Getting to know Virginia – The Light of Truth Universal Shrine (aka LOTUS)

I googled “things to do in Virginia” and the LOTUS popped up. It is literally out in the middle of nowhere, through lots of winding rural roads, between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. But once you get there, it is a sight to see! Make sure you have GPS otherwise you’ll get turned around (as I did when the car GPS tried to take me a different way than the phone GPS suggested).

The LOTUS is a temple dedicated to all faiths. Sri Swami Satchidananda opened the shrine in 1986 to honor the Spirit that unifies all the world religions, while celebrating their diversity. He believed that every village should have a temple, and so he built this temple. He says that his religion, “Undoism” is the basic foundation of all religions and faiths. He says “What we practice is found in every faith, every religion. That means we want to be good and do good…We want our lives to be easeful and peaceful so that we can be useful. That is our religion…There is no need to give up your own [religion]. In fact, you should not…but at the same time, love the other fellow’s also.”

In a world so full of hate, this is a sentiment I can stand behind.

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I’m not sure what is up those steps, but I wasn’t in the mood to climb up to find out!

I did walk to the shrine and go in though.

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Pumpkins 2017

Growing up in Southern California, there was never an absence of fresh anything. You want to pick your own apples, done! Strawberries, of course! Avocados, you bet! Pecans, absolutely! Pumpkins, perfect!

Pumpkin picking was a favorite pastime of mine when I was a kid. We drove to a pumpkin farm and we could roam around for an hour looking for perfect pumpkins. Living in Richmond is a little different. There are farms, but you have to pay to get into them. Then you have to ride a tractor to get to the part where you can pick your pumpkin. Not always ideal.

However, after a little bit of inter-web searching, I found the PERFECT Richmond pumpkin patch! Gallmeyer Farms sorta near the airport was not only close by, they didn’t charge an entrance fee, and I could also WALK to the patch! While I didn’t purchase my pumpkins here, I very much enjoyed walking around. I will return for sure next year!!

They had a ton of jumbo pumpkins!

The field of pumpkins! They did have a tractor ride (for a fee), but you didn’t have to ride it to get to the field.

So many pretty pumpkins!

Proof I was there.

You had a take a wheelbarrow to cart your pumpkins away.

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This is where I bought my pumpkins. Not the same experience, but they were super cheap!

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This one had some interesting stuff growing on the stem.

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On to the carving!

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This picture was taken four days after I carved them. I put some Vaseline around the cut edges to help preserve them a little. The little black flecks you see is mold on the inside.

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I wish pumpkins were year-round. I would carve one for every holiday!

Virginia State Fair 2017

I WENT TO THE FAIR! I felt like a kid again! I went with my friend Susan, her daughters, and one of their friends and had a ball! Corn dogs, and funnel cake, and rides, and games OH MY! We missed the animals and giant pumpkins, but that just means I’ll have to go next year!

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Not only was the moon full and beautiful that night, but I later learned it was the Harvest Moon.

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This is my favorite shot of the night. It is everything that captures the fair for me. Games, food, and neon lights!

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Getting to know Virginia – Westmoreland Park take II

Because I missed a trip to Fossil Beach the last time I went to this park, I had to make another trip! I took a Friday off from work to hopefully avoid the crowds and there was hardly anyone there.

The trail was very nicely kept up through a forest of lots of different trees.

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Looks like this one was struck by lightning.

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A ghostly tree!

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Finally made it to the beach!

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But some of it was closed because of erosion. I have no doubt that is where all of the cool fossilized sharks teeth are, but I obeyed the law and kept my distance.

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I knew that the trail was going to be about 1.5 miles round trip, but what I didn’t know was that there was a really steep hill. The way down wasn’t so bad, but the way up was a little tough. You can’t really tell from this angle, but that is a hill. I should have taken it from the bottom looking up, but this is the top, looking down.

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I didn’t go in the visitors center, but there is a huge field behind it where you can view the Potomac River.

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Went back to the other beach to look for more sea glass, and it looked like a whole different park. There were maybe two people there, as opposed to the 200+ the last time I was there!

While I did find one small piece of sea glass, but no fossils, it was still a very nice day!