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Richmond, Virginia is a city surrounded by history working hard to achieve a good future. Not far from Richmond on the James River is Jamestown, the first settlement in the United States by the British and 30 miles north of Richmond is Williamsburg, start of the Virginia colony. The American Civil War raged through the heart of Richmond which was the capital of the old South and battlefields, houses, and memories from that time exist around the city still. Richmond has become famous for Monument Avenue, a long stretch of highway downtown which features huge stone statues of civil war heroes. Monument Avenue was also a bronze statue of tennis great Arthur Ashe who defeated racial segregation to become one of the premier tennis players in the world and work to ensure racial equality and understanding within the world of professional sports. However Richmond is much more than monuments and flags. It is surrounded by natural treasures. Maymont Park Near the center of downtown Richmond is Maymont Park. Once a 100 acre private residence owned by wealthy family named the Dooley's, they donated the entire estate to the people of Richmond for the future of the city. The park features a visitor center with aquatic displays, a children's petting zoo, an Italian garden, amazingly well constructed Japanese garden from two periods of Japanese history, and a horse carriage museum. Amidst all that is a sprawling open park for picnicking and relaxation. Maymont Park is free and open to the public and hosts many events to educate citizenry and visitors on conserving

the land and natural resources of central Virginia. Ginter botanical Gardens One of the highlights to any trip to Richmond is a trip through the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The sprawling environment features several specialized Gardens including: the four seasons Garden made of indigenous materials and mythical fountains, a healing Garden made of plants used for medicine and medieval healing, a sunken garden designed and shaped like ancient Rome and the Rose Garden framed around a reflecting pool set aside by the many colors of roses available. The Ginter Gardens also feature walkways and an educational center, a horticultural awareness center and a peaceful healing environment for anyone who needs a little rest and beauty in their lives. The Gardens charge a minimal fee for entering and participants can stay as long as they desire. Cold Harbor Battlefield Because Civil War history plays so much a part in the Richmond landscape, preserved battle sites and houses can be seen in and around the Richmond area. By far the best preserved is the Cold Harbor Battlefield park. Located on Route 156 slightly south of Mechanicsville, Virginia approximately 25 miles from Richmond, this battlefield features a 1 mile paved walk through the last battlefield the south won on during the Civil War. Place markers show bunkers that have been preserved, Union and Confederate lines and lead to the Garthwright House a structure remaining from the Civil War that was used as a hospital for Union soldiers. Cold Harbor Battlefield offers a peaceful beautiful walk through history. Written by James Brown, courtesy of Isnare.com

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