The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

THE TRIP- part 1

Day 1: July 9- Travel.
Yup. It takes about a day to get to the east coast. Partly because of the time change, and partly because the airlines don't believe in direct flights any more. They want us to spend money at other airports, so they give us a tour.
We got into Baltimore around 11pm, got the rental car (I heart Enterprise) and headed two blocks away to our motel.

Day 2: July 10- Richmond, Virginia. (Mid 90s and humid beyond belief.)
Richmond has a TON of history, so we had to pick and choose what to see on this trip and not overload our brains. We started at historic St. Johns Church which is the location of the famous Patrick Henry speech that ended with, "give me liberty, or give me death!" It is a functioning Episcopal church, but we were too jet-lagged to get up early enough to get to the service. We aimed instead for the Sunday afternoon re-enactment of the colonist meeting that brought the emotional Mr. Henry to his dramatic conclusion.
After all the observers were seated in the church, 6 or 7 costumed interpreters walked in. Some sat in the front, others sat amongst the observers. We were not allowed to video or photograph once the "meeting" began, but we got shots of them afterward.
The meeting was fascinating. Listening to our founding fathers discuss the issues of the day really put us in the moment. The King and Parliament were truly being unreasonable. What were they to do about it? And what of the activity in Boston? Did the Tea Party help or hinder their discussion with Britain?
I got chills listening to the whole of Patrick Henry's speech. I am pretty sure I was in agreement with him the entire time until he got the the "death" part. (Death? Really? Couldn't I just go hide in the hinterlands somewhere until all of this blows over? I promise I won't be in the way...)

The church is set on the highest point in Richmond, and right smack dab in a cemetery.
Oops- I should say graveyard. A graveyard is a burial ground within church grounds, a cemetery has no church. We saw graves of many famous people- Edgar Allen Poe's mother is buried here, as is George Wythe- a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (His death was under some suspicious circumstances- and his murderer was not prosecuted because the only witness was a slave and slaves could not testify!)
Even where you see no headstone, there's a grave under your feet. There is no room to bury here any more- the last burial was in the 1970s.

At the gift shop, I bought a book titled Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. It's about a woman from Richmond whose family owned slaves, but she grew to see slavery as the evil that it is, so she worked from inside Richmond to help free slaves and to get messages to the Union during the war. I'm only about half-way through but it is fascinating. I love getting books when I travel- they are the best souvenirs.

After the church, we grabbed a bite at McD's and then went to see the Confederate White House and the Museum of the Confederacy.
There were tons of artifacts in the museum, and it was good to see the kids take such an interest- even if it was the museum of the losers.

That evening, we drove about an hour to Williamsburg, where we stayed for 3 days.
The girls had the hotel pool all to themselves and we unpacked and made ready to tackle Jamestown in the morning...

More later.

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