Category Archives: History

Panda Thanksgiving

I couldn’t decide between the two above images, so you get both! Hooray! Monday was one of my all-time favorite holidays – Presidents Day!! Or as my friend, Steve, dubbed it, “Panda Thanksgiving.” I actually had a day off from work and couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to head down to my favorite historical (and presidential) house, Monticello. I convinced a few friends that going to museums actually can be fun and we made the trip down on what was looking like a beautiful day. We got down to Charlottesville just in time for the beer tasting in the gift shop. Starr Hill introduced a “Monticello Reserve Ale” and debuted it at Monticello for President’s Day – how fitting! It is actually from Jefferson’s recipe (he was quite the beer and wine maker). It has been modernized a bit so that it is more familiar to us as a beer. I’d be interested to taste the original recipe though. I have to say, I was a big fan of this beer, and not just because  it was associated with Monticello! It was a lighter (but not too light) beer with a really smooth finish. We tried some samples and each snagged a few bottles to bring home.

Our friend, Rob, met us there. He used to work there and showed us around the exhibitions and explained how a lot of the interactives work. If you haven’t been to Monticello since they opened the new Visitor’s Center (or ever), you should really check it out. All of their exhibitions are incredible and really let you get a feel for the kind of person Jefferson was. I’ve been to the new center at least 4 times now and I feel like I learn something new each time. We went up to the house for a tour in the afternoon. We couldn’t have asked for better weather – it was almost jacketless weather. We walked around the gardens for a bit while we waited for our tour time and there were workers planting crops for Spring. Monticello is gorgeous in Spring. Our tour guide was one of the better ones I’ve seen. It’s always interesting to see what stories each one tells and of course, to see what they say about Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemmings. After the tour, we checked out the rooms beneath that held the stables, kitchen, smoke house, ice house, wine/beer cellars, and a new exhibition on slave activities at Monticello. I preferred the old exhibition, but maybe I was just annoyed by the school kids ringing a servant bell non-stop.

I really didn’t take many pictures while we were there and I kind of regret that now. I guess at the time I was thinking that I have so many Monticello pictures already back home, but it would’ve been nice to document our day, I didn’t even snag a pic of Rob! There was a storm rolling in and I did get some pretty pictures of the garden. Check it:

And of course the house:

Ben and Andrea checking out the privy:

Hanging out in the gardens:

Overall, a very awesome day down in Charlottesville, despite the 2 and a half hour drive back to Nova in the freezing rain…blech. I could go on and on about how much I love Monticello and Thomas Jefferson, but I’ll spare you. I at least made a believer out of Russell…I think he has a man-crush on ol’ TJ.

It’s been soooo nice having time to actually go to museums now that I am not going to school for museums. Heh. Hope everyone had as awesome of a President’s Day as we did. I’ve worked on a few “presidential” recipes for this week (in fact one is on the stove right now) and I will be reporting back on those very shortly!

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Filed under History, Holiday, Presidents, Tom J

New favorite Christmas candy

Well after 4+ hours in the car, I finally made it to Richmond last night. I hate hate hate 95. I had a really fun day with my stepmom today though. We headed out to see the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, but decided to go to the Virginia Historical Society first. We spent so long in there that we never made it to VMFA, but I’m excited to come back and check it out. VHS had some neat exhibitions. We saw one on oddities in their collection (Jefferson Davis’ cigar and some cool trepanation instruments). I did a project in college that included trepanation (nerd). They also had a small room that showcased 5 notable Virginians. They had a portrait of each and then blew up certain sections of the portrait, which I thought was really cool. Then we spent the bulk of our time in the main exhibition on Virginia history. It covered everything from pre-European settlement to the present. It was a really extensive exhibition and I could’ve easily spent a couple more hours to really get to read and study everything.

Afterwards, we drove up and down Monument Ave. and looked at the Christmas decorations on the houses. I wanted just about every house I saw. Gretch, we really should run that 10k this spring! We came home and got to cooking. We made lasagna and I helped Kathy get stuff ready for her New Year’s Eve party. Lasagna was crazy delicious, pretty excited to eat on that for the next few days.

Woah, Jimmy Fallon just said something funny. That was weird.

Anyway, I’ve been eating these nonstop for the past hour:

Sike! I just tried to upload the photo for 10 minutes. No dice. iPhone app fail. Well, can you guess what my new favorite candy is?

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Filed under Family, History, Museums

T.G.I.The Weekend.

So I actually wrote half of this yesterday, but never finished it…so here’s to some weekend blogging….

Finally. The week is over. What a week it has been…I won’t miss it one bit.

For most of the summer I’ve been obsessed with iced coffee, but this morning I had a bit of a brisk walk to the metro and my office has been even chillier than usual, so I opted for a nice cup of hot tea. I think part of me just wants to believe that Fall is closer than it actually is, but that’s okay.

Fall in a mug

That’s my trusty work mug. I love it. I bought it in Atlanta while I was on a work trip. While we were there, we went on a tour of the CNN studio. Ever since it has been my “work mug” and has even come to my new job. It makes me miss traveling for my old job, we had a lot of fun on those trips and we’d always manage to find a really good steak, mmm! (I skipped breakfast, can you tell?)

This past week hasn’t been all bad really. Last weekend was fantastic. My best friend, Jess, was in town from Colorado again…well technically she was in Williamsburg with her parents, but they invited me down for the weekend and I was more than happy to go. It had been years since I spent a weekend with the Lunsfords and her parents are amazing. Plus they’re all really into history too, so they’re my people 🙂

We went to Fort Monroe down in Hampton on Saturday afternoon. I had never been there before and really didn’t know anything about it, but they had all been there and thought I should check it out. It was beautiful! It’s a fort right along the Chesapeake Bay that was built in 1819 and used during the Civil War. It became a safe-haven for slaves during the war because slaves would escape from Virginia and go to the fort and the soldiers at the fort wouldn’t return the slaves to their owners in Virginia since Virginia was a foreign country to them. I thought that was really cool. Also, after the war, Jefferson Davis was held prisoner at Fort Monroe for about 2 years. The exhibit they had on Jefferson Davis was really interesting too (they hung a giant American flag in his room!) I could’ve stayed there all day. The area was gorgeous, there were plenty of picturesque buildings, an old lighthouse, and everything was right by the water. I didn’t take as many pictures as I would’ve liked, but I can definitely see myself going back and spending more time there.

Jefferson Davis' Cell

Then we went to a Norfolk Tides game and ate some good ballpark food and drank some beer…made for a pretty great evening. It was a great weekend with the Lunsfords and reminded me a lot of high school (minus the beer).

The other highlight of my week was meeting up for dinner with my friend Harry. He left for Somalia today for the next year and I’m so glad I got to spend a little time with him before he took off. I’m so excited for the adventure he’s going on (working at a school there) and I can’t wait to hear all about it, but I’ll definitely miss him being here. Harry is one of those people who I know I will have fun with no matter what we do. I talked to him some about blogging and I hope he’ll start one while he’s there, it’d be a great way to keep up with what he’s doing over there. Good luck buddy!!

Harry and me

Other than that, I spent most of the week being stressed out about work and not feeling very well…not the ideal way to spend my last week of “summer vacation.” Not that I had any kind of vacation. Classes start next week though, and I’m pretty excited about them, I think it’s going to be a great last semester!

Well, time to get some work done and get ready for dinner, it’s Restaurant Week in Alexandria! I’ll leave you with a picture of the “art” Mike created with our purchases from the farmer’s market the other day.

The pepper eyebrows are my favorite!

Have a great weekend!!

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Filed under Friends, History, Museums, School, Uncategorized

Busy Busy Bee

Sorry for the lack of posts. Between moving, finishing up my internship, work, ending Spring classes, starting summer classes, and anything else and can manage to squeeze in there, I haven’t had too much time to blog. I haven’t forgotten about it though. I fully intend on a write-up of my Monticello trip, but I have a big paper to finish up in the next week or two, so that is going to have to come first. I’m working on a paper supporting the use of social media at historic sites. I’m actually planning to mention Monticello because they do such a fantastic job. Check them out if you haven’t done so:

http://twitter.com/tjmonticello

This one they just added not long ago. They tweet from Jefferson’s journals, 200 years ago to the day.

They’re also on Facebook!

For as large of an historic house as Monticello is, and for as many visitors as they get, they do a great job of interacting through social media and making it a two-way road. I hope more museums and historic sites follow their lead.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I need to read for class tomorrow. Apparently we have the hardest reading of the semester first…I guess that’s good?

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Filed under Blog, Facebook, History, Museums, Tom J, Twitter

Boxtown

I was really hoping to get started on my post about Sunday’s adventure, but instead I spent the night working on stuff for a meeting tomorrow about an internship tomorrow (I’ll be sure to update about that!) and working on some packing.

Here’s the current state of our living room:

I managed to pack up one of my bookcases tonight (the largest one), so that was an accomplishment at least. It seems like slow progress for sure though.

In other news, I gave two tours today at Sully. One was to a group of ESL students (English as a second language) and then a group of five older ladies. I feel like my tour is finally getting pretty good and I’m becoming more comfortable with it. It’s hard to believe I only have a few more weeks left there. I still have SO much work to do before I leave!

Mike and I had a very full day of history on Sunday so hopefully I’ll get that posted tomorrow because it was a lot of fun!

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Filed under Apartment, History, Museums, School

Historical people say the darndest things

I just read something in Manhunt (yes, I’m still reading it!) that gave me the giggles. The author was talking about how it became illegal for anyone to talk badly about Lincoln after he was assassinated. He provided a letter that a U.S. Marine wrote home to his mother discussing what he would do to Booth if he saw him, and I quote:

“I would take a pair of shears and cut him in pieces as you would cut a piece of cloth. Then I would dig out his eyes and then pour in boiling hot oil. I’d fix him well…mother give my love to all the folks and believe me your affectionate son. Wesley Severs”

Holy graphic description Batman! Boiling hot oil in the eye sockets. Nice! Quickly followed by, ” Love you Mommy!” WHAT?? Oh and is it just me, or does it seem weird to do that after cutting him into a million pieces? …maybe I’m over-analyzing this.

Well, tonight I’m continuing to pack up the apartment…while catching up on some tv, duh. I’m working tomorrow, making some extra money is never ever bad. Then I’m off to Harrisonburg for the rest of the weekend and I might even have a new history adventure to blog about! Excite!!

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Filed under Books, History, Lincoln