Strolling Freemason

Hampton Roads is lovely this time of year!  Here are some snippets from my quick post-yoga walk through Norfolk’s historic Freemason district.

Norfolk’s Freemason Abbey

The view of two churches as we headed to Freemason Abbey (it's the one to the left, across the intersection).

The view of two churches as we headed to Freemason Abbey (it’s the one to the left, across the intersection).

One of favorite Sunday morning haunts is Freemason Abbey, which occupies an old church building in Norfolk’s historic Freemason District.  Dave and I headed there for brunch the day after I returned.  I was still on Irish time and we arrived just as the doors were opening.

Hope you can soak up a bit of the ambiance from the photos I snapped….

It was warm and cozy inside, despite the rain outside.

It was warm and cozy inside, despite the rain outside.

The Abbey is decorated beautifully for Christmas.

The Abbey is decorated beautifully for Christmas.

Chugging toward a Better Future in the USA

Amtrak service is up and running between Norfolk VA and Washington DC. (Photo downloaded from Facebook, by Downtown Norfolk.)

Amtrak service is up and running between Norfolk VA and Washington DC. (Photo downloaded from Facebook, by Downtown Norfolk.)

Today is a big day in Hampton Roads, Virginia, which is the place I call home.

Passenger train service is finally up and running–direct from Norfolk to Washington DC.

I think this route was available long ago in history, but it hasn’t been since I moved to the region in 1998 (and also not for a long time before that). I’ve had to drive all the way to Newport News to catch the Amtrak up to now.

Long ago, the auto-making companies in the US bought up many of the rail lines. In many instances, they dug up the tracks or sold the linear lines to multiple parties–all to make the system unworkable and difficult to reinstate.

But today, Hampton Roads has overcome some major obstacles and re-upped its route.

On Facebook, “Downtown Norfolk” says “the station can be found in Harbor Park. The first train leaves at 4:50am and the station will be open at 4am. Tickets are not sold at the station and must be purchased in advance. Please contact Amtrak to make your reservation or visit www.amtrakvirginia.com“.

I have to say, though, that as happy as I am about the new train service, the photo that Downtown Norfolk posted on Facebook shows just a glimmer of hope in a very bleak landscape.

The photo is a depressing depiction of what we’ve done to the land in the USA. Asphalt. Plastic. Ugliness wall to wall.

We can, and we must, do better.