Category Archives: Travel

Say Wha…???

It’s time to pack my bags and close up shop.

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m going to shut things down here. There’s an entire household that needs packing and moving. My husband is retiring and we’re headed back across the country to our home state of Washington.

Say WA

That was the tourism slogan back in 2006. No, they didn’t ask me.   I prefer to say The Evergreen State.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why we are moving. Cost of living is one reason. Every time friends here in Northern Virginia ask us to stay, I ask if they are offering to pay half our mortgage. That pretty much ends the conversation!
Another reason for going is family. Nearly all of our extended family lives in Washington, and my mother’s illness and death solidified the desire to be closer.  My two oldest boys have chosen to attend college there and seeing your kids once in 9 months is too long to be apart at this stage of the game — at least according to this mama!  Of course, the weather is a factor. I can’t get away from this hot, humid summer fast enough! And finally, throughout my husband’s career, Washington State has remained home to us. We grew up there, we attended college there, we met and married there. Two of our children were born there. We have kept our residency status with our driver licenses and our absentee voting ballots. We even managed to be posted there twice during the past 21 years.

But if you need more reasons, I’ll try to help you with a few images:


This lovely photograph of the famous 14,410 foot peak was taken by a family friend.

And it’s not just  Mt. Rainier that is so wonderful. Washington is full of mountains, with two mountain ranges (Cascade and Olympic). Here are the Olympic Mountains over Puget Sound at dusk.
[click to embiggen]

Puget Sound is nice, but there’s more than just salt water. Washington has over 8,000 lakes and ponds. The Columbia River powers the region with several hydroelectric dams, the most famous one being the Grand Coulee Dam. If you don’t already know about it, go ahead and click the link and be amazed!

But maybe you don’t like water or glacier-covered peaks. Would you like a volcano? Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 (she was a pain in the ash, as they say) and has been politely burping and letting off steam ever since.
And of course there is plenty of hiking and camping to be enjoyed.

I will return to blogging, although perhaps not in this particular spot in the internet. I’ve got some changes in mind but they aren’t quite ready for publication. Please keep me in your reader/feed or somehow on your radar. I’ll post the new link when I get my act together again.
I will be back in some form or other, hopefully by September, and I’ll be blogging from this place:

♥KC

Advertisements

Where I’ve been lately

Manassas, first Battle of Bull Run with the 10th Virginians

Manassas, the Battle of Bull Run 

Battle of Bull Run, Manassas

Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington National Cemetery

Carter at Arlington

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

Thankful Thursday: photo o[o]ps

As I watched a bit of the royal wedding last Friday (thank you, PBS and BBC America for helping me avoid the talking heads spewing blather) I was struck by the photographic opportunities I missed 15 years ago when we spent 3 days in London.  At least, I’m pretty sure I missed them — the photo albums are already packed in boxes for our move this summer.  I had scanned the Mannheim Wasserturm photo in yesterday’s post prior to packing the albums, but I can’t recall taking a lot of architectural photographs during that era. And that’s a pity, because were so many lovely old buildings I saw while living and traveling in Europe.

My camera and I were a bit preoccupied. Instead of buildings, I was busy photographing sights like this:

I’m sorry to not have amazing architectual photographs (or at least mediocre photographs of amazing architecture) in my scrapbooks, but I’m incredibly thankful to have captured moments like the one above.

Sharing 42 out of 276 (pictures, that is)

My BFF came for a visit over the weekend.

Red Fox Inn

Peanut Soup at the Red Fox InnWe had a lovely lunch at the Red Fox Inn: peanut soup and crab cake sandwiches. Yum!

This historic inn located in the town of Middleburg has been in business since 1728.

___________________________________

We spent the better part of one day exploring Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryAcross the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry is the C&O Canal and Towpath. The Railroad and the C&O Canal were in competition with one another. In the end, the trains were faster and cheaper. The C&O Canal Towpath is now a lovely trail for hiking and biking.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry is nearly the half-way point on the Appalachian Trail.  It is also the site of John Brown’s fort.

This town changed hands 8 times during the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryIt’s a long way up these steps to the place where Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently about the view… but it’s worth it.  Along the way you will pass a church that escaped shelling during the Civil War by flying the British “Union Jack” flag, proclaiming that it took no sides — neither North nor South. You will also pass a church that did not have the same luck.

[click to embiggen]

Harpers Ferry

Jefferson Rock at Harpers FerryAbove is the spectacular view (from Jefferson Rock) that so moved Thomas Jefferson:  the meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers amongst mountains and rocky valley.

Here is where we could travel southward on the Appalachian Trail, if only we had time…

The Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry

But it is time to leave Harpers Ferry.

__________________________________

We had a busy weekend…

Not only did we visit Middleburg and Harpers Ferry, we managed to visit two wineries and attended a Guinness St. Patrick’s Day party.
Thank you, SuperDad, for being our designated driver! 😀

Jake & the Burtones
KCINNOTX actually liked Jake & the Burtones (above) better than The Acoustic Burgoo (below), but being up near the front and actually being able to hear them clearly might have influenced her impressions. The Acoustic Burgoo

On Sunday, we traveled into The City for a museum and a foot-killing, pain-filled tour of the monuments.

World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial (Atlantic)
World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

[click to embiggen]

Vietnam War Memorial,
a.k.a., “The Wall”

[As with all pictures, click to embiggen]

statue of soldiers near Vietnam Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial
Gratuitous heads of school children being photographed by their leader, left in photograph for perspective.

(Below) View from the Lincoln Memorial toward Washington Memorial. The Reflecting Pool has been drained for maintenance since October 2010.

Korean War Memorial
I very much would like to see this Korean War Memorial at night,  on a dark, rainy day or a foggy, misty morning. The statues portray soldiers sweeping through field and brush in miserable weather. Our beautiful, sunny Spring day did not do this memorial justice.

Not that I’m complaining about the weather!

early cherry blossoms

In another week or two, the Tidal Basin will be filled with the reflection of Cherry Blossoms. For now, there is the promise of blooms in bud and a haze of pink on the distant trees.

Speaking of promise… here are a few photos from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. His message is appropriate for today’s world:
words of FDR

soup kitchen line, FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

It was a wonderful weekend.

I treasure our friendship and I especially appreciated the good times together (and the good weather!) while taking my mind off other things.

Tomorrow I’ll be “flying the friendly skies.”
I’ll be silent from blogging for a few weeks while I am visiting my mother. She had cancer surgery last week and I am going to be her post-surgery caregiver.

Thankful Thursday Thirteen

Friendship

Shanghai juicy dumplings

Pea leaves

Shanghai lo-mein

Absolutely Fabulous


Start with Champagne…

Then do some stretching exercises…

And get ready for a ladies’ night out!

I wear sensible old lady shoes so I kept mine out of this particular shot.

 

c-c-c-C-O-L-D !!

Waiting for the show to begin…

Mamma Mia! was absolutely FABULOUS.

Hide and Go Seek

Do you have a place where you go to hide from others in your household?
One of my favorite places to hide is the bathroom. It wasn’t always such a great place, but then I had children… and sometimes it was the only place I could be alone. (True,  sometimes even that didn’t work, but they outgrew that stage pretty quickly.)  By the time I had 4 little boys crawling and walking about the house, I had firmly established the bathroom (preferably my own bathroom) as a place of refuge.  I would excuse myself from the noisy, messy kitchen table on the pretense of needing to use the toilet, but what I really needed was a Rest Room. Perhaps I would bring along a book or a catalog, but mostly I wanted the peace and quiet. If I was really lucky, my husband would bathe all of the children and get them into pajamas before finding me.  🙂      Not that I was fooling him; he knew what I needed by 7 o’clock in the evening — a break!

Now that the kids are older and no one needs hands-on help with evening routine, I still take the time to hide to rest.  (My husband does this, too, but his rest room is down in the basement with a video game controller in hand.) I find a quiet room where I can read and not be bothered by requests, a place where I can ignore the dirty dishes in the sink and the burnt-on spills on the stove top.  I’m pretty sure that the kitchen fairies are not paying a visit in my absence, but for some reason I really need the time away from the mess for just a little while.

I try to keep a stash of reading material handy for a quick getaway. Sometimes I grab the latest book I am reading for book club, sometimes I take an interesting catalog that arrived in the daily mail. Recently I have been picking up a magazine that miraculously appeared in our house, with no tell-tale signs of its origins. It’s called AFAR: where travel can take you and it has been called America’s best travel magazine.  I am now dreaming of spending a week in the Lower Engadine region of Switzerland and visiting the Matakana Coast of New Zealand. I haven’t yet read the section on Tiawan, but I suspect it will be added to my wish list of places to visit and experience.

Where do you go to hide from others in your household? (Or if you don’t do that now, where did you go to hide from them… because I suspect that you’ve done it, too!)

What reading material do you keep on hand for your escape?

A Fond Farewell

Christmas break is over for MusicMan — he gets on a plane this afternoon to head back to college. Classes don’t actually start until Monday, but I felt obligated to build in a few extra days of travel time into the schedule “just in case” the weather became a factor in getting him back to school.

Here is our group of musical college students playing “We Three Kings” on handbells. One young woman is in her last year of college, 2 of the other young women are college sophomores, and the remaining 4 ringers  (including MM who forgot to wear white, so he’s the one in blue!) are first-year college students. This group practiced one evening (the Tuesday prior to Christmas) and once again Sunday morning before performing at 11am.  As the director says at the beginning of the video, the music being played was written for 11 ringers but is being played by a choir of seven.

Pretty good, aren’t they?  🙂

Imagination Transportation


October 2009 in my backyard

I’m not sure how it happened — if I clicked on a free offer, or if someone secretly gifted me — but I’ve been receiving Yankee magazine in the mail  for the past few months. The current issue has tips on the best places to view the famous fall colors.  I thumb through each issue multiple times, yearning to experience life there in New England as I am seeing it with covered bridges, salt-box houses and red barns.  And for those few minutes a day, I am transported.

Vacation, day 5: After the storm

Sunrise on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

With daylight, we could see how well our camping structures had fared through the night.  Others were not so fortunate.

The people who were camping here had left more than an hour before the arrival of the storm. They came back to loss and destruction. I’m not sure how 3 people slept in that tent last night, or if they gave up like others and got a motel room.

Beautiful green pavilion in background -- destroyed

I credit my husband’s wisdom and skill that we still have a canopy, tent and a “screen house.”  I also must credit my oldest son, who spent the entire storm inside the empty, dark tent. He held the sides up, pushing back against the wind.  It wasn’t a fun experience for him. In fact, he was (understandably) angry that we were laughing while he was inside the tent not knowing what was happening outside.  All he could hear was the booming of the wind and our shouts and laughter while he was doing his best to keep the tent from collapsing.

By 7am, we were breaking camp and loading up the vehicles. Everything wet and sandy went into the rig with the bikes and boogie boards. (The canopy, tent, and “screen house” would be set up to dry at home.) Everything dry-ish and clean-ish went into the van.
We said goodbye to the ponies…


click on any picture to enlarge

And then we drove to Ocean City, MD, to find a hot breakfast.  “Bambi” –our GPS– told us to turn left onto Boardwalk. We were driving at the time.

We aren’t boardwalk kind of people, and there really wasn’t any decent place to take a grubby family for breakfast there anyway.  (And by decent I mean inexpensive good food.) But look what we found a few blocks away!

They didn’t just serve donuts and coffee… we were able to get a good, hot breakfast (eggs! toast! bacon! pancakes!) before tackling the long drive home.

It almost made the grouchy ones forgive us for making them ride through the storm at the campsite instead of safely in a building.

And then we drove across  the Bay Bridge.


*Bridge photos taken by the front seat passenger, NOT the driver!

It was scarier driving the other direction on Monday.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!