Hampton History for AAA

This year, 2019, marks the 400th anniversary of captured Africans’ first arrival in what is now the USA. That ship landed in Hampton, Virginia, where a historic marker now stands at Fort Monroe. AAA Tidewater Traveler magazine had me visit some prominent locations for Black history and influence in the area. On my list were some historic sites, points of interest and current Black-owned businesses. Among those was tree pictured above, known as the Emancipation Oak, on the campus of Hampton University. On this site in 1863, hundreds of former slaves gathered to hear the Emancipation Proclamation read. Other places included the Little England Chapel, Aberdeen Gardens, and Mango Mangeaux. Many thanks to Justin Chesney for helping me navigate his hometown and assisting on the food shots.

Hampton, VA, history

Ralph Northam for NYT

February was a strange month to be a journalist in Richmond. As people speculated that both Gov. Northam and Lt. Gov. Fairfax might be forced to step down, I got texts from relatives asking, “What is going on there??” Like most of the politicians, I had no good answers. The New York Times sent me to the capitol and governor’s mansion three times as the story developed.

Bed and Breakfasts for AAA

I spent a few days visiting remote Bed and Breakfasts for AAA Tidewater Traveler magazine. It was great to meet the owners and find scenes that captured the ambience of each place. 

 

Owners Cathy and Mike Miller at Fox Hill B&B Suites in Fairfield, VA

Dave and Karen Innocent with their dog, Deuce, at Brierley Hill Bed and Breakfast in Lexington, VA

Russ and Kelly Fox with their children, Freddie and Edy, at Sugar Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast in Vesuvius, VA

Joe Damico for Longwood University

I spent a day with Joe Damico, Director of the Department of General Services, at Capitol Square. Holding a position most people don’t immediately recognize, he oversees an immense array of state-owned properites, vehicles, public health tests, and a weekly food truck lunch event downtown. He brought me inside the stunning Old City Hall building which is currently vacant, awaiting renovations.