Lisa Lost

Model Lisa LaRoo poses for a portrait at Patriot Park in a light summer dress and a laurel of blue flowers.

Countrygirl Lisa

These portraits were taken last spring, after a hiatus from model photography of several months. I opted for a simple, bright and clean look with minimum re-touching.

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Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia

View the most complete collection of artifacts from this famous author’s life at the oldest house in Richmond.

Click to expand photos.

Though nineteenth-century author Edgar Allan Poe never lived here, this small museum complex in downtown Richmond, Virginia has become more than a record of his life and writing—it is a tribute to both the man and his fans. There is even a garden shrine to the Dark Romantic poet.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is best known for poems like “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” and short stories like “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”. His birth parents were actors who died when he was a child. He was raised by foster parents in Richmond before moving to Baltimore as a young man, where he met his future wife, the young Virginia Eliza Clemm. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.

The newlyweds returned to Richmond, where Poe got a job at the Southern Literary Messenger. His tragic life has been recounted elsewhere, but to make a long story short, he died nearly penniless in a delirium at the age of 40. In 1906, Poe fans formed the Poe Memorial Association. They salvaged bricks from the demolished Southern Literary Messenger building to erect a shrine to Poe behind Richmond’s oldest house, which was then a museum dedicated to colonial history. The shrine opened in 1922.

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Jamestown Settlement in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

Experience England’s first permanent colony in North America come to life at this living history museum.

It’s a place of legend. John Smith and Pocahontas are household names, and they lived and walked near this ground. Jamestown Settlement is an attempt to reconstruct these historic places just over a mile from their actual location. (To see the archeological remains of the original site, you’ll have to visit nearby Historic Jamestowne.)

In 1607, the Virginia Company of London established a settlement in swampy tidewater along the James River. The colony quickly ran into trouble, and a majority of colonists died of sickness and starvation within the first few years. Relations with the indigenous population were troubled, and in 1622, the Powhatan Indians massacred a quarter of the colonists. More misfortune followed when Jamestown was burned during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676.

Jamestown Settlement got its start in 1957 and is run by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, it consists of the re-created James Fort and Powhatan town, replicas of the settlers’ original wooden sailing ships the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, and a large visitor center and museum. The Visitor Center was built for a cost of $7.4 million and opened in 2006.

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The Death Trail Offers Scares with a Message

This haunted trail celebrates its 10th anniversary with a highlight reel of past scares, religious ministry.

What do creepy clowns,a room of spiders, ancient catacombs, aliens, and bloody brides have in common? They all scare someone, and The Death Trail is like the Mulligan stew of haunted trails. There’s something to trigger every phobia.

I’ll admit, I was worried when I saw this haunted attraction was connected to a church. Religious-themed scenes of the horrors of alcohol and damnation played out in my mind. But The Death Trail Haunted Attraction in Dumfries, Virginia is no Evangelical Hell House, even though, at the end, you’re herded into a room to watch a six minute video about Jesus.

After 10-years in operation, with a 4.3 average of 47 Google reviews, and judging from the crowd size, visitors don’t mind the concluding sermon. I was impressed with the variety of horrific scenes, length of the trail, and the price. With most haunted attractions these days running at $30 to $40 at least, The Death Trail is well-worth it for $15. You get your money’s worth.

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Haunted Williamsburg Ghost Tour

Experience Colonial Williamsburg by lantern light in this eerie tour offering something for the whole family.

As fall approaches, my wife and I are eager to get out, enjoy the nice weather, and kick off the Halloween season. The Haunted Williamsburg tour in Williamsburg, Virginia came highly recommended. I’ve been on dozens of haunted tours all over North America, so I was keen on seeing if this one lived up to the hype.

Haunted Williamsburg is the “official” ghost tour offered by Colonial Williamsburg, and the only haunted tour to allow access to the town’s historic buildings and museums. We went on the 75-minute tour at 7pm. Our guide dressed in 18th Century colonial attire and carried a lantern as he took us to about a half dozen locations around the Palace Green.

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Civil War History Tour of Old Town, Alexandria

Ed Moser led us on a trip into Alexandria’s complicated and exciting past.

Sunday night, a small group of history enthusiasts gathered at the Lyceum in downtown Alexandria, Virginia for a tour of that storied city’s Civil War sites. It began in the shadow of Alexandria’s Appomattox statue, a statue which epitomizes the city’s complicated place in America’s bloodiest conflict.

As a thriving trade and manufacturing city at Washington, DC’s doorstep, Alexandria was a prized possession for both North and South. The Union controlled it for almost the entire war, but it teemed with Confederate sympathizers and spies. It was also the site of the first Union casualty of the Civil War.

Our tour guide, Ed Moser, an author and former writer for the Tonight Show and speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, highlighted many contradictions that characterized Alexandria’s role in the Civil War. This included the story of an enslaved woman who had a common law marriage with a Confederate officer. She escaped during the war and founded a school for other escaped slaves.

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Ghost Town Graveyards of Prince William Forest

The 16,084 acres of Prince William Forest Park in northern Virginia was once home to at least three small towns, two mines, and dozens of homesteads. During the Great Depression, the Federal Government began buying up this land to form the Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area. It purchased 79 properties and condemned 48 others.

Enforcement of the eviction was half-hearted, however, until WW2 when the Office of Strategic Services wanted to turn the land into a training ground. They forcibly removed dozens of residents without compensation. After the war, the National Park Service took over management and renamed it Prince William Forest Park, charging visitors $15 a week to walk around the woods. What a bunch of dicks.

There are approximately 45 family cemeteries dotting the park, reminders of the people who once lived there. It’s estimated over 300 people are interred there. Less than twelve are marked on the official park map.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Cannon-Reed Cemetery is closest to the Visitor’s Center, off Birch Bluff Trail. A small sign misspelling the family name points to the side trail leading to the graveyard. Revolutionary War veteran Luke Cannon is buried here, as is a young man who lost his life working in the local mine.

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