The Hermitage Museum and Gardens is a not-to-be-missed spot in the Norfolk, VA area. It's in a lovely spot, a little off the beaten path, but very accessible from Hampton Boulevard.
I arrived on a sunny morning just in time for an 11 am tour, which was so worth it. Skylar, our guide, gave us a knowledgeable insight into the history of the Hermitage, into the life and passion of Mrs. Sloane, into the era in which she lived, and into as many pieces of the extensive collection that she could.
The Hermitage is not only a first-class museum for its holdings but also a tribute architecturally to Florence Sloane's imagination (I loved the trompe l'oeil painting on the door into the dining room.) and attention to detail. I got a true sense of what life must have been like during her tenure.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that in addition to sharing the Sloane collection of fine art, the museum also hosts artists' exhibitions, classes at its visual arts studio, films, and evening events.
The grounds must have been a splendor while Mrs. Sloane was around, but during my visit in the July heat, they were struggling. I think there are efforts to keep up with the grounds, and I hope more can be done to restore them to their former elegance.
I highly recommend a visit; you won't be disappointed!
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