Monday, February 17th, 2014 by Sherry Friel
This past winter, I found myself so immersed seasonal holiday activities, my camera stayed in its bag for what seemed like months. By the time February hit, I couldn’t escape that perpetual feeling that something was missing. And then it occurred to me the role photography plays in my life: It is my source of balance. I am happiest with my camera in hand, and my eyes scouting around for beauty. Flowers and nature have always been the most compelling sources of inspiration for me, and this season, for one reason or another, I let that inspiration fall into dormancy. But not for long! I soon found myself fascinated with the ice and snow that visited Virginia Beach recently.
What struck me the second day of being snowed in was the gorgeous way the white snow crystals traced the fragmented beauty of tree branches. Now, I love trees even in the winter because without leaves one can truly see the skeletal, miracle network of branches and nature’s symmetry at work. The snow, like the leaves, highlights the complexities of nature’s art in a way that is truly mesmerizing. So I took hundreds of photographs at every angle. When I uploaded these images into my computer, it was delight all over again after seeing how the browns and whites contrasted against the unbelievably blueness of the sky. Wow!
Another source of photographic inspiration was the way my son and his friend tackled the snow projects of their dreams with persistence and true teamwork. From snowmen to igloos to snowball fights, they managed to achieve it all while racing against the knowledge that the snow would melt soon. They wasted not one minute and I enjoyed documenting every aspect of their precious, albeit short-lived snow days.
Thursday, January 16th, 2014 by Sherry Friel
Last year about this time my family and I visited Washington D.C. We made some pretty enduring memories but one that continues to shine brightly is the time we spent watching the free weekly shows at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. I remember thinking how cool it would be if we could do this back home at our own Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (SCPA) in Virginia Beach. But then I quickly realized that of course we can! We had already seen the delightful “Lollipop Concert for Children” put on by Symphonicity several times and participated in many events at this extraordinary venue in the heart of Town Center.
Photo credit: Sherry Friel
We are especially excited about the ongoing emerging artist series, Out of the Box, at the SCPA. From 6-8 p.m. each Thursday, the series will feature live music from the region’s best acts. This special event, in collaboration with Paul Shugrue of Out of the Box on 89.5 WHRV, is free and open to the public. The Thursday performances began Jan. 9 and will continue through Feb. 27.
Out of the Box Performance Schedule Beginning Jan. 16:
Jan. 16 – JoAnna Lynne & Chidori
Jan. 23 – Logan Vath
Jan. 30 – Gina Dalmas & the CowTippin’ Playboys
Feb. 6 – Nate Sacks
Feb. 13 – Bimini Rd.
Feb. 20 – Skip Friel
Feb. 27 – Seth Stainback & Roosterfoot
If you haven’t visited SCPA yet, then you are in for a real treat. The city’s newest facility for performance arts was dedicated in 2007 and, according to its web site, is not only heralded as one of the region’s most stunning structures, but also among the nation’s most acoustically sound venues for the arts. I can attest to both and look forward to attending this much-anticipated series.
Friday, December 27th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
Blogger Sherry Friel’s last post of 2013 is a beautiful way to close out the year. The Shorelines blogging team hopes you’ve enjoyed following us as much as we’ve enjoyed writing for you. We eagerly look forward to more sharing from a local’s perspective in 2014. Happy New Year!
Season of light, hope and faith sustains me
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
~George Bernard Shaw
With the holiday season upon us, I find myself contemplating the beauty of light. It is, after all, among the most powerful faith symbols throughout a multitude of religious traditions. Being raised in the Christian faith, I have long associated this season of cold winter darkness with an evening long ago when a most powerful light appeared as a guide to three wise men in Bethlehem. On that chilly December night, the winter months were transformed into a season of light, hope, and unwavering faith that at the core of humanity burns a flame that cannot be extinguished.
Whenever I see flickering lights and candles illuminating this magical season, my spirits are warmed and a calm peace settles within me. Evidence of humankind’s formidable spirit seems to be everywhere, from piles of neatly-wrapped presents beneath Angel Trees to generous donations at food pantries and charities. People seem eager to give just a little, in hopes it will make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate. And it does. As Helen Keller noted, “I am one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Such generosity in action reminds me to never lose my fervor, hope, and faith in the good people surrounding me.
As 2013 comes to a close, I hope to take one last walk down the Virginia Beach shoreline and watch the Holiday Lights at the Beach beam against the inky night sky for a final show. I want to feel the shorebreak lapping against my feet over and over in perfect rhythm, while I try to remember that living life, really living it means allowing each new year to arrive as fresh and excited as a thunderous wave crashing homeward. I want to look back at the previous year with appreciation and reverence for its goodness while at the same time igniting a deeper desire to do better moving forward. Will you join me?
Photo credit: Sherry Friel
Friday, December 13th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
This week, blogger Sherry Friel shares about a local tradition that is fun for the whole family. You may enjoy it so much, you make it a holiday tradition for YOUR family.
The Friel Family Yule Lighting!
One of my fondest holiday memories took place when my son Nathaniel was just 7 years old. Fascinated with building a real fire and living life the old-fashioned way, he convinced me to let him pull his favorite Radio Flyer wagon through the trees adjacent to Great Neck Park so he could collect kindling. After donning work gloves, hat, and scarf, he worked diligently gathering an assortment of large sticks and fallen branches. He made several trips back and forth to the SUV with that wagon, resulting in enough fresh wood for several nights around the fireplace roasting marshmallows and singing carols.
I am so grateful for that old fireplace and my son’s early introduction to the timeless tradition of building and gathering around a fire. Our new home has a fireplace, but it’s gas-powered with artificial logs. These days, just one dial turn to the left creates the glowing ambiance and warmth of a living room fire. The convenience is great, but it’s just not the same.
Photo courtesy of City of Virginia Beach
Recently I learned about the Adam Thoroughgood House’s annual Yule Log Lighting and I knew immediately it would be the perfect new tradition for our family. It takes place Sunday, Dec. 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. The lighting procession will begin at 4:15 p.m. and the Yule Log will be brought forth amidst toasts and merry wishes.
Prior to the lighting ceremony, visitors will have a chance to participate in Border Morris dancing with the Drunken Weasels. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Historic Houses, and visitors will have the opportunity to learn the interesting history of the “marsh mallow” while roasting the modern confection over a fire. Tours of the Adam Thoroughgood House will be offered between 3 and 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013 by Sherry Friel
One of the things I enjoy most about breaking routine is the myriad ways it inspires me to awaken to new, healthier thought patterns and ideas. Sometimes a routine buster is just a matter of taking a different path on my usual neighborhood walk, and other times, it’s heeding the call of a walk through the woods with friends.
Sunday was one of those days. With blue skies rich with vibrant possibility, my usual routine of grocery shopping, laundry and dinner planning made absolutely no sense. Thank goodness I ended up hiking the trails of First Landing State Park with friends Beth and Jon, their daughters Sarah and Sophia, my son Nathaniel, and our dogs, Apollo and Romeo. My morning started with a simple request from Beth via email. She wrote, “I want to go to the woods and I want to take our cameras.” So that is exactly what we did.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013 by Sherry Friel
The newest Friel, Apollo
It’s been several days since our new standard poodle puppy, Apollo, joined the Friel family. While I’d like to say all is well, the holes in my pants and my bloodshot, sleep-deprived eyes reveal the true story. Settling in with a 9-week-old puppy is rough! But we’re practicing much patience these next few days, and we know lots of howls, whines, nips, and accidents are part of a puppy’s adjustment phase. So we’ll just roll with it and look forward to many fun days ahead at some of the most pet-friendly destinations in the world in beautiful Virginia Beach.
Where shall we start?
I’m thinking our first outing with Apollo has to be First Landing State Park beach. With it’s winding soft trails, and lush Spanish moss-draped tree canopy, the place is a bit of unspoiled paradise promising hours of exercise and fun for our family. I’ve already learned it’s a good idea to take plenty of water and carve out a generous portion of the day to enjoy, as this park and its trails are meant for meandering and unrushed wandering.
Photo courtesy of City of Virginia Beach
As the adorable pup transitions from chewing everything in sight to more grownup dog activities, our next Virginia Beach destination will be Red Wing Park. This has been a favorite park of mine for years, thanks to the photographic beauty of the Miyazaki Japanese Garden, and an amazing cherry blossom tree promenade that grows each year with new tree plantings. I can envision many, many family portraits and much fun with Apollo at this beautiful park!
Friday, October 25th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
As I type this intro post to this week’s Beach Report, racers are flocking to our convention center to pick up their packets and numbers for the Wicked 10k race tomorrow. The weather couldn’t be better for an early morning run in beautiful Virginia Beach followed by some outdoor fall fun. Make sure you cast your vote for your favorite costume and most of all, have a blast!!!
Another fun event scheduled for this weekend is the Tidewater Military Family Festival, a day of appreciation and fun plus a resource fair geared toward the needs of military families. Each October the festival vibrates with the fun of a new kid-friendly theme while vendors give out as much Halloween candy and treats for the kids as their tables can hold. The event welcomes a crowd of thousands eager to have a fun, safe, and wholesome family day focused on their unique culture. Proceeds from the event fund TMFSC’s annual free summer camp contest for dozens of military kids of all ages.Sunday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All this talk about fun is a great lead up to Sherry Friel’s latest post about how her family gets in on the holiday fun in….
Howling, Screaming and Haunting, Friel Style!
Photo credit: Sherry Friel
My 10-year-old son Nathaniel goes little nuts over Halloween. I blame it on my friend and fellow blogger, Tina Fries. See, from the time our little guy was old enough to don his first costume, we gathered at her home for one of the finest Virginia Beach Halloween bashes I have ever encountered. In fact, her entire neighborhood seems to be a little spooky (in the best kind of way). Gravestones, skeletons, fog machines, sinister voices, and pirates greet you at every turn while trick-or-treating in her corner of the beach, delighting my son in ways that have inspired him to view the night of fun as a grand celebration. I hope we will gather again at Tina’s house this year (hint, hint). In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of a few other events my family has planned leading up to the big night:
Yep, there’s going to be lots of howling around here in a few days. LOTS of howling. A black, furry creature will inhabit our home with the promise of howling throughout the night. We’ve been warned the wailing will be incessant, but we’re not afraid. Nope. Because the source of all that noise is a genuine, standard poodle PUPPY! Weighing in at just 4 pounds, the little ball of fur will no doubt consume our attentions for the next year. Nathaniel has a plan for his costume, too. Are you ready for this? Bat wings. The tiny, winged ghoul even comes complete with fangs. Terrifying. Completely terrifying.
Completely terrifying! Photo credit: Sherry Friel