My garden of thoughts and dreams

Yorktown garden stroll gate April 2015

You’re just in time to come with me on the Yorktown Garden Stroll!

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” — Abram L. Urban

This year, the Yorktown Garden Stroll was scheduled a month early, in April instead of May. There weren’t quite as many flowers to admire, but the lovely little historic village is charming any time of year, and the weather was absolutely perfect for a leisurely walk.  Hosts on the tour offered refreshments and friendly chat along with displays of their gardens, and naturally I ended up at my favorite of the homes on the program: the festive dwelling where my friend Darla lives with her family.

Every time I visit the historic district of Yorktown, I tell myself that I ought to spend one or two afternoons each week there.  I think our little hometown is one of the best-kept secrets in America.  What you won’t find there: noise, crowds, commercial hype or lavish, costly restaurants and nightspots.  What you will find there: flowers, trees and birdsong in abundance, lovingly restored homes, friendly people, a gorgeous riverfront view with a white sandy beach, and unparalleled historic significance.

The hours I spend in the historic district are filled with thoughts and dreams, as I wander its streets and gardens.  After nearly eleven years of calling this county my home, there is a large place for sentiment, just as Urban describes.  Come along with me and see a few glimpses of it through my eyes…

Yorktown garden stroll,April 2015

as we wander through the gardens…

Yorktown garden stroll 4 April 2015

Yorktown garden stroll 1 April 2015

…or in town, visiting historic buildings and galleries featuring local artists’ work.

Yorktown garden stroll Fifes and Drums HQ April 2015

Yorktown garden stroll art gallery April 2015

I never tire of walking here, but you can take a Segway if you prefer.

Yorktown garden stroll Segways April 2015

Wait!  We haven’t been down to the beach or the waterfront shops!

Yorktown garden stroll, pier April 2015

But I guess there’s no time for that today…maybe another day.  Let’s head back to Darla’s for a look at her herb garden.

Yorktown Garden Stroll, Darla's herb garden, April 2015

She’s taking a break at her next door neighbor’s home — let’s pop over and say hi!

Yorktown Garden Stroll, Darla April 2015

Just a few steps away from Darla’s front door is a staircase to the beach!  A great place to go before tea, or after tea, or both!

Yorktown garden stroll stairway to beach April 2015

Darla’s neighbors across the street have quite a view, don’t they?

Yorktown garden stroll, Darla's neighbor April 2015

WOW, where did the afternoon go?  Let’s come back sometime soon!


  1. bobmielke

    What different worlds we all live in. I just visited the blog of a friend in Tacloban, Philippines where everything looks dead and dark. Your post is full of plants and color that lifts the spirits. I can’t imagine the life in a poor seaport town that has recently been destroyed by 3 typhoons in an 18 month timespan. We are so very blessed.

    • Bob, thanks for that reminder, which I really need to hear today. YES we are blessed, and I can’t think of anything that lifts me up on a daily basis more than seeing the beautiful green trees and colorful flowers that are so abundant this time of year. At the same time, I am glad that technology has made it possible to be aware of, and help however we can, those who are facing dire situations all over the world. It must be devastating. One of the very dear people who works with Matt is from Nepal, and I could tell that he was so saddened by what is going on there (his family is all OK, for which we are thankful).

      • bobmielke

        My friend in Tacloban had the means to grab his family and flee to safety in Manilla before the biggest typhoon flattened Tacloban. He’s rebuilding there now and photographing the area he knows so well.

        • Thanks for the link. He obviously likes black and white photography, as many great artists do. I prefer vivid colors but also like to see black and white for certain subjects, and just as another way of looking at things. I am glad your friend was able to get his family to safety. Rebuilding after a storm takes a special kind of courage.

  2. Ann

    Wonderful travelogue! I’ve never been to Yorktown but now it’s on my list of places to go!

    Hope you had a wonderful Mothe’s Day😍

    • Ann, be sure to let me know when you’re headed our way. We can drop by Darla’s place for a cup of tea and a nice chat about what’s going on around town. I did have a nice Mother’s Day — hope you did too.

  3. I felt so energized after strolling through with you. What a lovely place to live!!!! It would be so fun to rent and try a Segway. I would stroll there once or twice a week too. I loved the gardens. I so want to get started with my landscaping but it must wait a couple more days. Maybe I’ll save the photos to be inspired with then. Your friend looks so relaxed. Thanks for the stroll.

    • Marlene, I’m so glad you enjoyed our little stroll. The historic district of Yorktown always feels a little unreal to me, like an enchanted village lifted out of the history books and set down in the present time. I hope you are able to get going on your garden soon. I find it SO therapeutic. You can tell by Darla’s face that she does too! She’s a go-getter, though, and runs circles around me with all the community activities in which she participates. She’s great inspiration. Thanks for coming by and taking a virtual stroll with us!

  4. LB

    A blog post after my heart! Thanks for the lovely tour. Darla sure lives on a lovely piece of property.
    I need to re-visit Yorktown!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the tour. Yorktown is often overlooked as the tiniest and least formally curated of the three towns in Virginia’s “historic triangle.” I think that makes it special, because its historic sections are actually residential areas, not re-created parks populated by interpretive staff. I love Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg, but there’s something special about the quiet, often solitary walks one can take in Yorktown. I don’t know whether you have been there since the waterfront area was developed; it’s really cute. Be sure to let me know when you head my way!

  5. That was refreshing! Such a feast for the senses and soul; I would love to live there or even visit! Not sure what state you live in. For a moment I thought we were headed for Willamsburg, VA. with its Colonial village. How blessed you are to live in such a place, Julia. I look forward to seeing more of the area through your eyes and heart. Hope your Mother’s Day was peaceful and kind.

    • Cynthia, I am in Virginia; you guessed correctly. Yorktown is part of Virginia’s “historic triangle” of which Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg are the other two corners. Each has unique pleasures; Jamestown with its dramatic and tragic story, Williamsburg with its delightfully accurate re-creations of colonial life, and Yorktown, with the same colonial backdrop featuring contemporary family and business activity. I hope you will make time to visit this lovely part of the USA (again, or for the first time) where its history began. Thanks for your presence here and your good wishes; “peaceful and kind” is quite a good description of my Mother’s Day!

      • My daughter was a visiting art professor at William and Mary for five years so I am familiar with the area–but for some reason I didn’t recall Yorktown. Lovely. So glad your day was sweet.

        • I have come to love William and Mary dearly. It students are steadfast supporters of social activities planned with, and for, adults with developmental disabilities, via the Arc of Greater Williamsburg. Matt has so many happy memories on the W&M campus, where he has rare opportunities to interact with people with and without disabilities having fun together. Yorktown has been below the radar of the much better-known Jamestown and Williamsburg, but has undergone quite a bit of sprucing up in recent years, beginning with the addition of the new waterfront area about 10-12 years ago, and culminating with the nearly-completed American Revolution Museum (an update and expansion of the Yorktown Victory Center). OK, I’m starting to sound like a brochure now!

          • Lovely that you apreciate W and M so much! Naomi did, as well (she holds another positions now, and looking for tenure track)! Yes, you might write some travelogues re: your area and perhaps get paid, How lovely would that be? Take care!

  6. It makes me so happy to see you have such an abundance of beauty in your life, you deserve it! xoxo

    • Thank you Pauline, you have added to that abundance! ❤ BTW the soap smells heavenly in my drawer. 😀

  7. Sheila

    Julia, I haven’t left on the trip yet, but your post is so beautiful, (missing you already), that I’m having those anxious feelings that can creep in before travel. Your photos captured so much, but all so tranquil. I would like more than anything for you to be our tour guide. We’ll bring Jack and Walter if you’ll bring Jeff and Matt! Hugs cross the miles, Sheila

    • Sheila, I am so familiar with those pre-travel jitters, but people seldom talk about it. When you get right down to it, though, it takes courage to venture away from home, especially if one is leaving beloved family members (including dogs, cats, birds, etc.) behind while one is gone. Pauline amazed me traveling from New Zealand, literally halfway around the world, and arriving apparently none the worse for wear. I wish you the same experience! Next time if we do get to come with you, Walter can have a blast with the Queen’s ravens at the Tower of London. If you happen to have tea with Her Majesty, give her my best regards! 😀 Safe travels and a world of fun and discovery to all of you!!!

  8. What a beautiful, peaceful, restful place to hang out. Stairs to the beach!!! Herb gardens!!! And I have to say that white picket fences make me go weak in the knees. I’m so glad you live close enough to enjoy this charming place and that you have a dear friend in residence as well. Lovely photos, Julia. Thank you for taking us on the stroll.

    • You’re welcome, Alys! I hope to take you for the real time tour someday. White picket fences everywhere and a gardener’s delight.

      • It’s a date! I don’t know when but I know we’ll do it for sure. Thank you. xox

        • 😀 😀 😀 It will be here before you know it. It seems like such a short time ago you and K and I first started talking of your trip here, and now it’s history! Time amazes me.

  9. Sign me up! That was delightful! Thank you, Julia!

    • Susan, I have you down for the next tour, whenever that is. I’ll let you know! Thanks for being here.

  10. Thanks, Julia.
    So beautiful, comforting and serene.

    • You’re welcome, Alan. I’m happy you could join us!

  11. Bobby Harris

    You made me so homesick. Indiana is lovely (most of the time) but I guess I will always think of Virginia, and especially Yorktown, Virginia as home. We are having a lovely spring; my irises are blooming right now with other flowers close behind. The new flowerbed came back full force. I am really happy with it. I am still trying to have a little Virginia with some azaleas and my crepe myrtle, but they struggle with our cold winters. Truly enjoyed your post.

    • Thank you Bobby. I wish you could have been there with me on that tour. Every time I’m in the historic district, I think to myself, “If we didn’t already live nearby, I’d be wishing we could move here.” You lived even closer to it than we did, so I imagine you did get a bit homesick looking at the photos. Our azaleas have come and (mostly) gone, but hopefully the Encore varieties will make another appearance in the fall. Even while I lived in northern California where there are flowers year round, I missed those azaleas. And the crepe myrtle are just as spectacular. I’m so glad I was able to send you a bit of our little corner of the world. (Maybe I can talk you into moving back, hee-hee.)

  12. Susan Andrews

    There is a beautiful brick walled garden with triangular beds in Yorktown. I would love some photos of the layout. I still think it is the most beautiful garden I ever saw, and my pictures were lost. Thanking you in advance.

    • Hi Susan, I couldn’t immediately think of a Yorktown garden with triangular beds, but in doing a quick online search I came across this site (scroll down to the second photo) which may be the garden you are thinking of? If so, I’d love to go explore and get some photos sometime.

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