One of the places that I knew I had to see was Chatham Manor. I don't remember the first time I went there, but it quickly became one of my very favorite places. I know we brought my grandparents there when they visited when I was in 8th grade. And during high school, I went to at least a few outdoor string quartet concerts on the lawn there. I remember chasing fireflies with some friends as dusk fell. I remember taking my sisters there before we moved.
But perhaps mostly it was a place I often visited in my mind. It was my "special place" - a sanctuary where I could retreat and feel safe and at peace. And so when I was stressed or sad, I would often imagine I was there. I would imagine bringing my books and my journal and sitting among these gardens for hours or days at a time.
I also frequently imagined having my bridal pictures or engagement pictures taken there someday. And then after I was married far away in Utah, I still dreamed of going back and having pictures taken there in my wedding dress anyhow. Just because I wanted to. But I never did. And now, sadly, I would never fit into that dress ever again even in my fondest dreams. But anyway.
Anyway - that's another self-timer pic of me (above) sitting on the steps at the back of the manor, looking over the river into Fredericksburg (below).