I have always considered myself a rational person.  But, when I reflect on these two pictures, I wonder……

A week ago today I was enjoying a pina colada on a tropical beach under palm trees in gentle, 85 degree breezes.  Today I’m struggling to get through eight inches of icy snow.   What happened??????  Why??????

Before and After

 More pictures and commentary on my vacation later as soon as I get my computer dug out from under the snow.


On my way home from Williamsburg I stopped at  Chincoteague Island to visit one of my favorite spots, the adjacent National Wildlife Refuge.  For scenery and water birds this place is like the Forsythe Refuge on steroids.  In the last week of December it certainly wasn’t people-crowded but the birds were out working the marshes and tidal pools.

Sunrise from the wildlife refuge.

As you see above, the sun rose over a quiet sea.  Cold? Yep!  Looking left or right for a couple of miles I could see maybe four people.

A cold cafeteria.

But the birds had begun their daily foraging.

 There is an access road that runs through the refuge, and a one-way circular road that is only open to cars after 3:00 pm.  But the two-way access road is lined with drainage ditches that provide a barrier between people and birds, and the birds have acclimated to the traffic, permitting lots of good closeups.  On the access road around Snow Goose Pond I could see Snow Geese in the distance and hear Trumpeter Swans but they were too far to photograph.

Among the best places to shoot are the culverts which pass under the road and which enable tidal flow into and out of the marshes.  The picture below was taken at one such place.  The flow of water brings lots of food for them.

Lurking for breakfast.

I set up my tripod along one of the ditches and watched this bird patiently sit….and study…….and strike!

Regretfully, the day came to an end, with these ducks still bottom feeding on Snow Goose Pond.

Sunset over Snow Goose Pond.

For larger versions of the above images and some more views please click here to go to a gallery.

I have never included a commercial note in two years of my posts but I heartily recommend the Best Western on Maddox Road just slightly before one enters the refuge.  It’s clean, well appointed, convenient, the people are pleasant and the rate was reasonable.  And, after watching the ducks bottom feeding I settled for a delicious steak in a comfortable atmosphere at AJ’s, also on Maddox Boulavard.  I’ve patronized both places before and the quality has held up.

Mid to late March would probably be the next good time to visit the refuge, about four hours drive from the Philadelphia area.


I spent a few days in Colonial Williamsburg, arriving with the snow storm on Christmas afternoon. While you were all ho-ho-ho-ing over Christmas dinners the property had shut down food service and I was microwaving a nearby convenience store tub of beef stew in my room and thankful for it.  By the next morning there was six inches and it was still coming down hard and would continue through the day and that night.
I had been wondering what I might be able to photograph that would be new as I’ve visited there many times. The snow was my answer, giving everything a new veneer. There were few of us brave enough to be out, some naturally.

First on my list for the day had been an organ recital at the 1715 Bruton Parish church. Hah! Closed up tighter than a drum. Well, all right. Next was to be a colonial sermon at the Wren Chapel of William & Mary. Again, Hah! Get your guidance somewhere else today.
So, I wandered about the Palace Green. I stopped at my favorite CW house, the Georgian Architecture George Wythe house, circa 1752. Wythe was the first law professor (William & Mary) in the United States, mentoring, notably, a young Thomas Jefferson, and, later, John Marshal, future chief justice. Wythe was one of six Virginians to sign the Declaration of Independence.  


The picture on the left was taken of the house in December 2008.  The one on the right was taken of the docents inviting me in last week. On such a slow day the docents were happy to see me and to let me wander from room to room at my leisure and to discuss pieces in detail. It was a privilege. 

The Wythe Dining Room

The green in the dining room above is similar to the verdigris green that appears in Mount Vernon’s small dining room, a popular shade in colonial times. Washington probably felt at home at the Wythe house where he headquartered before the siege of Yorktown.

I resumed my walk in the snowstorm, joining other hardy souls. There was good feeling between us all as we jointly endured adversity.

I then retreated to the excellent café in the excellent Dewitt Wallace Museum of colonial furniture and furnishings, glassware, porcelains, money and arms. The café was a civilized spot for a bowl of soup and a glass of Merlot while enjoying their annual tree. 

In the Museum Cafe

Other items of interest during my visit included a chat with enactor Ms. Coamma who described herself as a free negro and reminisced about local life and the foibles of the Governor and others of the town. She’s seen sitting in front of a fire in an out building of the Peyton Randolph house. The fire had not been lit long and I could see her breath as she spoke.

The all natural Williamsburg Christmas decorations are an important part of the holiday and are a matter of competition amongst the residents. The traditional apple and pineapple spray had taken a beating from the melting snow turning into icicles. The window-corner spray, simple but appealing, featured a sunflower, a dried lotus blossom and onions.

,Finally, at night there are strollers wandering down Duke of Gloucester Street and patronizing the CW restaurants. Here is Tarpley’s store, closed for the day but still offering its goods for passers-by to be tempted to buy tomorrow. 

Tarpley's Store

 For some additional images from my visit, please click here.