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National Route 66 Museum

Where is it?

On Route 66, of course! Actually, it’s on a stretch of the original Route 66 in Elk City, Oklahoma. We plan to drive the entire route someday, but we’re settling for bits and pieces for the time being. This turned out to be a nice little piece of the route.

What’s it about?

It is a complex of five great museums all in one place. They include:  the National Route 66 Museum, National Transportation Museum, Farm and Ranch Museum, Blacksmith Museum, and the Old Town Museum which contains the Beutler Rodeo Hall. All sections are worth the stop. Below are some shots from the Route 66 Museum where there are different vignettes depicting what travelers would have seen in each of the eight states along the Mother Road.

We suspect there may still be some places like this one in New Mexico and Arizona, live rattlesnakes and all!
Crusin’ through the great state of Missouri. Gotta love those vintage cars!
“Are we there yet?”

Who napped in the back window on family vacations? Was the motel pool your entire reason for living? How about stopping at Stuckey’s for a pecan roll and a cheap souvenir? A&W root beers and burgers in the car anyone? Remember when motels had stationery and post cards in the rooms? And then there were those real live “trading posts” with that horrible-tasting rock candy and “authentic” turquoise jewelry. Oh, and Reptile Village, but our dads wouldn’t ever stop. Those were fun times, and this museum really brought back the memories for us, although some of it was way before our time.

Outside in the sunshine, we walked around the “old town” exhibits and looked in all the windows. Below are a couple of shots.

Wonder what the gas prices were back in this gas station’s heyday?
More of the old town. Each building is furnished with items the businesses would have had way back when, and all can be viewed through the storefront windows. There’s even a country doctor’s office complete with creepy medical instruments.

We fell in love with the sculpture (below) in front of the Old Town Museum. The museum building had once been the home of a family who owned department stores in western Oklahoma. The first floor depicts how some of the early residents would have lived. The second floor is dedicated to the the Beutler family who own a ranch north of Elk City and have raised champion rodeo stock for almost 100 years. This museum was worth the admission fee by itself.

His name was Commotion, and he was the Beutler brothers three time world champion bucking horse.
“Commotion” from a different angle. It is a beautiful bronze sculpture by T.D. Kelsey of Guthrie, Texas.

Click here for an interesting read about this multi-faceted artist: https://www.tdkelsey.com/the-artist

The museum complex admission is (currently) $5.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 6-16. Children 5 and under are admitted free. For AAA members and people over 60, it is $4.00. (We paid $4.00 each, but we’re not saying which discount we got!)

In closing, we would recommend a stop here for travelers who have a couple of hours to spend. And if you’re already traveling the Mother Road (or even I-40), a stop here is a great way to get out of the car for a time, take a relaxing stroll through the complex, and learn something new while you’re at it!

Thank you for stopping by our site, and we hope you come back again for more road trip stops, Quick Stops, Wish We Were There Wednesdays, and lots of other good stuff. We appreciate you more than you know, and we would love to hear from you so feel free to comment below. We can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter @KellyeHefner.

Until the next trip…

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

 

 

 

 

Featured

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Welcome to the home of Dwight D. “Ike” and Mamie Eisenhower. How befitting that a distinguished military leader and the 34th president of the United States, would make his home next some some of our nation’s most sacred grounds at Gettysburg.

We had made reservations to tour the house but were notified shortly thereafter by e-mail that the house had been closed due to Covid – very disappointing. Since the grounds are open to visitors, we decided to stop by and see the property anyway. Fortunately, we arrived in time to join a ranger talk which was extremely interesting and took the sting out of not getting to tour the house. The farm, which was visited by several world leaders and other dignitaries, is only 10 minutes from Camp David and 30 minutes from Washington by helicopter. This would have been an extreme convenience to the president.

This is the only house that Ike and Mamie ever owned. Due to many military appointments at home and abroad, Ike becoming president of Columbia University, and living in the White House, the Eisenhowers only used the property as a retreat. They lived here full time after the end of his presidency.
This is a view of the back of the home
Ike’s backyard putting green, installed as a gift from the PGA. It cannot be seen in this shot, but the flag reflects the five stars of his General of the Army rank.

The property immediately surrounding the house includes a barn, a guest house, a tea house, greenhouses and gardens. Interestingly, there is also a helicopter landing pad just beyond the road in front of the house, but it’s simply a mowed-short patch of grass on the lawn.

Barn adjacent to the house and attached garage that still holds some of their personal vehicles. A secret service office was located on the opposite end of the barn. Ike was the first president to have lifetime secret service protection for himself and his wife after leaving office.
Guest House
This is the second farm where Ike’s champion Angus cattle were bred and raised.

We saw many farms that looked like this one in Pennsylvania, particularly the Amish and Mennonite farms in and around Lancaster County. We fell in love with the white barns, silos, and pastoral settings, all reflective of a simpler life that is probably anything but simple.

Beautiful soybean crop and view from the house. The National Park Service leases the land to a local farmer who also tends to the cattle that live on the farm today.

For additional information about the Eisenhower National Historic Site, click here: https://www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm

To view the Eisenhower National Historic Site collections, click here: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/eisenhower-national-historic-site

Virtual tours of the house are found here: https://www.nps.gov/eise/learn/photosmultimedia/videos.htm

That’s going to be all for this trip. Thank you for joining us on our journeys. Please join us again for another great destination. 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.

©2021

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesdays: Vehicles

Today we’re sharing some interesting vehicles that we have come across during our travels. We hope you enjoy seeing them!

USS Cairo gunboat. One of the first ironclad warships built during the civil war, she was sunk by a torpedo (or mine) in the Yazoo River while helping other ships sweep for mines in 1862. Luckily there were no casualties. Having been raised in the 1960s after lying in the silty bottom of the river for over 100 years, she now resides at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Tour bus in Yellowstone National Park. Beginning in the 1920s, these “National Park Buses” carried visitors on various excursions through the park, with some of the buses still running in the 1960s. Eventually all of these classics were all sold. Several of them have now been relocated and refurbished so that today’s visitors to the park can experience what it was like back in the early days – with modern amenities and roads, of course.

USS Constitution. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, she was initially launched in 1797. She is the world’s oldest ship that is still afloat, and she is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, which means she is still served by U. S. Navy officers and crew. Her home is the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

This truck is called a Peacekeeper. They were once used by security officers who patrolled near minuteman missile silos. These armored Dodge trucks were usually outfitted with a machine gun turret on the roof. This one is at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota.

This is a rail truck at the World Museum of Mining in Butte, Montana. The unusual vehicle was an important part of the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway (BAP) which was the first railroad to convert from steam to electricity. Built in the early 1900s, this truck was used to maintain the overhead wires of the railroad.

These huge ships are docked in Baltimore and are Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships used to preposition or move supplies, vehicles, and other cargo needed by the military. Interestingly, MSC ships are served by civil service workers who are employed by the Navy and are not active military personnel. We captured this shot in the rain thus the monochromatic image.

Old snow blower train in Skagway, Alaska with a rotary snowplow on the front.

This is President Lyndon Johnson’s Jetstar, nicknamed Air Force 1/2. The runway at his Texas ranch couldn’t accommodate Air Force One, so this smaller plane would carry him from a larger airport (usually in San Antonio or Austin) to the ranch. The plane is on display at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (LBJ Ranch) at Stonewall, Texas.

Here is a shot of the Goodyear blimp which we captured on a gorgeous fall afternoon in our own city. Did you know that up until 2005 (with a couple of deviations) Goodyear named its blimps after the American winners of the America’s Cup yacht race? Now the public gets to submit suggestions for naming the blimps.

We’re going to close the post with a shot inside a hot air balloon while it’s deflating – just because we think it’s a cool pic.

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 and Twitter.

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

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

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

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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

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

Featured

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.

©2021

Featured

We’re Finally Back on the Road!

Covid threw us (and everyone else) for a loop, but after a too-long hiatus, a lot of research, and many hours of soul searching, we decided to mask up, pack our hand sanitizer, and get back to business. We are thrilled to share our 1200 mile, five state Mid-Atlantic road trip with you over the next weeks and months, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Our trip began and ended in Baltimore, MD because…well, Southwest flies there. We try to always fly Southwest if possible – gotta love those points! Plus, Baltimore was a perfect central location for everything we wanted to do and see. What we didn’t expect was the heavy traffic. (Wilmington and Baltimore, we’re looking at you!) For a couple of folks from the wide open spaces of West Texas, we weren’t used to taking two and a half hours to go 68 miles. That said, the trip was great and the bumper to bumper traffic in some areas just added to the adventure.

Here’s our cute Kia Sorrento rental car.

Catoctin Mountain Park (Thurmont, Maryland)

Our very first stop on the trip was at Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. It is a free entrance national park site that includes a scenic drive, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, streams, fishing, rock climbing, and cross country skiing in the winter, and it abuts Cunningham Falls State Park, which is the site of the highest waterfall in Maryland. You may not have heard of Catoctin Mountain Park, but we bet you’ve heard of Camp David. The presidential retreat established by Dwight D. Eisenhower and named after his grandson is located in Catoctin Mountain Park. Camp David is not accessible to the public and its location is apparently kept very secretive. We happened to see what we believed to be the entrance because it had official looking gates with signs that prohibited parking, standing, and picture taking.

Oh, the beauty, the delightful bird calls and the earthy smells of the forest. We love a good trail, and this one didn’t disappoint.
Pastoral Catoctin Mountains farm scene from the overlook at the end of the trail

Here’s a handy link to Catoctin Mountain Park for more information: https://www.nps.gov/cato/index.ht

National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

We didn’t have this stop on our itinerary, but it was on the way to Gettysburg so we took a chance. What a great place to see! The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The grounds, walking paths, and gardens are beautiful. We got to witness a pilgrimage to the Grotto while we were there, which was an exciting first for us. That is why there are no pictures of the actual Grotto, but below are some shots from in and around the area. While viewing the pictures, imagine walking through a serene garden setting on a mountain top while a carillon rings out “How Great Thou Art”.

Chapel
Reflecting Pool
Beautiful Jesus
Saint Anthony Shrine (dedicated in 1859) near the National Shrine Grotto in Emmitsburg

Here is the link to The National Shrine Grotto if you would like additional information: https://www.nsgrotto.org/

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Also in Emmitsburg, MD, is the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Born in 1774, she was the first American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Shrine and Basillica

Also of interest in Emmitsburg is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial which is located just down the street from the Seton Shrine.

Here is the link to The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: https://setonshrine.org

Here is the link to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial: https://www.firehero.org

That is all we have for this post. You won’t want to miss our next exciting destination, Gettysburg. We appreciate you for visiting our site and riding along with us on our adventures. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. 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