Better Late than Never!


I have been having a great time on my vacation!

At the moment I’m still in my jammies… in Boston. I’ve conquered most of Virginia, part of Washington, D.C., all of Gettysburg and Valley Forge, and much of Philadelphia.

As you know, I started my trip by flying into Newport News, Virginia, where I met–for the first time in person–my cousin, Cou. Our great-great-great-great-great-great grandfathers were brothers. So we’re distant cousins. So sue me! She grew up in Williamsburg and moved back there after college. She and her husband, Gordon, and their two kids, Charlie and Scott, live there now. Her parents still live in Colonial Williamsburg and it was a blast getting to meet them. Her dad was so excited because he’s interested in the family genealogy as well.

I flew in on Saturday, March 31, and stayed with them through breakfast on Wednesday, April 4.

On Sunday, we attempted to go to breakfast. Attempted. It was comical after the fact. See, we drove to a restaurant in Surry that has great breakfast. Or at least that’s the rumor. We got there at 10:00 a.m. or so and found out they didn’t open for an hour. Oops. So we drove to another restaurant. It had just finished serving breakfast and wouldn’t start serving lunch for another thirty minutes. Finally we ended up at a sandwich shop that made up some stellar grinders and we ate. Thank goodness! On Monday, while Gordon was at work, Cou and the kids and I traipsed over to Colonial Williamburg for some sightseeing, photos, and to meet her parents. We had quite a bit of fun!

On Tuesday, I took off for a field trip on my own, visiting Yorktown and Jamestown. The museum at the Visitor’s Center in Yorktown has General Washington’s field tent. Seriously. It’s encased in glass in a climate-controlled room and is dimly lit to ensure the tent and its accouterments don’t deteriorate. It took some doing, but I managed to get a clear image without the use of a flash (that’s prohibited for obvious reasons). The tent is actually fairly large and it was impressive to see the condition of the items inside and to realize how long they’d been preserved. I grew up camping and my tents were neither this nice, nor this well stocked!

From Yorktown, I drove over to Jamestown. I considered this the highlight of my Colonial National Historical Park adventure. Jamestown includes structures, ruins, archeological digs, monuments, and memorials, but the Glasshouse was of the most interest to me. In the Glasshouse, you can watch artisans heat, blow, and create works of glass art. They produce vases, bottles, bowls, glass disks, and a few additional items through the practice of blowing glass. It’s downright fascinating. I did get one smaller green bottle and plan to order the 2012 Collector’s Edition piece once I get home. There was no way I was buying and transporting this! I could just envision the shattered pieces in my bag when I arrived home. No way, Jose! The only difference is that the shop had the vase in cobalt and white. The bottle I purchased is the green that is historically accurate, but I’m perfectly okay with getting a gorgeous vase in cobalt and white!

On Wednesday, I bid my cousins adieu and set out for Monticello, by way of Richmond, Virginia. I am somewhat preoccupied by rotundas and, therefore, have a fascination with visiting state capitols here in the United States. This is the rotunda in Richmond, Virginia. I shot dozens of photographs, but thought you’d appreciate this one because it shows a bit of the rotunda as well as the second floor of the Capitol and the statue of George Washington on the ground floor. George is the first of eight presidents who were born in Virginia, more than any other state. Virginia’s rotunda is lovely. So bright and cheery with its yellow coloring. I also shot photographs of their historic state congress and court rooms, as well as exterior shots of the building. If I’m going to go to the trouble of parking a car and visiting the rotunda, I’m going to photograph everything in my path!

From Richmond, I set out for Monticello. I was supposed to visit Montpelier, but forgot that I needed to go there prior to hitting Monticello. Oh well. If you don’t know, Monticello is the home of Thomas Jefferson, second president of the United States. Although Jeff was a lawyer, he had an unbelievable curiosity where architecture is concerned. He not only designed his home (and tore down, redesigned, tore down again, redesigned again, so on and so forth), he also designed University of Virginia, whose dome is visible from Monticello. This is my third trip to Virginia and I was determined to visit Monticello! I came, I saw, I photographed, I conquered. I have quite the feeling of accomplishment.

I never did make it to Shenandoah National Park. Between Richmond, Monticello, Ash Lawn (the not-so-photogenic home of President Monroe), and Michie Tavern, I ran out of daylight and headed to Stewart and Loren’s. My plan is to come back for another visit in a few years. I’ll get to Shenandoah NP, Montpelier, and more of Washington, D.C.

Speaking of Washington, D.C. … to be continued!

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