Monthly Archives: August 2013

Day Three of My Trip to DC

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This is a recap from day 3 of my trip, which was actually on Sunday, August 4th.

We got up pretty early, and headed to Mt. Vernon, the estate of General George Washington, the first President of the United States.

And no, I didn’t come home.  Yes, I live in Mt. Vernon, but not this Mt. Vernon.

Mt. Vernon

His plantation is huge, and we walked most of it.  You can see on this map above how it is laid out.

Mt. Vernon

It was after this day, doing all this walking and toting around a purse and a camera, that I decided to borrow Leslie’s backpack, and boy did that help a lot.

Look who I found in the lobby!  It’s George and Martha with their grandchildren.  Was George really this tall or am I just short?

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This was on a column outside the lobby.

Mt. Vernon

This is the road we took to get to the slave quarters.  Everything here was just beautiful.

Mt. Vernon

Well, not the slave quarters so much, and I’m sure they didn’t think they were so great either when they had to live in them.  This is the slave quarters which housed, men and women in separate quarters, the Shoemaker’s shop and the Stove room.

Slave Quarters

This is the women’s slave quarters.  They lived and worked out of here.  Some of them would work out of the house.  They have a lot of artifacts enclosed in glass that they have found beneath the slave quarters.

Women's Slave Quarters

The older women who couldn’t work in the house or keep up, would work in the slave quarters, spinning to make thread for the clothes.

Spinning

The men’s quarters stayed mostly empty throughout the day as they worked sun up to sun down. They slept two to a bunk.

Men's Slave Quarters

Men's Slave Quarters

Men's Slave Quarters

The stove room, which was in this building, had to be manned at all times throughout the winter to provide heat for the greenhouse to keep special plants and trees alive.

Stove Room

The gardens were very beautiful.

Mt. Vernon Garden

Then we went around to the Blacksmith Shop and learned a lot about how they make all the things on the plantation as complete replicas of what was here during George Washington’s time.  Nails, candlestick holders, hooks, horseshoes, etc.

Blacksmith Mt. Vernon

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Next, we went on a tour of George Washington’s house, but you are not allowed to take pictures inside.  However, this is the view from his backyard.

View from George's backyard

Amazing right!  Can you just imagine George and Martha taking a stroll out here?

Then I would imagine he would take his lady for a drive in this bad boy!

George's Ride

By the way, Martha’s maiden name is Ball, and my grandmother was a Ball, I’m pretty sure I’m not related to Martha, but wouldn’t that be totally cool??

Ok, back on track.

Here’s a view of the stables.

George's Stables

They still use and work this land, so just let me say, there are years and years of a funky smell coming from this stable.

They also have sheep and cattle.  I couldn’t get a good shot of the cattle they were too far away, but here’s a cutie chasing some birds out of the food.

George's sheep

Then we followed the loop around to the location of the original tomb of the Washington’s. Originally there were twenty or so people buried in this tomb, and when George died, he specified in his will for a new tomb to be built and they all be moved to it.

Washington Tomb

So, here is the new tomb.

Washington Tomb

Washington Tomb

And here is Martha on the left, and George on the right.  Through the door behind the wreath are the other family members from the original tomb.

Washington Tomb

Then we followed the road on around and came back to the center opposite of their home. We tried to take a selfie, but it was a fail.  Here it is anyway.  You can kinda see the house in the middle of our heads, and the rainbow.  Lol.

Selfie on Washington Plantation

A bystander seeing our effort failing, offered to take a photo for us.  Which was really quite funny considering Leslie had just offered to take a picture of a nearby family, and the man barked “NO!” at her as the wife tried to smile it away.  I’m praying for your girl if you happen to read this.  He must be something else to live with.

Washington Plantation

Then, lo and behold we ran into the plantation overseer.

Washington Plantation

He was kind enough to let me take a photo.  But, if I were you, I wouldn’t mention to him that it’s the year 2013 and he is NOT really a plantation overseer.  He gets really offended. I’m thinking he should hook up with that ladies husband and they can bark at each other. Right, Leslie?

Anyway, that concluded our tour of the Washington Plantation, and it was really enjoyable. I highly recommend you go there and experience this for yourself.  I will someday take Knucklehead here as I know he would have loved this.

We left there and headed to the Hamilton Hotel where we went to a Gospel Brunch.  If you have never done this, it’s a must do thing.  It was really neat.

We stood in this long line to get in.  Once inside, the lines were just as long for the buffet, but man oh man, the food was excellent.

Hamilton Gospel Brunch

Hamilton Gospel Brunch

Hamilton Gospel Brunch

This is the Gospel Persuaders, and they were really good.  They sung songs that they have written and usually perform, and they were good.

The Gospel Persuaders

And after this we went back to the apartment and Leslie had a volleyball game.  She plays in a local league and I was going to go with her, but hey, I’m old and she’s young and I figured she would need a break from me at this point and I figured she would really like to hang with her friends afterwards like she always does, so I bowed out.  Really, I know that all sounds good but the truth was my feet hurt pretty bad and I knew I couldn’t muster the energy to do one more thing on this day.

So, this is what I did.  I laid on this bed and watched her Netflix all night.

Win Win for both of us.

Rest at Last

Don’t forget I have a huge give-away coming up in just two days!

Day Two of my DC Trip

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This is my recap of what we did on Saturday, August 3rd. As you can see, this is August 14th, and I am way behind.  I had every intention of updating each night, but then my laptop went capoot, and I just didn’t have it in me, to do it from my iPad.

This day of my trip, was so tiring, that I just get tired all over again thinking about it.   My poor feet haven’t seen this much action since I was a teenager probably.

Speaking of which, the couch to 5k was put on hold during this trip because I was so busy there, and I was already doing so much walking, but there’s no worries.  I swear I have walked more this trip than I have in the last year.

Yay, me!

Ok, here comes the recap:

Leslie and I got up and drove back over to Bonnie’s house. We had a great stay in the local Holiday Inn Express thanks to Bonnie. Then we set to work visiting with Bonnie. She tells wonderful stories which I recorded and will be shared here with you in the future.  I can’t wait to get these recaps over with so I can share all the great genealogical stuff I found!

This is me and Bonnie.
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Here is Jim working on some files we were sharing back and forth and Bonnie was telling stories.

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Look at all that stuff on the table, what you can’t see is boxes, and stuff spread out on the floor that we went through.

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to sit and listen to Bonnie talk about my grandmother’s family. I was so close to my grandmother my whole life up until her passing, and this just made me feel closer to her again.  When I look in Bonnie’s eyes, I swear it’s like looking in my grandmother’s.

We had a sad goodbye and departed. Leslie and I then headed to Camden, New Jersey where the U.S.S. New Jersey was docked.

USS New JerseyYou see these ships on TV in documentaries, but no one can prepare you for the sheer magnitude of them.

USS New JerseyLeslie and I tried throughout this whole trip to get a selfie at each stop.  Sometimes it became quite comical.
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Visiting the USS New Jersey was really special for Leslie and I because our cousin Mr. Carl Hurt served on the ship during WWII. This is Mr. Carl during that time.

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And this is my sweet Mr. Carl back in April when I last visited him.  He lives three hours from me, and I sure wish we lived closer together.

Carl Hurt - 2013
He’s fallen and hurt his hips and is not doing so good, so I was happy to call him from the ship. He was able to tell me what his job was, and what part of the ship he was on. I had him on speaker phone and one of the men working on the ship listened in, and asked Mr. Carl a few questions, and then he took us to the part of the ship that Mr. Carl worked on. This section was closed off to the public, so this was a very nice gesture.

USS New Jersey

Mr. Carl was a gunner loader, and he put these shells into the gun behind this man.  You can see the tip of one of the shells sticking up inside the gun, and he’s holding an empty shell that would eject out of the side of the gun.  He was explaining that when the shell would pop out, it would leave dings in the deck.

USS New Jersey

All those dings represent shells fired.

I had to beg this nice gentlemen to let me take his picture, he finally agreed and I’m so glad.  He went out of his way to show us where Mr. Carl worked and to explain Mr. Carl’s job to us.  He did not have to do this.  I wanted to be able to show Mr. Carl his picture.

John DiBlasio

I will give more details on Mr. Carl’s job and experience later, as this was just part of the process of the interview I have planned with him. He wants to tell his story from WWII and since Leslie and I were so close to the ship, I had to go and get some pictures for him and to see the ship myself.  Now, when he tells his story, I will be able to understand the ship.

I can see why these ships were made for young men (and women), because going up and down these stairs is no easy feat.  We weaved our way up and down and in out of the ship.

USS New Jersey

We tried out the beds, and I’m telling you, they should get an award for just sleeping on these things.  I’m inserting Leslie’s picture here cause she just looks way better than I did laying on this bed!  LOL

USS New JerseyBack up on deck and I can imagine that when these guns were fired, you would want to be below deck.

USS New JerseyTo show you the sheer magnitude of this deck, there’s a helicopter on here and there is still plenty of room for lots more stuff.  The helicopter is small in comparison.

USS New JerseyThe U.S.S. New Jersey is one of the most decorated ships in Naval history.

USS New JerseyAs we left the ship, I had to take one last look back, and think about my Mr. Carl and what he must have seen and done on this ship.  It blows my mind that we got to stand where he stood.  I can’t wait to share my experience with him.

One last look back, before we left.

USS New JerseyIt was getting really late in the evening by the time we left, and we decided to go to Philadelphia and find something to eat.

This was my first trip to Philadelphia, and I was in awe of all the history you can see just from passing by in a car.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia - Congress Hall

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

 

We parked and ate at Chili’s and then got back on the road.

Philadelphia

 

Then as we headed back over the Ben Franklin Bridge, what do I see but a beautiful rainbow!!

Philadelphia Rainbow

 

And an even more beautiful sunset!

Philadelphia Sunset

Guess what?

It’s not over.

Ha!  When we got back to D.C., Leslie wanted me to see how beautiful everything is when lit up at night, and boy was she right.

DC

 

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DC - Red Cross

 

DC -DAR

Now, it’s over.  Thank goodness.  I’m worn out just going back over the whole day.

I’ll be doing a catch up of the other days, and don’t forget, my two-year blog anniversary is coming up in just two days, and I have a huge give-away, so stay tuned folks!

Meeting Cousins and Jersey Shore

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My plane arrived last night in Baltimore and Leslie picked me up at the airport. We drove to somewhere in Maryland to have dinner with Leslie’s friend Dan. I wish I could remember where, but that has left me. Anywho, the food was good and so was the company.
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We sat and chatted for a while and had a great meal then we drove to Arlington, Virginia to Leslie’s apartment. She lives on the 12th floor, which makes me woozy.20130803-000924.jpg
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By this time, it was getting late and we went to bed. We got up this morning and drove to New Jersey to meet Bonnie Ball Harkness Marsh, my 2nd cousin 1x removed, and her son Jim Marsh, who is my 3rd cousin. We got there just in time to eat lunch together and visit for a while.

Then we drove to Jersey Shore, at Asbury Park Boardwalk. This was a really cool place. We had a great time walking the boardwalk with Bonnie and Jim.
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This is Bonnie and Jim.
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We did a little taking in of the sights.
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Then we decided we would walk down the beach to the water and stick our feet in the water. Bonnie stayed on the Boardwalk and waited for us to get back.
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When we got back to the boardwalk, Bonnie was still waiting on us.
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After this we drove back to Bonnie’s house, and had a great afternoon and evening. We traded family stories and genealogies and then we went to dinner.

Now it’s time to crash and rest up for tomorrow!

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