Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
An Afternoon At Mount Vernon
Friday morning dawned bright and beautiful, what a great day for an adventure!
Michael and I headed north towards Mount Vernon, Virginia.
The home of our first President
We arrived and parked in a lot that was over flowing…
I have no idea why
I would have thought the beautiful home and grounds
of one of “our” most historic figures
would not be covered with tourist on this warm spring day…
I rather enjoyed the dream of walking right up,
maybe being introduced as welcome visitors,
sitting for a “spot o’ tea” ,
then taking a personally guided tour of the grounds…
Hey, a woman can get caught up in her day dreams..especially given a couple hours between point A and point B..
So, Cousin George wasn’t there to greet us
and Martha offered us no tea..
While walking along the actual grounds and along the same hallways,
while running your hand over the very same banister
that once felt the warmth of their hands long ago …
if you just barely squinted your eyes and cocked an ear
you could just almost “hear”
the rustle of a many layered dress as
Martha would have passed this way…
or maybe even the far off whispered sound
of a General’s voice
as he arrived home
coming through the door…
So we did not sit for tea,
all the same I truly enjoyed our time at Mount Vernon.
We began our visit in the Orientation Center
viewing Mount Vernon in miniature .
.a one-twelfth scale exact replica of the mansion
with 22 rooms containing
hundreds of tiny objects
including oil paintings, china, books,
and more than 100 tables and chairs.
A little girls (or an older gamma’s) dream come true …
except it was out of reach behind glass!
While there we watched an 18 minute “action adventure” film
which introduced us to the young Washington
who was to become
“The Father of His Country”.
then upon leaving the the center
we walked upon the grounds that
oh, so many years ago the Washington’s called home.
sits upon a gently sloping hill beside the Potomac river..
sporting a long porch on the rivers side
to sit in the shade and catch an afternoons pleasant breeze.
After leaving the kitchen we quickly headed in the direction
of the “Old Vault”
that first housed the earthly remains of our first president..
In his will George made arrangements
for a new burial tomb to be built..
knowing that erosion would ill afford
a good resting spot for him and his prodigy
at the present site of the old tomb.
The new tomb was finally constructed in 1831,
where the Washingtons remains rest today.
From there we headed out
by way of the Museum and education center…
Here, we were also not permitted to take pictures
and this area was being watched over
by some extremely serious looking
Didn’t help matters when Michael said rather loudly..
“Hey Donna here’s you a good picture of the copula and dove weather vane..”…
Well, that big guard furrowed his brow,
Needless to say ,
Some facts below I have found on a most wonderful web site
from Mount Vernon
and would highly recommend you
spend some time navigating among its pages
for an in-depth look at the life and times of
George and Martha Washington and of Mount Vernon…
On this web site I have also found a “Virtual tour” of the mansion..
Please, click on this site and enjoy a tour…
we were not allowed to use our cameras “inside”
except for in the visiting servants quarters and the kitchen.
and the couple of times my camera “accidently clicked”
while hanging around my neck the pictures
it produced were mainly
different parts of the nice lady standing in front of me…
Be sure and watch for the key
hanging downstairs on the wall between
the bedroom and dining room!
It is the very key of the Bastille
,a present from General Lafayette in 1790.
It is said that Pres. Washington was so proud of this
that he hung it there on the wall
and there it has been ever since!
On the floor above,
the very bed he slept and perished on
can be seen in his bedchambers
…upon his death..
the room was closed and
Martha moved to another bedchambers
on the next floor up…
(so they said was customary of the times.)
Washington greatly expanded his Mount Vernon plantation. He increased the acreage from 2,100 to 8,000, rebuilt the simple farmhouse he inherited into a 2-1/2 story, 20-room Mansion, and designed and built all 12 outbuildings.
Washington chose to aband tobacco farming around 1765, ending his economic dependence on English agents to sell his tobacco and giving Mount Vernon greater autonomy and self-sufficiency. His main crop became wheat, but he experimented with over 60 field crops. Fish from the Potomac was also an important source of food and cash.
Increasingly conscious of the injustice of slavery, his will freed the 122 slaves that were in his posession at the time of his death. He trained slaves as gardeners, shoemakers, carpenters and weavers to help prepare them for their freedom.
Creative and persistent in solving problems, Washington overcame the poor soil at Mount Vernon by starting an innovative plan of crop rotation (switching crop type every year) and mulching, which made his farmland able to sustain its yields. He also introduced the mule to America in a successful effort to find an animal better suited to farm work than the horse.
If sometime in the future,
you should find yourself in the neighborhood
stop by and give the Washington’s a visit!
The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Somehow, somewhere the hotel room
The next morning,
to the National Mall.
In 1826, James Smithson, a British scientist, drew up his last will and testament, naming his nephew as beneficiary. Smithson stipulated that, should the nephew die without heirs (as he would in 1835), the estate should go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”
The motives behind Smithson’s bequest remain mysterious. He never traveled to the United States and seems to have had no correspondence with anyone here. Some have suggested that his bequest was motivated in part by revenge against the rigidities of British society, which had denied Smithson, who was illegitimate, the right to use his father’s name. Others have suggested it reflected his interest in the Enlightenment ideals of democracy and universal education.
Smithson died in 1829, and six years later, President Andrew Jackson announced the bequest to Congress. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. In September 1838, Smithson’s legacy, which amounted to more than 100,000 gold sovereigns, was delivered to the mint at Philadelphia. Recoined in U.S. currency, the gift amounted to more than $500,000.
After eight years of sometimes heated debate, an Act of Congress signed by President James K. Polk on Aug. 10, 1846, established the Smithsonian Institution as a trust to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian.
...an on and off trolley tour..
then a pick up
I do enjoy the trolley tours
Union Station is the grand ceremonial train station designed to be the entrance to Washington, D.C., when it opened in 1908.
It is one of the busiest and best-known places in Washington, D.C., visited by 32 million people each year. The terminal is served by Amtrak, MARC and VRE commuter railroads, and the Washington Metro transit system of buses and subway trains. The facility serves as the headquarters of Amtrak.
Union station boast over one hundred shops and restaraunts
On the evening of April 14, 1865, while attending a special performance of the comedy, "Our American Cousin," President Abraham Lincoln was shot. Accompanying him at Ford's Theater that night were his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, a twenty-eight year-old officer named Major Henry R. Rathbone, and Rathbone's fiancee, Clara Harris. After the play was in progress, a figure with a drawn derringer pistol stepped into the presidential box, aimed, and fired. The president slumped forward.
The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, dropped the pistol and waved a dagger. Rathbone lunged at him, and though slashed in the arm, forced the killer to the railing. Booth leapt from the balcony and caught the spur of his left boot on a flag draped over the rail, and shattered a bone in his leg on landing. Though injured, he rushed out the back door, and disappeared into the night on horseback.
A doctor in the audience immediately went upstairs to the box. The bullet had entered through Lincoln's left ear and lodged behind his right eye. He was paralyzed and barely breathing. He was carried across Tenth Street, to a boarding-house opposite the theater, but the doctors' best efforts failed. Nine hours later, at 7:22 AM on April 15th, Lincoln died.
Petersen boarding house
Papa listens carefully as Michael relates his woes