Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV)

Friday, June 30, 2023

Back in the USA for almost a full month, we paid a visit with friends to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) in Winchester, Virginia.  By car, the Museum complex is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Reston Town Center, but it feels like a different world. Reston Town Center is decidedly urban; Winchester Virginia, next door to where the Museum is located is rural. Instead of high rises, it and the surrounding area is a mix of rolling hills, working farms and vineyards. 

A photo of a pond situated in the gardens of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

The Museum has periodic exhibits and various types of activities. (For a schedule of events, exhibitions and directions see In addition to the Museum gardens we saw an exhibition entitled Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects ® Made with Lego Bricks ®. The exhibition celebrated nature with a display of various wildlife animals, all constructed with Lego ® Bricks. 

Photo of a polar bear and cubs constructed entirely from Lego bricks

The animal statues were actually pretty difficult to photograph because the temptation is to get up close to take a picture. But that is like getting a close-up view of an impressionist painting. You wind up getting a view of the individual bricks (or dots of paint or pixels) while missing the overall effect. And the overall effectis pretty amazing. 

Beyond the animal statues were the gardens, which were immaculately laid out and maintained. There were walking paths, flower gardens, streams, a pond and park benches to sit on and just observe the surroundings.

Wide angle photo of a park bench in a seating area in the garden of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
Photo of Black-Eyed Susan flowers in the gardens of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Photo of a stream running through the gardens of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
A wide angle photo of a walking path in the gardens of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

All in all, the MSV was pretty impressive and well worth a visit if you are in the area. 


Spring is Here

In a few short weeks spring emerged in Northern Virginia. Grey is out; green is in. One of the great advantages of Northern Virginia is its great variety of parks and gardens managed by the Fairfax County Parks Authority. From Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to the wetlands in Huntley Meadows Park to the children’s exhibits in Frying Pan Farm Park, there is a lot to see. 

And the parks are a great place to take photos. So here below are a few recent ones from Huntley Meadows. More from other locations will be arriving in the coming weeks and months. 


Alexandria, VA, USA — April 8, 2021. P vertical photo of a jogger running on a trail in Huntley Meadows Park.
A landscape photo taken with a zoom lens of wetlands in Huntley Meadow Park in Alexandria, VA.
Alexandria, VA, USA — April 8, 2021. A photo of phtographers working thoer craft in Huntley Meadows Park.
Landscape photo of a goose looking out over a section of the wetlands in Huntley Meadows Park.

Reston in the Time of COVID-19

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam who re-emerged into public view after the midterms announced a series of public health measures related to COVID-19, among them steps to encourage social distancing. The measures were directed at “non-essential” businesses. Fortunately, that definition does not included pharmacies like the CVS across the street which sells wine. So all is not lost; we are keeping hope alive. With Cabernet Sauvignon as it happens. 

But it is eerily quiet on the streets in Reston Town Center as well as RTC Park. The Bow Tie Cinema is closed, as is the Apple store. And retail merchants have shut their stores for the time being. But the restaurants in town have take-out menus up and running, so that’s a win. 

We had planned to 2 month trip to Italy, primarily to Rome and Florence, beginning April 8. Needless to say, that has been cancelled. The good news is that if we had scheduled the trip 2 months earlier we could have been caught in Italy in the middle of the disaster with no way to get out.   

Anyway, I went out and took a few photos around the neighborhood because it’s so rare for the streets to be so empty, especially on a Saturday afternoon. The photos are posted below. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how long this lasts. 

Reston, VA, USA — March 21, 2020. The streets are eerily quiet in Reston, Virginia as Covid-19 social distancing takes effect.
Reston, VA, USA — March 21, 2020. A wide angle photo looking over an empty Reston Town Center Park.
Reston, VA, USA — March 21, 2020. Photo overlooking an empty Reston Town Center Park.
Reston, VA, USA — March 21, 2020. Photo overlooking Reston Town Center Park from the second floor of the Midtown building in Reston.
Reston, VA, USA –March 21, 2020. Market street in Reston Town Center is still as people stay home and practice social distancing.