Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trip to Virginia, Hanging with Family

One of the main reasons why we decided to go out to Virginia in the first place was to attend my two nephews baptisms.  It was great to play around with the nieces and nephews for a couple of days.  We sure do miss them but are grateful for FaceTime and the opportunity to still talk with them.

Sean actually barely won this game.

Almost all the girls!

Im always getting pictures of my oldest niece making desserts so I made sure we made one while I was there. 
There was a wonderful summer storm where it dumped water for a while.

We were also lucky to visit Sean's Aunt and her family.  So great that they live nearby!

We went to the pool on the last day.  Unfortunately it wasn't the hottest day of our trip.

She really wanted Sean to take a picture of her this way.

Grandpa playing Old Maid (Alaskan Style) with the grandkids.

We really enjoyed our visit and can't wait to return!

Trip to Virginia, Side Trip to Baltimore

When planning our trip to Virginia, Sean told me that he was bummed that we keep going to cities with baseball teams but we never go to a game (Kansas City, NYC, Washington, Boston).  I told him that we were going to go to a game then on this trip.  We would either pick the Orioles or the Nationals.  As we got more into our planning we realized that we really didn't have time to go to an actual game.  Plus we went to spring training earlier in the season and a Dodger game, so Sean said it was ok if we didn't do an actual game.  When he visited me in Boston we did a tour of Fenway so I looked it up to see if they offered a tour of Camden Yards.  They did!  When I went to buy tickets online it would have cost a bunch of extra money for their "convenience" fees so I decided to just buy them at the stadium on the day.

We drove up to Baltimore with my sister and her kids.  We found the stadium and went to buy tickets.  They were sold out.  I was heartbroken!  It was the ONE thing Sean really wanted to do on this trip.  I felt so bad that I actually started to cry!  The cool thing about Camden Yards is that they have a pedestrian street that borders the stadium so you can get to look inside.  Sean said this was the next best thing and he was ok.  

It was a really cool stadium.  I believe it was a more modern stadium that was built to look older.  There is an old warehouse right next to the stadium and Sean said that when they built the stadium they were wondering if they should tear it down.  They decided to convert the space into office space for the team which I think is really cool and adds to the atmosphere.  

Out on the pedestrian street bordering the stadium are little baseball plaques that mark where out-of-the-park balls landed.  They have the player, team, date and distance on them.  This one was the farthest that we saw.  It was the only one that was on the wall.

Since we had extra time (by not going on the Camden Yards tour) we decided to head over to the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.  They had large baseballs spray painted on the sidewalk that led you to the museum (just a 10 minute walk from the stadium).  That was fun for the kids to follow and especially on corners where we had to cross the street when they had to figure out where they went.  It reminded me of Boston and their Freedom Trail, which is a red line on the sidewalk leading you to many historical buildings and places in downtown Boston.

I learned a couple of really cool tidbits about Babe Ruth.  Many historians incorrectly labeled him as an orphan because he went to a school that was mainly attended by orphans.  It was a religious school specifically for badly behaved children.  Babe was such a handful that as a last resort his parents sent him there.  It was a boarding school so he only saw his family occasionally on holidays and such.  When he finally graduated he was a well liked and behaved young man so I guess they did something right at that school.  He was born at his grandparents home which is where  the museum is.  His house was actually over his family owned salon which I learned from the museum, was located where centerfield now lays.  I was impressed with his record.  They had a wall to show players' home runs and Babe had the most HR until decades later (I think it was maybe the 70s when someone finally hit more than him).  Still today I think its only a dozen who have hit more than him.  When I mentioned this to Sean he also stated that bats were different then they are today so it's even more impressive.  Bottom line, he was a phenomenal player.  

The neighborhood had cobblestone streets and row houses.  Very quaint!

We had lunch at Potbelly's.  We went right at lunch time so it was very crowded but the food was great!  After lunch we headed to the Inner Harbor which was a lot bigger than I imagined.  It was super crowded indicating it was a popular hangout.  They had a tall ship, submarine, and a couple of other boats that you could tour.  The one boat I was interested in was the submarine but that ended up being at a pier that was further than I wanted to walk.  We just hung out until the humidity got to us and then we left.  Baltimore was a fun city to just visit for a couple of hours.

It wasn't as comfortable as it looks.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Trip to Virginia, Jamestown

The second day of our vacation we decided to go to Jamestown.  There are two Jamestown's and I was really glad we did them in the order we did.  

We decdied to first visit Historic Jamestowne which is the original location of the Jamestown Settlement.  They had a museum that was full of information but unfortunately the layout was very confusing and it was a bit overwhelming.  What is cool about this site is that there are working archaeologists.  I actually remember seeing this program when I was in college.  I always thought it would have been a fun summer internship.  The archaeologists informed us that their goal was to find the evidence of the expansion of the fort  They had previously found the soil stains of the original palisades (the wood fence) and had already set up a replica palisade right over the original.  They knew the fort expanded in a certain area and they were digging to try to find the soil stains from the expanded palisades.  While doing so they uncovered several graves.  

The rest of the park had some brick remnants of foundations of houses and buildings.  Most of these were replicas after they dug up the area and recorded the information.  One mansion still had its original bricks but it was dated a little later than the original settlement. 

Near the graves was a fully articulated horse.  This was surprising because usually horses were not buried.

They found the foundation of a large house here (you can see the fireplace foundations) but dated earlier were graves.  They believe this matches the history where settlers were told to bury their dead inside the fort so that the Natives wouldn't find out.

Replica palisades mark the original boundary but the river has claimed one corner of it.

There was a slight drizzle when we arrived but we liked that because it didn't make it as humid.

We COULD NOT get away from the stinky scouts!  We figured they had come to the National Jamboree and were camping out and therefore hadn't had showers.  Saying it was BAD was a total understatement.  

We learned that John Smith was sort of a punk but I guess you had to be a little to be a great adventurer.

They had a nice loop around the island that you could drive and at the far side of the loop was a path to the water.  I couldn't help but think that the landscape I saw probably was similar to what the original settlers saw.  

Our last stop was a glass house that dated to the original settlement.  At a recreated site, they had workers there creating vessels that you could buy in the store.  We learned that the purpose of Jamestown was to find some sort of prosperous business that they could make money and then return to England.  They tried many different enterprises including making glass.  We of course know that only one ever stuck, tobacco.  The thing that stood out to me was why was the glass house so far away from the original settlement?

After seeing the orignal settlement we decided to pop down the street (litterally only a couple of minutes away) and see Jamestown Settlement, the replica of the fort and ships.  Also at the Settlement was a Powhatan village.  There were interpreters at all three sites.  This reminded me a lot of my visit to Plymouth.  However Plymouth was a little different because the interpreters in the fort were actors playing a person from the period and they wouldn't break character for nothing!  No actors at Jamestown but a lot of really knoweldge people.  

It was really neat seeing the actual buildings of what we only saw as foundations at the historic site.  This is why I liked the order we saw them in.  We recongized immediately the large building (where the graves were under) and saw the double fireplaces like we saw at the historic site.  We also saw two other buildings that the historic site had marked off.  

There were a lot of hands on activities where you could learn more about life in the settlement.  The ships were also available for exploration.  I was struck with how small they were, especially the smallest of the three.  

I worked a lot with conical ceramics at work so it was cool to see how they were actually used.

I thought their way of doing the fences was so interesting!

Not comfortable.

They had wild turkey's running around everywhere.  I don't know how "wild" they were.

This is what tobacco looks like.

The place where I was standing in this fort would have been in the portion that is now in the water at the original location.

Chickens were roaming free.

I really liked Jamestown and was so glad that we were able to see both sites.  We did both in a day with plenty of time to spare.  We really enjoyed our southern Virginia trip and look forward to another in the future to see the other things we weren't able to.