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By W Robert Kelly, Jr., Museums Coordinator - Gloucester County Parks, Recreation & Tourism Prominently situated adjacent to the historic Gloucester Courthouse sits the 251-year-old Botetourt Building that now houses the Gloucester Museum of History. The imposing masonry structure dates from 1770 and first served as a roadside tavern. It is one of the largest, as well as one of the few brick taverns surviving from the pre-Revolutionary period. The building served as lodging for Gloucester’s visitors from the 1770s through the 1950s, first as a tavern and later as a hotel. In 1965, the county purchased the property to be used as offices. In 2000, the building became home to the Gloucester Museum of History. Today, the museum preserves and interprets the county’s rich history through exhibitions, programming, and a 3,000-object collection. Caption: A 2021 view of the Gloucester Museum of History from the northeast   From the earliest days when the Virginia Indians called the area home, to more recent stories related to Civil Rights, the museum interprets the county’s complete history. One of the newest exhibits is “Awakening: The Life & Legacy of T.C. Walker” unveiled in 2021. Featuring a reproduction of the T.C. Walker mural from Main Street, the exhibit examines the life story of the first African American lawyer in Gloucester County. Born enslaved, Walker went on to graduate from Hampton Institute, and would later serve as Superintendent for Gloucester Negro Schools and as a member of the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors. He lived through the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras and did great things to help African Americans across the Commonwealth. It is hoped that visitors will explore the stories from the mural, learn about the life of a local hero, and be inspired to make a difference in their community. Caption: “Awakening: The Life & Legacy of T.C. Walker” is the museum’s newest exhibit.   Additional exhibits related to the American Revolution and Civil War are located on the museum’s second floor. This space is particularly interesting as it retains considerable original historic fabric from the building’s early use as a tavern. Original hardwood floors and window trim within the large “ballroom,” present an atmosphere reminiscent of the 18th century and Colonial Williamsburg. The large basement contains additional exhibits featuring artifacts that tell the stories of Gloucester’s agricultural history and the importance of the county’s daffodil industry.   To complete a visit requires experiencing the other museum properties and the Gloucester Visitor Center, all located within the historic courtcircle, less than 100 feet away. The circle contains five historic structures: the 1766 Colonial Courthouse, two former Clerk’s Offices, (the 1823 Clayton Building and the 1896 Roane Building), a jail constructed in 1873, and a debtors’ prison that dates to 1824. The Colonial Courthouse, one of the oldest in Virginia, is still used for official county functions. The Visitor Center boasts a new interactive exhibit about Werowocomoco, Pocahontas, and the Virginia Indians, and provides an experience for tourists and residents alike. It is a great place to visit for local information or to find a unique gift. To learn more about the Gloucester Museum of History please visit https://www.gloucesterva.info/820/Museum-of-History or call 804-693-1234. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 11:00AM – 3:00PM and admission is free.
The Summer season begins in June on Lake Texoma. The stripers have finished spawning. They come back from up rivers and are entering the main lake. Hundreds of thousands of hungry fish begin running all over the lake. They group up in large schools and it starts with slab fishing. This is when we locate the fish and vertically fish. We drop the slabs over the side of the boat, let it fall to the bottom and reel up fast. The fish can range from 1 pounder to double digits, 10 pound plus stripers are common. About mid-June the fish start surfacing. This is the traditional top-water sight fishing. We cast the 6-inch top-water plugs on the feeding fish. You can see the fish busting shad from long distances. What is happening is the schools of fish find huge  bait balls. They scare the bait to the water’s surface and explode on the shad. The shad can run but it cannot hide.  This action will last for a couple of hours then they sound. That means the fish will stay grouped up and keep feeding. We drop slabs and “rip” them up. The striper strikes so hard they can take the rod out of your hands. Some schools of fish can be a quarter of a mile wide and a mile long. Texoma has a huge population of stripers due to the historic reproduction. The Summer action will last until the first of September.   Tight Lines, Your Lake Texoma Fishing Guide! Bill Carey 903-786-4477 www.striperexpress.com
As Americans are managing life with the Coronavirus and now with the vaccine finally rolling out, and mask mandates lifting for the fully vaccinated, the travel industry is continuing to come back.  Hotels and travel destinations in many parts of the country are open in anticipation of travelers ready to throw off their cabin fever and venture out.  Your plans may be for a weekend get away to a cozy bed and breakfast, or perhaps a fishing trip to catch that “big one” that won’t get away this time. Maybe it’s a camping trip full of hiking adventures with stunning vistas, or possibly you would rather walk through America’s glorious past by taking in all the amenities offered in any of hundreds of museums.  How about a week’s stay at a ranch out west?  Whatever your travel desires are, your options are plentiful and, more importantly, clean, safe and following all CDC guidelines for Coronavirus.  Each week we will list state by state travel options we recommend to help make your vacation choices easy.   ALASKA: Kenai Magic Lodge – Anchorage. MD Discovery Alaskan Charters – Ketchikan.   ARIZONA: Stampede RV and Bed & Breakfast – Tombstone. Hall of Flame Fire Museum – Phoenix.   ARKANSAS: Beaver Lake Hideaway – Garfield. Urban Peddlers Retreat – VRBO-2039106 – Bentonville. Vista del Paradiso – VRBO-1744925 – Bella Vista.   CALIFORNIA: Mendo Parks – Mendocino. Catalina Island Museum – Avalon. Orangeland RV Park – Orange.   COLORADO: Inn at Lost Creek – Telluride. Valhalla Resort – Estes Park. Alpine Inn – Gunnison. Monarch Spur RV Park & Campground – Salida.   CONNECTICUT: Connecticut Trolley Museum – East Windsor.   FLORIDA: Pompano Beach Rentals – Pompano Beach. Barbara O’Donnell - 954.953.4992 Ramada Inn – Temple Terrace. Light Tackle Adventures – Odessa. El Caribe Resort and Conference Center – Daytona Beach.   GEORGIA: National Civil War Naval Museum – Columbus.   IDAHO: Pend Orielle Resort – Hope. The Roosevelt Inn – Coeur D’Alene.   ILLINOIS: Rooster Heaven Hunt Club – Forrest. Bear Branch – Eddyville. Keyesport Cabins – Keyesport.  618.749.5413 McLean County Museum of History – Bloomington.   INDIANA: Grissom Air Museum – Peru.   IOWA: Sanford Museum & Planetarium – Cherokee. Scenic View Ranch – Monona.   KANSAS: Combat Air Museum – Topeka. Covered Wagon RV Resort – Abilene.   KENTUCKY: Singing Hills RV Resort – Cave City. Riverside Inn Bed and Breakfast – Warsaw. Lynnhurst Family Resort – Murray. OH Kentucky Campground and RV Park – Berea.   LOUISIANA: City of Opelousas Tourism – Opelousas. Cajun Country Cottages – Breaux Bridge. Terrell House – New Orleans. La Quinta Inn – Slidell.   MAINE: Old Fort Western – Augusta. York Beach Camper Park – York Bench.   MICHIGAN: Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham – St. Ignace. Greenwood Acres RV – Jackson. Serendipity Bed & Breakfast – Saugatuck. US National Ski-Snowboard Hall of Fame – Ishpeming. Michigan Heroes Museum – Frankenmuth. Hotel Nichols – South Haven.   MINNESOTA: Starck’s Tamarck – Deer River. White Oak Inn & Suites – Deer River. Guest House International Inn & Suites – Rochester. Kecs Kove – Kabetagoma.   MISSISSIPPI: Magnolia Cottage Bed & Breakfast – Natchez.   MISSOURI:            KC Karting Association – Liberty. Best Western Branson Inn – Branson. Driftwater Resort – Branson.   MONTANA: Montana Military Museum – Fort Harrison.   NEVADA: Nevada Northern Railway Museum – Ely.   NEW MEXICO: NM Holocaust Museum – Albequerque.   NEW YORK: Adirondak Experience – Blue Mountain Lake. Victorian Bed & Breakfast – Staten Island. Fernbaugh Campground & Rec Center – Corning.   NORTH CAROLINA: The Groome Inn – Greensboro. Pinebrook Manor Bed and Breakfast – Hendersonville.   NORTH DAKOTA: Dakota Waters Resort – Beulah. McQuoid Outdoors & Lodging – Minnewaukan.   OHIO: Good Earth Cabins – Logan.   OREGON: The Fort Dalles Museum – The Dalles.   PENNSYLVANIA: Manayunk Chambers Guest House – Philadelphia. Inn at White Oak – Gettysburg.   TENNESSEE: The Olde Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast – Cumberland Gap. Mountain Breeze Motel – Pigeon Forge. Appleview River Resort – Sevierville.   TEXAS: Breeze Lake/Sunset Palms Campgrounds – Brownsville. American Undersea Warfare Museum – Galveston. National Museum of the Pacific War – Fredericksburg. Alamo RV Park – Alamo. Triple Creek RV Music Resort – Woodville.   VIRGINIA: Historic Smithfield – Blacksburg.   WASHINGTON D.C.: National Museum of the US Navy   WEST VIRGINIA: The Lost River Grill, Motel and Bed & Breakfast – Lost River.   WISCONSIN: Mid-Continent Railway and Museum – North Freedom.   BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: M&M Apartment Suites & Bakery – Spanish Town.   When you are ready to travel, we are here to help!  Keep checking back every week for more featured locations.  Our travel hosts are eager to see you and work with you to provide safe and clean facilities.