Afternoon at the Chinese Pagoda…

I’m ridiculously behind in my posts…we’ve moved along in our exploration of the Eastern Hemisphere from China to Mongolia to Russia to Central Asia (think former Russian satellites that end in  _____stan) to our current study of Southeast Asia.  At the beginning of the school year, I had penciled in a visit to the Pagoda Garden Tea House in Norfolk, to coincide with our study of China, but it just didn’t happen.  So on a recent Wednesday that lacked a piano lesson we found ourselves with a free afternoon and decided on a late lunch and sketching at the Pagoda in Norfolk

Grace had not been to this particular spot since she was 4 or 5 years old so it seemed brand new and really fun!  The Pagoda itself is no longer a tea house (bummer!) but offers a small eatery with seating on the main level, on a second floor, and a second floor balcony that goes all the way around the top.  We didn’t partake, but were kindly invited in to look around which we gladly did!  We climbed the stairs around and around, up to the second floor (there is an elevator) and surveyed the expansive view from the balcony.  There was a gentle but persistent breeze, so we were grateful the sun was toasty warm.  Grace decided to sketch the ornamentation on the fretwork over the windows.  Later, we wandered through the garden and took a seat on one of the benches so I could sketch a Weeping Willow nestled up to the pond.

Despite being squeezed into a small city block between the USS Wisconsin (an enormous Navy Ship), a variety of severe brick condominiums, and the Elizabeth River, this lovely garden feels bigger, and offers plenty to see, smell and touch, while cultivating a sense of relaxation. We noticed quite a few of the elements of an Asian garden we studied at the Botanical Gardens:  lanterns, stones, evergreens, bridges, island features, and a variety of “shorelines.”  Of course the koi were fun to watch once we noticed them!  When we finally packed up to go, Grace said, “Well Mom, this was one of our more successful field trips!”

We always take a few photos:

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