Saturday, July 15, 2006

Renee Gordon's 'spirtual' journey to Berry Hill Plantation's Juneteenth Celebration

I would visit South Boston VA over the weekend of 16 - 18 June to document the Juneteenth Celebration at the Berry Hill Plantation Resort. And while there I spent Friday photographing the North Main Street, the South Boston Historic District and the Oak Ridge Cemetery. On Saturday morning John Fulton, my host, and I would arrive at the Berry Hill Plantion shortly before 11 AM. As a guest at his Charles Bass House Bed and Breakfast, on the night before, when he had gotten in from a Shakespeare play at the Berry Hill Plantation Resort he said that he had met a lovely Afro-American woman and travel columnist from the Philadephia Sun who had flown down from Pliladelphia to attend and report on the Juneteenth Celebration at the Berry Hill Plantation Resort. And due to a minor mix-up, she had not been registered as a guest. But, and as fate would have it, he was able to make arrangements with the management for her to rent a room.

When we arrived at Berry Hill Plantation Renee Gordon, the travel columnist, was conducting an interview with Suzanne Gandy, Berry Hill Public Relations Manager, on the front porch of the mansion. Not wanting to disturb them John would then give me a quick tour of the mansion. After the tour we stepped outside onto the porch at which time John would introduce us to each other.

And as fate would have it, Ms Gandy suggested that along with her business partner, Eugene Whitesell, we all drive down to the slave quarters and the cemetery before the crowds arrived.

And as fate would have it, I am quite pleased to have met Renee Gordon and hope, in the course of our travels, that we may meet again.

Renee Gordon, the Smooth Traveler, begins her Berry Hill Plantation 2006 Juneteenth report with "The name conjures up mixed images of antebellum southern life, with all of the attendant issues, and visions of contemporary vacation spots that offer an amazing palette of posh accommodations and unending activities. Berry Hill does indeed offer all of the above, and yet, there is even more to be experienced. From its very inception the estate has had a noteworthy history, a strong African American presence and is in many ways is a microcosm of the larger story of our nation."

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