Washington, D.C. Highlights

 

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Washington, D.C. was our first family travel destination of 2017.  We spent Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend there, seeing the sights and witnessing the city’s monumental preparations for the Presidential inauguration.  Over the course of four days we visited the International Spy Museum, the National Zoo, Ford’s Theater (where Abraham Lincoln was shot), the Petersen House (where Abraham Lincoln died), the National Archives, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, and Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home).  We logged 22 miles on the pedometer for the weekend but, because most of the museums closed by 5 pm., we were always back in our hotel rooms by early evening, sipping milkshakes from the Shake Shack and watching movies or reading with our comfies on and our feet propped up.   We had fun, learned a few new things, spent quality time together and even enjoyed some downtime.  Really, what more could a person ask for?

International Spy Museum.  (A combination of espionage history and James Bond movie artifacts make this a fascinating and fun experience.)

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{ James Bond’s Aston Martin }

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{ Metal dentures belonging to Bond villain Jaws – the actor could only keep them in his mouth for about 40 seconds at a time because they were so painful to wear. }

The National Zoo.  (Home of pandas and other adorable critters.  Unfortunately, winter offers limited viewing of many of the animals.)

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Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House.  (Informative museum outlining events leading up to President Lincoln’s assassination.  The bedroom where Lincoln died felt especially eerie.)

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{ The gun John Wilkes Booth used to shoot Lincoln. }

The National Archives.  (Highlights include the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and one of the few remaining original copies of the Magna Carta.  No photography is allowed in this building).

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The National Air and Space Museum.  (A popular museum chronicling the history of flight and the exploration of space.  This was by far the busiest museum of the trip. }

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The National Holocaust Memorial Museum.  (An emotionally taxing experience, but it should not be missed.  The world needs to remember human rights atrocities so they are not repeated…)

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{ Portraits of families and friends from one Jewish village in Poland taken before the war.  Most of the villagers were killed during the Nazi occupation. }

The Lincoln Memorial.  (After visiting the Ford Theater and Petersen House we felt compelled to see this monument.  It was interesting to observe the preparations for the inaugural celebrations but the set-up was bothersome when it came to taking those iconic photographs.)

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Arlington National Cemetery.  (The resting place of more than 400,000 active service members, veterans and their families.  It is also the home of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.)

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Mount Vernon.  (The rural estate of George Washington overlooking the Potomac River.  Washington’s tomb is located on the grounds.)

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All in all, it was a great getaway and a great beginning to 2017.  I’m looking forward to the other travel experiences this new year brings my way.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve

The Italian Chapel, Orkney, Scotland
The Italian Chapel, Orkney, Scotland

The Italian Chapel, which was lovingly constructed by Italian POWs, is an interesting little piece of World War II history tucked away beside a cow pasture on the main island of Orkney in the North Sea.

Today’s post is inspired by the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

A Summer Afternoon at Hopewell Furnace: A Story in Three Pictures

Hopewell Furnace is a National Historic Site situated about 30 miles from Valley Forge in Elverson, Pennsylvania.  It was an iron plantation (all paid labor, no slaves) that played a vital role in the American Revolution and assisted in laying the foundation for America’s Industrial Age.

My family has visited several times but on this particular sweltering summer afternoon, it was just my daughter and me strolling the deserted grounds.  The peaceful, picturesque surroundings belie the fact that at one time the furnace operated twenty-four hours a day and was accompanied by a bustle of activity throughout the village.

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This post was inspired by WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes.  If you have time, take a look at some of the other storytelling taking place through pictures here.

Lancaster’s Central Market: A World Class Ranking

I love where I live.  It is so rich in history and quiet beauty. For instance, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the oldest inland city in the United States.  It should come as no surprise, then, that its best known farmers’ market is also the oldest of its kind in the country.  Central Market has been around since the 1730’s – a very long time in the short life of America – and was actually granted permanent status by none other than King George II in 1742.  Today, the market is housed in a beautiful old building that was designed by James Warner and built in 1889.  On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, locals and visitors alike wander the aisles filled with fresh produce and flowers, baked goods, meats, seafood, ethnic foods, and souvenirs.  It is nothing short of a festival for the senses.  Whenever I visit, I end up with a basketful of gorgeous fruits and veggies, a bouquet of flowers, and a goodie (or two).  Perhaps part of the draw for visitors is the fact that many of the stands are operated by Amish, pronounced Ah-mish (like a contented sigh), or Mennonite families.

I don’t really need reinforcement to support my belief that Lancaster County is the bomb.  Even so, it’s always a pleasant surprise when the powers that be take notice of my home town.  That’s why I was delighted to read this link my sister-in-law posted on her Facebook wall which listed Lancaster’s Central Market in the top ten fresh markets of the world.  Allow me to repeat: Top ten of the world!  Among cities like Tokyo, Barcelona, New York City, and Hong Kong, humble little Lancaster holds its own.  I am so proud! – not that I have anything at all to do with it.  I do live here, though, and I do visit the market, so I’m happy to bask in this recognition simply by association.

As a grown-up Fun Friday just for me, I made a visit to the market today.  Instead of shopping, I took my camera, thinking I would have some fun capturing the hustle and bustle.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I felt self-conscious, the lighting was difficult, and I didn’t want to offend anyone who might not want to be photographed.  Even with these limitations, I hope I was able to capture at least a bit of the vibe that makes our little Central Market unique and world-class.

Central Market is truly a festival for the senses.

Old Glory

Francis Scott Key asks this famous question at the end of the first stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner:

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

My response?  Why yes, yes it does…

[ Spring Talent Show, LeTort Elementary, Washington Boro, Pennsylvania ]

[ Rockford Plantation, Lancaster, Pennsylvania ]

[ Lancaster, Pennsylvania ]

[ Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania ]

[ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ]

 [ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ]

[ Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania ]

[ Baltimore Inner Harbor, Maryland ]

[ Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland ]

[ Air Show, Ocean City, Maryland ]

[ Washington, D.C. ]

[ Bar Harbor, Maine ]

[ Bar Harbor, Maine ]

[ Tampa, Florida ]

[ Little Palm Island, Florida ]

[ Key West, Florida ]

[ Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California ]

[ Julian, California ]

[ Julian, California ]

[ Mount Soladad, La Jolla, California ]

[ Coronado, California ]

[ Coronado, California ]

[ Coronado, California ]

A little FYI: Colors for the American flag were taken from the official seal of the United States (which was designed and approved before the flag).  Colors for the seal were chosen for the qualities they represented – white for purity, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for perseverance, justice, and vigilance.  The flag contains thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies or states: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  The fifty white stars are representative of the fifty states that create the United States of America we recognize today.

Long may it wave….

Happy 4th of July!

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4759624_meaning-colors-american-flag.html