Category Archives: Arts & Recreation


My dad is the letterpressman at the shop we work at. His press is a 1962(?) Heidelberg Windmill, though we used to have a C&P hand-feed press.

It’s so shiny! This is not his press, but a photo borrowed from this website.

A few weeks ago, we were offered a ticket to see the new film about letterpress: Pressing On and he went to see it. Ooh–the first press shown in the trailer looks like the hand press that the shop got rid of (and the press that I most want for my own).

Anywho. My dad is not a graphic designer. He’s not artsy at all. He likes chatting with old pressmen, but mostly he went to the movie to see the presses. It was a bit too people-centered for his taste, but he enjoyed it.

What really annoyed him was the letterpress printed drink ticket they gave him! Yes, I’m laughing as I write this because he ranted to me the next day about how crappy a job they’d done printing it!

“The ink is too light! It’s a weird color and the ink isn’t even.” (It’s a seafoam-ish green color and yes, it’s heavier and lighter in places.)

“They beat the ever loving shit out of the paper!” (Okay, he actually said they beat the crap out of the paper, but I’m exaggerating his words because of how huge a deal this is for him.)

You see, my dad entered the printing industry back when offset printing was just starting out and just about everything was printed letterpress. Type was real type and a typesetter was literally pulling upper and lower case letters out of upper and lower cases. As they competed with offset printing, the sign of a good letterpressman was that the printed material looked indistinguishable from offset. If the paper looks even slightly embossed, the paper is hitting the type too hard and you’re going to wear out your type too fast. Since type does wear out, it’s critical for the typesetter to build up the low characters to match the higher ones so that the ink hits flat and smooth.

Pretty much everything that makes modern artists squeal about letterpress is everything that my dad would have been yelled at for as an entry level pressman. Of course, I am on the artsy-side and I while I don’t need the paper to be beat to crap to know it’s letterpress, I do love it when the ink isn’t perfectly placed on the paper either because the type isn’t perfect or because it’s not lined up 100% correctly.

My dad has a new favorite museum in Colonial Heights, VA and they have some old printing presses and stuff to play with  show off to visitors. At a special event a few weeks ago my dad was very confused by the way they were creating “original letterpress printings” by letting two colors of ink mix on the pallet of a handpress each time someone created a print. Like I said, he doesn’t really get letterpress as art, haha.

And, he really doesn’t understand how anyone makes money off letterpress. He likes to talk about how they’d print business cards at 5¢ a piece in quantities of 20-30. Business cards were really generic back then and they mostly just threw a new name into an already set base. He can’t understand why anyone would pay $5 for one letterpress greeting card.

Of course, he as fond memories of making $2.50/hour when the minimum wage was $1.25.


The Cincinnati Red Stalkings by Troy Soos

My dad was the one to first read the Mickey Rawlings Series many many moons ago. He read them out of order depending on what was on the shelf at the library and I kind of read them behind him, but realized that I hated the parts that were missing. I only recently began re-reading this series starting from the beginning and I must say that it’s a better experience.

These books stand alone just fine, but you’ll miss out on the character interactions if you go out of order.

Oddly enough, even though I probably read all of the first 5 books in this series before (this being #5), this is the one that I definitely remembered reading. It didn’t mean I could remember the ending, but I definitely remembered it.

I also remember not particularly caring for it at the time. I still can’t place my finger on why this is my least favorite book in the series, but I suspect it has something to do with Prohibition and gambling/Mob….maybe just the gambling/Mob connections since Prohibition isn’t a new item for this series. Or maybe it is since this one introduces Prohibition (maybe I have read the next book in the series without remembering so). Maybe it’s because the historical connection, since it is Prohibition and the gambling scandals, isn’t as compelling at the earlier dealings with race, unions, etc. I’m not sure. Maybe it’s simply because I read them out of order and couldn’t figure out the characters very well!

I do know that I enjoyed this book this time a lot more than I did the previous time. It you like baseball and don’t mind a murder mystery, this is a great series for you. Soos does a heck of a job researching the games and the real life events! He even responded to a complaint I made about Murder at Wrigley Field, which should have been called Murder at Weeghman Park because that’s what it’s name was during the time that the book was set and that’s the name the park went by throughout the book (Wrigley wouldn’t buy the park until after the end of the book). It turned out that his publishers had insisted on calling it Wrigley on the cover to help it sell better since they were still insisting on the “Murder at…” format. He gave in to the publishers, but had wanted the more accurate title. There’s nothing that annoys me more than facts being made up rather than doing the research.

Baseball Poster Memorabilia
Baseball Poster Memorabilia by cardland
Look at other Cubs Posters at

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

!!!! I got an award!    ?    Cool. Hahaha.

Thank you Tea and a Good Read for nominating me! I too didn’t know that anyone read my blog :-).


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten blogs.


1.) What is your favourite book of 2015 so far

Probably The Strange Case of Hellish Nell because it’s a supposedly true story that is beyond belief. It’s about Helen Duncan, the last person imprisoned under the Witchcraft Act of 1735 for being a thorn in the British Government’s side during WWII because she kept predicting strategic war events before they were revealed to the public. Whether or not this book has any truth to it, it was still a really fun read.

2.) If you could be any literary character, who would you be?

Hmm….well, I wrote one of my essays to get into college about Peter Pan and never wanting to grow up. ‘Course, my take on it was about embracing adulthood while still taking regular flights of fancy back into childhood–to enjoy playing with blocks and doing puzzles with the Kindergartners :-). Or just reading those books that take you back to the land of fairies where you don’t have to worry about bills and family feuds

3.) E-books or hard copies? And why?

Hard copies for 2 reasons. I love the feel of a real book in my hands. And since I only have a laptop for a “digital device” if I’m going to read an e-book, it’d be on this. On my computer, I have a habit of forgetting about my book in favor of researching whatever happens to pop into my head. Plus, hard copies of books don’t have batteries that go dead while you’re stuck on the side of the road.

4.) Do you have a literary crush/love and if so, who?

Lots of them, haha. I liked the idea of Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility but he felt like an addendum. Huh…I’m sitting here wondering why I haven’t read many “May/December” romances sense obviously I’ve got a thing for older men and then I’m like “Durr–most of my literary crushes are hundreds or thousands of years older than their love interest”. My first crush was probably Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

5.) How do you take your coffee/tea? Cream, milk, sweetener or black?

I don’t drink coffee or tea. I’ll drink Southern Iced Tea (which is rather sweet) if I’m desperate, but usually I drink water, milk, or orange juice.

6.) If you could visit any place in the world (that you haven’t been yet), where would it be?

I’ve always wanted to go to Germany to visit my paternal familial stomping grounds. Attendorn, to be precise. I would want to go to Italy to see where my mom’s family came from, but I don’t know where that is, yet. I got pretty excited when I found a record for a great-grandmother on her side that her parents were born in “Algeria”, but given that the 2 or 3 other census records said her parents were born in “America”, I don’t know what to think.

7.) If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have one book, what would it be?

Heidi, because then maybe I could actually finish it, haha. I guess for practicalities sake I’d want an environmental textbook on the flora and fauna of the island I was on or a book on survival on a desert island. Before I started dating my boyfriend, Night Play was the book I re-read to make me feel better about being single, haha.

8.) Do you ever read in the dark? And if so, how?

With my eyes closed. Have you ever fallen asleep while reading and swear that you’re reading the actual book? I got into a bit of trouble in high school because we were reading Heart of Darkness and I swore that something had happened, but it turned out that I’d imagined it because I’d been sleeping instead of reading and didn’t know the difference (I was reading it at home the night before and it affected my quiz grade). Of course, what I’d imagined wasn’t much different from the reality which is apparently someone trying to put out a fire with a holey bucket…I think–I never really understood most of Heart of Darkness.

9.) Have you ever been nominated for a blog award (other than this one)?


10.) What is your favourite book-turned movie?

This is a tough question: do you mean the movie that was totally better than the book? Hands down The Notebook. One where the book was so much better than the movie? Water for Elephants. A good movie from a wonderful book: Most of the Harry Potters. And a movie that can take the place of the book(s) (and vice versa) is The Hunger Games series.

My Questions:

  1. What made you start your blog?
  2. What is the book you recommend most often?
  3. What is something you need to do every day?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  5. What is something you want to change in your life?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. Describe your ideal date.
  8. What is your favorite season? Why?
  9. What’s your favorite memory?
  10. Where is Waldo?



Treestand Book Reviews


Breakneck Hobbiest

Little Owl Notes

Bookish Things and Tea

There’s no place like homemade

Carter Library

Family, Life, and Books

These Glittery Hands


I actually took pictures of something!

Something that isn’t the sky or a bush, that is, haha.

Anyway, for anyone wanting to see actual proof that I made cards all weekend, here they are:

These cards ended up measuring 3.5″ by 5.5″ which I think works really well with this style of Christmas Tree. I love the sparkle of the glitter glue “baubles”! With 5 different patterned papers for the trees, 3 different messages inside the card, a half dozen different colors of glitter glue, a handful of present accents, and running out of yellow stars by the end of things, I wonder if any 2 are exactly the same combination.

The envelopes these come with are 6.5″ by 3 5/8″ remittance envelopes.

Card Challenge–not completed, but still fun…

…when things worked properly, that is.

I got a solid 40 Christmas cards done and they turned out pretty cute, except when one of the cats sat on a few of them a couple times. I think I need to get rid of some of my old glitter glue pens because I spent more time fighting the too tacky glue than I did decorating my Christmas trees. Dots, dots, dots, dots…lots of dots.

I have 100 bases for my birthday cards and at least 50 “Happy Birthday” cut out, but I still am waiting to pick up spray adhesive. I’m worried about my birthday bases, though, because when I went to cut down the horizontal Christmas cards I’d printed I found that half were off center which meant cutting them down to various lengths. At least the vertical cards, while having to get cut to 3.5″ width are a consistent 5.5″ height. It’s more of an annoying problem than anything else. I don’t mind that I’ll need to make envelopes to custom fit these cards…I hope.

As for my tools, besides the printer acting up (in apparently more ways than one), I got somewhat frustrated with Cricut Design Studio. It has lots of great “canvases” to make it easy to size images…but the custom canvas is broken at best. I’m not going to bother with it anymore. By the way, I highly recommend that crafters invest in a line gauge rather than a ruler. The ears are perfect for gripping the edge of your project to give a more accurate measurement. Just be sure to get one with your primary measure on the opposite of your dominant side (on mine, since I’m right handed the inches need to be on the left, which is what mine at home is). My line gauge at work (which is 24 inches long) has the inches on the right and it’s especially annoying because I’m usually measuring cut marks that are less than a quarter of an inch from the left side of the piece of paper (so very little of the gauge is actually on the paper).

I do have to say that I love the weeding tool from Cricut. I use it for weeding, of course, but also instead of my fingers when I’m gluing. It’s perfect for tidying up glitter glue when it gets out of control. This tool is worth every penny!

I’m very happy with how productive I was this weekend. I can’t wait to get started on those birthday cards!

New Mexico and Beyond; Part 2

This was my first time meeting his older brother and though the second time meeting the younger, I didn’t really talk to the younger at the time. Still, I must have made a good, if silent, impression because the boyfriend was told to not screw things up with me back then. Let’s just say that I made a new BFF in his older brother as we commiserated over having to stop by boyfriend’s best friend’s house regardless of original destination (I learned early on not to leave home without a book) and other annoying things boyfriend does. Older Brother ordered us a pizza  for dinner and we were astonished to see that unbeknownst to each other, boyfriend and older Brother have the exact same dinnerware. Then we met up with younger brother at Walmart (where he works) to pick up supplies and visit (it’s actually really weird to have a tour guide at Walmart). We decided to sleep at a hotel that evening so we wouldn’t feel to guilty about using all his brother’s hot water to wash off the grime of 3 days of travel.

On Tuesday, boyfriend got out of taking a good long walk by conveniently forgetting that rolling the front passenger window all the way down causes it to get stuck. He says it was an accident, but the rest of us know that at least unconsciously it wasn’t. But, he had fun pulling out the tools and taking the car apart, though he ended up having a local guy put the new motor in rather than risk seriously cutting himself inside the door panel (he’s on blood thinners). Don’t worry folks, he got to actually use his tools later on in the trip.

While he played with the car, older brother and his wife took me on a walk along the Rio Grande which isn’t far from their house. I can’t remember the native name for the canals that the road we took paralleled, but at two places the Rio Grande curved near enough that a short venture off the road brought us to it’s banks. Banks that were swelled because of the freakish amount of rain that they’d had the day and night before we arrived. Brother and Wife said that they hadn’t seen the water that high except during monsoon season and even then not for the past few years. Brother decided to turn back shortly after the first glimpse at the river, but Wife and I kept going. She teaches writing at the local university and we had fun discussing the Robin Hood character and the fanfiction that she writes about Autolycus from Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. We walked all the way to the border of Isleta Pueblo, which Wife says is probably a good 5 miles round trip. We stopped at a New Mexican (not to be confused with Mexican) food stand so that I could try the difference between “Red” and “Green”. At this stand, I preferred the Red for both taste and consistency, but that evening when we stopped at Henrietta’s Restaurant (which features New Mexican cuisine as well as basic American fair (so that boyfriend and older brother could eat while I tried something new), I went with the Red which wasn’t as good as the Red at the stand. The rice at Henrietta’s was  really, really good!

That evening we stopped by younger brother’s house so that they boys could get their pictures taken (by me) to mark their first visit in a long time. I’m kind of pissed that the 3rd picture is so fuzzy (I used his Android) because it’s my favorite.

Nope, younger and older brothers aren’t twins, though when I posted these pictures to facebook, fb decided on it’s own to tag older brother as younger brother every single time. It was pretty much universally decided that boyfriend is the milkman’s kid (a joke because he looks like their mom’s side of the family and her dad was a milkman).

We ended up staying at older brother’s house Tuesday night.

Wednesday started our vacation proper. We got into the car and resumed our way west into Arizona where first on our list was Petrified Forest National Park. We picked up his Access Pass (free for those who are permanently disabled) here. This is mostly a driving tour, though there are also lots of short hikes (and I’m sure there are long ones too, though I didn’t look for these). We got there at about 2pm.

First was the Painted Desert.

Pictures don’t do it justice.

Then there were the Petroglyphs:

And finally the Petrified Wood:

After leaving the Petrified Forest, we intended to aim for the location of the car accident that claimed his mom and grandfather in 1996 on Hwy 89, but when we stopped at a rest area we looked at the map and saw that the famous Meteor Crater wasn’t too far away and even though it was nearly 5pm, we figured it’d be a fun place to stop for a peek. Well, it turns out that it’s $18 per adult and as we weren’t in the mood to spend that much to take a quick look at a hole in the ground (we were both too tired to want to spend the full 2 hours to feel like we’d gotten our money’s worth), we turned around and continued on our original path. We did like this sign, though:

IMG_0879As did some ladies who were leaving the museum.

As we headed up 89 away from Flagstaff, Boyfriend remembered that his grandfather had been headed away from Sunset Crater Volcano towards the Grand Canyon when the crash occurred. When we saw the turn off, we decided to take the scenic loop that seems to be collectively known as the Wupatki National Monument. It was a wonderful drive with a few stops to get out of the car and walk to see the Pueblos. We probably missed a lot, but the sun was just setting and it’s was a gorgeous view.

We made it the last few miles to the Grand Canyon and Boyfriend is confident that he did locate the crash site (it would have been shortly after taking that loop, just as the survivors remembered). We entered Grand Canyon National Park at the Desert View Watchtower at about 10pm. There were a couple cars in the parking lot as well as 2 RVs that appeared to have bedded down for the evening, so we found a relatively dark place to spend the night (I’m happy to report that when it comes to infrastructure in the US, public parking lots are very well lit at night…ugh). We did do a little walking around before we made up the bed, seeing what we could of the canyon in the dark.

We’d just gotten the bed made up and I was reading some of Sense and Sensibility when we saw red and blue lights in the car’s parking lot (we were in the RV/Bus lot). Turns out that you aren’t allowed to sleep in the parking lot of the Grand Canyon, so everyone got kicked out. Not sure why this concept was so difficult for one of the cars to believe, though. We saw the lights flashing at his car for awhile and even saw the guy turn on his flashers, so we weren’t positive it wasn’t a drug bust rather than a simple “please leave”. After the ranger got to the RV’s and started giving them the formal boot, the car came back to talk to the ranger! Anyway, once the ranger got to our lot, it was pretty clear to us what was going on, so we got ourselves more or less packed away again and boyfriend was just checking the oil while he still had light when the ranger got to us. Oh well. We made our way back the way we’d come in because we were aloud to park as soon as we exited the National Park proper. There’s a big “wide space” where there are about a dozen stands where Native American’s sell there artwork just before you enter Park grounds and that’s where we slept.

In the morning, the Grand Canyon was simply gorgeous! In terms of what’s considered the major tourist attractions there, I think we found the least touristy and we entered it on the less traveled side, which is exactly what we like.

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we made our way south to I-8 because he wanted to show me real desert.

It was pretty until it wasn’t anymore. We went through this part of the country from noon to sunset and while it wasn’t hot in the car or even outside the car (despite the 100 degrees on the thermostat), the sun was just unrelenting. I’m not used to that much sunshine! It made my eyes hurt and gave me a headache even as the temperature was wonderful. I put on sunscreen even though we didn’t get out of the car, just to be safe (by the way, I now have a few new freckles on my right cheek). Phew! I was glad when the sun finally set after we made it into Southern California, which has some interesting landscape itself:

Sand dunes for awhile and then, because California is in the midst of a horrible drought, look at all the water! I couldn’t get a picture of all the cows crowded into pins at the center of these fields.

These mountains of stones look like they were pushed there with a giant bulldozer. Are they even individual stones? I’m not sure….And after 20 minutes of fruitless searching, I still know nothing about these boulders except that there’s a Desert View Tower in Jacumba, CA.

IMG_1117 IMG_1118

We stopped at a Denny’s for dinner this night where I was able to dump this second batch of pictures. In Southern California, we cruised Ventura Blvd for a little bit then he started seriously up 101 (the Pacific Coast Hwy) towards LA. At some point that night he noticed the temperature gauge start to shoot up for a moment only to slowly back down to slightly above normal. We stopped at a Walmart for some antifreeze, but when he went to fill the radiator, he found it full. He suspected that it was just the thermometer sticking and we made plans to stop somewhere so he could buy a new one. Happily for us both, I slept through all of Los Angeles, waking up when he tried to stop at a public beach in Santa Barbara only to be told that it was closed because of the oil spill. He kept going a bit (I fell back asleep) and we pulled into a rest area to spend the night.

New Mexico and Beyond; Part 1

The Stats:

7200 miles. 1 former truck triver male. 1 ambitious blogger. 1 20 year old Ford Explorer.

We left Smithfield, VA on Saturday, May 23rd. For whatever reason the boyfriend decided late (like 5pm) Friday evening that we were going to get everything packed and meet The Kid at the bowling alley so that they could bowl a double in the National Tournament then leave from there, so I started running around like a chicken with her head cut off to make it happen. Obviously it didn’t, haha. Nah, I knew it wouldn’t, but we’re both procrastinators, so it’s better that we did this because then we’d have left later on Saturday. I had to update the GPS which originally said it would take 3 hours to update; luckily it only took about an hour including a glitch that stopped the process mid-way.

I woke him up at about 10:30 on Saturday. We still had to finish packing the Explorer and he had to pick up some of his pills from Walmart, so we didn’t officially make it out of town until noon. Here’s the first thing you need to know about truck drivers: they do not stop. There is point A and point B and unless it’s explicitly on the list, they don’t stop except to use the bathroom and to eat. It was all interstate (85) from Southwestern VA to Mobile, Alabama. It was kind of nice to see Downtown Atlanta at night, but for the most part I just napped until we made it into Mobile at 2am.

Our destination was the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. Wow! I’ve been on a few navy ships in my life, but this one (actually 2 since the USS Drum is located there, too) are probably the best. They have as much original equipment as they can while still being visitor friendly.

First off, we slept right next to the USS Alabama in the back of the Explorer. Yep, this was all part of the plan, though the boyfriend decided that we only needed 3 comforters to use as bedding (2 as mattress and 1 as blanket). This was one of our only errors. After the first night, we left the bedding comforters simply flat under the rest of our stuff (rather than refolding them and packing them next to the pillows) and a flattened comforter isn’t very comfortable. We needed at least one and probably both of the two that were left home. The other issue is that we aren’t used to sharing a blanket and many a morning I woke up completely wrapped in it while he had none (though he would take it at times himself). I seriously believe that the secret to happy bed-sharing is simply having separate blankets. It’s what we do at home.

We started the museum with the USS Drum (a submarine). Because the park is designed for this to be your last stop, we decided to tackle it first and I’m very glad we did because we had the submarine almost to ourselves. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in it with a large crowd and being that it was Memorial Day Weekend, by the time we left, the whole museum was crawling with people.

I was really excited that we could climb up to where the periscope is (pictures 1 and 2)! 3 is the rear torpedo room.

To get between the Alabama and the Drum, there is a hanger full of various airplanes. One of the things we noticed while driving around the parking lot the night before was that a lot of the aircraft parked in the yard were damaged. The boyfriend asked about it and we were pointed towards a digital picture frame which showed the destruction from Katrina in 2005. The entire back wall was ripped off and airplanes tossed around like toys. They are still trying to recover.

We finished our tour on the Alabama which I would call a floating city except that aircraft carriers are so much bigger! I lost count of the number of kitchens. Had a prolific thought about segregation and the military (because the marines had (have?) their own areas including kitchens and everything seems to be about every class having their own “separate but equal” stuff and no intermingling). Norfolk has the USS Wisconsin, but since it must remain in a condition ready to go back into service, I don’t think the public is able to see as much as you can see in the Alabama. I haven’t been below decks on the Wisconsin yet.

We continued west from here, only stopping at the Louisiana Visitor’s Center where I learned all about the Atchafalaya Basin.IMG_0371

Crossing the Mississippi at the mouth wasn’t as impressive as I expected it to be. I fell asleep at some point (I ended up sleeping in every state except Tennessee during out trip) and woke up at about 2am when he stopped at what was supposed to be a rest area, but didn’t have any bathrooms. We decided to park anyway and made our bed in the back of the Explorer. This is what we saw when we woke up:

Shortly after, on the road again, we had a bit of fun as we blew the doors off a State Trooper as we went 82 mph in an 80. We do live recklessly, haha.

We were supposed to arrive at his brother’s house by Thursday the 28th. Instead we rolled into Los Lunas, NM on Monday the 25th at about 6pm. ‘Cuz that’s how truck driver’s drive.


I’m selling my stuff!

Well, not all my stuff, but I have some things lying around the house that I just need to get rid of. I’ve got them for sale on Amazon.

These decorative scissors come packaged as pictured along with 6 additional pairs of scissors (possibly more if I find them lying around the house by the time you order). $10.

This kit might be labeled used, but it’s never been opened. This is one I wish I had time to make, but I’ve got a seasonal “Welcome” sign that I haven’t touched in a few years that I should finish first. Actually, if you’re interested in the Welcome sign, let me know and I’ll toss what I’ve got finished in the envelope with this kit. I have the L C O and the M w/out the turkey completed as well as a portion of the black and gold border. I’ll include all the thread I haven’t used  as well as the instructions. $10.

These stamps might be labeled as collectibles, but really they’re ideal for the crafter. I decoupaged them to wooden boxes to give as gifts a few years ago and they turned out awesome! These are still attached to their envelopes, but it’s super easy to take them off for your crafting project: just soak them in water for a good 5 minutes then gently peel off the paper. Lay the stamps flat on a clean towel and let them dry. 100 stamps for $1!

A drive in the country in Southeastern Virginia

My boyfriend loves to drive. No seriously, he LOVES to drive. Many moons ago (he’s old), he was a long-haul truck driver who went from Virginia to California and back to Virginia once a week. He’s calculated that he’s probably driven 5 million miles. Course, that was before a massive heart attack killed him 14 times when he was 39 years old leaving him with a defibrillator implanted and unable to pass a DOT physical.

Anyway, when he gets stressed, nothing relaxes him more than a drive. I don’t mind one bit–I was born to be in the passenger seat! Last weekend it was hot here and since the AC went out, we went for a 4 hour drive. We live in Southeastern Virginia (also known as Hampton Roads) and in case you didn’t know this, we are like the epicenter of early American historic areas. You can’t throw a stone without hitting something pertaining to early American history (disclaimer: I’m just talking English history post-Jamestown (which we have)–for Native American history, the South- & Midwest have us beat).

So yeah–want the first permanent English Settlement in North America? Historic Jamestown or the Jamestown Settlement. Here’s the insider’s tip: Historic Jamestown is where the settlers first landed and luckily the fort isn’t under the river!! It was only recently that archaeologists discovered that all three corners are indeed still on dry land; before that, they thought one or possibly two were underwater. The Jamestown Settlement is a full reenactment of what the site probably looked like during it’s heyday. It’s where you can see replicas of the 3 ships. Here’s the thing. The Jamestown Settlement is a private business with some state funding while Historic Jamestown is a National Park. There’s a price difference. They are neighbors though, so make sure you enter the correct parking lot.

We took the Jamestown-Scottland Ferry. It’s free and you can see both the Jamestowns (including whats visible of the original fort)! You can also see the recreated boats whose berths are kind of next to the dock (there’s a few trees in the way). The funniest part was having the GPS on the elevation setting and it saying we were 80 miles below sea level while on the ferry.

By the way, the “first” real attempt to settle, down in Roanoke, NC–just a few hours away from here.

Heh–I just learned something! While getting the link to the Jamestown Settlement, I noticed that they have a Yorktown Victory Center. Guess what–this is also not the museum you are necessarily looking for and there’s probably another big price difference. I don’t think I’ve ever been to this one, but I have been to the Yorktown Battlefield and it’s Visitor Center. You can walk this Battlefield for free or spend a few bucks to see the small museum. You can also walk a lovely path to the town of Yorktown or take a free trolley that links the two. Yorktown wasn’t really part of our driving tour, though we did drive through the “Historic Triangle”, so I’ll throw Williamsburg out here as well.

Anywho, back to the driving. He drove northwest where we saw plenty of farm land and what I teasingly call “congested areas”. I kid you not that while driving with my grandma to visit my aunt in Kentucky every time there were 10 buildings close to the road in what might be considered civilization (like, there’s a place to buy groceries and maybe a church), there’d be a sign warning about congested areas. We might see one car in each of these. Here in VA there aren’t any congested area signs like there, but the feeling stuck. I’m looking at Google Maps right now and I guess our route was roughly 258 to 460 to I-295 to 5 to 31 (where the ferry is) to home.

Route 5 is one that I can’t wait to take again. If your a Civil War buff, there are like 5 different plantations all connected by a gorgeous bike path (The Virginia Capital Trail) that starts at Jamestown and will eventually connect to the capital in Richmond (52 miles!). There’s a countdown clock on the website that indicate’s it’ll be done in 4 months (this post being written in late April 2015). Another name for part of Route 5 is the John Tyler Memorial Highway (for the 10th president) and one of the plantations on this road was his Sherwood Forest Plantation. I need to go here! I’ve been to Mount Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, and the house in Staunton that claims Woodrow Wilson even though he only lived there from age 0 to 1. Still have 4 presidential houses to visit to complete Virginia’s eight. I know I can get my boyfriend to drive us, but we’ll see if he actually wants to tour. He doesn’t like big crowds, which was the downfall of Mount Vernon (I’ll make another post on these later).

Anyway, on this week’s blogging agenda is 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, which has a fascinating take on slavery in the New World (among other things) and reasons why it thrived where it did and not so much where it didn’t. My dad had been taking a course via Coursera on slavery, but since he takes the classes for fun, he thought that required reading too much. I was reading this book at the same time and it ended up being exactly what he needed to better understand his course material.