Magpie’s 6 foot 7 inches (measurement INCLUDES the FRED water bottle on his head)…

Magpie's Nest Praying Mantis and Dragonfly

each visit to this national park is a delight with beauty and wonder at every turn (this was our fourth visit this summer)…Magpie's Nest early morning loti

with dew soaked shoes we headed back to Virginia by way of PAUL’s  and had a yummy bite to eat…Magpie's Nest PAULs Tysons 11

joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover for T Stands for TuesdayMagpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz golden lotus painted background

and offering another digital piece combining my photo and artwork for Art Journal Journey’s NATURE’S WONDERS theme ~♥~ thank you for your visit

room for sunshine …

lots of excitement here as we are still in the throws of construction  (one thing definitely leads to another after so many years of not doing much…the guys doing the work are so nice and doing a fabulous job)Magpie's Nest new back doorbefore the carpet installers came I wrote a message in the corner of the porch and snapped a few photos of the paint splatters (we chose some ruff and ready earth colored carpet that I hope grows on me)… 

Magpie's Nest Paint on Cement before carpet

fun to see how a coat of paint can bring new life to an old dark oak dresser that we had rescued years ago (we picked up the top at a yard sale for ten dollars way back when)Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Oak Dresser

our old wicker was in need of paint too and now it will last a long time since it won’t be exposed to the elements like it was when the porch was open on two sidesMagpie's Nest fresh white wicker

there shouldn’t be any more butterflies to rescue from the skylights (we were amazed at how many would get trapped trying to reach the sky when the porch was open)…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Tiger Swallowtail

 one of our passion vines is flourishing in the tropical summer heat… a handful of flowers open each day in the midday sun… Magpie's Nest Passion flower vine

they look and smell so pretty floating in water but only last a day…

Magpie's Nest passion flower roses

it is lovely to have the windows wide open with no worry of being bothered by bugs (we are looking into a ductless wall mounted unit that will heat and cool the porch nicely so it can be used year round)…Magpie's Nest by candlelight

joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s T Stands for TuesdayMagpie's Nest work in progress

~♥~ thank you for visiting with me ~♥~

 

out and about…

a visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens was the only outing we had planned for the 4th of July holiday…Magpie's Nest Loti Samplerfeeling hungry after hours of admiring the loti we thought we would try a local PAUL Bakery and cafe Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Paul Cafe Tysons VA which is located in a shopping mall we hardly ever visit…Magpie's Nest Jardin des Tuileries Paris Franceback in April we had enjoyed a tasty bite to eat at a PAUL concession in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris (above) and were delighted to find out there were a few here in the US…Magpie's Nest Paul Cafe de Teaso on the 4th of July we feasted on silky custard veggie quiche and some delicious French pastries with cappuccinos and brought home a delicious sesame seeded baguette made with organic flour that was baked on the premises…Magpie's Nest Anthro Meant to Beafter all that we decided to walk around each of the three levels of the enclosed shopping mall…

Magpie's Nest Anthropologie Tysons IIyou know how one thing can lead to another… we ended up going into one of my favorite window shopping storesMagpie's Nest Anthropologie displayand made an unexpected purchase…

Magpie's Nest Linea Carta by Diva Pyari cups Mr Magpie was right that we needed the I Paris mug and then I spotted the I San Francisco mug (two of our favorite cities how could we resist)…Magpie's Nest Tysons Corner bldg coming downwe drove home in the rain but stopped for a quick out the car window photo shoot of a building being demolished…

Magpie's Nest Tysons Corner demolished bldg reflectionsit always fills me with a bit of sadness along with wonder and fascination to see buildings being taken down like that (fun reflections in the building across the street)…Magpie's Nest Oak Marr Allium plantingsand finally I just had to share the beauty of some gorgeous allium bulbs planted at the entrance of a community recreation center which looked a bit like fireworks to me…

Magpie's Nest Oak Marr Rec Center entrancewe walked out under umbrellas with me snapping photos while Mr M made sure we didn’t get run over…

Magpie's Nest Loti 10 July 2016on 10 July we enjoyed our second visit to the aquatic gardens and even snapped a couple of photos of the beautiful waterlilies which are quite different from our favorite lotus blooms above and waterlilies below (we also stopped in for a bite at PAUL’s  again = YUM!)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Waterlilies Nature collagewishing everyone a Happy T Day ~♥~ thank you as always for making the time to visit with me here

Hospitality In The Valley…

for Elizabeth’s T Stands for Tuesday this week I am sharing another update on our son’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT)…

Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz on the ATon Friday we drove south for a little less than three hours to spend the weekend with him in Waynesboro, Virginia…Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz Panoramahe decided to take a zero day/day off on Saturday to recharge his battery spending time with us and doing some laundry… loading up on carbs and enjoying some nice hot baths/showers too (his Dad even gave him one of his famous foot massages)…

Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz AT viewmost days on the trail he hikes 20+ miles and even clocked in 31 miles a day or two burning lots and lots of calories in the process (we have never seen him eat so much!!!)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Harmony quotewe enjoyed hearing about his life on the trail and got to meet some of the hikers that seemed to pop up all around town…

Magpie's Nest Devil's Backbone Brewerythey know all of the best all you can eat buffets and watering holes near the trail…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Edelweiss Restaurant Staunton VAthe Edelweiss Restaurant was a favorite of ours on the way back and forth from Virginia Tech when Colin was going to school there… right after I explained how special the song EDELWEISS is because it was the wedding song I walked down the aisle to we stepped into the restaurant and guess what that gentleman in lederhosen was playing on his accordion ♥

Magpie's Nest Colin Deuces on the ATthru-hikers take on a trail name… 

DSC04723 Keats quoteColin’s is Deuces

Magpie's Nest AT Trail infoWaynesboro really lives up to their city motto of Hospitality in the Valley by offering free rides from the AT into town with everyone being very friendly and gracious (they maintain a volunteer calling list to provide rides to hikers all around town)…

Magpie's Nest CJS Traveling T Cupby Sunday morning he was itching to get back on the trail so he enjoyed a last big all you can eat breakfast at the hotel and we bid him Auf Wiedersehen after a quick Traveling Tea Cup photo (pinkies in the air)

Magpie's Nest Deuces Skyline Drive~♥ happy trails to you ♥~

Mucha at MSV

 just about an hour away past the tiny town of Paris…Magpie's Nest Virginia wildflowers in Mayis the “city” of Winchester, Virginia

Magpie's Nest downtown Winchesterwe had been wanting to visit the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV)

DSC04319and their special Alphonse Mucha exhibit…Magpie's Nest Mucha Samplerit was really splendid but no photos are permitted on traveling exhibits so I don’t have much more than this to share…

FullSizeRender-97it would certainly be worth a return trip as there are lots of fine exhibits there…

FullSizeRender-95since it was the first sunny day out of almost twelve days of rain we were drawn to the lovely gardens…

Magpie's Nest MSV Pink PavillionI liked the Pink Pavilion and Fountain Courtyard a lot…Mutti JJJ Mothers Day 2016 Winchester t cupas you can see we brought the traveling tea cup along for my Mother’s Day outing…

Magpie's Nest Traveling Tea Cupwe enjoyed our day…

Magpie's Nest what's bloomingI hope you had a lovely weekend too…

Magpie's Nest views from the gardenhere’s wishing you a Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

“Today, just take time to smell the roses, enjoy those little things about your life, your family, spouse, friends, job. Forget about the thorns -the pains and problems they cause you – and enjoy life”. -Bernard Kelvin Clive

 

 

cause for celebration…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Ranunculus with phone appsa little over an hour’s drive away in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley there is a lovely French Country Inn

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz L'Auberge Provencale B&Bwith beautiful historic buildings and grounds…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Garden viewtheir logo: “Escape to Provence. No passport required.” sounded just right to us as we were celebrating Mr Magpie’s birthday…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz fresh airit was a perfect place to unplug and unwind and feast…

Mr Magpie birthday treatstheir elegant and delicious La Table Provencale Restaurant and Bar were full of taste tempting delights (the expert  friendly staff added to our visit)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz this was a bit of a practice run for the two week tour of France we have planned to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this April…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz L'Auberge Provencale #10here’s wishing you a very Happy T Day along with everyone else over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

 

Revolutionary Tea…

 Magpie's Nest Welcome to Williamsburga few days after we returned from our trip out west we headed to Williamsburg, Virginia

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Williamsburg Birthday Glow

to celebrate my early December birthday…

Magpie's Nest Williamsburg Colonial Laundrywe drove the scenic back roads enjoying the almost four hour ride…

Magpie's Nest Williamsburg funit is a place I have always wanted to visit and seeing it all decked out for the holidays was really special…

Magpie's Nest Williamsburg decorationsI was drawn to the gardens even though they were mostly at rest for the winter…

Magpie's Nest Williamsburg Colonial Garden and Nurserywe had lovely weather and it was so photogenic at every turn…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Williamsburg colorwe did bring the traveling tea cup along for the fun…

Magpie's Nest Tea time in Williamsburgthere was lots to learn in that bustling 18th century living history museum…

How things were made 250 years agogetting to talk with artisans busy at work

Magpie's Nest Williamsburg Barber and Wig Shoppeas if we were back in the 18th century…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Traveling Tea Cupso I raise my traveling tea cup joining in with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover for T Stands for Tuesday today…

Magpie's Nest Colonial Williamsburg Dayswishing each of you a holiday season that is merry and bright…

Mr and Mrs Magpie with Father ChristmasI appreciate your visits here SO very much oxo

 

 

Turmeric tea

even though this past weekend was the unofficial end to summer here in the U.S. I am still enjoying being barefoot around the house and we are not ready to turn off the air conditioning quite yet…

Magpie's Nest Numi Tumeric Tea

it has been very nice weather for sitting out on our shady back porch….

Magpie's Nest Numi Tumeric Tea (1)

change is in the air and the other morning started out a bit cool and crisp so I decided to brew some tea in a favorite Sunnex stainless steel teapot that I picked up on a trip to Ireland many years ago…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz tea pot and cozy

it does a great job of keeping the tea hot especially tucked up in one of my tea cozies (unfortunately the lovely tea cozy lady is no longer in business)…

Magpie's Nest Pouring tea

I had a bit of fun and challenged myself to pour with my left hand while snapping some photos with my right which can be a bit tricky  because of where the button is located on my phone camera…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz garden blooms

the healing Turmeric tea tasted nice and I enjoyed a few blooms that I cut from our poor dry garden…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz lady with curly wurly hair the peace and quiet of our back porch frequently inspires me to take photos and play with flowers …

Magpie's Nest Rabbit's Foot Fern Sedum Cup Thyme it is always fun how one thing can lead to another and another…

Magpie's Nest Fairy Rose and Lord Byron's Poetical Works

here’s wishing you a Happy T Day with plenty of time to enjoy the season you are in…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz September Sun Thyme

“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.” ~Okakura Kakuzō