2023 Convention – Trips and Closing Event

Virginia is for Gesneriad Lovers

July 3 to July 8, 2023

On Sunday, July 2 – We will board our bus for an hour’s ride west to Charlottesville to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home and gardens. Monticello is truly a reflection of Jefferson’s innovations and diversity. We will have a guided tour of the first floor as well as a guided grounds and gardens tour.

Our next stop will be the historic Michie Tavern where bountiful Southern Midday Fare buffet meals have been served since 1784. After lunch we will have time to visit the historic Tavern Shop and The General Store ca 1797. Heading back to the Westin, we will stop at Strange’s Nursery, a popular local garden center, nursery, and florist.

On Monday, July 3 – We will travel to the nearby Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to enjoy this historic property of more than 50 acres of spectacular gardens with a dozen themed gardens as well as the seasonal butterfly exhibit housed in the classical domed conservatory – the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic.

Our second stop will be the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts where you can have lunch on your own at their spacious café while planning your indoor visit to the ancient to contemporary art including a collection of Russian decorative art and imperial Fabergé eggs and collections of native American, African, and African American art. You can also stroll through the cascading outdoor sculpture garden.

On Tuesday morning, July 4 – Our tour with a local guide will highlight the people and sites that made four hundred years of history in downtown Richmond. You will visit well-known sites including the Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson and St. John’s Church where Patrick Henry proclaimed “Give me liberty or give me death.” From Church Hill you will overlook the city and the James River. As we travel, we will pass through streets diverse in architecture and art that speaks to the soul of the city and hear about their storied residents.

On Wednesday morning, July 5 – Our authentic trolley will take us on a short ride to Hollywood Cemetery with an on-board guide to escort us around the property designed in 1847 as a rural-style garden cemetery, and in 2017 was named a recognized arboretum. Two US presidents, numerous Confederate generals, soldiers, Lewis Ginter, and other less notables are buried there among amazing statuary and stonework.

The trolley will then take us to Maymont Park to disembark and enjoy the Italian Garden showcasing fountains and sculptures, the Japanese Garden accented by a 40-foot waterfall, The Grotto, Jack’s Vegetable Garden, an herb garden and some of the more than 200 exotic species of trees and plants in this 100-acre property.

On Saturday, July 8 – Our convention closing activity will consist of two parts. After breakdown there will be a very casual, informal 1.5-hour social with pizza and other light fare in the pre-function meeting area and open-air courtyard of the hotel. A cash bar will be available. The early evening event will provide the time and place to relax and unwind and give us another chance to visit with one another.

For those who want to add one last experience, we are offering a bus ride to the James River for a 40-minute narrated flat-bottom boat ride on the Kanawha Canal followed by a short walk along the canal (designed by George Washington) to view some of Richmond’s murals. We will then re-board the bus for a trip across the river for one last view of the city and perhaps a pleasant sunset before heading back to the Westin.

(See additional trip information in the First Quarter 2023 issue of Gesneriads)