12 September 2015

Cool Places We Went to in Virginia in September

We just can't get enough of the cool places to see and the history to learn about in Virginia. In September we took a couple of overnight trips, first to southern Virginia in Norfolk, when Kent had a TDY there and I tagged along. On the way home from Norfolk we stopped at Fort Monroe, and found out some pretty interesting things.
 For example, Fort Monroe is along the Chesapeake Bay and was the largest stone fortification ever built in the United States. It was part of a series of forts James Monroe had built when he was president.
 It was held by the Union all during the Civil War, even though it was located in a Confederate state.
 It was the place where Jefferson Davis was held prisoner after the Civil War.
Here's the cell where he stayed.
 Robert E. Lee also was assigned to Fort Monroe long before the Civil War.
 Speaking of Pres. Monroe, I went to visit a museum dedicated to him in the nearby town of Fredericksburg. Even though I'd been there before it was good to review facts about his life. At one point he worked as a lawyer in the town of Fredericksburg, so they claim him as a native son.
I had to get a picture of me with the antique piano!
 Later in the month we took an overnight trip with our good friends, the Andrews. They drove over from Yorktown and we met them at Appomattox Court House. The first thing we did was to join a walking tour with a park ranger telling about the events leading up to the surrender of Robert E. Lee.
This is the room where the surrender was signed. The furnishings are reproductions.
This is the outside of the house. We'd been to Appomattox Courthouse several years ago, but wanted to go again because this year was the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.

Not too far away is Poplar Forest, a home designed and owned by Thomas Jefferson.
The inside isn't furnished because it's being painstakingly restored using methods and tools that would have been used in the 1700's when it was first built.
 Our next stop was the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.
 The didn't spend much time there because we got there just a few minutes before closing time. We'd also been to see it on the same trip we went to see Appomattox Courthouse in November of 2009.

We spent the night in Roanoke, and headed out the next morning to see the "Natural Bridge", a place Kent and I hadn't been to yet.
 This natural wonder was once owned by Thomas Jefferson.
The photo below with the people walking under it gives a good perspective of how big it is.
On the same property near the natural bridge is a re-created native American living history village, built to authentically replicate the dwellings and tools used many years ago. 

 The woman in the picture below is a member of the Monacan tribe, and was very interesting telling about her culture.
Our next stop was Lexington, Virginia. It's home to the Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. Below is Lee Chapel.
 It houses the tomb of Robert E. Lee, who became president of the University after the Civil War.
 I didn't know that George S. Patton and George C Marshall both attended VMI. There was a football game going on as we drove by, and that's what you can see in the background.
 The buildings of the school look like a castle. Kind of looks like the logo for the Army Corps of Engineers.
 Lexington, VA, was also home to Stonewall Jackson, and he's buried in the cemetery there.

 From the sublime to the ridiculous, our last stop was "Foamhenge". I saw it listed on Google maps and found out about it on the internet. It was created several years ago and isn't wearing well.
 As you can see, the paint is coming off the "rocks." As a matter of fact, we drove past the site because there wasn't a sign identifying where it was and it couldn't be seen from the road. We finally found it because another car was pulled off to the side of the road and assumed that was what they were going to see.
We're glad to live in a state that's so rich in history and natural wonders!