The biggest highlight of our year was taking a trip to the East Coast in September! We had a little money set aside and decided there’s no better time than now to go see another part of the world. We started in Philadelphia, and that town turned into a delightful surprise. We definitely recommend seeing Independence Hall and the surrounding area if you are at all interested in U.S. history. We traveled on to Lancaster County and stayed in the town of Lititz. The farm land was amazing. We enjoyed watching the Amish harvest their corn using horses and generators. We even found a “book barn” with livestock books and Grace Livingston Hill classics. Our most important stop in the area was a visit to Gettysburg. We were told to hire a tour guide at the museum and they take you on a tour of the expansive grounds. The guide is well worth the money. We would have been lost and uninformed otherwise! Our tour lasted three hours and we learned about Sally the Dog (member of 11th Infantry) and Minie Balls (our guide had one!). As we were saying our goodbyes, our guide handed us his business card. Turns out we got a battlefield tour by the Mayor of Gettysburg! What luck!
From Pennsylvania, we headed to Maryland where we stayed with Jay’s brother Pat’s family. They treated us to some good family meals and visiting. We took a train into Washington D.C. for the day where we got to see the Magna Carta on special exhibit at the National Archives Building. In there, we also saw the “classics” such as the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence (almost illegible, did you know that!?) Jay’s favorite stop was standing on the Lincoln Memorial, reading his Second Inaugural Address. He also enjoyed seeing the new WWII Memorial. The Smithsonian Natural History Museum had some great exhibits. We didn’t have a lot of time to look around, but Pat took us to the gem area and we all really enjoyed seeing the expensive jewels and displays of different kinds, shapes, and colors of gemstones. Then some secret service guys came into the room and suddenly the quiet area was full of people and guys with black suits and ear pieces. We never did see “who” they were protecting, but it was a very TV-like experience for us! When you live and work on a dairy farm, you really have to wonder if the FBI and secret service really exist. Well, now we know – they do!
From Maryland, Pat and Sybil drove with us up to Connecticut and Massachusetts along many scenic roads. They took us to Old Sturbridge Village where people dress as if they lived and worked in the reconstructed 1830’s village. We learned a lot. We stayed in some great B&B’s, with good company and excellent food. Some of the old homes were crooked, un-insulated, and drafty, but that just added to the whole effect. The rock walls were beautiful, and we got to see many whimsical old homes, including Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord. You can probably tell- We had a great time! Unforgettable!
Greco’s Icecream in Lititz. We found out about it on our first night in town. What a coincidence!!
The first court room. The box in the center is where the accused would stand. The painting in the upper center is “Pennsylvania Coat of Arms” from the 1800’s. The colors were reproduced recently to the original (or at least, first layer of paint found in building) colors.
This lady was in love with Benjamin Franklin. Quite hilarious! This is the room where the Declaration of Independence was discussed and signed. It is across the “hall” from the first court room, both of which make up the majority of the building that housed the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell. Now house across from Independence Hall in its own building!
This is “City Tavern” where we ate lunch! The building has been in continuou use as a food-place since the early 1700’s. We drank out of pewter water glasses (kept our water cold throughout the meal, even with NO ice!). The dishes were replicas of old patterns, the waitress was dressed old-fashioned. Our meal was turkey pot pie with a phyllo dough type topping that was delicious!
Here’s a picture of Michelle standing to the side of the visitor’s center, in front of little Independence Hall!
Valley Forge, reproduction of log cabins used during the winter of battle for the soldiers.
Jay, in front of a beautiful door in Valley Forge. The church it comes from was built in memorial of Valley Forge and the men who fought in war.
A typical dairy farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Out to plow, after he got the horses under control.
To the right is where he has spread solid manure with his Amish wagon, to the left is where he wil finish. I love the wagon!
This family was harvesting their corn silage. An Amish lady, Vera, explained to us that each farmer has 8 horses, so two families will get together to harvest, which requires 16 horses. Three sets of four each pulling a wagon (ie. the Danco) that is filled with cut corn for silage. The fourth wagon is a man and four horses cutting the corn from the stalk. They’re to the left in the picture. If you look close, the horse closest to the corn is chewing on a stalk while working!
A typical, flashy Amish horse with a plain, black buggy. The turn signals are powered by battery. Quite the fancy, long-necked horses, we though!
The red building in the center of the photo is the building (now a hotel being restored, but it used to be a private residence) that Lincoln supposedly finished his Gettysburg Address in. The owner was the lawyer hired to set up the memorial graveyard.
Little Round Top
Jay is in the red shirt on the right. On the left is Bill Troxell, our tour guide in the Gettysburg Battlefield, and also happens to be the mayor of Gettysburg! He told us about playing in the fields during his childhood, and showed us an original minie ball that he found in the field! The new museum was impressive, but Bill said that almost 80% less artifacts were displayed in the new building as opposed to the smaller, old building. That was unfortunate, we would have liked to see more!
President Eisenhower’s farm in Gettysburg. Purchased after his presidency, and was his only home. He was so enthralled, he just had to live on the battlefield!
A presentation of a cannon and balls at the top of Pickett’s Charge.
Jay Patrick and Jay Lester on Lincoln’s Memorial, Washington Monument in the distance.
One of the numerous front doors to the National Archives Building. Yes, that’s Michelle!
Some jewels in the gem display of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum that I almost bought for Proud Rose! 😉
The largest single sheet of copper:
North of the National Archives Building.
In Connecticut at a farm restaurant, near a place we stayed (1700’s house without a single level board in sight!). Gorgeous rock walls, small fields, and trees everywhere!
Replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Supposedly, the boat Columbus came over on was about the size of the smaller boats! The “ship” was tiny compared to what we thought it would be like!
A memorial put up by the Daughters of the American Revolution in memory of the pilgrim women.
Jabez Howland House. Established 1667, housed John Howland family.
Howland tour guide, showing Jay a “spoon” made out of a cow horn!
Plimoth Colony (replica). The folks were in period costumes and spoke a deep accent of old English.
Louisa May Alcott’s “Orchard House”. She never married, and the home was kept up due to the huge amount of money she made from her book sales. The original home was actually two homes, and you can tell that scholarship and intellect were of more importance than do-it-yourself housework!
Bronson Alcott’s School of Philopsophy, just to the left of the home.
Walden Pond… Who ever called it a pond!? It’s a huge LAKE! But, very gorgeous, unadorned beaches.
A tombstone in Salem, Massachusetts. There is a Mayflower passenger buried here, and the graveyard is a great place to see the changes in history from 1650 to early 1900’s.
Yup, Jay just “had” to drive down INTO New York City! But, he had a lot of fun.