Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

Where is it?

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site lies along the banks of the Washita River in southwestern Oklahoma. The site is also part of the Black Kettle National Grassland which is managed by the National Forest Service. Twelve miles north of the park is the Black Kettle Recreation Area featuring: 

  • Tent camping sites (no reservations/no fee)
  • Hiking and interpretive trails
  • Picnic Area
  • Lake with boat ramp
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife viewing

Cheyenne, Oklahoma is the nearest town and is located 23 miles north of I-40 and Sayre, Oklahoma via US Highway 283. 

For additional information, here is a link to the park’s website: Washita Battlefield

The park’s pretty landscape

We visited this park in early March, and while the temperatures were in the mid-60s, so were the winds. At least it felt that way. The gusts were so high, we couldn’t hold the camera still. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we were in Oklahoma where the “wind comes sweepin’ down the plain”. Despite the blustery gusts, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit surrounded by the peaceful setting and gorgeous landscape. Our photos don’t do justice to the park’s golden and red tinged grasses, russet bluffs, and gently rolling hills. 

This battlefield photo is a victim of the wind, but we included it because it reminded us of an old painting of the pristine landscape

Significance of the Site

Southern Cheyenne leader Chief Black Kettle and approximately 250 of his tribespeople were encamped for the winter in a village here on the banks of the Washita River. More than 5,000 other Cheyenne, Arapaho and Kiowa were also peacefully encamped in villages farther down the river. Following hostile attacks by bands of Cheyenne on white settlers in Kansas, renowned Civil War general, Philip Sheridan, ordered a retaliatory attack, and his (likely unwarranted) target was Black Kettle’s village. On November 27, 1868, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer led 800 soldiers of the 7th Cavalry in the surprise early morning raid, killing scores of village’s occupants including women and children. The assault would become known as the Battle of the Washita. 

This monument, located near the encampment site, tells the story of the Battle of the Washita. Offerings of remembrance and prayer line the top of the monument.

Casualties of the Battle

Upon hearing of the attack, warriors from the larger villages downstream had rushed to aid Black Kettle and his people. Their help was probably too little and too late, and sadly, both Black Kettle and his wife, Medicine Woman Later were killed in the battle. The death toll remains sketchy, but approximately 103 Cheyenne and 22 US Army personnel perished, along with the Cheyenne’s herd of ponies. Survivors of the battle included fifty-three Cheyenne women and children who were captured and taken to Fort Hays in Kansas. Custer’s soldiers were instructed to destroy all evidence of the village, therefore all fifty-one of the Cheyenne’s lodges were burned and most of their ponies were slaughtered. When all was said and done, nothing remained of the village except the bones of 800 ponies, which were finally removed from the site in 1935.

George Armstrong Custer – photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Custer’s Destiny                                            

In an ironic twist of fate, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer met his demise almost eight years later in June 1876 during the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana. The US Army (7th Cavalry) suffered defeat against a band of thousands of Native American warriors composed mostly of Northern Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux. Little Bighorn is considered the most significant battle of the Great Sioux War, which was a series of conflicts and unkept agreements between Native American tribes and the US government. Perhaps most famously, the Battle of the Little Bighorn is remembered as Custer’s Last Stand.

Identifying exactly where the lodges stood is difficult because everything was burned. However, some archaeological evidence points to this area along the southern bank of the Washita.

Why Visit This National Park Site?

Washita Battlefield tells just one story of the many adversities the native peoples suffered, especially as our country expanded westward into their homelands. Though we tend to turn our sympathies more toward Black Kettle and his people, the park does an excellent job of explaining what happened from each side’s point of view. Besides, we’re never too old or too young to learn, and where better to learn something than at a free national park. Plan to spend at least an hour in the visitor center because there is a film and a museum that are interesting as well as educational. From the visitor center, drive about a quarter mile to the village site and then walk the 1.5-mile interpretive trail to learn more about what took place on that fateful day in 1868. 

Looks like another painting. Isn’t it pretty? Not a telephone pole, billboard, cell tower, or wind turbine in sight.

Thank you so much for joining us on our quick trip to Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. 

Looking for more history? Check out these historic sites:
Fort Union National Monument
Eisenhower National Historic Site
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Site

 

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 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

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

Quick Stops – New England

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Sunflower getting ready to unfurl her petals

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First stop: Windsor, Vermont

Where in the world is it?

Windsor, Vermont lies along the banks of the Connecticut River on the eastern border of the state. The quaint town is about 68 miles south and east of Montpelier.

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Steeple of the Old South Church in Windsor (Congregational – 1768)

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Old South Church Cemetery

Windsor is the birthplace of Vermont. In 1777, the Constitution of Vermont was adopted here, making the Vermont Republic a sovereign state. Vermont joined the United States in 1791. Windsor was also the capital of Vermont until 1805 when Montpelier became the capital.

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We saw these wonderful old barns in Windsor and found ourselves wishing we knew their story.

Second stop: Carroll Homestead

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Where in the world is it?

The Carroll Homestead is in Acadia National Park.

The 45 acre Carroll farm was settled by the John Carroll family in 1825. Here the family grew hay, maintained gardens, and also raised animals. The last members of the Carroll family vacated the house in 1917, but they continued to farm the land. The property was acquired for Acadia National Park in 1982. We wouldn’t call it a major attraction of the park, but the house itself is architecturally interesting. Besides, we wanted to see as much of the park as possible so we made a quick stop. Unfortunately, the house wasn’t open when we visited, but we’re sure that the seeing the inside would add a lot to a visit here.

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It’s a fact, Jack!

Many of the New England churches with the tall white steeples are/were Congregational Christian churches. Although Congregational churches can be found in many countries around the world, the roots of American Congregationalism grew from the religious beliefs (and most likely the political beliefs) of the Puritans of colonial New England. Some view Congregationalism as a movement rather than a denomination. Congregational churches are governed independently by each church’s own congregation. Today, the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, the United Church of Christ, and the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches carry on some of the traditional Congregational beliefs and practices. Harvard College and Yale College (originally, the Collegiate School) were established for the purpose of educating and training Congregational clergymen. And, now you know…

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

San Antonio Missions

Our visit to the Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park took place on Palm Sunday. What a wonderful day to see the historic mission churches and celebrate their history! In addition to the Alamo, there are four missions along the banks of the San Antonio River which compose San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Each of the mission churches are still active parishes today. As proud Texans, we hope you will enjoy our tour of the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in our state. 

 Our first stop was the Alamo. 

The Alamo

Mision San Antonio de Valero. The Alamo (which means cottonwood in Spanish) is located in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Contrary to what most believe, the entire compound, what is left of it, is the mission. The building pictured above is the mission church which is universally recognized as the Alamo. Built by Spanish missionaries, the church and mission date to 1718. The Battle of the Alamo took place here in 1836. Although the Mexican army won the battle, it was significant in the events leading to Texas gaining independence from Mexico. The mission was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The Alamo is included as part of the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site, though it is not part of the national historical park. The Alamo is owned and managed by the State of Texas. 

Travel tip: no photography of any kind is allowed inside the church.

Beautiful tree on the mission grounds. We had to wonder what this tree has witnessed in all of its years here. Just under the bottom branch in the center-right of the shot is the mission’s water well.
This building, which is located on the mission grounds, houses “The Alamo: A Story Bigger Than Texas” exhibit featuring artifacts from the Alamo and the Phil Collins Texana collections. While there is no fee to enter the church building or grounds, there is a fee to enter this building, and advance tickets are recommended.

Free timed tickets are required to enter the mission church and can be obtained from the kiosk in Alamo Plaza or online at: https://www.thealamo.org/visit/calendar/alamo-free-timed-entry

Travel tip: we got our exhibit tickets and timed entry tickets for the church online and included them as part of our itinerary to save time upon arrival.  

The Alamo Cenotaph (south side)

The Alamo Cenotaph is a monument commemorating the Battle of the Alamo and honors those who fought in the battle. Its actual name is Spirit of Sacrifice. The stunning sculpture by Texas artist Pompeo Coppini is sixty feet tall, forty feet long, twelve feet wide, and stands adjacent to the mission at Alamo Plaza. On the east and west sides, the bas relief sculptures depict the leaders of the battle. Names of some of the Texans (then known as Texians) who fought there are engraved into the granite near the base. The monument was dedicated in September of 1940.

West side
East side
North side

And speaking of historic buildings, we are including some interesting facts about the Emily Morgan Hotel which interests many who visit the Alamo.

The Emily Morgan is a registered Texas Historic Landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977

Opened in 1924 as a medical arts building with doctors offices and hospital facilities, the building served its original purpose until 1976 when it was updated to house modern office spaces. In 1984 the site became the Emily Morgan Hotel. In 2012, after undergoing major renovations, it became a Hilton Doubletree Hotel but kept the name Emily Morgan. An unusual feature of the exquisite building is its gargoyles depicting different medical ailments. The building sits just north of Alamo plaza so its grounds, which were once part of the mission, saw the deaths of hundreds of men. The hotel is said to be one the most haunted places in San Antonio. 

Ever heard the song “Yellow Rose of Texas”? Legend has it that Emily (West) Morgan was the Yellow Rose of Texas. Read all about it here: https://officialalamo.medium.com/who-was-the-yellow-rose-of-texas-750c95617241

San Antonio Missions

Our second stop was Mission Concepcion which sits in a residential neighborhood a few miles south of San Antonio’s downtown area.   

Full name: Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion

Mission Concepcion, which dates to 1755, is the only unrestored stone church in America. As with all of the Spanish missions, its purpose was to convert native people to Christianity and integrate them into communities where they could be taught trades and farming in order to become self-sufficient. The mission was originally established in east Texas, however the Franciscan priests, who wanted to bring the native people into Spanish culture, chose to move away from the French influences of what is now Louisiana. This site of Mission Concepcion was chosen in 1731, and it took about 15 years to complete the buildings.

Mission Concepcion. Note the water well in the left-center foreground. Each of the missions have a similar well.

The mission church and convento (building complex where missionaries, visitors, some residents, and the parish priest resided on the mission grounds) boast of their 250-year-old frescoes which are beautifully preserved today. The outside of the church was also once painted with bright colors, but those have been erased over time. Interestingly, the stone for this mission was quarried on its own grounds. While the Mission Concepcion church was constructed in the Spanish Colonial style, some Moorish features were also incorporated, such as this pretty archway and stairwell outside of the church. This nook was so unexpected, we had to wonder if it was original to the mission.

Because services were being conducted while we were visiting Mission Concepcion, we were unable to enter the church.

Our third stop was Mission San Jose. The national park visitor center is located here and provides helpful information about all of the missions. 

Full name: Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo
Founded in 1720, the San Jose Mission and Church were completed in 1782. We arrived just as Palm Sunday services were ending.
Luckily, we were able to get a picture of the beautiful sanctuary, though the church was crowded with parishioners and other tourists. It was the only one of the mission churches that we were able to photograph inside.

Mission San Jose was our favorite of the four missions. It is also the most restored, with the majority of the restorations having been completed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which gave unemployed young men work relief during the Great Depression. Approximately 80% of the church is original.

Convento and water well. The white edges above the stone arches are where roofs once were.
Housing for the native residents of the mission. Each home has two small rooms and a tiny fireplace. Eighty-four of these “apartments” encompass the mission grounds.

San Jose Mission was touted as the Queen of the Missions. While it was not constructed as a fort, the mission was said to be as secure as any fort of the day, thereby protecting its residents against attacks by hostile outsiders.

Granary completed in 1755 and restored in the1930s

Our fourth stop was Mission San Juan, which was a little disappointing at first glance because we thought the church was new. Once we began our trek around the mission grounds, we found out we were wrong!

Full Name: Mission San Juan Capistrano

Similar to Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan’s humble beginnings were in east Texas in 1716. The original mission, Mission San Jose de los Nazonis, was established to serve Nozonis Indians in the area, but the mission failed, so it was reestablished in its current location in 1731 and renamed Mission San Juan Capistrano. The mission suffered misfortune in its new location too. Epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles killed many of the natives. Attacks by hostile bands of Apache and Comanche Indians also plagued the mission. These adversities caused some of the inhabitants to leave mission life behind and return to their nomadic lifestyle.

Mission San Juan Church dates to 1772 and is the mission’s second church. The stone walls were covered in plaster in 1984, and other preservation measures were completed in 2012.

Construction of a third church was begun in 1775 but was never completed because of the decline in the population of the mission.

Unfinished church dates to 1775 with some restoration in the mid 20th century

The native people who built and lived at this mission were farmers of food and fiber. They also made tools and cloth which, along with the crops, enabled trade that helped sustain the community. By 1762, about 203 people were residing at the mission. Remains of several farm tracts and an irrigation system can be found near the mission, as well as a dam which is not open to the public. The national park operates a demonstration farm for visitors today, using the same irrigation system (acequia) and growing the same types of crops.

Convento, restored in the 1960s

Our fifth and final stop was Mission Espada which was our second favorite of the four San Antonio missions. 

Full name: San Francisco de la Espada

Mission Espada is the oldest of the Texas missions, having been founded in 1690. As with other missions it was established first in east Texas but was reestablished in its current location near the banks of the San Antonio River in 1731.

Mission Espada Church, completed in 1756

The residents of Mission Espada made bricks, some of which can still be seen in the mission’s structures. Residents of Espada also made tiles, wove cloth, made tools, and raised crops and livestock.

This arched entryway to the mission shows the brickwork
Ruins of some of the original mission buildings

Espada also had an aqueduct which still exists today and diverts water from the San Antonio River to the mission and its farmland. A portion of the aqueduct is pictured above as it crosses Piedras Creek, and below is the acequia (irrigation canal). This acequia is still used by people who live near Espada.

For more information about San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, click here: https://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm 

That’s going to be all for this trip. We are thrilled that you stopped by our site, and we hope you return again for another great road trip, Quick Stop, Wish We Were There Wednesday weekly post, or a travel tip or two. We post for you, and we would love to hear about your road trips so feel free to leave us a comment below. Please like our site and become a follower so you never miss a post. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Until the next trip… Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

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

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island is a place that we have wanted to visit for years. Once we heard about the wild horses that make the island their home, we were raring to go. And, yes, it lives up to the hype! The National Park Service has done an excellent job with maintaining the roads, facilities, and beaches.

Our first stop was the visitor center where we got some information about the island, bought our requisite Christmas ornament, and picked up the park brochure. Then we drove over the Verrazano Bridge to get to the island.

For information about the national seashore, click here: https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm

Not long after we drove in to the park, there was a pony jam which was very similar to the bison jams we have encountered in other national parks. Everyone wants to stop and take pictures, and if the horses are in the road, well, you just have to wait because this is their turf!

Some believe the wild horses that live on Assateague Island, which lies in Maryland and Virginia, and its neighbor, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, are the descendants of horses that came from a Spanish galleon ship that sank offshore. Others believe that farmers who lived nearby turned their stock out to graze on the islands to avoid paying heavy taxes on them. Whether these theories are true or not, it is known that the horses have been on the islands for about 300 years. In Maryland, the horses are owned and managed by the National Park Service. The horses in Virginia are owned and managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

No, we weren’t as close as it looks. We obeyed the rules, kept our 40 foot distance, and used the zoom.
Parking lot picnic!

Approximately 80-100 horses live on the Maryland side of Assateague Island, and they are considered wildlife. There is no veterinary or human intervention toward their care, except for birth control. Their short legs and stocky bodies have evolved to enable them to easily navigate the sand dunes and walk through the marshes on the island. They appear to be bloated due to the fact that they drink twice the amount of water as domesticated horses because of their salty diet.

For a super interesting short film about the Assateague horses, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44KhYh3LVLU

Absolutely beautiful!

The beaches at Assateague Island are beautiful, too. There were no crowds on the day we went, and everything was clean including the beaches, the changing facilities, and showers. We were impressed.

View of the dunes from the boardwalk leading to the beach
We encountered several people who were surf fishing. We never have surf fished (probably because we live about 500 miles from the nearest surf) but they looked like they were having a great time. Crabbing is also allowed at this park. Other things to do here are hiking, biking, and camping.
Not a scrap of trash to be seen! We don’t know if this is one of them, but we encountered several “No Trash” parks on this trip. In those parks you pack out all of your own trash, and there are no trash cans. What a great idea! Someone should have thought of it sooner.
Check out all the passengers on this horseshoe crab
Did you know that horseshoe crabs have been around longer than dinosaurs? It has been estimated that horseshoe crabs have been on earth for 450 million years. That means they survived the ice ages! Their bright blue blood is vital to the medical industry as it is used to test vaccines for contamination. Who knew?

Assateague Island National Seashore abuts Assateague State Park in Maryland. The horses also have free reign in this park, and the facilities and beaches are great here too.

Assateague State Park beach
Beach grass at Assateague State Park. The grass controls erosion. Without it, the dunes would blow away.

This ends our visit to Assateague Island. We hope you enjoyed your visit and will come back again soon for another fun destination, quick stop, or travel tip. We will leave you with one more shot of the horses, this time standing in a marshy area. Doesn’t the one in the middle have spectacular coloring?

Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

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

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Rivers

Big Thompson River near Loveland, Colorado

We seem to have a thing for rivers, well, for all water really. Maybe that comes from living in a dry part of the world where our rivers, which are few, usually only have a trickle of water in them. Or, maybe it’s just because when we’re near a flowing river we’re enchanted by the beauty of our surroundings. Regardless of our reasons, we hope you enjoy this wet and wonderful look at rivers.

Colorado River, Arizona
Little Missouri River, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
The Virgin River flows through Zion Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah
The Yellowstone River flowing through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
View of the Rio Grande from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, New Mexico.
Gunnison River, Morrow Point, Colorado
Rio Pueblo de Taos. Bet you can guess where this one is. Did you know it’s a tributary of the Rio Grande?
The Colorado River meanders through Canyonlands National Park
The Rio Grande flows through Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas, and is the dividing line between the U.S. and Mexico.
Steam rises from the Madison River on a cold morning in Yellowstone National Park.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please come back again for more fun places, road trips, tips and tricks, Quick Stops, and Wish We Were There Wednesdays. Become a follower so you never miss a post! We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

Happy hump day, everybody!

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

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Sitting right on Baltimore’s inner harbor near an industrial area on the edge of downtown is Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the “The Star-Spangled Banner”. It was during the War of 1812 that a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key penned the now famous words. He had been aboard a US truce ship on the river while witnessing the battle between the Americans defending Baltimore at Fort McHenry and the British navy. The British had sailed up the Chesapeake Bay after burning Washington and filled the river with its ships aiming to capture Baltimore. After the battle in September of 1814, Key was inspired to write the poem when he saw that the garrison flag “yet waved” by the dawn’s early light over Fort McHenry. The poem was set to an adapted tune of an 18th Century European song called “To Anacreon in Heaven”, and in 1931 “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the National Anthem of the United States. Did you know that the original title of Key’s poem was “The Defense of Fort McHenry”?

A smaller replica of the original garrison flag, which bore fifteen stars and fifteen stripes and measured 30′ x 42′, flies over Fort McHenry today. The original flag, made by Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore at the request of the fort’s commander, Major George Armistead, now resides in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Fort McHenry was built between 1798 and 1803 and is named for James McHenry who hailed from Baltimore and was George Washington’s Secretary of War. During the Civil War, the fort was used to hold prisoners of war, but it was primarily used as a prison for pro-succession Maryland residents. During World War I, the grounds around Fort McHenry were home to 100 buildings composing a 3,000 bed hospital. Called General Hospital 2, which was one of the largest in the US at the time, it was used to treat wounded from the battlefields of France. Fort McHenry is the only national park site that has been designated as a shrine.

Prison cells at Fort McHenry
These cannons swivel on a round track so they can be aimed in different directions
These cannons are aimed toward the harbor. Baltimore’s harbor is actually the Patapsco River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
Inside the fort
Outside the fort
Sallyport (entrance) to the fort

We’re going to call this trip done, but in closing the post we want to leave you with a couple of cool shots at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is where the Baltimore Orioles baseball team plays, and the stadium is next to M&T Bank Stadium where the Baltimore Ravens football team plays. Both fields are in downtown Baltimore.

Eutaw Street Entrance
The great Babe Ruth was a Baltimorian who was born just a few blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In fact, his father once owned and ran a bar that sat about where the ballpark’s second base is located today.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Until the 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

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Random Places

Today we’re taking a random places road trip, and we are so happy to have you along for the ride. Enjoy!

Pike Place Market, Seattle. Established in 1907, it is the oldest running farmer’s market in the U.S. The original Starbucks opened here in 1971.

The Green Monster left field wall at Fenway Park, Boston. The reason the wall is there? To keep people from watching the game for free. In 2003, 269 barstool seats and 100 standing room only spaces were added to the deck on the wall, however tickets for those seats are hard to come by. By the way, the scoreboard on the Green Monster is still updated by hand. Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912.

Smokey Bear’s gravesite, Capitan, New Mexico. The idea of a fire prevention mascot was conceived in 1944 when the National Forest Service came up with a character called Smokey Bear. In 1950, a black bear cub was found badly burned after a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. The firefighters who found him named him Smokey. A popular living symbol of fire prevention, Smokey made his home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. until he died in 1976. He was returned to Capitan where he was buried in what is now Smokey Bear Historical Park.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville. Home of the Midnite Jamboree, which started right after the Grand Ole Opry show was over on Saturday nights. Ernest helped many artists get their start right there in that store until 1974 when the show was moved to another venue. The Midnite Jamboree was moved back to the store in 2021. Tubb was born in Texas, 35 miles south of Dallas. He performed and wrote songs up until his health required him to quit in 1982. He died in 1984. In March 2022, it was announced that the store is being sold and the Midnite Jamboree would be ending.

Geographic Center of the U.S. The actual survey marker is 22 miles north of town, but Belle Fourche, South Dakota does a great job of letting people know it’s close by.

UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico. Occupying a 1930s era movie theater, the museum was opened in 1991. In addition to the exhibits, mostly about the so-called Roswell incident, they also have a gift shop that carries things like bumper stickers that say, “I Like Aliens, They Taste Just Like Chicken”, and other gotta-take-one-of-these-home souvenirs.

Granary Burying Ground, Boston. Established in 1660, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock are all buried here, along with some of Ben Franklin’s family members and victims of the Boston Massacre, among others. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people are buried in this small cemetery, though there are just over 2,300 markers.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, Nebraska. Site of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Scout’s Rest Ranch, which was his home from 1886 to 1913. This beautiful barn was built in 1887 to house his purebred stallions and other livestock that lived on the 4,000-acre ranch. His mansion is shown below.

Buffalo Bill Cody’s home at Scout’s Rest Ranch

Reflections on the Colorado River, Moab, Utah. Did you know that the Colorado River Basin is part of eleven national parks? The Colorado River also flows through seven states, two Mexican states, and it forms a partial border between Arizona and Mexico.

Provincetown, Massachusetts. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims on the Mayflower landed first at Provincetown in 1620 where the men on the ship signed the Mayflower Compact. The compact was a document whereby they agreed to self-rule the colony they were set to establish in the New World. After finding no fresh water in the area, they sailed across the bay to Plymouth, and the rest, they say, is history.

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado. Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, opened the hotel in 1909. In the 1970s Stephen King visited the hotel and was inspired to write his novel The Shining. Today, the Stanley Hotel claims to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country with none other than Freelan and his wife, Flora (among other spirits) roaming the hallways. We toured this stunning hotel, and even went in the basement, but we didn’t see any paranormal activity – or Jack Nicholson!

That’s going to do it for today. Thanks so much for joining us on our random places road trip. We hope you will return to our site again for more sights, scenery, trips, tricks, and tips. Be sure to sign up to be an e-mail follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Tell your friends! We want to be friends with them, too.

Happy hump day, everybody!

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.

©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 to some of our nation’s most sacred grounds at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

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 Wednesday: Churches

Intricate details on the historic Trinity Church, Boston.

If you have followed our posts, you’ve probably noticed that we love churches – especially historic ones. Today we’re sharing a few of our favorites, and we hope you love them too. Enjoy!

Another detail of the Trinity Church in Boston – love the gargoyles!

Trinity Church, Boston. Built 1872 – 1877.

Mission Church, Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico. Built in 1717.

Old North Church, Boston. Built 1723.

Quechee Church, Quechee, Vermont. Built in 1873.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona. Built 1954 – 1956.

Ruins of the San Jeronimo Mission Church at Taos Pueblo. Dates to approximately 1706.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built 1907.

The Cathedral of Saint Helena, Helena, Montana. Built 1908.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Built 1869 – 1887.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist (also known as The Mother Church), Boston. Built 1894 – 1906 with later additions.

Chapel at Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Maryland. Cemetery established around 1808.

San Jose de Gracia in Las Trampas, New Mexico, built in 1760.

Grace Methodist Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built 1873 – 1878.

Thank you for visiting our site! We hope you will come back again for more great road trip destinations, Quick Stops, WWWTWs, and some tips and tricks. Become a follower so you never miss a post – just hit that SUBSCRIBE button on the right-side of the page. We will not share your information with anyone!

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