A History Lover's Heaven

I've been like a kid in a candy store living in MD the last few years. I am surrounded by so much American history. I still remember the first time I saw all of the DC monument in person. I got teary-eyed, I'll admit. As the Fourth of July approaches this week, I'll be posting about these things and sharing my travel pics with you. And I'll probably squeeze in a funny post about all the idiotic and dangerous things hillbillies like to do with fireworks. (Beth or William, feel free to email me if either of you have time to take that one this week!)

After seeing all of the monuments, archived documents, memorials and museum in D.C., I was surprised to find just how many other historical gems were just around the corner.

South of D.C. is President George Washington's former estate Mount Vernon. During the tour I got to stand only a few feet away from his writing desk-the very desk he used in the early hours before anyone else had woken. He was a bit of a work-a-holic and managed on little sleep. I could feel the history oozing out of that desk. I could've stood there all day. I'm debating going there on the fourth. They'll have a parade (all the employees in era costumes as usual) and fireworks over the Potomac River.  Click here for the calendar of events.



Further east in Baltimore is Ft. McHenry, the site of a key battle in the war of 1812 and the birthplace of our National Anthem . The fort is small and is not a functioning military base anymore. It's purely a museum and site of civial war reenactments and events. They do a fireworks show for Flag Day in September that I might put on my to-do list. They also have numerous events surrounding the Fourth of July. Click here for their calendar of events and general info.



That flag that flew during that key battle at Ft. McHenry, which inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner", is now on display at The Smithsonian Museum of American History in DC. If you head out to DC for fireworks, I highly recommend stopping by the museum to see this flag. There is always a big line for it, but it is so worth it! It will take your breath away. Just the sheer size of it is amazing. It measures 30 by 34 feet. Click here for more info. 


Just north of where I live in Maryland is Gettysburg, PA. I am going to have to devote a separate post to all of my Gettysburg pictures. I've been there three times and look forward to going back again! The visitor's center houses an enourmous gift shop and museum and has an educational film and cyclorama. There are also countless smaller museums within the town of Gettysburg, all devoted to Civil War history. There are several battlefields to visit. Some are just large open fields, but most have beautiful statues and make for beautiful photos. I really love the museum in the visitor's center. You can really learn a lot in there from each exhibit.

My favorite place is the Soldier's National Cemetery.

photo by Christina Lucas

I don't know why, but I find cemetery's very beautiful. I suppose it's because of the beautiful statues and all of the history. The cemetery in Gettysburg is dripping with history...with the ghosts of a violent passing. (Though I've yet to see any of the alleged Civil War ghosts.) And to be able to stand in the place where President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address...talk about getting goosebumps! I wanted to go there this weekend, but it turns out they don't do fireworks for the Fourth, just reenactments and other educational events. I would love to go if it were just me, but my girls would fall asleep to the educational portion, then wake up afraid for their lives at the sounds of cannons going off! Maybe when they're older.
Click here for the official parks website for Gettysburg.

Comments

  1. I have never been to the nations Capital but that is definitely in the works for my family in the next 2 years. I'd like to go before my son starts school, so he can understand and see what some of it is before he starts learning about it in a classroom.

    I am probably not the most patriotic person around, but I love my country! I just don't do as much as others, or say as much as others do about it. But my love of history can get me talking for hours and the history that is represented in your pictures is incredible to me! I hope you are treasuring every bit of this time and the beauty you've gotten to see firsthand!

    :-)

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  2. What a tour!

    A lot of places here are places that are definitely on my to-visit list. And they're all practically at your back door.

    As to fireworks... I've got some ideas for a possible blog along those lines... I'll know better by the weekend.

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  3. Christina, if you think you feel like a kid in a candy store--William's the biggest history buff I know!

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  4. I was never a big fan of history but I do enjoy going to the places and hearing some of the history about them. This looks like a neat place to go to.

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  5. Okay, I am SO jealous right now. I've only managed the one trip to Gettysburg.

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  6. Norma, I figured he was when I saw David McCullough on his goodreads bookshelf!
    Well, I told Kylie about what they do at gettysburg for the fourth and she really wants to go! I am beyond excited!!! She has informed me that she is very interested in history now!:)

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