Letter from Richmond

As you may or may not know, HTG works in the agricultural sector of our country’s economic engine. (How appropriate for a history lover to work with what is TRULY the world’s oldest profession, right?)

As part of my duties, I recently found myself in Richmond, Virginia, stopping there for an excuse to drink Virginia’s finest fermented grapes an agribusiness meeting and reception.

And by agribusinesses, I mean that we were celebrating all of the wineries big and small farms that make up the largest part of Virginia’s economy and workforce. Seriously, whether you like wine or not, it’s pretty likely that you like to eat. And Virginia’s farmers have an economic impact of over $55billion, providing over 357.000 jobs within the Commonwealth.

Some of those jobs belong to friendly sommeliers.
Virginia has lots of agriculture, and lots of history. It has lots of history that involves agriculture. Thomas Jefferson–statesman, politician, architect–was most proud of his agricultural pursuits (“I am become the most industrious and ardent farmer” he wrote to Madame de Tesse.) If you’ve visited Monticello, you know that he spent more time on his garden than he did on his finances.

Anyway, thinking of TJ and all his fellow patriots, I made an impassioned “Give me Chardonnay or give me death!” speech right before the reception ended (Patrick Henry? A Virginian, of course).

If you prefer wine to death as well, you can learn more about local wineries at http://www.virginiawines.org/.

Although I didn’t get to visit any vineyards on my trip, I did see this very cool sunset out of my hotel window. (Special kudos go to the housekeeping staff at the Convention Center Marriott for the exceptionally clean windows that allowed me to get this shot. See ‘em at http://bit.ly/4J5nJ)
It’s a modern Marriott, fairly standard with the nice smelling soap perched on a washrag next to the bathub. At least I thought it was modern, until I noticed this little throwback in the 10th floor hallway:
Was it a direct line to the historic society in town? A closed circuit phone that rings in Monticello when you pick it up? It was an internal phone only (although with no visible list of available extensions, I ‘m not sure who exactly I was going to call on it). But I thought it was cute, a little pinch of history in a pretty historic state.
I hope to be back in Virignia soon. And I hope to stay a little bit longer than one night.
After all, it’s only about three hours to the south of the HTG Homestead. I don’t mind making that drive, assuming that there will be a nice glass of grape juice plus waiting for me on my arrival.

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