Friday, May 03, 2024

Last Days of This Year's Trip

Heather, James, Morgen, Kolya and Scott at Artomatic

We spent 3 nights enjoying a visit with our son James, daughter-in-law Morgen and our 5 year old grandson Kolya. They live in the Capitol District of Washington DC and spring was in full bloom there. The gardens are small but packed with flowers - some spring bulbs but the roses were in full bloom and every color was represented. 

Kolya is quite an artist and we enjoy working

He loves wearing as little clothes as possible 
around the house.

James and Morgen, surrounded by books. Morgen
works in a bookshop nearby and she and James
are voracious readers.

Our first full day we got to take Kolya to school. It's a half a block away! Then Scott and I went downtown and visited the National Portrait Gallery and have lunch. We picked that museum due to the opening of Brilliant Exiles: American Women in Paris. But we also enjoyed Struggle for Justice and the portraits of recent Presidents.

On Saturday we took Kolya to the Arboretum - he loves it there. His interests are the buttercups (which he can sit and enjoy, and pick) and the Koi in the pond surrounding the Visitor's Center. . But he also loved the walks through the Azalea Garden - he found lots of little paths between the official trail!

Kolya among the buttercups.

Enjoying the Koi with a new friend. 

Sunday we all went out for Brunch and then to the last day of the Artomatic show. This pop up month long sporadic, peripatetic art festival by local artists takes place in an empty office building. This one had 5 floors packed with artists shows - hundreds. Morgen entered one year and another friend of her and James', who we met there, has also entered several times.  It was a celebratory crowd (there were several bars available, also pop up). Kolya is very creative and loves art. He really enjoyed it (for awhile anyway). 

Enjoying the art!

This is one small section of a single floor. Some were open
totally and others divided into small rooms, each with a 
different artist. 

But all too soon we had to return up to our RV Sunday night. We stopped in to see Paula that evening and again in the morning before hitting the road north and home. We left Maryland at 9 AM and arrived back in Shrewsbury at 4:30 PM - 8.5 hours, not bad and especially since we stopped and had lunch at Panera. It's wonderful to be home and although the trees are still bare, there are lots of daffodils and other early spring flowers. But we only have barely a week here. On Sunday we drive to Boston to babysit our 9 month old grandson Rowan for the week. Our son Sean and son-in-law Will are both away with work commitments. 

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Heading Home!

The best view from our window since the Santa
Rosa RV Park where we were on the beach!

The pond was small but evidently had good fishing
as several people were busy at it. 

Entering Virginia felt like we were in the last phase of our trip, with only 9 days left. I had read about the Walnut Hills Campground a year before on one of our RV site reviews and planned it as our last stop before returning to the Bar Harbor RV Park in Maryland where we've stayed at every year near my sister's. It's a beautiful setting in the hills just outside of Staunton with a small pond and meandering streams. Our site was right on the pond and the view from our dinette was lovely. 
Several pretty streams wandered around our

We enjoyed a big breakfast lunch after our hike at
Kathy's Diner in Staunton. 

We saw several deer on our hike: they were not at
all worried about us. 

We had two nights there. On our one full day spent the morning hiking around a local park.. We thought we were ascending a small hill to a viewpoint over the mountains but got the wrong hill! Oh well, it was still a pretty walk with several glimpses of a herd of deer. That worked up our appetite, which was a good thing as the brunch at Kathy's Diner was enormous. 
"The Manse", Woodrow Wilson's birthplace in Staunton, VA

Wilson's 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine was
completely restored and very beautiful.

The "interactive" replica of a WWI trench is in
the basement of the museum.

I love these old kitchen's. This one reminded me
of my grandparents' in Canton. They still had 
their old wood stove when I was young.

The historic downtown features many beautiful homes and buildings all perched on a series of hills! The streets are narrow and steep. Luckily we got to our next destination, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Birthplace just before it opened. So we were able to get a parking space in the small lot. 
We spent the afternoon touring the Museum and Birthplace. "The Manse" is called that as it was the residence of the Presbyterian Minister. It was built in 1846 and the Wilsons moved into it in 1855 just before Woodrow was born. They only spent 3 years there, Woodrow only 2, but he continued to go back for visits all his life and somehow thought of it as "home".  His widow Ellen (his second wife) bought it after his death in 1924 and along with his friends and the city, created the Birthplace Memorial. 
He was the 28th President of the Untied States and served two terms from 1913 to 1921. Before that he had been Governor of New Jersey and President of Princeton. Although though as Governor he broke with party bosses and instituted several progressive reforms, during his presidency he instituted segregation within the federal bureaucracy and opposed women's suffrage.. But he later came to support the women's right to vote and if his dream of creating the League of Nations after WWI had worked, we might have avoided the even more disastrous WWII. 
On Monday night we celebrated Passover with a simple Seder ceremony with Paula. She converted to Judaism many years ago and has been a very active member of Temple Adas Shalom.  

The next day was an easy drive briefly through West Virginia and then into Maryland. Baby was settled into her site at the Bar Harbor RV Park by 4 PM and we drove right over to see my sister Paula. She has settled right into the long term health care facility close to her old apartment. Sterling Care Riverside is also right near our RV park so it's easy to run back and forth. We bring her breakfast in the morning (a cheese & pepper & onion omelet and coffee) and then dinner in the evening. The first evening I made her dinner but after that we got Indian and Chinese takeout - fun for all of us. 
We woke up on our first morning to this - a very
high tide due to the winds and a full moon. 
Scott had to wade out to our truck to move it.

The staff knew enough to empty the sites right on
the water. We were just beyond the worst of the
flooding but had to pick our way to dry land from
our RV.

On Thursday we drove down to Washington DC for a 3 night visit with our son James, our daughter-in-law Morgen and 5 year old grandson Kolya. That will be my next blog entry!