Saturday, April 21, 2018

S is for Shenandoah National Park

The Shenandoah National Park is an almost 80,000 acre national park encompassing part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.  It offers campgrounds, lodges, and cabins, waterfalls, hiking, fishing, and breathtaking scenery.  Skyline Drive runs the length of the park and has 75 overlooks which are a great stopping place to snap a photo against the magnificent backdrops.

National Tea Day

Friday, April 20, 2018

R is for Richmond

Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia and was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.  In 1780, the capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond.  It's one of those places on our list of places to see in Virginia as apart from a quick trip for a conference, we have never visited the city.  

The city boasts a thriving commercial district, dominated by the law and finance, and home to many local, state, and federal agencies.  Richmond is a foodie city and has a large performing, visual, and literary arts footprint.  It is home to numerous listed historic districts and sites.  There is a lot to see and do in Richmond.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q is for Questions

Do you have any questions for me about our time(s) here in Virginia?  Things that can't be answered by Google?  Leave them in the comments below and I'll be happy to reply.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P is for Petersburg

Much has been written about the Petersburg Campaign, also known as the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg.  Although not a traditional siege in that one city was attacked and bombarded exclusively, this campaign involved a series of trenches over 30 miles long, a tactic that would foreshadow the trench warfare of World War I.

The campaign, fought from June 1864 to March 1865, was a decisive time in the Civil War:  General Robert E. Lee retreated and surrendered of the Confederate forces just after in April 1865.

Those of you who are familiar with Petersburg and have watched Mercy Street on PBS will recognize that, although the series was set in Alexandria, it was filmed in large part in Old Town Petersburg.  The Battle of the Crater, which also took place during the Petersburg Campaign, was depicted in the movie Cold Mountain.

RIP Barbara Bush

A great lady, a champion for literacy, and a loving wife, mother, and grandmother.  Put on your pearls as a tribute.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

O is for Old Dominion State

Since this is our third time to live in Virginia, I feel very remiss in not having a clue why it is called the Old Dominion State.  I set out to find out the history behind the name.

There are two schools of thought, the first being that Virginia was the first, and therefore the oldest, of the overseas dominions of the Kings and Queens of England.  The second is a bit more interesting as it refers to King Charles II referring to Virginia as his loyal old dominion at the time of the restoration.  I'll let you read all about it here although it seems contradictory as in one place it says there is no documentary proof of his statement and yet it also quotes an address in 1700 where he says a form of the statement.

Prime Purchases April 2018

Tanya over at The Other Side of the Road put up a great post today - Prime Purchases - some of the items she's recently ordered online either through Amazon or other retailers - so I thought I'd put up my online purchases so far this month to see if there's anything you might enjoy.

As you know, I am addicted to The Great British Bake Off and I am collecting the cookbooks from the show.  This is the book from UK Series 3 which is not yet available on Netflix or DVD.  I'm not sure why PBS renumbered the episodes - PBS Season 1 is UK Series 5, PBS 2 is UK 4, PBS 3 is UK 6, and PBS 4 is UK 7.  The Bake Off is now in Series 8 although that series was the first one after the move from BBC to Channel 4 so who knows what that will do to the numbering!  The book had been sitting in my cart at Amazon for a while and when I saw that the price had a sizable reduction, I snapped it up right away.

Vic and I bought a beautiful piece of fabric from Joann's when we lived in Washington.  Vic made a wooden bench and the fabric was used to cover a cushion to go on the bench.  It's a great place to sit to put on your shoes.  As I've mentioned in my weekly updates, he's in the process of refinishing and reupholstering a loveseat one of our neighbors tossed and we decided it would look perfect covered in the same fabric.  We searched every Joann store in our area but no luck, the fabric appeared to be no longer available.  I searched their site online with no success but somehow, Vic used different search parameters and there it was - Novera Navy.  We bought enough to cover the loveseat and for a few more projects.

My only other online purchase this month was my order from Melaleuca and it was a pretty standard stock up stash of household and toiletry items - dishwashing liquid, stain remover, body wash, soap, deodorant, and refills for the plug in scented oil warmers.  I love the convenience of sitting down on the 1st of the month, placing my order, and having it arrive in the mail a few days later.  

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #92

What Kate Wore shared this great photo - parking restrictions outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital Paddington.  Although the barriers are up, journalists, photographers, and television crews are not able to set up until the Duchess of Cambridge is admitted.  You can bet they are camped out in their vans in the neighboring streets!

Monday, April 16, 2018

N is for Norfolk

This is our third time to live in Norfolk.  The city has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point and is home to the world's largest military base, Naval Station Norfolk, as well as a bustling international port and airport, and is connected to its neighbors by a variety of bridges, tunnels, interstate highways, and railroad lines.  As the middle class residents moved from the city limits out to suburban areas, in particular the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake areas, much of the city fell into disrepair and the families on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum lived in crumbling neighborhoods.  Much has been done in recent years to re-attract businesses to the downtown area, and to revitalize the residential areas surrounding it.

Norfolk is home to a thriving arts landscape with venues for concerts, the theatre, the symphony, and opera.  There are two universities and a community college.  Numerous shopping centers are located around the city and an outlet mall recently opened with IKEA coming soon.  Major roadway construction is doing much to cope with the notorious traffic.

This has been our favorite time to be in Norfolk.  We have taken advantage of the cultural offerings and explored the many eclectic restaurants and small business owner shops.  The city has a host of festivals and events for all tastes and the marine emphasis means that there is always something to do on the water.  It's an up and coming place to visit.

Life Last Week 2018-14

The weather:::
 After a night of severe weather with buckets of rain and tornado warnings, it's finally dry outside.  Temperatures this week range from 59 to 77 but on the whole, the days are clear.

On my reading pile:::
And I'm STILL working my way through the top book on of this pile, with the second one as my next book.

On my TV:::
Rebinged The Crimson Field and ANZAC Girls on PBS and Amazon and Vic and I are still in Midsomer.

Checked off the list:::
  • Still catching up on the A to Z; I'm a supreme cheater, writing a bunch of posts and backdating them to the days they should have been posted.  You do what you've gotta do.
  • Gift shop volunteer luncheon was lovely with an amazing Javanese Salad on the menu and everyone walked away with a 25% off one item coupon (we usually get 15% off when we work so this was a nice bonus).  I'll share the salad recipe as soon as I get the link.
  • Spouses' group board meeting - lots going on this year and in the planning stages for next year.  So wish I was going to be here.
  • Participated in the Navy Family Framework webinar.
  • Manicure on Thursday followed by a spouses' group fashion show event at Talbot's.  Beautiful clothes.
  • Spring Craft Market - can hardly believe I left empty-handed.  Lots of floral and beachy things, not really my style.
  • Vic and I went to see Tomb Raider - don't go if you have a weak heart, there are scenes that will really make you JUMP!
Crafts roundup:::
Loveseat still coming along - I'm in search of a yo yo maker and will be heading to Joann's and Hobby Lobby today.  Yo yos are those little fabric circles that you use to make things.

And in other news:::
Finishing up my shopping for the 12th Annual Tea Cup & Mug Exchange so I can get my partner's package in the mail and looking forward to receiving mine. I love surprises in the mail.  Tomorrow is the deadline for the Nail Polish Swap as well.

Just in case you were wondering...

Saturday, April 14, 2018

M is for Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier

I'm trying to get caught up with the A to Z so I'll make this a quick (ie. link-heavy) post today.  Eight U.S. Presidents came from Virginia, more than from any other state.  Here are three great Presidential homes to visit (I covered James Monroe's under H is for Highland):

Friday, April 13, 2018

L is for Lexington

Lexington is home to the Virginia Military Institute, founded in 1839 as the first state-supported military college in the nation.  We really enjoyed our tour, conducted by one of the cadets, and learned a lot about VMI's alumni and the opportunities that the college offers.  For those of you who have watched the movie Gods and Generals, you may recognize this building from the Stonewall Jackson funeral scenes.

The Stonewall Jackson House in downtown Lexington is one of VMI's museums.

We also visited Lee Chapel on the grounds of Washington and Lee University.  Robert E. Lee is buried beneath the chapel.

We are really enjoying our field trips to historic sites here in Virginia.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

K is for King's Arms Tavern

K started out as a tricky letter in my Virginia A to Z but then I remembered the King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg.  Opened in 1772, it became one of the town's most "genteel" establishments and George Washington often ate here as did Virginia's future governor Thomas Nelson Jr.  Present-day diners can savor traditional fare such as peanut soup, game pye, oysters, and roast prime rib of beef in an atmosphere reminiscent of colonial days.

The King's Arm Tavern holds a special place in my heart as my friend Jodie and I took our daughters to Colonial Williamsburg for a homeschool adventure and Jodie surprised me the following Christmas with this beautiful ornament.  Every year when I place it on the tree, I remember our lunch at the tavern and the fun time we had at Colonial Williamsburg (more to come in W is for Colonial Williamsburg).

Sophia and K with our server at the King's Arms Tavern (I just noticed the little blonde photobomber in the back!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is for Jamestown

Jamestown is a historic site in eastern Virginia, part of the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg.  It consists of two parts:  Historic Jamestowne, run by the National Park Service, home to the ruins of the first permanent English settlement in North America.  Think Pocahontas and John Smith.  The nearby Jamestown Settlement is a living-history museum with recreations of the James Fort and the Powhatan Indian village.

We first visited Jamestown on a school field trip in 2003 and during the years that we lived in Virginia the first time (2003-2007), we visited several times both with school groups and as a family.  It's a great place for kids to roam and learn from the historical interpreters.  We visited the Powhatan Indian village where the students were shown how small fires were built in a cut-down tree trunk and then shells were used to scoop out the charcoal.  Hey presto, a canoe!

Taken on a return trip to Jamestown in 2006 - the kids loved the canoe-making process

The James Fort is full of soldiers who showed us how to fire a musket and colonists' wives who taught us how to whip up corn cakes from a corn cake batter which was then fried and sampled (I'm SO glad I'm not living in this era - the corn cakes were awful).  The wattle and daub construction of the buildings (woven walls coated with clay, sand, and straw) was really interesting as were the displays of the tobacco, beaver furs, and sassafras.  A short walk from the Fort is the dock for the ships that brought the colonist to Virginia, the now-recreated Discovery, Godspeed, and Susan Constant.

A not-to-be missed site on your trip to Virginia.

Nail Polish Swap

Nail polish fans - my blog friend Tanya from The Other Side of the Road is a co-host for this month's Nail Polish Swap.  Click here to find out all the details and register.  Deadline to sign up is April 17.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I is for Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

For any horse enthusiast, there's a copy of this book on your bookshelf and a trip to Chincoteague for the Pony Swim is high on your bucket list.  Chincoteague is the gateway to the Virginia portion of Assteague Island, home of the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies.

Assateague Island National Seashore is administered by the National Park Service and more information can be found here.  All you ever wanted to know about the Pony Swim can be found here.  This year's events are scheduled from July 21-27.

Monday, April 9, 2018

H is for Highland

We loved our visit to James Monroe's Highland in Charlottesville.  I hope you have as perfect weather as we did to really enjoy the gardens and the scenery.

Main house (left) and slave quarters (right)

Herb garden and beautiful scenery surrounding Highland

Statue of James Monroe and the drive on the approach to Highland

Life Last Week 2018-13

The weather:::
 Cool-ish to start, in the 50s for a couple of days, then up to 60, then 72, and then finishing up the week in the high 70s.  Spring is here, I think, at last.

On my reading pile:::
Still working my way through the top book on of this pile, with the second one as my next book.

On my TV:::
Loved The Big Family Cooking Showdown on Netflix - what a great variety of families and cooking styles.

Checked off the list:::
  • The first few days of the A to Z project.  I'm getting off to a slow start and will most likely do this just as a purely fun-for-me project since I haven't had time to visit other participants and not many have stopped by over here.  I've said it before, you really need to plan your posts in advance and I just didn't get that done this year.
  • Spent most of the week on the charity project - updated the contact list, shredded all the old applications, sent out the award letters for this year; April is a busy month as I get everything lined up for the big presentation event in May.
  • Energy inspector came and found a broken water meter - we don't pay for water so not a big deal but nice to have a new one.
  • Sophia paid the deposit on her new apartment and she is so excited to move into what she's calling her Bachelorette Pad as opposed to the College Apartment she is moving from.
  • Had a three-hour lunch with my friend Ginny; we figured out it's been 3 1/2 years since we last saw each other so we had a LOT of catching up to do.
  • Vic spent two days in Annapolis, Maryland.
Crafts roundup:::
Nothing for me but the loveseat is coming along nicely.

And in other news:::
I'm looking forward to the 12th Annual Tea Cup & Mug Exchange.  I will be getting my exchange partner this week and then I can go shopping.

Thinking about this little girl as she gets ready to have a few teeth pulled - such is life when you're almost 98 (is it still 1 dog year = 7 human years?)