5.31.2012

Monticello Part 1

Monticello is one of my very favorite places to go when I go to Charlottesville. Its the home of Thomas Jefferson.

The grounds are beautiful.
 His garden.
 The east front of the house - the tour entrance.
 The west front.
 Flowers and the west lawn.
Flowers.
 1 - The octagonal bedroom that is called the Madison Room. It's where James and Dolley Madison stayed on their frequent visits to Monticello.
2 - A parlor
3 - The East entrance hall.
4 - The family sitting room.
5 - Jefferson's library
6 - Jefferson's portico and green house
7 - Breakfast room
8 - Dining room - it used to be light blue, matching the decor on the fireplace. But recent research and paint technology has revealed that it was Chrome Yellow. It's pretty bright.
 9 - West parlor. This room has pianos, game boards, paintings on the walls. It was used to entertain his guests.
10 - Jefferson's bedroom
11 - Thomas Jefferson's Office.
After touring the downstairs we got to tour the upstairs. This is a new special tour available at a price.

It was pretty cool.

That's the next post.


5.29.2012

Bridgewater

One the Friday we were there we drove "over the mountain" to Bridgewater and Dayton. There is a Farmer's Market there fun by Amish. It has a store that has lots of yummy treats. Caitlin's favorite is the bag of marshmallows. It's like Lucky Charms, without the cereal part. They are pretty yummy to munch.

It's a pretty drive.

This is Bridgewater College. 
 Most of a statue of a horse and buggy at the cemetery.
We succeeded in getting our desired treats. Afterward we picked up my cousin, Maxine, to spend the night with us at my grandma's. We headed out early to Monticello for a special tour. That's my  next post.

5.27.2012

The countryside

My sister and covered a total of 700 miles or so, mostly on country roads. My sister has a thing for quaint country roads. She availed herself of my nice camera and it's highspeed shutter. Here are some of the roads we spent time on.

I wish I'd had a Weismann Roadster to drive these roads. It would have been so much fun.

 We saw some houses we really liked along the way and in Charlottesville.







 I liked this little country church. We saw them everywhere.


Charlottesville itself is another post.
We had a good time driving around enjoying the beauty.


5.25.2012

Appomattox Court House

After we finished at the National D-day Memorial, we decided we had time to stop at Appomattox Court House.

Appomattox Court House was the town, not the actual courthouse, where the Civil War officially ended. It was in the front room of the home of a man named McLean that the surrender conditions were accepted and signed.

The whole story of the surrender is pretty cool.

The house. It is a reconstruction. The bricks were taken one by one and people passed by so they could have their own small piece of history.


The front room, where the surrender was signed.


A fat squirrel with a nut in his mouth. He was running up the tree and turned and looked right at me. Just for the fun of it.

5.23.2012

Virginia Part 2

This was probably my favorite part. After we left Poplar Forest, we went to the National D-day memorial in Bedford, VA.

The reason it was chosen to be the home of the memorial is because Bedford boys enlisted as soon as they graduated from high school. In the many deaths that happened on D-day, 19 boys of the 30 something from Bedford died, three died within days. They suffered the largest per capita death in the United States. The telegrams that came about d-day came in July. One mother received 2 telegrams. For a community of only 3,200 people, 22 deaths was a huge hit. They were chosen as the city to host the D-day Memorial because of this connection.

It was an amazing memorial. I think it was one of the best put together memorials I've ever visited. It tells the story of D-day from it's inception, until it's hard won victory.

You start at the "English Garden" section. This is a pavilion with a statue of Eisenhower, the General in charge of the whole thing.
I'm going to share some facts that I remember being told. In order to make a map large enough for the war room, they had to turn to outside sources. They had a game company in England make the map in large unidentifiable parts. Then when it was finished they had two gentlemen from the company put it together. After they put it together they were taken into custody and kindly provided for and not allowed to leave until after the invasion.Their families were notified that they were being taken care of, but that the men couldn't return home for a while. They couldn't risk any of the information getting out.

On the ceiling above Eisenhower there is a map like the one they had made.

There were 5 beaches, Sword, Gold, Juno, Omaha, and Utah. All the branches of the Armed Forces were used, including the Coast Guard. They Coast Guard were the ones responsible for driving the boats back and forth across the channel to pick up and drop off the soldiers. They are also the ones who filmed parts of those days. It is thanks to them we have the films that have. The Air Force, the Navy, Military and the Coast Guard. I'll stop giving the history now, because I'm sure I'm getting stuff wrong.

Anyway, this is the shield that represented the Allied forces.
 So then the garden is shaped and fashioned after this shield.
They were planting the summer flowers in the colors of the shied. The colors on the shield represented a color from every flag of the Allied Forces. 
This is the sword.

The night before they landed, Eisenhower sent this letter to all the soldiers. The lady who was our guide played an original recording for us.
video

So after the Allied Forces planned, the next step is to attack. So the second part of the memorial is the beaches at Normandy.
There are two sides to this section. On one side is listed the American soldiers who died and on the other is listed the soldiers of the other countries who participated.
It's a huge plaza. It's divided into 5 sections, one for every beach.

As you approach the water, this is what you see.

The section that represents the actual beach, is concrete that has sand in it from Normandy. They brought a little piece of France to Bedford.
The things on the ground were put in place by the German's to tear holes in the bottoms of the ships. This was one reason the Allies needed to land at low tide.

There are mechanisms in the water that react like gunfire. It was a good effect.
video

The statues at the beach landing section.


An actual airplane used on D-day.

Then we wove our way around to the top. There is a statue in front of the arch of a soldier dragging another soldier.
 If you look closely, you can see a wedding ring on the standing soldier's left hand.
That is an actual wedding ring from a D-day soldier.

On D-day there was a soldier who was caring for a comrade who said thought he was dying. The wounded soldier took off his wedding ring and asked that if he didn't make it, that his wife be sent his ring. After the fighting was over the helping soldier had this ring is his pocket, but no name and no way to find out who the man was who gave him the ring. He held onto it for years. When he got wind of the statues that had been commissioned for the memorial, he contacted the artist and told him his story. The artist had an idea and asked the man to send him the ring. He placed it on the left had of this statue in memoriam to all the men who left died and left wives behind. An amazing little story.

The arch has the black and white stripes that all the Allies painted onto their aircrafts, so they would know the planes from the different countries who were part of the Allied forces.
 The statue of the downward gun with the helmet and dog tags.
 The top of the statue of the men climbing the wall.

It was a pretty impressive memorial. Definitely worth a visit if you are anywhere in the neighborhood.


5.20.2012

Virginia Part 1

After a couple of weeks in Utah, I went with my sister to Virginia for my Grandma's 80th birthday. While there we took the opportunity to see some of the sights in the surrounding area.

Our first day we drove down to Lynchburg, Appomattox, and Bedford.

Here is what we saw in Lynchburg:

It's Thomas Jefferson's summer home - Poplar Forest. It's not really much to see yet. They are in the early stages of remodeling and bringing it back to what it was when Jefferson visited there during his summers.


It's modeled after his home in Charlottesville, Monticello.

It only has six rooms. They are going to leave one of the rooms in various states of unfinished so people can see how the construction originally took place. It should be finished and worth seeing in about 7 or 8 years. I'll go back then. But it was interesting to see at this point.

 Caitlin on the back lawn.
 The front. In order to prevent the tour guides from accessing the front door while they paint the porch, there was yellow tape. Unattractive.
We had beautiful weather everyday while we were there.