Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mount Vernon: George Washington Up Close and Personal

Just a short distance from Washington, D.C. in the rolling hills of Virginia along the Potomac River, is the home of George Washington, General of the Continental Army, Founding Father and first POTUS. 

It is interesting to note, that having accomplished so much in his lifetime, Washington wanted to be remembered not so much as a commander, statesman, or leader, but as a gentleman farmer at his estate, Mount Vernon. This was the home he returned to after his presidency, where he could devote his days to agricultural innovation. 

The front facade of the main home

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jefferson's Monticello

 Monticello - Italian for "Little Mountain"-, the plantation home of Thomas Jefferson, should be a familiar site to people. After all, it is depicted on the back side of the U.S. nickel (five cent coin). We recently had the good fortune to visit this beautiful estate, which was designed by Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the United States. It is located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, and is the only historic house in the U.S. on the United Nations' World Heritage List.

Built on a hill, with 360 degree views of the surrounding land, today the estate is owned and operated by The Thomas Jefferson Foundation. It is open to the public every day except for Christmas. We went on a beautiful June morning, and the flowers in the garden were in full bloom.  After taking a guided tour of the house, visitors are free to roam the grounds. Unfortunately photograhy is not allowed inside the building, so the only pictures I can share with you were taken outside. We explored the gardens and remains of the slave buildings on our own, but thare are also guided tours that start at regular intervals.
The back of the house faces a large lawn.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Delightful Garden in Richmond, Virginia

We had a little time traveling through Richmond, Virginia, and decided to visit the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  It is a lovely garden with a butterfly exhibit in the large conservatory.  There is also a tea house, children's water play area, a large tree-house, and many lovely paths connecting the smaller gardens. A truly delightful place!

 Colorful butterflies flutter around in the ButterfliesLive! exhibit

Monday, June 18, 2012

Colonial Lighting

The highlight of a visit to Colonial Williamsburg is touring the Governor's Mansion. Having burned to the ground not long after the Revolutionary War, it was painstakingly restored in the early 20th century.  While listening to the guide talk about the life and family of Lord Dunmore, last royal governor of The Colony of Virginia, I could not help but notice the beautiful light fixtures that can be found around the mansion. 

The dining room has a glass chandelier

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chowning's Tavern - Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is an impeccably restored historical town in Virginia.  It served as Virginia's capital in the years both preceding and proceeding the Revolutionary War (1699-1780). Today, it is a tourist destination where people young and old can learn about colonial times, talk to guides and craftsmen in period costumes, and of course spend money on everything from souvenirs to dinner. 

After a long day of touring the town, you can reserve a table at one of the historic restaurants.  We chose Chowning's Tavern for our dinner, and had a lovely colonial meal in a beautifully furnished period restaurant with even some musical entertainment.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New York City, French Food and Italian Opera

Last night, in search of some late dinner, we happened upon a restaurant called Papillon, on East 54th Street. As we entered, the Maitre'D asked us if we would like to sit downstairs, or "upstairs where the opera singing is"?  Of course we had to chose the opera.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Paris Memories

School is out! The house is full of kids playing. As I am getting ready for another summer,  preparing the house for our two-month absence, my mind wanders back to our adventures last year.  The week we spent in Paris in particular.  

While we had visited Paris before, this was the first time we have taken the children.  Paris is so much about art, museums, and food. Young kids just do not appreciate these things.  Last summer, however, we thought the time was finally right. Our youngest just turned seven, and we figured he would be able to handle the long hours spent at various museums. 

Turns out we were right.  The kids loved Paris.  We spent a happy week exploring the city. Saw the sights, lots of art, wandered the streets, and ate many, many macaroons. 

Lovely flowers abound. This was at the Luxembourg Garden.