New Highland Park is right across the street from the strip of shops seen in my video post. I really liked the open layout of the park. Even though there is infrastructure all around the area, the park allows an escape from all that. There are trees, benches, and a field for pets to run around. This space provides Virginia Highlands with a great balance of nature and city-living.
I took this video while crossing a small side street onto the main sidewalk where all the shops and restaurants are. A large, bright Coca-Cola mural on the side of the building really draws attention. The restaurant I approach as I cross the street has a wall that is completely open to the outside. The space flows very nicely; it is open and easily accessible. The texture of the buildings changes from wood, to chiseled stone, to painted cement as the wall goes from belonging to the restaurant to the salon next door.
I took this sound recording as I was standing on the sidewalk in front of one of the main areas in Virginia Highlands. If you listen closely you can hear a door squeaking open, leaves rustling in the wind, and a car’s engine as it drives past. I found it interesting that the area was quiet enough that all these things could be heard so easily. Compared to other areas of the city, where sometimes music and voices overpower the sounds of everyday life, the space was peaceful and quiet.
I noticed repetitive signage all over Virginia Highlands. Above a lot of the road signs it reads ‘Historical Atkins Park’. It turns out, Atkins Park is an area within Virginia Highlands. The labeling of these signs creates borders within the neighborhood. I noticed as I began walking further from the area of shops and homes, the road signs were no longer labeled like this, which told me I had travelled outside the Virginia Highlands area.
An aural characteristic of Virginia Highlands were the sounds inside the coffee shop I visited. In this recording, laid-back music can be heard in the background. I noticed that throughout the area very quiet music played from the windows of most of the shops and restaurants. The distinct sound of the espresso machine and the milk steamer can also be heard in this recording. There were no other people inside the coffee shop, which is why there is no chatter in the background. The whole space was very quiet and relaxed.
This is a common type of home one would see while passing through Virginia Highlands. Before visiting my site, the research I did for my annotated bibliographies led me to discover that this type of home is known as a Craftsman Bungalow. This style of home was first introduced by a man named Gustave Stickley. Craftsman Bungalows have been present in Virginia Highlands since the neighborhood was first built. As I walked up and down the streets of the area I found these homes to be very inviting. Most are painted pleasant, light colors. It gives the space a homey and suburban feel.