Early in the planning for this trip we were going to spend the morning in DC before heading on the four and a half hour drive to Raleigh NC and our rendezvous with the Festiva Madness crew. Instead we decided to leave after breakfast and spend a bit of time in Richmond Virginia. After breakfast we left the hotel, filled up with gas and headed out on I-495, joining I-95 at Springfield VA.
|Crossing the state line into Virginia.|
From there we headed south and other than the expected weekday morning commuter traffic it was as pleasant a drive as can be expected on a major highway. Our first pit stop was at the Virginia Welcome Center near Fredericksburg.
|At the Virginian Welcome Center, Fredericksburg, VA.|
We got separated from Phyllis and Andrew at some point after that but weren't too worried about it as we had both entered the same end point address into our GPS's.
It turns out that we got slightly different routes which surprised us a bit as we both had Garmins with the latest map updates. Andrew's unit is a different, newer, model than ours so maybe that played a part in things. Nevertheless, we both ended up at the same spot albeit a few minutes apart. That spot is the Maymont Mansion in Richmond VA. Maymont was the 100-acre Victorian country estate of Richmond-born financier James Dooley and his wife Sallie May Dooley. This home stands today as a remarkably complete expression of Gilded Age luxury and opulence.
|The main house|
We took the self-guided tour of "below stairs" which showed us the kitchen and living quarters for the staff.
|Most of the lighting was both gas and electric!!!|
We also enjoyed a guided tour upstairs which provided a look into a much different world than that of the staff and servants.
|Mr. Dooley's den.|
|Mrs. Dooley's bedroom featuring the Swan Bed.|
|The Ladies Drawing room|
|One of many fireplaces in the home, none of which were used as there was central heating!|
|Stairway in the Italian Garden|
|Phyllis, Sharon and me in the Japanese Garden.|
Before heading off on the next leg of today's drive we had a very pleasant picnic lunch on the shores of Swan Lake in Richmond's Byrd Park. Once we'd cleaned up after that we continued south from Richmond to Raleigh NC where we would join up in the activities leading to the Festiva Madness event that was happening on Saturday. Anyway, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself...
|Lunch beside Byrd Park's Swan Lake|
|Southbound on I-85|
We arrived in Raleigh just after 6 o'clock to find Madness Central already teeming with Festiva fanatics. After checking out a couple of potential spots for the motorhome we decided to make a space on-site so we could have power. Andrew did a masterful job of backing down the driveway into the designated spot.
|"Madness Central" just after we arrived.|
|The motorhome in its spot for the weekend!|
We were able to reconnect to people we had met in the past and put faces to names of those we had only "met" on the forum and Facebook group.
The garage was already busy with work on one car, work that would continue through the night on a couple of different cars until the wee hours of the morning, long after we had called it a night. Tomorrow brings the big event, Festiva Madness, so come back to find out how many Festivas and Aspires were there and who won the various prizes!
|Day 8 route|
Thanks for following our adventures! We'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.