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Antietam National Battlefield

Located just outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland, Antietam National Battlefield was one of our favorite destinations on our Mid-Atlantic road trip. During the battle that took place on September 17, 1862 and lasted only about 12 hours, 23,000 men’s lives were changed forever. Ending in a Union victory, it was the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War.

Maryland Monument
Dunker Church so named because their parishioners were baptized by dunking
Miller Farmhouse

The men who lost their lives here did not in any way die in vain, but when one steps foot on these consecrated grounds it is hard not to think that any war has its own senselessness. We felt something spiritual here that resembled the way we felt at the Oklahoma City Memorial – both being places that were once violently disrupted by turmoil but are now utterly serene. Perhaps the spirits of those who fought and died here walked along with us and somehow soothed our souls.

Mumma Farm, the only structure deliberately destroyed during the battle. Confederate soldiers burned the house and outbuildings so Union troops could not use them. Luckily, the Mumma family had left the house before the battle. They rebuilt the house in 1863. Before this trip, we never knew that families whose properties were damaged or destroyed during the Civil War were compensated by the government in order to rebuild.
Hallowed Ground

Another thing we learned on the trip was that the National Park Service leases some of its land to local farmers for growing crops. We never had seen so many soybeans, and certainly never knew that so many acres of soybeans were grown in the US.

Sunken Road aka Bloody Lane looking north
Bloody Lane looking south

This is the site where the Confederates held off 10,000 Union soldiers during a three hour battle. The casualties were high and the road was lined with bodies. Click here for some additional information and photographs of the aftermath of this battle thanks to the History Channel: https://www.history.com/news/battle-antietam-photography-civil-war . Warning – the photographs are graphic!

Burnside Bridge – probably the most photographed landmark at Antietam. General Burnside’s men captured the bridge from about 500 Confederate soldiers who had held the area for more than three hours. Burnside’s troops crossed Antietam Creek, which drove the Confederates back toward Sharpsburg.

The Antietam National Cemetery is located in Sharpsburg, Maryland, just a few miles from the battlefield. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go in, but according the the park brochure 4,776 Union soldiers are buried here, along with veterans of other wars. This cemetery did not exist at the time of the Civil War so the dead were buried where they died on the battlefield. Later their remains were reinterred at this cemetery. Confederate soldiers were buried in Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD, and Shepherdstown, VA, now WV. Interestingly, in 2009 remains of an unidentified soldier were found in a cornfield, most likely buried where he fell on the battlefield almost 150 years before.

Cemetery Lodge (sometimes called Keepers House) on the grounds of the Antietam National Cemetery

That’s going to do it for our overview of the Antietam National Battlefield. We hope you enjoyed the visit and that you will come back often to see us as we post more trips and tips. Thank you for joining us on the road. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Pretty Pictures

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Agave blooms

We don’t pretend to be professional photographers, however we do love to aim and shoot. No fancy filters or special effects for us, but sometimes we get a lucky shot. You will see what we see through our lenses or on our cell phone screens! We decided to show you some of our favorite pretty pictures from our travels, most of which we have never posted before. Enjoy.

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Paintbrush

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Morning

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Bloom

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Serenity

Study in Pink

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Texas

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Next to grandma’s porch, perhaps

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Where the desert meets the sky – White Sands National Park

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National Grassland, South Dakota

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Waterfall

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Thank you for visiting our site. We hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Please visit us again for new road trips, exciting cities, and more pretty pictures. Become a follower so you never miss a post, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We love having you along for the ride.

Happy hump day, everybody!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Feathers and Fur

Bighorn Sheep, Badlands National Park

Part of the reason we travel to parks is to see wildlife. We even keep lists of the animals we see on trips because we can’t always get a picture of them – like the badger that ran in front of us on a road in South Dakota. Hey, it was exciting! (Here in West Texas you don’t see too many badgers, although a couple of coyotes ran across the road in front of us near our Walmart one time!) Anyway, all wildlife sightings are a thrill to us. Today we’re sharing some of our faves.

Cute prairie dog at Badlands National Park. Okay, these animals make their homes in nearly every vacant lot where we live – they’re literally everywhere – but we don’t go around taking pictures of them. Besides, this is a South Dakota prairie dog.

We have no idea what kind of bird this is, but it was a beggar. We were at the end of our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and as soon as we sat down to have a snack, this guy showed up, like, “Y’all gonna share?”

This is a javelina that we saw in a dry creek bed near Big Bend National Park. We’re sure they serve some purpose, but we don’t know what. Wouldn’t want to snuggle with one.

Petrified Forest raven – not the species, we just took the picture there. Another shameless beggar. He sat right down next to us, and every time we would move over, he would move over too. Pretty sure he was checking out our jewelry. Never trust a raven, they are super sneaky. Trivia: ravens can imitate human voices better than a parrot, and if they like you, they might bring you a gift – probably something they stole out of someone’s purse, but it’s the thought that counts.

We have squirrels in our yard, but these little (Colorado chipmunk) dudes are way cuter… and they don’t eat our fence.

We captured (not literally) this mad mother cactus wren at Big Bend National Park. We’d be mad if we had to live in a cactus, too.

Rocky Mountain National Park bull elk. No lie, this macho man had at least 20 wives and a bunch of kids that he was watching over, but he was so pretty we wanted a shot of him alone.

We didn’t have to go far to find this little hummingbird because he was in our own back yard. Thrilling for us because we only see them if we’re lucky enough to catch them during migration. Trivia: a group of hummingbirds is called a charm.

Here’s a little North Dakota gal that we would like to snuggle.

Boston harbor gull. Undoubtedly, he is waiting for an unsuspecting tourist to walk by with food. These guys aren’t beggars, they’re thieves. Trivia: gulls can smell food up to three miles away, and they can see for up to two miles. A group of gulls is called a colony. PSA: never go near a harbor with a Big Mac.

We’re going to close this post with a bison we saw at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We wouldn’t want to get too close to him, not only because he weighs a ton and could probably kill us with a little head butt, but because we think he would smell terrible – like really terrible. We will keep our distance, thank you.

We hope you enjoyed our post and will come back again for more exciting road trip destinations, a Quick Stop, some tips and tricks, or another Wish We Were There Wednesday. Better yet, come back for all of our posts, and join our family of followers so you never miss one! We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: State Park Redux

Today we’re revisiting some of the amazing state parks that we covered over the last few years. Won’t you join us for a road trip down memory lane on this “Wish We Were There Wednesday”?

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Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

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Slide Rock State Park, Arizona

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Cathedral Rock, Red Rock State Park, Arizona

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Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

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Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota

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Needles. Another shot from Custer State Park because we loved it so much!

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Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas

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1934 Pool Pavilion, Abilene State Park, Texas

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The Water Tower. Originally built by the CCC then rebuilt after a fire. Abilene State Park, Texas

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Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

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Rio Grande Gorge State Park, New Mexico

The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

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Living Desert State Park, New Mexico

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Missouri Headwaters State Park, Montana

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Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

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Ruins. Fort Griffin State Historic Site, Texas

Thank you for joining us on our recap of some of our most interesting and beautiful state parks. Come back again as we visit more state and national parks, see the sights in the country’s most picturesque cities, and relax with the beauty we find as we road trip across the USA. Become a follower and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you never miss a post. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a state park!) 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Featured

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

The town of Harpers Ferry is a national park located (now) in the state of West Virginia, but it also borders the states of Maryland and Virginia. The town once had an armory (established by George Washington to build muskets), a cotton mill among other important manufacturing sites, and a college. It is also the site of the 1862 Civil War Battle of Harpers Ferry, when the town was in the state of Virginia.

Here visitors can hike a section of the Appalachian Trail, walk the C & O Canal towpath (part of the Appalachian Trail), or enjoy several other hiking trails. There are also outfitters nearby that can put you on a river if water sports are your thing. Several museums and other points of interest are located along Potomac and High Streets in the lower town.

The Appalachian Trail winds its way from Maryland Heights across the Potomac River and through Harpers Ferry
Peaceful path to Virginius Island

The Rivers

The Point is where two rivers converge. This is a popular place in the park. It is interesting to see the water of the Potomac blend with the water of the Shenandoah where they meet at the center of the image.

The forest green water of the Potomac (foreground) flows into the olive green Shenandoah (background)
Along the bank of the Shenandoah

The Town

When visiting Harpers Ferry, guests can park at the visitor center then board a free shuttle to take them to the lower town. A hiking trail leads to the lower town for those who would rather walk. There are many historic buildings to see and there are also shops and restaurants. Although it is a national park, Harpers Ferry does have residents.

High Street
Along Shenandoah Street
Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

John Brown

John Brown was a staunch abolitionist. In 1859, he organized a raid on Harpers Ferry. The rebellion, which was intended to arm enslaved men by seizing the armory, was a failure. After a thirty-six hour standoff, Brown and his men were killed or captured by a group of US Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Brown was later found guilty of treason, inciting a riot, and conspiracy. His trial and subsequent hanging took place in Charles Town, Virginia, now West Virginia.

John Brown’s Fort was originally the firehouse for the armory in Harpers Ferry. It is now referred to as John Brown’s Fort because it is where he and his men barricaded themselves during the final hours of their raid before being captured.
This and the photo above were taken at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

It is reported that Brown wrote this on the wall of his cell just before being hanged: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”

Miscellany

The Harpers Ferry train tunnel is actually on the Maryland side of the Potomac River
Remains of a B & O Railroad bridge which spanned the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. While these piers are newer, railroad bridges here were destroyed and rebuilt nine times during the Civil War, however, five of those times the bridges were destroyed by floods.
Shenandoah Bridge near The Point at Harpers Ferry. The bridge was originally constructed in 1882. It was destroyed by a flood in 1889 and rebuilt. These piers are all that remain after another major flood destroyed the bridge in 1936.
Ruins along Virginius Island Trail
Train trestle currently used by Amtrak and a commuter train service

We’re going to wrap up our visit to Harpers Ferry here. Thanks so much for joining us on the road. We hope you will come back again to enjoy more of our Mid-Atlantic road trip. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

Featured

Annapolis, Maryland and The United States Naval Academy

The Maryland State House in Annapolis

We strolled a few streets of Annapolis, and went to the City Dock which was great – we ate some good barbecue there – but parking came at a premium and there were lots and lots of people. Being Covid-conscious, although we’ve been vaccinated, we weren’t real keen on big crowds. It was fun, though, and we would go back in a heartbeat to see more of the city.

A shot from City Dock. Luckily, we were able to park after feeding a meter our credit card, and we were just steps from the pedestrian entrance to the Academy and visitor center.

We went to Annapolis because it is the capital of Maryland, but our primary goal was to see the US Naval Academy. Now we wish we would have allowed more time to visit there. Honestly, we could’ve spent days touring the Academy.

Prestigious homes on Porter Road, sometimes called Captain’s Row. These beautiful houses, built in 1905, are for higher ranked essential personnel to live in while stationed at the Academy.
The Chapel, dedicated in 1908. John Paul Jones’ remains were entombed here in 1913. His remains had been returned to the US in 1905 after being found buried in a cemetery in France where he had lain for 113 years. Seeing the Chapel was the highlight of our visit.
Mahan Hall Clock Tower framed by stunning crepe myrtles
Bancroft Hall, the largest dormitory in the US, is home away from home to some 4,000 midshipmen. The building has 1700 rooms, 33 acres of floor space, and almost five miles of hallways/corridors. Noon meal formations are held in front of this building during the academic year.
Tamanend, Chief of the Delaware Indians. Chief Tamanend, now called Tecumseh sits in Tecumseh Court (T-Court to the midshipmen) in front of Bancroft Hall where the noon meal formations take place. The original of this sculpture was the figurehead of the USS Delaware which was burned during the Civil War. The figurehead was saved, however, and ended up at the Academy in 1866. This bronze, cast from the original wooden carving, was completed in 1930.

If you plan to visit the Academy, be prepared to go through a security process similar to ones at airports, and you will be asked to show a valid photo ID. No weapons of any kind are allowed to be carried onto the campus. Self-guided and guided tours are available.

As we said, we could have spent days here, and maybe someday we will return, as the Academy was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. For more information about the United States Naval Academy and its history, click here: https://www.usna.edu/homepage.php then click on the “About” tab.

And for some interesting tidbits about the navy, click here: https://www.history.com/news/7-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-u-s-navy

We’re going to leave you with the navy mascot, Bill the Goat:

Thanks so much for joining us on our journey! Please join us again soon. We really appreciate comments, likes, and follows. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a national park!) 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

 

Featured

New Castle, Delaware and First State National Historic Park

Established in 1651 by Dutch settlers, the town of New Castle sits on the banks of the Delaware River. The historic district has been designated a National Landmark. We chose to visit because it is part of the First State National Historical Park, which has several sites between the northern border and Dover. We arrived on a weekday and basically had the historic district to ourselves. Fall was in the air, and it turned out to be a perfect day to stroll the cobblestone streets and learn about the history of the state.

The historic New Castle Courthouse was built in 1732 and served as the first court and state capitol of Delaware. It was here in 1776 that documents were signed declaring three counties independent from England and Pennsylvania, making Delaware the first state. The capital was moved to Dover in 1777. This building is a National Historic Landmark as well as a National Historic Underground Railroad Site.
Part of The Green
Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green, established in 1689 and built in 1703
Cemetery of Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. 
One of the buildings along the main thoroughfare, Delaware Street. An upper apartment is now an Airbnb
Old library, now a museum. What an interesting building!
This building once served as the sheriff’s house, and until 1911 a prison stood next to the structure. In the photo below, the words “county prison” can still be seen where they are embedded in the sidewalk.
William Penn. In 1680, New Castle was transferred to him by the Duke of York. Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, who had established the colony of Maryland, disputed the transfer and the property lines. The dispute went on for decades but was settled when the survey was done by Mason and Dixon and the Mason-Dixon Line was established between Delaware and Maryland. Also, Delaware is the only state that has an arc for a border line. The arc was determined by a 12 mile radius using the cupola on top of the New Castle Courthouse as the center point.
 
View from the waterfront: Delaware Memorial Bridge crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey
Another slice of New Castle history along the edge of the Delaware River.
This container ship happened by while we were at the river.

We’re going to wrap up here, but in closing we will leave you with a photo of the Delaware Legislative Hall which is the state capitol building.

Thank you for joining us on the road. We hope that you will keep coming back for more great road trips and perhaps a tip or two. Until then…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Williamsport, Maryland

The C & O Canal runs for 184.5 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD

The first idea for a canal was introduced as a bill submitted in 1774 to the Virginia governing body of the time by George Washington. His plan was to use the Potomac River as a means to move cargo, however, there were parts of the river that would be too dangerous for boats. He proposed to build a canal system that would enable navigation around those treacherous areas. After the Revolutionary War, his plans were set in motion and the Potowmack Canal Company was established with Washington at its helm. The canal was completed in 1802, three years after Washington’s death. It operated until 1828 when the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company took over Potowmack Canal Company and devised a plan to build a better canal system which would connect the Ohio River to the Chesapeake Bay. Under the new C & O plan, the canal would run next to the Potomac, but boats would not have to navigate the river. The construction period ran from 1828 to 1850, but the canal never made it to the Ohio River, mainly because the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad got there first. Moving cargo via the railroad was faster and more efficient. The canal was utilized from 1831 to 1924, and in its last years was used primarily for moving coal from the Allegheny Mountains to Washington, DC.

In 1938, the government purchased the canal with plans to turn it into a recreational area. President Eisenhower declared a portion of the canal a national monument in 1961. Ten years later, President Nixon signed a bill into law creating the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

Cushwa’s historic warehouse in Williamsport, MD, one of the three current visitor centers for the park

We chose to visit the Williamsport, MD portion of the park because it was the closest to our next destination. Our initial plans did not include this stop, but we are so glad we were able make the last minute change. Williamsport is the future home of the park’s headquarters. The National Park Service is currently refurbishing the site of a former lumber company that sits across the street from Cushwa’s.

This portion of the park sits at the confluence of the Potomac River (background) and Conococheague Creek (foreground). What a serene and beautiful place we found this to be on a lazy September morning. By the way, those trees on in the background are in West Virginia. Here the Potomac forms the border between West Virginia and Maryland.
The canal as it flows over the recently restored (in 2019) Conococheague Aqueduct
The 1879 Bollman bridge over the canal is one of the oldest standing iron railroad bridges in the US. Here you can see the towpath where mules would walk as they towed boats up and down the canal. Now, the towpath is used for a walking and biking trail. Trivia: the C & O Canal towpath at Harper’s Ferry, WV is part of the Appalachian Trail.

Wendell Bollman, a self-taught engineer who began his career at the age of 15, designed a specific type of truss, now called the Bollman Truss, that was used for many bridges built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B & O) including the one shown above. Trivia: the B & O Railroad is the same one that sits between Illinois and Atlantic Avenues as depicted on the classic Monopoly game board.

Built in 1923, this strange-looking contraption is the only one of it’s kind on the C & O Canal. It is a railroad lift bridge that operated like an elevator to lower the tracks enabling trains loaded with coal to cross the canal. It is now a pedestrian bridge.
A view of the railroad lift bridge from underneath
A different view of the Bollman bridge with railroad tracks on the ground next to the canal. These tracks (along with the railroad lift bridge seen in the previous photos) would have been for the trains delivering coal to the power plant, part of which can be seen in the top right-hand corner of the picture.

For more information about this historic park, click here: https://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm

We are going to end our trip to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park here, but we will leave you with one more look at the canal and towpath. Imagine warm sunshine, no breeze, the smells of the earth, and complete solitude with nothing to disturb you except the summery drone of an occasional cicada. This is that place.

Thank you so much for stopping by our blog! Please come back soon for another road trip, quick stop, or travel tip. We love hearing from our readers, so feel free to leave a comment, and be sure to “like” us, too. Become a follower so you never miss one of our posts. We will not share or sell your information

Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

Featured

Monticello

The home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello sits atop a hill on some of the 5,000 acres of land that he inherited from his father. Begun in 1768, it took Jefferson forty years to complete the house. This was partially due to his love of architecture and partially due to the fact that family members moved in and needed space. Our tour guide told us that Mr. Jefferson’s sister moved in with her eleven children during the years in which he was supposed to be enjoying retirement.

Thomas Jefferson’s bed is tucked into an alcove between the actual bedroom and his office.

About 60 percent of the current contents of the home did belong to Jefferson, though some items have been lost, are in other museums, or in the hands of private collectors. We saw several of his inventions, including a two-sided clock that can be seen inside the house and above the door on the porch, a dumbwaiter hidden in the side of the dining room fireplace that goes to the wine cellar, and a contraption which held a second pen and copied everything as he wrote.

The property, along with the University of Virginia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university, which is just a few miles from Monticello, was established by Jefferson who also designed the original buildings. Construction began on the most famous building, The Rotunda, in 1822, and was completed just after Jefferson’s death in 1826.

Sundial and view from the north terrace
Another view from the north terrace: The Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Jefferson wanted to be able to see the university from his home. Now it is visible through a hole in the trees.
The Rotunda, which was designed to be a library, at the University of Virginia up close with the symbols of the ultra secretive Seven Society and a statue of Thomas Jefferson
The Rotunda from the lawn. The Palladian architecture looks very similar to Monticello, but was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.

Monticello was also home to more than 100 enslaved laborers, including Jefferson’s half sister-in-law, Sally Hemings. It is now known that Jefferson fathered at least six of Hemings children, four of whom lived to adulthood. The story of Sally Hemings is fascinating, though little is known about her – not even what she looked like or where she is buried. What is known about her is detailed on the Monticello website here: https://www.monticello.org/sallyhemings/. There are also Amazon Video and Netflix documentaries about her and her ancestors for those who want to learn more. Notably, James Hemings, Sally’s older brother, was Jefferson’s chef at Monticello. James went to Paris with Jefferson while he was serving as Minister to France. James was trained in French cooking there and became a master chef. Sally arrived in Paris two years later while serving as Jefferson’s daughter’s companion and maid. Interestingly, slavery had been outlawed by then in France so legally James and Sally were free while they lived there.

Another view of the house looking south

Mulberry Row, a community in itself, is where the laborers lived and worked at Monticello. Here the excavated remains of homes and several shops, such as ones where carpentry and blacksmithing among other crafts and trades took place, can be seen today. The lush flower and vegetable gardens that were once tended by enslaved people are still grown at Monticello along Mulberry Row. For more information on Mulberry Row click here: https://www.monticello.org/slavery/landscape-of-slavery-mulberry-row-at-monticello/.

Jefferson was penniless when he died on July 4, 1826. His heirs were tasked with selling off acreage, possessions (sadly this included slaves who were said to have represented 90 percent of his property) and eventually the grand house to pay the debts. Monticello passed through several owners before being purchased by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1923.

Past Mulberry Row is a path that leads to Monticello’s cemetery where Thomas and Martha Jefferson are buried along with many members of their family. Though no known African-Americans are buried in the family cemetery at Monticello, archaeologists discovered an unmarked Jefferson-era slave cemetery in 2001. This discovery was important because it is known that 400 – 600 enslaved people worked and lived at Monticello, and until the cemetery was found nobody knew where they had been buried.

Thomas Jefferson’s grave

We could go on for days about what we learned at Monticello, however, we have to end somewhere. In closing, we leave you with these final tidbits:

*Monticello had up to five bathrooms (privies), or air closets as Jefferson referred to them on his blueprints for the home. Historians know that the house did not have flush toilets, but not much else is known about the workings of them.

*Though Jefferson was representing the government as the Minister to France, all expenses involved with living and entertaining there were out of his own pocket.

*The Hemings family were inherited by Thomas and Martha Jefferson upon the death of Mrs. Jefferson’s (and Sally Hemings’) father, John Wayles.

*Sally Hemings quarters were discovered and excavated in 2017 then restored and opened to the public in 2018.

*Jefferson was only thirty-three-years-old when he was asked to write the Declaration of Independence. It only took seventeen days for him to compose the document and two days for the Second Continental Congress to make changes and declare independence on July 4, 1776. We never knew that any government got things done that quickly!

Finally, we highly recommend clicking on https://www.monticello.org/ to learn about the third President of the United States and his beloved home.

Thank you for hanging with us through this long post. We hope you will join us again soon for another great road trip. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

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Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg has a lot to see and do, and honestly we should have stayed for more than a day. We spent two hours viewing the introductory film, seeing the cyclorama, and seeing the museum. All three are covered in a $15.00 fee at the visitor center. Otherwise, the park is free to visit. The auto tour took another three hours. We hiked one trail near Little Round Top and then walked the entire National Cemetery Trail. In all, we probably spent six to seven hours in the park. If you have never been to Gettysburg, you need to know that the park is surrounded by the town where traffic is heavy and parking is almost non-existent. Downtown Gettysburg is fun and has lots of shops and restaurants, but be prepared to feed a parking meter if you go.

Restaurant recommendations:

Tommy’s Pizza – great for lunch.

The Gettysburger was worth the hour-long wait for a table for dinner. The food was great and the service was excellent. They even have a dog menu if you want to have your fur baby join you on their patio! We highly recommend making a reservation.

The Auto Tour

The auto tour is 24 miles long and can be self-guided or many types of guided tours are available. We chose to do the self guided tour which is easy using the information provided in the park brochure. The tour is well marked with signs so it is easy to follow. We did not stop at every memorial or monument, however, we did stop at all sixteen points of interest described in the brochure.

Eternal Light Peace Memorial – “Peace Eternal in a Nation United”
The Virginia Memorial
State of Pennsylvania Monument
Church at the Lutheran Theological Seminary – Seminary Ridge

The Gettysburg National Cemetery

The National Cemetery is a a somber and extremely beautiful place. While driving through the battlefields, you can’t help but think about what took place there and the lives that were ended or changed forever on those hallowed grounds, but walking through the cemetery really brings it home.

The Soldiers National Memorial at Gettysburg National Cemetery sits on the site of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Cyclorama

The Gettysburg Cyclorama, which is 377 feet long and 42 feet high, is a stunning depiction of the final Confederate assault on July 3, 1863. The painting, one of the largest in the world, was done by Paul Philippoteaux in the 1880s. The building that houses the cyclorama provides special lighting and sound effects that seemingly place the viewer in the midst of the battle. The narrator does an excellent job of pointing out the landmarks and explaining how the battle took place. Seeing this before we took the auto tour really helped us to know what we were looking at. Some of our photos are below, and here is a link to the National Park Service website which has the history of the cyclorama, videos, and additional photos: https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/cyclorama.htm

This is a close-up of the photo above. Look closely at the man being carried. It’s a little Easter egg that Philippoteaux added to his masterpiece. Do you see that the man is Abraham Lincoln? They also said that Philippoteaux portrayed himself somewhere in the painting too, but we didn’t find him.

The Gettysburg Museum

So much to see and learn in this museum! It is a definite must-do prior to taking the auto tour. We were particularly interested in the many flags that are on display. Below are a couple of the exhibits.

We’re going to close this post with one last picture from the auto tour. Please come back often to see more of our latest trip. Better yet, become an e-mail follower so you will be notified every time we post. We will not sell to or share your information with anyone.

The beautiful State of Vermont Monument

Thanks so much for riding along with us. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

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