Some of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Virginia are below. See the complete photo album on my website.
View of Duke of Gloucester Street from the Capitol Building.
For Spring Break, my son Peter and I traveled to Virginia to visit my mother and play tourist at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, and Go-Karts Plus. It was three-day trip but it felt like we saw and learned a lot. Now, I once lived in Williamsburg. I attended the College of William & Mary, worked on an archaeological site as part of a field school, studied 18th-century furniture at the art museums, and then was an employee of Colonial Williamsburg for four years during my senior year of college and the years immediately afterwards. So, these places are familiar to me. But this was the first time I’d visited as just a plain old tourist in close to 25 years, and the first time I visited as a parent, sharing my enthusiasm for history with my son.
We actually visited few of the sites I actually worked at in my time as a historical interpreter as Peter was drawn more to the historic trades (which, ironically, I rarely had time to visit when I actually worked there). For a place rooted in history, a lot has changed at Colonial Williamsburg. The Charlton Coffehouse was reconstructed in recent years and we enjoyed the unexpected treat of a free serving of hot chocolate of an 18th-century recipe. There’s also a daily event called Revolution in the Streets where the last block of Duke of Gloucester street is open only to paying guests and character interpreters perform a drama right in the middle of the crowd. The story we witnessed was about a slave couple deciding to “jump the broom” to marry before the man was taken away to Richmond (for some reason I never learned). We were among the witnesses to the jumping the broom ceremony which involved everyone participating in song and dance. It is kind of cheesy and probably not 100% authentic, but I think it gets across the point of what daily life and choices were faced by ordinary people of the past. I liked it better than the military reviews and speeches by great men that are more typical of living history performance.
A frisbee-catching dog on Palace Green.
Tulips blossom in the garden behind the Governor’s Palace.
A team of oxen prepare to plow another row in the field.
Jumping the Broom (broom not in the picture).
Related Post: Jamestown 2007 – America’s 400th Anniversary
My son & I spent the Columbus Day Weekend in Washington, D.C. Some of my favorite photos from the weekend are below, the rest are here.
The original Wright Brothers’ Flyer at the National Air & Space Museum
Pigeons on a lampost.
Sea Lion demonstration.
A few photos from a visit to Boston’s Museum of Science with my son this weekend.
- Escalator innards.
There’s no app for that.
World’s largest collection of barf bags (many of which are politically-themed)
The ever so elusive Plastic Pink Lawn Flamingo (Pseudamingoflay plasticus)
My son and I journeyed to the Ecotarium for Free Fun Fridays. The Ecotarium is a science museum surrounded by outdoor compound including nature trails, animal exhibits, a playground, and even a train ride. We had a great time with the only downside being that my parochial Bostonian view found the drive to Worcester a bit too long.
Walking on air.
A fox named Sox.
Turkeys on the prowl.
Jamaica Plain continued welcoming in the spring with Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum. We took some time to pedal our bikes and sniff the petals. Here are a few photos.
Last night we returned to Drumlin Farm for the Friday Evening Hayride. Farmer Caroline drove the tractor out to through the fields. Along the way Drumlin Farm educator Debbie taught us that we were in fact taking a strawride and that Drumlin Farm has been under cultivation for 250 years. Of course, around these parts I wondered “only 250 years?”
We stopped by a campfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Then we sang “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Drumlin” for Farmer Caroline and a song about a farm called “Muscle and Arm.” Then we heard a native American story about our special evening visitor, a screech owl!
A good time was had by all.
Since our first visit nearly a year ago, Drumlin Farm has become one of our family’s favorite destinations for a day out. We’ve even become members of Mass Audubon.
Here are some photographs from our visit on Sunday.
Midnight the Pony grazes in the barn.
A contemplative cow.
Cows often look thoughtful don't they?
Sheep graze as the hayride passes by.
Peeking at the tractor and the pigs' barn.
Author: Ulrich Boser
Title: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft
Publication Info: Smithsonian (2009)
For the 20th anniversary of the theft of 13 priceless art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, I read this book detailing the heist. The first chapter gives a blow-by-blow of all the known details of the heist itself in the early-morning hours of March 17, 1990. Next, Boser introduces Harold Smith, an art detective who dedicates many of the remaining years of his life gathering clues and following leads about the heist. After Smith dies in 2005, Boser himself picks up Smith’s casebook and begins immersing himself in the case to the point of obsession. The trail of the crime leads Boser to look into various Boston underworld characters such as a noted art thief, Whitey Bulger and his mob cronies, and even the Irish Republican Army. At one point the obsession gets ridiculous as Boser visits a town in Ireland thinking he’ll be able to pick Bulger off the street. In the end, there’s no solution yet for the mystery of missing art, but Boser gives some interesting insights into how art theft is perpetrated and how that art may hopefully be returned.
Recommended books: Dead Certainties : Unwarranted Speculations by Simon Schama, Legends of Winter Hill: Cops, Con Men, and Joe McCain, the Last Real Detective by Jay Atkinson, and Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr
When I was a kid I liked to visit farm museums where I could see all sorts of farm animals and a different way of life from my suburban upbringing. I’ve written about a couple of these magical places before – The Stamford Museum and Nature Center and Old MacDonald’s Farm. As an adult I’ve found it difficult to recapture the magic when visiting farm attractions as they’re either dismally small and depressing or so over-commercialized and packed with stuff that really have nothing to do with a farm.
The tractor pulls the hayride in front of the big red barn.
So it was with great delight that I visited the MassAudobon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA. It helps that I went accompanied by a toddler so everything was doubly fun. It’s a place where one can commune with sheep, pigs, goats, cows, deer, owls, and chickens. The tractor is vintage and it pulls a no-frills hayride around the farm. Not only that, but better than any of the places I visited as a child this is a functioning farm, growing produce for sale and divvied up among CSA shares. Drumlin Farm is a beautiful, educational, and magical place.
More photos below.
This classy tractor pulls the hayride wagon.
Caught this rooster in mid-crow.
Onions are spread out on the table in the greenhouse.
Beautiful golden flowers grow in the garden.
Boyce Field, part of the working farm.