Category Archives: Maymont Park

Maymont Park located in Richmond, Virginia.

Relaxing On A Sunday Afternoon At Maymont Park In Richmond Virginia

Anytime it is 67 degrees in early February, it is a Maymont Park day if you live in Richmond, Virginia, which we do, so we went to the park.  Oscar and Olivia went with us.  This post is my answer to a ‘bench‘ challenge I saw on Sylvia’s blog although, her work is not shown here.

Maymont Park has lots of benches and places to sit down and rest awhile between hills. This is one of those places.
Maymont Park has lots of benches and places to sit down and rest awhile between hills. This is one of those benches.

After you’ve gone up and down a few Maymont hills it is nice to find a place to sit down. Sometimes you have to look twice.  Look at the bench  (above) we found lurking in the woodpile.

Maymont Park, Richmond, Virginia, February 2015. photo 1
Maymont Park, Richmond, Virginia, February 2015. photo 1

Okay, let’s try again.

Maymont Park, Richmond, Virginia. February 2015. Photo 2
Maymont Park, Richmond, Virginia. February 2015. Photo 2

Almost. :)

Maymont Park, Richmond, Virginia. February 2015.
Maymont Park, Richmond, Virginia. February 2015.

Hmmmm? Maybe we should use Photoshop?

The Orples Visit The Maymont Mansion

I thought for today, I’d post a few photos of my own of the Maymont Mansion, the Dooley’s winter estate, located  in Richmond, Virginia.  Those of you familiar with Orples should already be familiar with Maymont Park through past posts.  If not, come take a peek. The Mansion is the crowning jewel of Maymont Park, a fabulous estate  bestowed to the people of Richmond through the generosity of the Dooley’s.

Mr and Mrs James Dooley had no children to leave their estate to, so Richmond is blessed to have host this beautiful park for people world wide to enjoy.
Mr and Mrs James Dooley had no children to leave their estate to, so Richmond is blessed to have host this beautiful park for people world wide to enjoy.

Below are some of the people who worked for the Dooley’s, running the household.

The Maymont Household Staff
The Maymont Household Staff at the turn of the 20th Century.

A bird’s eye view of the estate gives an indication as to where the mansion sits in relation to he carriage house and main driveway. The photo (of the  photo) shown here only shows about 25% of the park’s total area. Not shown are the science center, animal petting barn, Italian gardens, Japanese Gardens, and or any of the many animal enclosures housing bears, bison, deer, birds of prey, foxes, and the like,  along the way.

This is an overhead view of a small portion of Maymont showing the Mansion and carriage houses.
A photograph of the information board on the way downstairs to the kitchens. .

You guys didn’t think Oscar and Olivia would let me leave them behind, did you? They are eager to explore the kitchens, now that the park staff has added an outside entrance, accessible to the public through guided tours.  Perhaps we will see them at another time.

The Orples want to see the kitchens. Me too. But that will have to wait for another day.
The Orples want to see the kitchens. Me too. But that will have to wait for another day.

The Maymont Mansion was built over a period of about seven years, over the turn of the twentieth century. They were just beginning to decorate it for Christmas when this photo was taken on December 1, 2014.

Front Elevation, in the midst of being decorated for Christmas.
Front Elevation, in the midst of being decorated for Christmas.

Below is the left elevation of the Maymont Mansion.

The left elevation of the Maymont mansion.
The left elevation of the Maymont mansion.

Though not really too visible from this shot, the entrance to the kitchen is located between the bushes, where you see the cobblestones veering toward the right (facing).  The arched attachment on the left is a carport of sorts, accepting both early automobiles and for the most part, carriages. The carriage stone/stoop  is hidden by the supporting piers.

The rear elevation of the Maymont Mansion.
The rear elevation of the Maymont Mansion.

I think if I were to make a new years resolution for 2015, it would be to finally tour the kitchen in this wonderful mansion. I’ve been on the first and second floors, inside the house, over the years, but never down below.  Maybe I will tour the Maymont kitchen in 2015.




Sunday Photo Challenge . Shelter #2

My last entry in Jake’s Challenge for this week was rather humble, but this one tops that one. I’m sure the goats and sheep at Maymont Park appreciate this little Shelter, though, when the sun is beating down on a hot summer’s day.

The fence serves as the ridge beam for this quaint little shelter serving two pastures.

Or maybe a piggy house is more up your alley.

This little piggy house isn't made of brick, but I doubt there are any wolves around either, so all is good in the neighborhood.
At night, the Maymont critters are taken into the barn until the next morning, when they are put back on display for everyone to enjoy. In the meantime, they are sheltered from the weather and any predators that might be lurking about in the dark.

Of course not all of the animals are suited for the barn, so they have their own shelter.  Sometimes they prefer to sleep on top of it, instead of inside it.

Silly Fox. Doesn't he know he's supposed to be sleeping in the log?

Weekly Photo Challenge . Unusual

Okay, so it’s a statue, but it’s not one you’re apt to find on your local street corner. This statue was dedicated to the thousands of children that visit/have visited Maymont Park over the years. It has been in place for at least twenty years now. My own children played on it when they were small.

Children playing on a log at Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia.

Weekly photo challenge . Unusual #2

This isn’t your typical path, well, unless you’re at Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia. Then you never know what types of egress paths you might encounter, taking you from point A to B. I always loved the rustic charm of this particular path. I thought you might find it interesting too.

Railroad ties serve as steps, here and there. Don't get too used to the symmetry of the stairs. There isn't any.

Maymont Park . The Italian Gardens . Part 1

To date, I’ve introduced you to Maymont Park in general, then I’ve taken you for a walk through the Japanese Gardens, parts 1 & 2. In addition, I did a post focusing on the Maymont Bears. Now it is time to take a peek at the Italian Gardens.

Stairs leading from the Italian Gardens down to the Japanese gardens below

It seems only appropriate to begin with the stairs going up the hill to the gardens. The lower paths at the base of these stairs are a bit rough, but there is a bench at the bottom of this stair set to allow a little reprieve during the climb, should the need arise.

The walkways are the perfect place to run and play if you are a little critter. Thankfully, there is a wall on the outer edge to keep you from falling over the side. It is a long way down.
One of the fountains in the gardens. These are beautiful in the summertime, especially when the beds are in bloom.
A trellised walkway edges the North side of the garden and provides an arbor for vines to grow on.


Looking across the garden is a domed gazebo which is a popular wedding spot. The park earns money by renting this area and if you can afford it, Maymont is THE place to get married. You can revisit anytime you wish after you’ve taken your vows. In the summertime, the landscaping is awesome.

Maymont Park . The Japanese Gardens . part 2

In another post, I began the tour of these beautiful garden … see part 1. These are a few more photographs to pick up where that post left off. I will add more in a future post. For now, please feel free to browse the beauty of Maymont Park.

Typical garden path in the springtime.
A view by the pond
Feeding the fish
Path to the gazebo

Sunday Photo Challenge . Pleasure


Honestly, I don’t know if I got more pleasure out of watching Jayden loving life, or if he got more pleasure running in the park.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be so carefree and happy just because it is a beautiful day?

Maymont Park . The Japanese Gardens . Part 1

I introduced you to Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia a couple of weeks ago. My first post on the subject was kind of a general overview. Then, I did a post about the Maymont Bears. Because Maymont is so large and due to the fact that I have so many photos, I thought It might be better to share some of those shots in short blogs offering multiple postings spread out a bit to keep things interesting. This is part 1 (as the title suggests) of one portion of the park… The Japanese Gardens. Mrs. Dooley was a horticulturist and worked with well known architects of the time to achieve her goals. Many of the trees in the park today have been standing for over 100 years. Many were planted under the direction of Mrs. Dooley herself. Of course, now, those trees are huge and no doubt could tell some wonderful stories of the park, if they could talk.

Entry gate leading into the Japanese Gardens.

It only seems appropriate to enter the garden via the formal gate.

A typical path in the garden

Take a little path (not really this one,but it is close) and look to your left. There you will see the waterfalls. High on the hill above is a flat layer of rocks from which a natural spring pours water over the edge of the cliff, thus forming the falls. It is a favorite resting spot for us when we visit. It is also a great backdrop for family portraits.

The water fall in the Japanese Garden

And of course a Japanese Garden is not complete without an arched bridge to add character. So wallah, one arched bridge coming right up. If you look up, you can see the stone wall surrounding the Italian Garden high on the hill above. That will be the subject of another post on another day.

The arched bridge. One way to cross the water.

If you would rather cross the water, using the stepping stones then by all means, come along with me, or rather Jacob.

Crossing the water via stepping stones.

These few photos should give you a good feel for the Japanese Gardens. They are merely the appetizer. They is more to come. Check out part 2 by clicking here.

The Maymont Bears

Recently, I introduced you to Maymont Park in General. Today’s focus is on the Bears that reside there. Over the years, different Bears have been lucky enough to call Maymont Park Home. These bears don’t have to worry about being hunted or where they will find food. They have ample room to roam and a large pond to frolic in on hot summer days. Not to mention, they have plenty of visitors who marvel at their size and beauty.

The bear display is on the left.

If you come to the bear display from the petting farm, the enclosure is on your left. There is a sheltered area under the sign boards, somewhat underground. I don’t have any photos to share, but you can take my word for it. The backboard of the structure shown is used to display announcements for upcoming events as well as artwork done by the children from local schools. It is a nice place to sit and rest for a few minutes and from which to observe the bears through the windows. As you can see, there are also permanent plaques with information about the bears and other wildlife that share their habitat.

The Bear Enclosure at Maymont Park
Showing off for an audience.

The bears seems to enjoy the attention. Sadly, about five years ago, a mother and her young son (5 years old ?) visited the bears. Despite the signs clearly stating the bears were not to be fed, and the walls with plastic windows (allowing the children to view the bears), Mom just had to break the rules. Her irresponsible actions costs two of the bears their lives.

Time for a swim
Bear Watching

The woman decided to let her child hand feed the bears an apple. She went beyond the lower fence on the far side of their enclosure, then let her child feed the bear through a second chain linked fence. When the bear reached for the apple, he scratched the boy accidentally. Since no one knew which bear scratched the child, both bears were destroyed. It was not like the kid was attacked, but the park officials panicked and after a brief meeting decided the only thing to do was to euthanize the bears to test them for rabies. Their feeble excuse was that the bears could not be quarantined. Hello! The bears WERE quarantined all along. This was not a bear attack, it was an accident that could have been avoided altogether. The people of Richmond and the surrounding areas were outraged. Then to add insult to injury, the bears corpses were hauled off to the local dump. That little move really iced the cake. The backboard shown above was filled with teddy bears and notes of grievance and anger, directed at those responsible for the decision to have the bears ‘murdered’. Local radio shows were overrun with calls from the citizens demanding that something be done to commemorate the bears, and to give them the recognition they deserved. Even Doug Wilder, our Mayor at the time, was outraged that these bears were unjustly killed.

Statue to Commemorate the Maymont Bears

It took several days, combing the landfill to find those two corpses to give them a proper burial upon the insistence of the public. A local funeral home cremated the two bears and they now forever RIP in their own private little plot off the path leading to the bear pen. In another location a bronze statue was erected to honor ALL Maymont bears. The children love to play on the statue as you can see. While the statue is a lovely gesture, it would have been nice to have been donated to the park, less the tragedy that prompted its placement.