9-9-19 Historic Jamestowne Virginia

Historic Jamestown, just a few miles away from our place in Williamsburg, seemed like a nice spot to visit on a lovely September day. With Ryan and Chris on board, we headed out to visit this site.

The Welcome Sign f

As we were getting in line for our entrance tickets we discovered that Tony and Gloria were also there – and just in front of us – and it was great to visit with them again. (they were at the 50th anniversary celebration that was held the prior evening).

Tony, David, Gloria, Janeen, Ryan and Chris – a beautiful way to spend a few hours and learn about American History.

Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Started by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort” on May 4, 1607 along the banks of the (now) James River (originally Powhatan River). The location was chosen as a site in a secure place, where Spanish ships could not fire point blank into the fort. Within days of landing, Powhatan Indians attacked the colonists. As a result of the hostilities, the newcomers spent the next few weeks working to create a wooden fort.

This is a depiction of what the fort might have looked like based on the excavations completed.

It is inside this fort that England’s first permanent colony took hold.

The Jamestown Tercentenary Monument, erected in 1907 to commemorate the three hundredth anniversary of the settlement, stands 103 feet tall.

Of course it wasn’t easy. Disease, famine, and sporadic attacks from the neighboring Powhatan Indians took a tremendous toll on the early population, but there were also times when trade with the Indians revived the colony with food in exchange for glass beads, copper and iron tools. Relations with the local Indians quickly soured and the colonist would eventually annihilate the Paspahegh in warfare over the next four years.

The original number of colonists was 105 “men and boys” but despite the Virginia Company sending more settlers and supplies, including the 1608 arrival of eight Polish and German colonists and the first two European women, more than 80 percent of the colonist died by 1610. The site was abandoned for several years, the remaining colonists returned from nearby encampments after a resupply convoy arrived.

Ranger Bill gave a great talk and brought the area to life for us.

The first representative assembly in English North America convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly met in response to orders from the Virginia Company “to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia” and provide “just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting.” A few weeks later came the first unsolicited arrival of Africans to Jamestown, marking the beginning of de facto slavery in the colony.

With the introduction of tobacco and the arrival of the first indentured slaves Jamestown created an economy that was able to survive and expand.

Janeen leaning on a corner post of a partially recreated wall.

As Jamestown grew into a robust “New Towne” to the east, written references to the original fort disappeared. In 1676 a rebellion in the colony led by Nathaniel Bacon sacked and burned much of the capital town. Jamestown remained the capital of Virginia until its major statehouse, located on the western end of the island, burned in 1698. The capital moved to Williamsburg in 1699, and Jamestown began to slowly disappear above the ground. By the 1750s the land was heavily cultivated farmland erasing all the above ground structures.

The fort has been recreated based on all the research done over the last 20 years.

In 1893 Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barney owned the property that was Jamestown. The Barneys gave 22-1/2 acres of land, including the 17th century church tower, to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia). By this time James River erosion had eaten away the island’s western shore; the common belief was that the site of 1607 James Fort lay completely underwater. With federal assistance, a sea wall was built in 1900 to protect the area from further erosion. The remaining acreage on the island was acquired by the National Park Service in 1934 and made part of the Colonial National Historical Park.

David, Chris, Ryan and Janeen

In 1994 an extensive survey of the property was done which resulted in finding the foundations of the original fort. These excavations revealed 1.5 million artifacts and greatly increased the understanding of this first chapter in American History.

Just a sample of some of the artifacts that have been recovered
Work continues trying to discover additional artifacts during restoration work.
Some of the artifacts on display in the museum.

Today, the Preservation Virginia Society and National Park Service jointly operate Jamestown.   Upon our arrival ,we learned that Ranger Bill would be doing a talk in a few minutes and we arrived in time to listen in. Ranger Bill brought to life much of the history of the area and pointed out various significant points of interest. After our introduction talk we walked through the recreated fort, visited the museum with all many of the artifacts on display and generally had a very nice time.

Ryan by the Captan John Smith memorial. He was the original leader of the group.

After we left, and had posted a few pictures on Facebook, we learned that Chris is related to some of the early Jamestown settlers. It seems that on his mother’s side of the family, his great grandmother…..the Slaughter line from Upper Slaughter, England help settle Jamestown. John Slaughter came over from Upper Slaughter about 1610-1612. His wife and son, John, joined him about 1615-1617. John, the father, was killed in an Indian massacre outside of town. His wife died and is buried in Jamestown. John, the son ,married and had 3 sons in Jamestown. Who knew that Chris comes from such old and hearty stock? The Slaughter Family is listed in the settler’s books of Jamestown.  Nice surprise to learn all of this after having visited the place.

Chris – our ‘Junior Ranger’ for the day. Who knew he was related to some of the early settlers of Jamestown!

 

 

 

 

8-25 & 9-7-19 50th Anniversary Celebrations

What happened in 1969? Well a lot of things – many of which we remember. Here are some of the highlights:

The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records     First Concorde test flight is conducted In France,

The Concord started test flights in 1969

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its debut. It carried 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, from Seattle to New York City.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am the epitome of the American muscle car is introduced,

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Woodstock attracts more than 350,000 rock-n-roll fans.  Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder five people.

Man Walks on the Moon – July 20, 1969

The first man is landed on the moon on the Apollo 11 mission by the United States and Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon.

Apollo 11 and man is on the moon in July 1969. We watched this on live television with my parents in La Jolla.

Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States.    Sesame Street known for its Muppet characters, makes its debut on PBS.  Seiko sells the first Quartz Watch

Popular films included: The Love Bug,

The Love Bug Movie

Funny Girl, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. True Grit, Midnight Cowboy, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Easy Rider and Where Eagles Dare

Popular Musicians include: The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Creedence Clearwater Revival,

Creedence Clearwater Revival was on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969

John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

The first ATM is installed and the hand held barcode scanner is created.  Fashions reflected the anti war sentiment with military jackets adorned with peace signs, and other trends included long unkempt wild hair and headbands reflecting the feelings of anti establishment felt by the youth.

 And on August 2, 1969 David & Janeen got married.

Walk to the Reception after our ceremony

Since that time, 50 years or so, they have been together, raised two sons – seen them both married, grand daughters have joined the family and now they (David & Janeen) live in a state of Wander – they don’t have a house but just “wander” around.

August 2 ,2019 was the official anniversary day – and we had a lovely lunch with our dear friend Beth at a Spanish restaurant in Healdsburg. Fantastic time
Gary Peter and Jaynese were not able to make either celebration so we partied with them in the Bay Area.(51st anniversary August 10)

To celebrate this long relationship, our sons, Jason and Ryan, hosted two major parties – one in California for a bunch of West Coast friends and one on the East Coast for the growing network of friends in that area.

A photo montage was created and can be seen by clicking on the link here.  https://youtu.be/7jwtRiQ-TPA

Below are some of the pictures from the two events – one held in Pasadena at Bacchus Kitchen and one in Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Plantation VacationVillage. Our friends on both costs (and those in between) who were able to attend were treated to wines from our collection along with great eats.

All the West Coast folks got together for a picture after dinner.
The West Coast Crowd
Will and Cheryl with Janeen and David. David and Will worked together at Northrup and haven’t seen each other in years! A nice surprise at the West Coast event.
Jason hosting one of the tables at the West Coast event.
Here we are after all these years still together.

Our Celebration in Virginia was smaller but just as fantastic.

There was a special cake! Hand made pistachio flavored cake with lemon curd filling. Wonderful edible chamomile flowers adorned.
Ira, Janeen and Chris at the East Coast event
Opening cards at the East Coast celebration
The table was set and ready for us when we arrived for the East Coast Celebration
Gloria and Tony – he was the Best Man at our wedding.
Janeen and Emma holding our granddaughters(flower girls in pink)
Tiy, Theresa and Michael all joined in the celebration
We had a wonderful evening for sure.
Joel is our Jazz lover friend from Boston – Janeen worked for his dad when we lived in Cambridge in the early 70’s.

We don’t consider our Party over yet as we continue to roam around and stop in to visit friends across the country :new celebrations happen all the time.

8-3-19 Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

We recently visited this wonderful place together.

Located in San Marino, about 5 miles from where we used to live in Alhambra, is the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Over the years we had visited this lovely spot to explore the art collection and see all the amazing gardens. Then, after Janeen retired 10 years ago or so, she became a volunteer – docent in the Herb Garden and loved the experience tremendously (as a result of her time in the Garden, I have now realized that periodically we need to visit gardens where ever we are – Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, Tivoli Garden in Italy to name just a few). While visiting in SoCal on this trip she has been to the Huntington Gardens three times already.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, colloquially known as The Huntington, is a collections-based educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927).

Henry and- Arabella Huntington’s Home. This now houses a large portion of the artwork.

Henry was an avid collector of art, books and plants from all over the world. As a result he amassed a huge collection that overflowed his home and extended into several buildings on his property. With over 120 acres of specialized botanical landscaped gardens including world famous Japanese Garden, Desert Garden and an ever expanding Chinese Garden, he left the entire estate to a foundation to continue his dream of expanding the place. The overall estate is divided into three categories: Library, Artworks and Gardens.

George Washington seen hanging out in the Scott  Gallery.

The Library contains a substantial collection of rare books and manuscripts, concentrated in the fields of British and American history, literature, art, and the history of science. Highlights include one of eleven vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible known to exist, The Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer (ca. 1410) and letters and manuscripts by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. The Library’s Main Exhibition Hall showcases some of the most outstanding rare books and manuscripts in the collection, while the West Hall of the Library hosts rotating exhibitions. The collection is available for scholars to do research.

The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1770. This is currently being studied and restored.
Sources of the blue used to paint Blue Boy. Part of the display as the painting undergoes its restoration.

The Art Collection is displayed in both a permanent installation and special temporary exhibitions in several buildings on the property. The European collection, consisting largely of 18th- and 19th-century British & French paintings, sculptures and decorative arts, is housed in The Huntington Art Gallery, the original Huntington residence.

Taking a brief break before going into the newest wing of the Scott Gallerys

Also included in the art collection is a spectacular collection of American art from the 18th century French tapestries, porcelain, and furniture. Complementing the European collections is a collection of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and photographs dating from the 17th to the mid 20th century. Interestingly, Huntington did not originally collect American Art.

A beautiful example of four kinds of quilting in one. On display in one of the galleries.

The institution started this collection in 1979 with the gift of some 50 significant paintings from Virginia Steel Scott – since then significant works by American craftsmen and artists are displayed in the Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery, a modern classical addition designed by Los Angeles architect Frederick Fisher. Highlights among the American art collections include Breakfast in Bed by Mary Cassatt, The Long Leg by Edward Hopper, Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle) by Andy Warhol, and Global Loft (Spread) by Robert Rauschenberg. As of 2014, the collection numbers some 12,000 works, ninety percent of them drawings, photographs and prints. Addition of the American wing highlights quilts, furniture, fabric arts and paintings under the banner Becoming America.

One of several fountains. This were not working for the longest time due to the water problems in California.
Janeen happy to see the fountains running again.

Botanical Gardens – clearly the most important part as far as Janeen is concerned – consists of over 120 acres and showcases plants from around the world. The gardens are divided into more than a dozen themes including Camellia collection, Children’s Garden, Desert Garden, Herb Garden, Japanese Garden,

Japanese garden with Wisteria blooming
Japanese Garden bell

Rose Garden,

Rose Garden with the Temple of Love

Chinese Garden

The Chinese Garden – lovely and restful place to visit.

and other themed  areas.

The Desert Garden, one of the world’s largest and oldest outdoor collections of cacti and other succulents, contains plants from extreme environments, many of which were acquired by Henry E. Huntington and William Hertrich (the garden curator during Huntington’s time).

World famous Desert Garden

One of the Huntington’s most botanically important gardens, the Desert Garden, brings together a plant group largely unknown and unappreciated in the beginning of the 1900s. Containing a broad category of xerophytes (aridity-adapted plants), the Desert Garden grew to preeminence and remains today among the world’s finest, with more than 5,000 species. Hertrich is rumored to have travelled all over the southwest (including Mexico) digging up various plants to bring back to San Marino.

Desert garden is filled with cacti and succulents

One of the interesting things I’ve learned is that when transplanting  a large cactus , it really must be planted facing the same way(compass direction) from its original planting to be successful.

The Herb Garden – truly the most important Garden to Janeen where she spent the most time and was an active Docent for a number of years including helping to train volunteers, was constructed in the 1970s.

Kelly, the Herb & Shakespeare Garden main gardener.

This garden contains many unusual herbs as well as many that are well known. Favorites from grandmother’s day, such as horehound, licorice, lavender, mignonette, and heliotrope, evoke happy memories for many visitors.

Herb Garden in the off season – not much blooming

The garden is arranged according to the uses made of the herbs: medicines; teas; wines and liqueurs; cooking, salads, and confections; cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps; potpourris and sachets; insect repellents; and dyes.

The Southern California climate allows The Huntington to grow many herbs and even some spices not found in traditional herb gardens.

Some of the displays in the Herb Garden that Janeen helped to create.

These include, but are not limited to, plants that produce coffee, tea, mate, hops, and jojoba.

The  18th century well in the Herb Garden wrought iron with a grapevine motif.
One of the benches in the Herb Garden dedicated to Gene Roddenberry.

Many larger and shade loving herbs are planted outside the beds, along the perimeter of the garden. Janeen particularly enjoys the scented geraniums, lemon verbena, mints, almond verbena, allspice and lavender.

A field of Agapanthus “Lillies of the Nile” bloom year round to the delight of bees and humming birds.

 

 

 

 

 

7-28-19 The International Pinot Noir Celebration

Over the last 20 years, we have traveled to the wine country of the Willamette Valley almost every year.  These trips have certainly given us a good appreciation of the area as well as the opportunity to see it change over the years.  Our early visits included introductions to some great winemakers and we have been able to stay in touch with these folks over the years.  As a result of all of this interaction with folks, we learned about the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC), which is held each year the last weekend of July.  Over the years we have been able to attend this event a number of times.

Coupled with the IPNC are a number of special events that occur around the weekend.  One we were excited to attend was the release party for the History Wines. 

Melissa Burr with a bottle of her History Wine.

This wine series is a new partnership between Stoller Family Estate and the Director of Winemaking, Melissa Burr.  Melissa’s family purchased a property in Washington that had a very early planting of Cabernet Sauvignon and she had wanted to make wine from it for sometime.  This resulted in her development of the History Wine program that seeks to source fruit from some of the oldest vineyards in the Pacific Northwest to make limited quantities of ultra-premium wines.  The release party was held July 20th at the Stoller estate and featured several wines produced from some of the oldest plantings in the area.  Wonderful way to start off our visit to the area.

The following Thursday, we joined with our friends from Pasadena ,Jessie and Phil for a lovely Pre-IPNC dinner held at Résonance Winery. 

Phil and Jessie at the Résonance dinner.

Résonance is a brand new facility started by a French producer, Maison Louis Jadot, and the tasting room was just completed about a month prior to the evening’s event.  Dinner, great wines and conversations with the Pierre-Henry Gagey, President of Maison Louis Jadot and his son, Thibault Gagey Director of Operations provided a wonderful insight into their feelings about starting an operation in Oregon and their commitment to the project.  I found my conversation with the winemaker, Guillaume Large very enjoyable. 

Janeen and winemaker Guillaume Large at Résonance

He has been active in the decisions on how new vineyards are to be planted and what varietals are used.  Unlike most (read that 99%) of the vineyards in Oregon they are planting a number of different varietals as a “field blend” not as specific blocks or areas.  The field blend they feel gives them a better representation of the terroir.

The next day started the actual IPNC experience. 

Each year, my sister makes us name badges for this event. We make a few for friends a special wine makers.

Held on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, this was the 33rd annual gathering of Pinot Noir lovers from around the world.  The Celebration is both educational, featuring a Grand Seminar and courses as part of the University of Pinot combined with an abundance of great Pinot Noir paired with the delicious bounty of Oregon prepared by the Pacific Northwest’s most talented chefs .  Voila ,you have a great food and wine event.

Over the course of three days of tastings, seminars, vineyard tours and gourmet dining there is the opportunity to taste Pinot Noir wines from over 70 carefully vetted wineries from several continents. 

All the winemakers at the event get to introduce themselves and of course have their picture taken.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies and Grand Seminar moderator was Steven Spurrier who guided an in-depth discussion of the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise, “The 3rd Côte.”

Aaron Bell, Assistant winemaker at Domaine Drouhin Oregon where we are Wine Club Members #1.

The Grand Seminar had a panel of French Wine Producers and their wines.  It was a lively discussion along with some very tasty wines.

Grand Seminar is held in the gym on campus.
Tasting of Burgundy wines at the Grand Seminar.
The Panel at the Grand Seminar

After a fantastic lunch served outdoors in the Oak Grove, I went off to a seminar with Steven Spurrier while Janeen headed to a discussion of Pinot Noir and Riesling and changing terroir. 

David Millman and Seven Spurrier at the discussion panel
Steven Spurrier

My seminar was a small group of people where Spurrier was asked questions by David Millman and covered the historic 1976 blind tasting between wines from California and France, the Judgment of Paris that forever changed the world’s view of New World wines and his lengthy history in the wine environment.

After our small group programs we went back to our room and regrouped for the afternoon and evening events.  We decided to pass on the walk around tasting – where some 40 or so wines are presented and just hung out at our apartment.  Dinner, a grand affair, held on the Intramural Field featured a wonderful meal along with more great wines.

The Afternoon lunch under the Oaks
The food prep tent for the Grand Dinner on Friday evening.

Saturday had us board a bus and head out to a winery.  The actual location is unknown until we were on our way and we discovered we were going to Ponzi Vineyard.  Ponzi is one of the pioneer vineyards in the valley having been established in the late 60’s by Dick and Nancy Ponzi.  The vineyards are now owned and run by their daughters, Anna Maria Ponzi and Winemaker Luisa Ponzi the second generation.

Janeen with Anna Maria Ponzi and Winemaker Luisa Ponzi

At the winery there was a panel discussion with 5 winemakers – 4 from Oregon and 1 from California with a discussion about winemaking procedures, methods sources of fruit and other quite interesting topics. 

The panel discussion at Ponzi Winery
Janeen getting ready to ask the panel a question.

It is always interesting when winemakers have to taste their wines blind – most of the time they are unable to pick out their wines from the selections available and this was no different from prior panels we have been to over the years.  All and it was a great afternoon and I would admit  that the Arneis

If you find this wine, buy it and enjoy!

they served at lunch was so good I ordered some!

Janeen and winemaker Alex Sokol Blosser

The afternoon, after getting back to the campus, had another walk around tasting with an additional 40 or so producers that we also missed.  The evening had the traditional Salmon Bake – a large area under the oak trees is set up for cooking salmon, pouring wines, dancing and the eating of great food.

Salmon is baked over open flame – boy is it good.
The “meat” table at Salmon Bake
Did I mention the Dessert table at Salmon Bake?
More Desserts then you can sample

Sunday, the final day of the weekend ,is a sparkling brunch with several different food stations and lots and lots of sparkling wine.  A wonderful end for the weekend and a time to say goodbye to old and new friends.  While we have enjoyed our time both in the Willamette Valley and at the IPNC there is no guarantee when we will get back to this part of the world as there is a lot of world yet to explore.

7-30-19 The Interstate Highway System

For those of you who have been following along on our adventures you know that from time to time we take a step back and drop off the radar for a while. Not much has been recorded recently,  so I thought I would put up something letting our readers know what’s happening and a little bit of history at the same time.

After celebrating our granddaughter’s 4th birthday (albeit a few days early) we packed up our stuff and headed west towards Oregon. In order to make this trip we have to thank President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was with a stroke of a pen in 1956 he signed into law the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways commonly know as the Interstate Highway System.

This network of controlled-access highways forms part of our national highway system and allows us to travel throughout this wonderful land in great comfort. This system has often been called the Greatest Public Works Project in History and has changed the daily lives of everyone . All drivers , car and truck owe a great debt to this network of roads that travel across the country – both east and west and north and south.

This was our route across the country.

The new highway system didn’t help the small towns along the way as it created high speed corridors by which travelers can zip past a lot of the iconic roadways– all you have to do is think about the demise of Route 66 – the road from Chicago to Los Angeles and all the small towns that supported the travelers along that path who now don’t have the traffic to support them.

We travelled along I-80 for the better part of 2,000 miles

There has always been a “rumor” that part of the highway system was designed with long stretches of straight road that could be used for airplanes to land. Usually, this myth says the requirement came from President Eisenhower or the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. However, no legislation, regulation, or policy has ever imposed such a requirement. Airplanes do sometimes land on interstates in an emergency, but the highways are not designed for that purpose.

It seemed each Interstate rest area has some sort of dedication This one was in Pennsylvania⁩

Currently, the Interstate System is 46,876 miles long. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 imposed a statutory limitation on the Interstate mileage that would be built with Interstate Construction funds under the new program (41,000 miles at the time). Later legislation increased the limitation to 43,000 miles, of which a total of 42,795 miles has been used. Separate legislation allows the Federal Highway Administration to approve additional mileage if it meets full Interstate standards and would be a logical addition or connection.

At one rest stop in Illinois, there was this dedication – Christopher Columbus Memorial Highway

The first project to go to construction with Interstate Construction funds under the 1956 Act was in Missouri. The project on U.S. 40 (later designated the I-70 Mark Twain Expressway) in St. Charles County got underway on August 13, 1956. Officials erected a sign stating, “This is the first project in the United States on which actual construction was started under provisions of the new Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.”

Interstate 84 took us from Salt Lake City to Portland for about 800 miles

Kansas had begun a construction project on U.S. 40 (I-70) west of Topeka before the 1956 Act, but awarded the final paving contract under the new legislation. Because this was the first paving under the 1956 Act, Kansas erected a sign claiming, “This is the first project in the United States completed under provisions of the new Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.”

Janeen and Cherlyne during our visit with them in Star Idaho.

The Interstate numbering plan was based on the plan used to number the U.S. numbered highways, but in mirror image (for example, U.S. 1 is on the East Coast, while I-5 is on the West Coast; U.S. 10 is in the north while I-10 is in the south). In both plans, numbers ending in zero are used for transcontinental and other major multi-State routes. However, one of the rules for Interstate numbering is that numbers are not duplicated on Interstate highways and U.S. numbered routes in the same State. Duplicate numbers would be confusing for motorists; for example, if told to take “Route 50,” the motorist might follow the wrong one. Because the Interstate numbering plan is a mirror image of the U.S. numbered highway plan, I-50 would be located in some of the same States as U.S. 50 (Ocean City, Maryland, to Sacramento, California). Therefore, “50” has not been used for an Interstate route.

Max, the 3 year old Saint Bernard who lives in Star Idaho with the Allens

Our route going West was along I 80 to Salt Lake City and then North on I 84. Along the way we visited friends in York Nebraska and Star Idaho – it’s nice to catch up with old friends. Once we made it to Portland Oregon we took shelter with my sister Marilynn and actually had a moment with all my sibling.s It was quite by happenstance that we were all in the same place and able to get together.

David, Marilynn, Richard and Georgia. We always stand in birth order with Georgia the first born and me the last.

For now, we are heading south from the Portland area to Los Angeles stopping along the way in Sonoma and the Bay Area again to visit friends. This piece of the trip isn’t on the Interstate but historic US 101 along the coast of Oregon and California. More as the venture continues.

Not a sign you see often – this is along Highway 101 in Oregon.

07-04-2019 Thomas Jefferson & James Monroe – Presidental Homes

Monticello – Thomas Jefferson’s Home on the Hill

Monticello is neoclassical style design.

At the age of 26, Thomas Jefferson inherited approximately 5,000 acres and began plans for his home having independently studied the principles of architecture; he based the design on a neoclassical style developed by Andrea Palladio who was a popular Italian Renaissance architect in eighteenth century Europe.  The home was to be built on the top of an 850-foot mountain located on the property and Jefferson named it Monticello an Italian word meaning “little mountain”.

As work began on the building in 1770, Jefferson lived in one of the outbuildings on the property known as the South Pavilion.  A few years later, in 1772,he married Martha Wayles Skelton and construction still had not been completed on the house.  Sadly, Martha died in 1782 and Jefferson left Monticello to go to France, undertaking a political position as Minister of the United States.  The construction on this first version of Monticello was considered finished in 1784 while Jefferson was still in France.

Displayed in the Entrance Hall are a large collection of maps, Native American artifacts many collected by Lewis & Clark while Jefferson was President.
Family and friends would gather in the Parlor for games, music, and conversation, and it was the site of weddings, dances and other important social events. It held most of Jefferson’s art collection, including portraits of many people whom he admired or considered noteworthy.
Another picture of the Parlor

Europe changed how Jefferson looked at his project and he wanted include French design elements.

At the top of the Mansion is the Dome Room. A unique feature Jefferson added after his time in France.

By 1794, Jefferson had returned to America to serve as the first Secretary of State for the newly formed United States followed by a stint as President.

The Dining Room was where Jefferson sat down with his family and guests to eat the two main meals of the day, breakfast and dinner.
In the dining room, this fireplace has a dumbwaiter for wine bottles. Put an empty in it, lower it down and magically a full bottle comes back on it’s return journey.

Although the building was considered completed in 1809 Jefferson continued to make improvements and changes on structure throughout his lifetime.

Jefferson’s bedroom.
The second bedroom on the upper floor – it shares the wall with the James Madison bedroom which would be to the right.
James Madison on his frequent visits to Monticello ,stayed in this room.. The room is decorated with distinctive trellis wallpaper; the current reproduction is  a pattern originally purchased by Jefferson in Paris in 1790.

Thomas Jefferson died in 1826 and per his request he is buried in the Monticello cemetery.

Here was buried Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom & Father of the University of Virginia

At the time of his death,  the estate was more than $107,000 in debt (which was a considerable amount of money at that time).  Jefferson’s daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, found it necessary to sell the Monticello plantation including the house and surrounding property, she also sold the furnishings of house, livestock and farm equipment and the plantation’s slaves to pay off the debts.

Proof we were there.

Over the years, Monticello had many owners until Uriah Levy bought the property in 1834. The Levy family continued to own the property for almost 90 years.  Levy, a former commodore in the U.S. Navy, had long admired Jefferson and he chose to restore and preserve the home and property.  In 1923, the Levy family sold the property to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, a private non-profit organization.  The Foundation now owns and operates the house as a museum, maintains the grounds of the property and administrates an educational center.  Monticello is a National Historic Landmark and in 1987 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the nearby University of Virginia where Jefferson had also designed many of the buildings on the campus.

Montpelier – James Madison’s delightful home

The front of Montpelier – very large expanse of open space in front of the house.
A view of the other side of the house.

Located a mere 30 miles from Monticello, and doing basically the same thing throughout his live, our fourth President James Madison lived in his family home called Montpelier. We visited Montpelier the following day, after visiting Monticello, on our way back home to Springfield.

In 1723, Ambrose Madison, James father, received a large parcel of land located in Virginia.  By 1732 he had built Mount Pleasant, the original family homewhich became the home for his wife, Frances Taylor, and their three children.  Upon his death, it was believed ,but never proved, that one of his slaves had poisoned him.His oldest son; James Madison Sr. inherited the tobacco plantation.

After inheriting the plantation, Madison Sr. acquired even more land and the estate grew to over 5,000 acres making him the largest landowner in the area.  Mount Pleasant soon became a prosperous plantation and Madison Sr. established several more businesses, including a distillery and ironworks.  With a growing family a new house was in order and in 1764 the new home – a two-story brick Georgian style house to be called Montpelier was completed.

Stairs at the entrance to the house.

The future president, James Madison Jr. was the oldest of their children and while the young boy enjoyed life on the plantation, as he grew older he realized that he wanted to pursue a career in public office.  He eventually went to school at the College of New Jersey and then on to Williamsburg and Philadelphia.  While serving in the new nation’s capital of Washington as a congressman, Madison meet and married a young widow, Dolley Payne Todd, in 1794.  By 1797, construction had begun on the front portico and a 30-foot extension on the main building at Montpelier.

These are the stairs we took to the second floor rooms.

A number of additions were made to the house over the years to accommodate the family and to provide entertaining spaces due to James Madison’s rise in public office from Secretary of State to President of the United States.  Finally in 1817, after serving two terms as president, James Madison and his wife Dolley once again left Washington and retired to Montpelier.

Dining room – set for two.

After leaving public office, James and Dolley Madison lead a very full life and together they spent many years editing his presidential and personal papers.  They also enjoyed entertaining political statesmen and diplomats as well as their personal friends and neighbors.  When James Madison died in 1836, the estate went to his stepson Todd Payne.

Guess what, a bedroom.
And here’s another bedroom.

From 1844 until 1900, Montpelier went through a series of six different owners.  In 1901, William DuPont Sr. bought the property.  The wealthy DuPont family was very influential in the development of Thoroughbred horse racing in the United States and for this reason several barns, stables and other equestrian buildings were built on the property.  After the death of William and his wife Annie, their daughter inherited the estate in 1928.  Despite the renovations made on the Madison’s former home, Marion meant to preserve the original footprint of the estate, gardens and additional grounds. At the time of her death in 1983, Marion DuPont Scott bequeathed the property to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Temple that offers spectacular views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. This is just to the left of the front of the house.
The Annie DuPont Garden – this was put in while the DuPont’s owned the place.

Since 1984, the National Trust for Historic Preservation took ownership of the estate and the organization has worked to restore Montpelier to how it would have looked during the time of James and Dolley Madison.  From 2003 to 2008, the Montpelier, former home of James and Dolley Madison, underwent a $25 million restoration project funded by the National trust to remove the renovations created by prior owners and the DuPont family to restore the building to its original 1820 look. The restoration was able to recreate much of the color scheme from the Madison period along with some of the wallpaper.

Proof we were there.

Our visit toured the interior of the property and much of the grounds. While there really are few furnishings left from when Madison owned the property, the house is furnished with period pieces and much of the history is brought to life by the docents leading the tour.

Adjacent to the property is a large forest – which was an old growth forest during Madison’s time.

The estate includes a Landmark forest which Madison preserved for house use in fireplaces. 

Some of the Tulip trees are hundreds of years old.  He also was an advocate of preserving natural resources. A Witness Tree stands near the slave quarters and back of the main house.

The tree next to the building is called the Witness Tree as it was there when the building was first built.

 

5-13& 14-19 Monet’s Garden – Paris

We started this adventure at the end of February 2019 in the South of France – the Cote d’Azu, specifically outside of Nice in a village called Vence. It all started with Janeen saying she wanted to go to the Violet Festival that is held annually in Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Since we arrived in early spring it was lovely to tour around and see spring blooming, mimosa, magnolia all around us. As we traveled north through Aquitaine and Bordeaux, first to Brussels and then Amsterdam the weather continued to be wonderful. After the second river cruise ended in Basel, and we started our Glorious Switzerland tour, the weather took a decidedly colder turn. Once we left Switzerland and landed in Paris for our final 3 days of this almost 3-month trip, we could not have wished for nicer weather.

Paris was beautiful! Over the last several days, rain had cleaned the city and now we had warm and sunny days with lots to see and do.   Our goal, in Paris, was actually to go to Giverny and see Monet’s Garden.

To accomplish this we took first a subway and then a train out of Paris. I admit, we have now traveled in France quite a lot and I’m more comfortable getting around than our first trip in 2004 and while standing in the train station was able to offer advise to several Americans looking for directions.

These are some of the gardens next to Claude Monet’s house and studio.
Janeen certainly was wearing the right coat to be in the gardens on this day.

Monet’s Garden has been on our bucket list for a number of years. The last several times we have been in France it was after the season and the place was closed. This time, all the stars aligned and we had a beautiful day and lots of time to explore and discover this beautiful area. To say it is lovely is an understatement.

I guess we could find a more beautiful place but it would be hard

Sure they have a more traditional garden with beds of beautiful flowers but clearly the showcase area is the ponds and more specifically the lily pond area.

Happy Wife – Happy Life
You guessed it, yes these are Lilly pads
More wisteria to admire
Janeen particularly liked these hanging flowers

First you walk through the more traditional garden and then down some stairs and under the road that separates the water garden from the house and traditional areas.

Lots of flowers – nice to come during spring for sure.

It’s not as big as you might think but it is well laid out with view points at a number of spots where Claude may have stood and painted. Having seen a number of his paintings over this trip it was great to see where his vision took flight and created the paintings.

Words really cannot describe the beauty of this place
I really could have just sat and relaxed here for a very long time.

 

By late afternoon we were back on the train then to our B&B in the Bastille District for a lovely walk around.

The following day we had a lunch reservation at Le Réminet – a place we have visited every time we have been in Paris.

Le Reminet – sometimes they have a few tables on the sidewalk but not today.

We had made a lunch reservation and decided to walk from our apartment to the Restaurant. Along the way we walked over the small island of Île Saint-Louis that affords a view of the back of Notre-Dame.

It had been a month since the fire at Notre Dame and it is really sad to see it covered with scaffolding, cranes around it and the roof covered with a tarp.

Most of the area around Notre-Dame is blocked with various temporary construction structures, security and a variety of other things. Over the last 700 years the church has had more than one fire resulting in a number of restorations. This fire will be no different – fortunately the main structure, the façade, the flying buttresses and the exterior walls were all saved and while I’m sure they have some damage they still stand showing the structure still very much in place.

As of this posting, according to the French Senate, Notre Dame will be restored to its “last known visual state” by 2024 in time for the 2024 summer Olympics being held in Paris. We will certainly be watching the progress

While it is going to take a while to make the repairs it is clear that the City of Paris and the Country are both strongly in support of its restoration. Hopefully we will be around to see it reopen but who knows how long it will take.

Our lunch at Le Réminet was everything we have learned to expect.

Norbert – He has been working at Le Reminet for a very long time and does a wonderful job.

Norbert, headwaiter, manager, guy in charge, was welcoming and enjoyable to talk to. It seems the fire at Notre-Dame has impacted their customer base but hopefully that will change with the summer season heating up.

I don’t know what it is about these White Pearl #3 Oysters but they are the BEST.
Janeen had the fish with foam – fantastic.
David’s main dish – delicious for sure

After lunch we walked to Jardin des Tuileries – a lovely park along the Seine.

The River Seine – we could not have had a more beautiful day to walk along this iconic river.
Here’s the same fountain we say in Lucerne – sorry about the tractor in the background – but you can see the water flowing into Janeen’s hand.
Janeen is ALWAYS much happier with flowers around or in virtually any garden.
Jardin des Tuileries – When we were here in December this was a really cold spot for sure.

After taking the better part of the day to enjoy Paris we went back to the apartment to organize our luggage for our flight home.

This Green Wall is in the departure lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport. Very nice. One of our last views of the beauty of Paris

As of this posting, we are now back in Springfield Virginia enjoying spending time with our two granddaughters and trying to figure out our next adventure.

This is why we are in Springfield!

For now, we haven’t got anything planned for a foreign trip but that could always change. In July we will be driving across country stopping in Portland Oregon for the International Pinot Noir Festival and then heading south to SoCal stopping along the way to visit friends and relatives. So, while we have been blogging for the better part of 8 months I expect the next couple of months will be less reported but you are encouraged to come back (subscribing is actually best) to see what we are doing and follow our progress.

One last comment for this blog. We have been traveling for the better part of two years (started in June 2017) and really don’t know when we will actually stop.  Places still on the bucket list include: Alaskan cruise; extended trip to Australia and New Zealand; Egypt; Sicily; Croatia; Russia; and the Far East.

5-11-19 Lucerne and Mount Stanserhorn

Last up on our Discovery of Switzerland was Lucerne. Lucerne is a compact city known for its preserved medieval architecture and sits amid snowcapped mountains on Lake Lucerne.

The view from our hotel room to the mountains
A castle overlooking Lucerne – now a high end hotel

The Old town is colorful with decorated buildings and wondering cobblestone streets. One of the main attractions is the Chapel Bridge and Water Tower.

The Church Bridge from the Old Town end
More proof we were there.
Lucerne- painting under the roof of Chapel Bridge showing a legendary wild man (giant)
Another painting decorating the bridge,Symbolic death appears in all of them, here a red hatted woman
Here we are on the covered bridge – always good to have several pictures proofing we were there.

The Bridge is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the River Reuss diagonally between the two sides of the river. It is probably the oldest wooden bridge in Switzerland dating back to the middle of the 14th century. It also has old paintings under the roofs.

The facade of the building was lovely.
Decorated buildings in the square
Cobble stone streets, old buildings and lovely shops.
The face of the building was interesting from our hotel balcony
A fountain in we came across just walking around.

Some of it was rebuilt in the 20th century after a fire. The bridge traffic also provided Janeen with a sighting of a St. Bernard puppy. The northern end of the bridge once lead directly into St. Peter’s Chapel,

Inside St. Peters Church

today a riverside promenade separates the two.

The view of the lock on the river
The white tents of the market along the river.

Another notable site to see is the Lion Monument. This Monument is dedicated to the memory of the Swiss mercenaries who, in the service of Louis XVI King of France were killed during the French Revolution in Paris when the Tuileries were invaded on August 10, 1792.

The Lion Memorial – note the shape of the opening looks like a boar.

The inscription “Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti means” To the loyal and bravery of the Swiss”. The Lion’s Swiss Cross Halbard is covered by the fleur- de- lys of France, which the soldiers had pledged to protect.  The Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen, designed the Lion Monument when he was in Rome in 1819. It was installed in the sandstone rock in 1820 or so and is 6 meters high and ten meters long.

Proof we were at the Lion Memorial in Lucerne.

Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”.

After walking around the Old Town and enjoying the sites (peonies in the flower market)

Janeen checking out the peonies , note the wine red ones.
Lucerne was enclosed in a city wall – this is a portion that remains.
St George the Dragon slayer on the side of a building.

and sounds (church bells) of the city market (it was market day after all) we went back to our hotel to get ready for our boat ride and cable car ride to the summit of Stanserhorn arranged for the following morning.

Our Lucerne boat trip begins.

We had opted for the Lake Lucerne cruise for a chance to take in the wonderful mountain scenery from the water and enjoy a leisurely lake cruise before boarding our coach again for a quick ride to the funicular and open top cable car to the top of Mount Stanserhorn.

On Lake Lucerne
Village nestled at the base of the snow capped mountain.
A monument to those who sail on the lake
Lucerne is ringed by snow capped mountains.
Part of the new section of Lucerne

We have been on several funiculars throughout Europe so this wasn’t as impressive as the cable car.

The base of the funicular station.
The funicular coming into the station.
The funicular cars pass midway between the two stations.

This is the world’s only sun deck cable car with an enclosed cabin below and standing space on the roof!

Here’s what the cable car looks like

The double cable system gives a very stable ride and was quite impressive as we climbed to the mountaintop at over 6,000 feet.

On the way up, we were in the cabin of the cable car.

At the top, which still had snow, we had a lovely hot chocolate and headed back down seeing a double rainbow along the way!

OK, it was cold!
Janeen trying to get as much sun as she could
At the top overlooking the valley – just a moment before the clouds blocked the view.
Janeen on the top of the cable car with a rainbow behind her
The two of us in the corner of the roof of the cable car. It was a bit chilly.
If you look closely you can see a double rainbow!

That evening was the final gathering and dinner was delightful. The following morning we were off to Zurich and the airport for a flight to Paris.

Our Insight Tour Group

 

 

 

5-10-19 Train Rides and the 4th smallest Country of Europe

We started the day in a very relaxed mode – a train ride from St Moritz to Chur.  This was a lovely run over the Grison Mountains but unlike our previous train the windows won’t open so the pictures were not as great.  However, the views continue to be amazing and beautiful.  Along the way we say a number of small villages, open meadows of green grass, some brown cows and ice capped mountains.

The route of our scenic train ride along part of the route of the Glacier Express, across the Grison Mountains and through the unforgettable scenes of ice-capped mountains, stone-built villages and lush meadows.
Arron and June – always a good laugh and great conversations.
Lovely village along the way dotted the hillsides as we traveled along.
Lovely view of the river as we rolled along on the train.
Just another little village along the ride
Green fields and storm clouds – lovely
Your guide on this Adventure – taking it easy on the train

After the train we boarded our couch and headed to the 4th smallest country of Europe – Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a land locked German-speaking microstate boarded by Switzerland and Austria. It is the fourth smallest country with an area of just over 62 square miles and a population of just 38,000. While we were visiting we did get a stamp in our passport!

Main street Liechtenstein⁩.
Liechtenstein is home to a number of banks – this street has several.
Gutenberg Castle of Liechtenstein.

 

Our Insight Tour was a great way to learn about Switzerland and its people and culture.  Throughout our adventure, Rob our Tour Manager, did a good job of giving us just enough information to appreciate how the country has evolved over the years and how it has been able to maintain its neutrality for the last 400 years.

Rob our Insight Tour Manager – a Brit enjoying way he does for a living for sure

 

 

5-9-19 St. Moritz and the Glacier Express Train Ride

After our adventures in Zermatt and the beauty of the Matterhorn and Italy we climbed aboard our coach and off we went. The first stop, along the way, was a photo op at Julier Pass. At the top of the pass are remains of a Roman temple and cart tracks showing the importance of this pass all the way back to Roman times. The road was constructed in the 1820s. The pass is at 7,493 feet! ;and on a clear day offers stunning views.

Juliet pass – naturally

 

At the end of the our day was St Moritz. Now this place is clearly a resort town and basically open only during the winter. St. Moritz may be small, but it’s a heavyweight in the world of fashion.

Lots of lovely stores – all closed waiting for the season to open and ‘rich’ visitors to stop in.

From Armani and Gucci to Zegna, the Alpine resort’s selection of renowned fashion labels is second to none. Fortunately for my wallet virtually all of the stores were closed between seasons.

St Moritz is certainly situated in a beautiful spot but is clearly a winter paradise for the ‘rich and famous’. Not many visitors in town while we were there

The following day we boarded the train to ride along part of the route of the Glacier Express,

We boarded the train in St Moritz

across the Grison Mountains and through unforgettable scenes of ice-capped mountains, stone-built villages and lush meadows. I will let the pictures tell the tale of this trip.

As we went up the mountain the tree line changed.
A level part of the journey.
I expect they have skiing all year long.
Lots of snow and the weather throughout the trip was wonderful.
The weather was mixed as we went over the pass.
Stunning views
Located in the Aiguilles Rouges nature reserve, one of the most beautiful mountain lakes, famous for its unique panorama facing the Mont-Blanc massif.
Another snow and train view.
It’s dark as we are going through one of several tunnels along the way.
The train curves around and runs slowly enough that you can put your head out and snap a picture or two.
The village of Cavaglia has a permanent population of 24 and is at 5,587 ft
The small town of Privilasco nestled in the valley of Poschiavo.
We had a lovely time riding the rails.
As we topped the pass and headed down the views were still fantastic
We were stopped at this station and noticed the cable car in operation taking skiers to the top of the mountain.   Thanks to June for this picture.

Once we reached the end of the line our couch picked us up and we headed to Liechtenstein and Lucerne but more about that latter.

We had a number of nice conversations with June and Aaron throughout our adventure.
Our Coach for the trip through Switzerland