Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall in Catawba Valley

Monday afternoon I had to take Braden and Dalton out to Catawba Valley to watch some football videos of their previous games. It had been raining all day and this is one of my favorite scenes on a rainy day, the way the clouds hang on the mountains :)

(taken from the parking lot of Catawba Valley Baptist Church)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Black Walnut Tree - Poplar Forest

This Black Walnut Tree is one of nine remaining trees that pre-date construction of Poplar Forest and were selected by Thomas Jefferson.

To read more about Poplar Forest, see yesterday's post :)

Love this tree!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha inherited the Bedford County plantation known as Poplar Forest from her father in 1773. The property’s name, which predates Jefferson’s ownership, reflects the forest that once grew here. Several stately poplars in front of the home welcome visitors today.

The 4,819-acre plantation provided Jefferson with significant income and the perfect setting where he could pursue his passion for reading, writing, studying and gardening after retiring from public life.

In the early years of his ownership, Jefferson managed Poplar Forest from afar as he practiced law and served in a series of government office both at the state and national levels. He and his family, however, did spend two months here in 1781 when they left Monticello to elude British capture. During this visit, Jefferson compiled much of the material for his only book – Notes on the State of Virginia – while he was probably staying at the overseer’s house.

In 1806, Jefferson traveled from Washington to supervise the laying of the foundation for the octagonal house we see today. When his presidency ended in 1809, Jefferson visited the retreat three to four times a year, staying from two weeks to two months at a time. His visits often coincided with the seasonal responsibilities of the working plantation. He also oversaw the ornamentation of the house and grounds, and the planting of his vegetable garden. Family members, usually grandchildren, often joined Jefferson.

Jefferson made his last trip to Poplar Forest in 1823 when he settled his grandson, Francis Eppes, on the property. Ill health prevented further visits. In 1828, two years after Jefferson’s death at age 83, Eppes sold Poplar Forest to a neighbor.

The design of Poplar Forest is highly idealistic in concept with only a few concessions to practicality – it was so perfectly suited to Jefferson alone that subsequent owners found it difficult to inhabit and altered it to suit their needs. In 1845 a fire led the family then living at Poplar Forest to convert Jefferson’s villa into a practical farmhouse. The property was privately owned until December 1983 when a nonprofit corporation began the rescue of the landmark for future generations. Visitors today see the house as preservation, reconstruction and restoration are in progress.

For more information on Poplar Forest, visit Poplar Forest

Friday, September 24, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Reflection of Independence Hall and blue skies in Philadelphia. To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Thursday, September 23, 2010

George Washington's Headquarters - Valley Forge

Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge, also known as Isaac Potts House, was in the Isaac Potts House, located at the confluence of Valley Creek with the Schuylkill River, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. General George Washington made his headquarters here during the encampment at Valley Forge of the Continental Army, during the winter and spring of 1777-1778. The restored building is part of the Valley Forge National Historical Park and is open to the public.

This small house is believed to have been constructed in 1773 for Isaac Potts, operator of the family grist mill. Although some sources place the construction date as early as 1759. In 1777-8 the property was owned by Isaac but rented to his aunt, the widow Deborah Hewes, who sublet it to Washington. The General's wife Martha lived here with him during the later months of the encampment and the administrative business of the army was transacted on the first floor.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Betsy Ross House

The Betsy Ross house was built in 1740 and is the house where Betsy sewed our first American Flag.

In the mornings, Betsy comes out of the house to raise the flag. My boys were fortunate to be picked to help Betsy on the morning of our visit. You can see the photo HERE

To read more about Betsy Ross, the house, and the flag, visit Betsy Ross House

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Liberty Bell

Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

For more info about the bell, click HERE

Monday, September 20, 2010

Independence Hall-Philadelphia

Built between 1732 and 1753, is where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

The McLean House

On April 9, 1865 after four years of Civil War, approximately 630,000 deaths and over 1 million casualties, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, at the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean in the rural town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. General Lee arrived at the Mclean home shortly after 1:00 p.m. followed a half hour later by General Grant. The meeting lasted approximately an hour and a half. The terms agreed to by General Lee and Grant and accepted by the Federal Government would become the model used for all the other surrenders which shortly followed. The surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia allowed the Federal Government to redistribute forces and bring increased pressure to bear in other parts of the south resulting in the surrender of the remaining field armies of the Confederacy over the next few months.

Friday, September 10, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Blue skies at Johnson's Farm, Peaks of Otter. To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Heirloom Apples

After the walk to Johnson's Farm, a crunchy, sweet heirloom apple hits the spot. There are several heirloom apple and pear trees for you to try!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

American Porch Culture

I was reading recently about the differences between American homes and English homes and it was the front porch, or lack thereof on English architecture. The front porch was essential in early American homes, before air conditioning.

The story said that front porch culture isn't what it once was, with homes having air conditioning and other distractions to draw us inside the house. I'm happy that here in the south, the front porch is still alive and well!

Anyone want to join me for an ice cold glass of lemonade and swap stories on the porch for a while?

(this great old porch can be found at the Johnson Farm, Peaks of Otter)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Johnson's Farm

Johnson's Farm, accessible by taking a small hike from the Peaks of Otter Visitor's Center. The Johnson family built this farm back in 1854 and descendents of the Johnsons lived on the farm till the 1940's. The farm has been restored as it appeared in the 1930's.