Last Friday, feeling a need to indulge my wanderlust and see some fall foliage, I headed west to Chippokes Plantation State Park. When this blog visited Chippokes before, I mentioned that it is one of my favorite places to get away to, and fortunately it is a only a pleasant hour's journey from home. However, when I got there they were having day 1 of their Plantation Christmas Festival, and the center of the park was crowded with vendor tents and shoppers. Apparently it is quite a big deal as there were people selling their handmade wares from all over the country. I know many people enjoy this sort of thing, but for me they are little corners of hell. I told the costumed gate attendants that I was there to hike, not for the festival, so they waved me through the gates and crowds at no charge, to a preferred parking spot behind the mansion. It made me feel very special.
Since most of the activity (and fortunately the crowds too) was centered around the mansion, I did not go into the gardens, but they are not why I visit Chippokes. However, on the edge of the gardens I noticed some Camellias blooming, mainly C. sasanqua and C. sinensis which are in season right now, but I also noticed this C. japonica which was several months early to be this showy.
Glycine max (Soybean)
Phillip of How it Grows for helping with the I.D.
Callicarpa americana (Beautyberry)
I don't know where the rest of you were Friday morning, but anytime I'm on this beach, I feel like the only person on the planet.
a string of black pearls clinging to a stump. This time the beach gods left me a string of black stars on an Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
Chesapecten jeffersonius. This extinct scallop lived in a shallow warm sea that covered this area 4-5 million years ago.