Dawn and Laural's next stop on the journey to Opening Night of "Impressions of Virginia" is the Washington Gristmill and Distillery. Our pair of adventurers actually had a few different sites to visit on this August day. However, not all of them made it into the exhibit. Also, our two travelers had the pleasure of their artist friend, Jenn Galvin of Wild Oaks Studio joining them on this August morning. There were even stops along the way to capture even more beauty of Virginia on this day.

Washington Gristmill 6x8 Study

© Laural Koons


A little history on the Washington Gristmill and Distillery:


Washington Distillery

© Dew Photography VA


Want Laural and Dawn's impressions of the Washington Gristmill and Distillery and see the resulting artwork in person? Come to the Opening Night of their exhibit "Impressions of Virginia" on December 10th, 2021 at Dockside Realty in Colonial Beach, VA.



Dawn and Laural’s next stop in July 2021, the National Museum of the Marine Corps Museum near the Quantico Marine base. The duo left early enough and were prepared for the heat to meet them before leaving the site. In true Virginia fashion, as the day progressed, so did the heat and humidity. Upon arrival, a clear, cloudless blue sky met them.


Quick sidenote: Dawn and Laural discussed their limited schedule to capture the scenery and architecture for "Impressions of Virginia". Their adventures were planned out and strategized ahead of time. There was little wiggle room for rescheduling because of circumstances not being ‘ideal’ on the day of an adventure. The two for the majority of the time were blessed. Yet, at times there were ‘opportunities for growth’ in mindset of what they expected on some of the journey. Therefore, at times it required creativity and skill to compose final products. Both artists have discussed in previous posts on their individual processes (www.impressionsofvirginia.com) scroll down on main page to see these blogs), how the obstacles set before them have helped each grow in their profession.

Digital Art rendition of the National Museum of the Marine Corps © Dew Photography VA

All images featured will not be part of the exhibit. If interested in an image shared, contact the Artist to discuss purchase


Dawn and Laural have both visited the museum in the past. Yet, it had been more than 10 years since either had been there. For this exhibit, each went to see their impression on this specific day in July, 2021 after their long absences of visiting this site. However, today, we will share a brief history and the mission of the museum provided by the website, www.usmcmuseum.com instead of their impressions:


The National Museum of the Marine Corps, under the command of Marine Corps University, preserves and exhibits the material history of the U.S. Marine Corps; honors the commitment, accomplishments, and sacrifices of Marines; supports recruitment, training, education, and retention of Marines; and provides the public with a readily accessible platform for the exploration of Marine Corps history.


The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a lasting tribute to U.S. Marines--past, present, and future. Situated on a 135-acre site adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, and under the command of Marine Corps University, the Museum's soaring design evokes the image of the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima and beckons visitors to this 120,000-square-foot structure. World-class interactive exhibits using the most innovative technology surround visitors with irreplaceable artifacts and immerse them in the sights and sounds of Marines in action. The Museum is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1979 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to support the historical programs of the Marine Corps in ways not possible through government funds. The Foundation’s current primary mission is to secure the necessary funding to complete the construction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. They also support the Museum's volunteer and educational programs.


Want to know more about Laural and Dawn's impressions of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and see the resulting artwork in person? Come to the Opening Night of their exhibit "Impressions of Virginia" on December 10th, 2021 at Dockside Realty in Colonial Beach, VA.




Old Point Comfort Lighthouse in Fort Monroe, Virginia is the second oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay and the oldest still in use. It is the 3rd adventure Dawn and Laural experienced for their upcoming exhibit "Impressions of Virginia".


To get to the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse from Fredericksburg, the duo would travel I-64 East to exit 268. Exit 268 is the Fort Monroe exit, but is also the last exit before the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Dawn was ecstatic this would be their exit. Yes, she is one of those people who dislikes tunnels. However, with the encouragement of her friend and co-exhibitor Laural, Dawn drove across the moat bridge and through the garrison entrances to Fort Monroe. Quick side note: It is not required to enter Fort Monroe to see the Old Comfort Lighthouse.


According to lighthousefriends.org "Old Point Comfort Lighthouse marks the entrance to historic Hampton Roads, a substantial harbor situated at the mouths of the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth Rivers, and stands on ground which has seen many a fort constructed nearby to defend this important waterway. The tower’s present neighbor, the Civil-War-era Fort Monroe, was preceded by colonial Fort George, which in turn was probably preceded by an even earlier fortification. A navigational beacon on Old Point Comfort was active as early as 1775 when John Dams, caretaker of the ruins at Fort George...Some historians believe that Native Americans kept wood fires burning at the Point before that for the benefit of Spanish ships during the sixteenth century." Today the lighthouse is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard is on the Register of Historic Places.


The duo's excursion was Dawn's second trip to the area and Laural's first. Dawn and her hubby visited Fort Monroe not long after it was decommissioned in 2011, but she didn't see the lighthouse on that particular day. Dawn remembers the day as cold and gray she recalls telling hubby "we must put this on our 'come back here' list"; it took nearly 10 years, but she made it back. Laural, while walking around the grounds, voice, "I need to bring Carl (her hubby) here.


Want to know more about their impressions of the Old Comfort Lighthouse and to see the resulting artwork in person? Come to the Opening Night of their exhibit "Impressions of Virginia" on December 10th, 2021 at Dockside Realty in Colonial Beach, VA.