History Vacation

June, 2001

In early June, 2001 Janie, Lee, Scotty and I traveled to the eastern seaboard of the U.S. for just over two weeks.  As usual we included as part of our travels some time on the beach for some R & R.  However, the main theme of this trip was to explore as much of American history as our time would allow.  The first day we visited the University of Virginia and Jefferson's home Monticello.  After reading so much about this self-designed home it was indeed marvelous to visit it.  Its elegance is to be expected, but its intimate size was surprising.

While staying at Duck near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina we visited several functioning light houses as well as the location where the Wright Brothers first flew their fragile plane.  The total distance of their first flight was less than the wing span of a Boeing 747 but it was powered flight none-the-less.  Our travels from Kitty Hawk included visits to the Lost Colony, England's first American village which mysteriously disappeared.  Of course we also visited Jamestown, the first British village that survived.  The island of Ocracoke (site of the death of Blackbeard the Pirate) was fascinating.

From Duck we drove to Williamsburg, Virginia which, as my student might say, reeks of history.  Janie was particularly fascinated by the fact that she is able to trace her ancestry to this period of time.  The reconstructed village is a feast for those with an interest in American history.  The boys especially enjoyed the period costumed guides.  They were also fascinated to learn that several American Presidents and other notable figures in American history were graduates of the College of William and Mary which is at the edge of the historical area of Williamsburg.

On our way to Washington, D.C. we stopped by to see Mount Vernon.  It was interesting to me to learn that Martha Washington was one of the wealthiest women in America when she married the future President.  Certainly the magnificence of their estate was testimony to their wealth.  The view of the Potomac River from Mt. Vernon has to be one of the most marvelous there is from any home in America.

While in D.C. we did the usual things visitors do:  the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian, the Air and Space Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam and Korean memorials and a host of other things as well.  While at the Supreme Court we encountered Justice Sandra Day O'Connor which was very memorable.  As we were walking through the Capital, Janie fell behind our guide and was rushing to catch up.  In her haste she bumped into Jesse Jackson and knocked him off balance.   She was not aware of her encounter with a personage of public notoriety.

Below are a few images of our trip.

Our second day included a visit to Jefferson's Home at Monticello.   Although I tried to correct the information being given out by the guides they refused to acknowledge the accuracy of my observations.  I will be sending them documentation regarding this matter very soon.  If you would like details, e-mail me!

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This is a picture of the lighthouse near Duck, N.C.  It is called the Cirrituck Beach Light House.   Having been built in 1875 it remains one of the most magnificent structures of its kind.  I am a bit embarrassed to say that we did not climb its 214 steps.

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Of course time at the beach was essential.  Although the water was too cold for me, the boys thrived in it.

Here is a shot of the boys as they fled the cold waters (and some Dolphin fins that bore an uncomfortable resemblance to a shark).

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This is of me at the same beach.  You will note that I am not running.

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While at Williamsburg we had a delicious lunch on the main street.

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The visit to Mt. Vernon was definitely worth while but the hordes of middle school teens who had absolutely no interest in or appreciation of the site was a distraction.  None-the-less we were able to get one unobstructed image of the view that President and Mrs. Washington enjoyed.

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Our time in the nation's capitol included many of the typical experiences.   Below are a few that stand out.

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