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7-5-06 Dawsons’ Vacation 2006 – Civil War, Colonial & Presidential Sites VA, PA etc Part 2

Monticello exudes Colonial History and is a great place to visit. 


We visited Antietam, MD, and Harpers Ferry.  The guide at the National Park did a great job explaining the bloody one day battle of Antietam- bloodiest in American History.


We …. drove to our last scheduled stop- Appomattox Courthouse battle and Surrender site……  saw exhibits at Center, film and walked around the area, including visit to the McLean House and seeing the sight where Generals Lee and Grant signed the papers ending the Civil War.



July 4, 2006


Dawsons’ VACATION 2006 Itinerary – VA, Washington DC, MD, PA, WV Part 2


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.


SEE:  7-5-06 Dawsons’ Vacation 2006 – Civil War, Colonial & Presidential Sites VA, PA etc Part 1       Continued......


June 25 PM    Drove into Washington DC (Alexandria VA), near the Pentagon, and got room at Holiday Inn.  Signed up for Night Bus tour of monuments and sights in DC.   We saw the Capitol, Washington Mon and Lincoln Mem.  Saw Presidential Motorcade enroute to Ford’s Theatre for filming of July 4th Special.   Heavy rains started and we did not see the other memorials until Monday morning. http://www.nps.gov/foth/index2.htm


26        Drove into Washington and parked car in a garage and walked to Constitution Ave.  Much confusion and problems from the flood the night before.  It was a long walk to the Lincoln Memorial area http://www.nps.gov/linc/home.htm.   We toured the WW II Memorial, http://www.wwiimemorial.com/, very nice monument and view; Vietnam Wall http://www.vietnamwall.org/  and Statue of living veterans of Vietnam War http://thewall-usa.com/; Korean War Memorial, http://www.nps.gov/kwvm/, different but impressive (Wall –Freedom is Not Free).


Nurses Memorial http://www.vietnamwomensmemorial.org/pages/framesets/setmemorial.html; FDR Memorial - http://www.nps.gov/fdrm/ - large and different but worth visit; Jefferson Memorial, http://www.nps.gov/thje/, walked to interior and took pictures of Tablets on Walls of Jefferson thoughts and statements; many making reference to God. We waited here through a heavy rain.



 Wendell & Betty at FDR Memorial


            Then drove in afternoon heavy rain to Fredrick, MD, and spent night at Hampton Inn.


27        Drove to Gettysburg Visitors Center; Many Exhibits and Electric Map of the three day bloody battle.  We walked through the Cemetery and saw Monument at site of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm

Very impressive cemetery with many unknown soldiers buried- All Union.


Monument at site of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address


            We took bus tour to Eisenhower Farm. http://www.nps.gov/eise/ We toured the home and saw Barn, Putting Green, Cattle pastures, skeet range and much more.  Saw small Guest House where Field Marshall Montgomery stayed on visit to Gettysburg- the house had two guest rooms- Monty and Ike had much conflict during WW II.



Eisenhower Home at Gettysburg

            Took afternoon bus tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield Site.   http://www.nps.gov/gett/  Our guide was a descendant of a Federal Soldier and was very knowledgeable.  He said that Picketts Charge  and other failure of the Confederates could have been avoided had General Lee listened to General Longstreet and others about fighting in Open Field formation.    Cannons and musket capabilities had changed the conditions of old Napoleanonic tactics of an earlier time in Europe.


            Many, many casualties at Gettysburg.  It was Lee’s attempt to bring the war to the north.  He reached his High Water Mark here and retreated back to VA.  He never again invaded the North.


            Very impressive site to visit and we took many pictures.  We then drove in rain to Lancaster, PA and spent night at Quality Inn.


28        Drove around Lancaster and the county and into Amish Country. http://www.800padutch.com/amish.shtml  We basically followed Route 30 but took side roads at Bird in Hand, Intercourse etc.  http://www.bird-in-hand.com/


            In Lancaster, we went by Wheatland, Pennsylvania home of James Buchanan, 15th President- just before Lincoln.  He died in Lancaster in 1868. http://www.wheatland.org/


            Saw many horse and carriages and Amish people dressed in their traditional garb.   An auction was taking place at Bird in Hand area and many carriages were enroute to the farm where the auction was taking place.


            Impressed with size of Dairy Barns, and modern equipment and size of the Agricultural base of the Amish Community.  We visited the Farmers Market at Bird in Hand and bought local products and took pictures.  Very enjoyable stop



Farmers Market at Bird in Hand


            We also noted that the Amish folks had many clothes lines and they were full that day. (Wednesday)—It was not raining at the time.  The clothes were inclined up from a pulley at the house and extended some distance across yards to some other building or pole.

            We then drove to Hershey PA and toured Hershey World  http://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/ where Hershey Chocolate candies are made.  We bought some candies and enjoyed the stop.



Jennifer and Betty at Hershey World

            We then drove to Harrisburg, State Capitol, http://www.visithhc.com/capcity.shtml, and took pictures of the Capitol Building.  It is a relatively small City and we parked in front of the Capitol.  We ate lunch at Sammy’s Italian Restaurant across from the PA State Capitol.


            We spent the night in a Holiday Inn off I-81 at Morgantown, WV, http://www.morgantown.com/, our first visit to West Virginia.  We took pictures of what appeared to be a coal area.


29        We visited Antietam, MD, and Harpers Ferry.  http://www.nps.gov/anti/home.htm


  The guide at the National Park did a great job explaining the bloody one day battle of Antietam- bloodiest in American History.  Much open field combat- Cornfield changed hands many times in a bloody battle.  After Antietam, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.   The guide said that the lack of success at Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation (made slavery more of an issue) kept the European Nations (Brittan and France) from recognizing and aiding the South and that was very detrimental to the Southern Cause and ability to conduct a war against vastly outnumbered troops and resources. (General Lee did great job with fewer forces and Lincoln changed Generals shortly thereafter.)  http://www.civilwarhome.com/antietam.htm; http://www.nps.gov/anti/home.htm



Wendell at Cornfield Avenue at Antietam

            We took bus tour to Harpers Ferry and walked around the Old Town and saw the Point where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers come together.  It was the Site of John Brown’s raid in his one man crusade for abolition of slavery (he was hanged for this action).  It controlled vital routes and river corridors.  The Federals and Confederates struggled to control the area.   Stonewall Jackson and his troops came from Harpers Ferry to help at Antietam.   http://www.nps.gov/hafe/; http://www.nps.gov/hafe/home.htm


 Point where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers come together – Harpers Ferry



 Betty & RR at Harpers Ferry

            We continued south to Staunton VA and visited the birthplace and Presidential Library of WW I President Woodrow Wilson (28th President).  We were late in the day but saw the Museum and buildings.  Very nice visit.  http://www.woodrowwilson.org/



Jennifer and Betty at Birthplace President Woodrow Wilson


            We then drove to Charlottesville, VA and spent night at the Holiday Inn near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. http://www.charlottesville.org/


30        We drove to the Monticello visitors Center http://www.monticello.org/  and viewed Exhibits and took a bus up to the House. Monticello.  We toured the house noticing many technical ideas adapted by Jefferson from his ambassador days in Europe.  A temp gauge and wind vane was under roof of porch.   Monticello was a large Plantation worked by over a 100 slaves.  While taking anti-slavery stands including seeking legislation to abolish it, he only freed about 7 of his slaves, five in his will.


            Monticello exudes Colonial History and is a great place to visit.  It is an Architectural Marvel.    It is also site of Vegetable Gardens and other gardens that the Plantation maintained.





            Presidents James Madison and James Monroe lived a few miles away and were frequent visitors to Monticello.    Jefferson died at Monticello on July 4, 1826, 50th anniversary of Declaration of Independence (which Jefferson largely wrote) and John Adams, 2nd President, died later the same day.  They had been political enemies, Jefferson defeating Adams for President.  They became closer in later years and wrote to each other.  The Adams-Jefferson letters are a rich source of history and understanding the thinking and dynamics of the American Revolution and the Founding of the United States.


            Thomas Jefferson is buried in the Jefferson Cemetery at Monticello where burials of family members have continued in recent years.  The Monticello and grounds are owned and controlled by a Foundation involving some of the Jefferson descendants. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=j000069


            The possibility of children by Slave, Sally Hennings, is given considerable coverage in the Visitors Center.  http://www.wizardrealm.com/Galadriel/mjeff.htm  Many books and other info on our 3rd President.  I believe that Jefferson sired some of her children and has descendants with Afro-American lineage.  The fact that he did not free all his slaves, as did George Washington, seems hypocritical.


            Jefferson was a brilliant man who made many contributions to the Founding of the United States.  He lived an aristocratic life in spite of his statements on the common man and freedom.  Monticello could not have operated without his large slave holdings. 


            Monticello is well worth the visit for sights and for better understanding of this complex man who did not even want his Presidential Service on his tombstone.  He was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase that extended the U S to the Pacific eventually.

            We then drove South and stopped in Schuyler, VA, site of the Walton Mountain Museum.  Jennifer had heard of this museum.   We had all been regular viewers and fans of the Waltons on TV in the 70’s.  The old school has been converted to a Museum and is worth the Visit.  It is the School (1941 Graduate) attended by Earl Hamner, Jr, creator of the Waltons’.   While Schuyler is larger than portrayed, it is the model on which Hamner based his writings.   http://www.waltonmuseum.org/


Much Memorabilia and exhibits here of the Walton Show and its Cast Members.  Worth a visit.



 Walton Kitchen & Dining area

            We then drove to our last scheduled stop- Appomattox Courthouse battle and Surrender site.  http://www.nps.gov/apco/


            We saw exhibits at Center, film and walked around the area, including visit to the McLean House and seeing the sight where Generals Lee and Grant signed the papers ending the Civil War.



Jennifer & Betty at McLean House


            We saw many straight fences along roads where Confederate Troops were lined up and laid down their weapons and were released to return home without food or resources.  Some of the Federals gave them food.  As General Lee rode away in a saddened but dignified manner, troops cheered and saluted him.


            This is a place of solemnity.  All parties respected the other.  Grant did not allow partying and gloating although all were glad the war was over.  Most confederates were disappointed and grieved at the outcome of the War after so much effort and sacrifice.   They too were able to sleep and rest without fear of being attacked in the night.


            Appomattox was the End of the Road for the Confederacy.  However, the site has much to offer students of the Civil War.   It was a fitting place for our last sight visit.

            We spent the night at a Holiday Express near Mt Holly, NC.


            Saturday, July 1, 2006:  Drove through North Carolina and South Carolina on way home.  We arrived home shortly after noon and returned our AVIS rental car in Athens.


            Great Trip and much History……..!!