Sunday, November 21, 2010

Love the Fall Colors

Fall colors seem to be drawing out longer around here this year.  While some trees have totally lost their leaves, there are still some that display brilliant colors.  Here are a few trees around our neighborhood that make it so enjoyable as we come and go ...

a tree across the street, morning (left) and afternoon (r)

a neighbors tree with our house in the background

Others around the corner.

Hope your autumn has been a season of blessing.  Soon we head into winter.  Christmas is right around the corner!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shepherdstown, WV

Last weekend our Bible Study home group went on another fun outing.  We went to Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  We started with a meal at the Bavarian Inn on the scenic Potomac River.

Mmm, Mmm, good.  German food.  Weiner schitzel, wurst, spatzel, and more.  It was delish!   And the room in which we ate was the very same room that one of the couples, John and Barbara, got married in almost six years ago!

After lunch we took some pics over looking the river....

Dan & Barb

David & Carol

John & Barbara

Paul & Kerry

Jayce & Nicole

The Girls

The Guys

As for the town's beginnings, colonial settlers began their migration into the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley in the early 18th century. Many crossed the Potomac River at Pack Horse Ford, about one mile down river. The Colony of Virginia began issuing Valley land grants in the 1730s. In 1734, Thomas Shepherd was granted 222 acres on the south side of the Potomac river, along the Falling Spring Branch (now known as the Town Run). From that tract he selected 50 acres and laid out a town. In 1762, the Virginia General Assembly chartered the town of Mecklenburg. Thomas Shepherd was the sole trustee: he owned the town and was responsible for its government.  In 1778, the town's name was changed to Shepherdstown. 

And now a few shots from the historic old town.....

The gals went shopping while the guys took a jaunt up to Sharpsburg to tour the Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest one day battle in the history of the United States.  (To learn more about Antietam National Battlefield, see our post from September, 2009. )

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shields Lands In Centreville!

You face-bookers already saw this pic, so this one is for our other blog followers.  Longtime friend Randy Shields came to DC for a two-day business meeting and booked a room in the Zuspan B&B.  We arranged the spacious "Yellow Room" for a couple of nights.  It was really good to have the time with him, catching up on families, work, and the like. 

Thanks for coming, Randy!

By the way, you can follow Randy's Stinson Restoration HERE, and follow the progress of Randy & Debbie's new house HERE.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Occoquan is a town in north east Virginia whose name is derived from a Dogue Indian word meaning "at the end of the water." It is believed that the Dogues stayed close to the Occoquan River because of the abundance of fish and ease of traveling by canoe.  It was the river and its location, at the head of the tidewater, that made Occoquan a natural site for water-borne commerce,  from the earliest days of the settlement of Virginia.
A tobacco warehouse was built as early as 1736, and an industrial complex begun in 1750. Before the turn of the century, Occoquan had forges, water grist mills, tolling mills, a bake house, saw mills, storehouses and dwellings. The Merchant's Mill became the first automated grist mill in the nation. Grain was taken from the holds of ships and off barges, processed, and returned to these carriers by machinery operated by only one man, then transported to markets from Alexandria to the West Indies.

Today, Occoquan remains a quiet river town with quaint shops and restaurants.  With Mom T here, the three of us took an outing one sunny afternoon for lunch and a little shopping.

We had a great day, and finished up with pie at "Mom's Apple Pie Bakery".  So much for not spoiling your dinner!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grave's Mountain Lodge

For the second year in a row, our Bible study home group went on a Sunday outing to Grave's Mountain Lodge for a delicious buffet feast and a fun autumn afternoon. 

After stuffing ourselves we headed outside for pictures and relaxation.  The group:

Barbara and John Finity

David and Carol Trujillo

Jayce and Nicole Nichols

Barb, Dan, and Mom T

Carol shows how buff she is ....

Barb and Carol go crawdad hunting with some of the kids....

The lodge bids us farewell ...

... until perhaps we can return again for another fun afternoon.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Harper's Ferry, WV

Nestled at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers is the historic town of Harpers Ferry, WV. , and the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.

Until Civil War times, West Virginia was a part of Virginia.  Harpers Ferry has a long association with history-makers of the United States.  George Washington was well-acquainted with the area as a surveyor.  Later, as president of the Patowmack Company (which was formed to complete river improvements on the Potomac and its tributaries), he traveled to Harpers Ferry during the summer of 1785 to determine the need for bypass canals. In 1794 Washington's familiarity with the area led him to propose the site for a new United States armory and arsenal.  

Thomas Jefferson stopped there in October, 1783, on his way to Philadelphia to serve as a delegate to the Continental Congress.  From a rock high above the rivers, Jefferson declared "the passage of the Potomac though the Blue Ridge to be perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.”  See a picture of Jefferson's rock and the view below.

In March, 1803, Washington's armory supplied Meriwether Lewis with items he would soon need on the transcontinental expedition with William Clark.

56 years later, Harpers Ferry would become the flash point for a looming civil war.  Firey abolitionist John Brown believed he could free some slaves and start a slave uprising against the slave-holding southern states.  He selected Harpers Ferry as his starting point. Determined to seize the 100,000 weapons at the Arsenal and to use the Blue Ridge Mountains for guerrilla warfare, abolitionist Brown launched his raid on October 16, 1859. His 21-man "army of liberation" seized the Armory and several other strategic points. Thirty-six hours after the raid begun, with most of his men killed or wounded, Brown was captured in the Armory fire engine house (now known as "John Brown's Fort") when U.S. Marines stormed the building.

Brought to trial at nearby Charles Town, Brown was found guilty of treason, of conspiring with slaves to rebel, and murder. He was hanged on December 2, 1859. John Brown's short-lived raid failed, but his trial and execution focused the nation's attention on the moral issue of slavery and headed the country toward civil war.

The town has been preserved and many original buildings still exist. 

On the day we visited (October 9), they were re-enacting the election of 1860, with full costumes and political speeches.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was not on the ballot in Virginia in 1860? Anyone voting for him would have been considered a traitor to Virginia.

One of the buildings housed a museum describing John Brown's raid on the armory.  Below are some of the signs from the museum, and the firehouse, known as John Brown's fort, was restored on the site.

Built in 1833, St Peter's Catholic Church sits on a prominent high point above town.

Even higher above town is Jefferson's rock, mentioned earlier, which gives a beautiful view of the town and the rivers.

Some of the descriptions above were taken from Wikipedia.  To read more about Harpers Ferry, click here.

It was a great day, and all three of us really enjoyed it.  There was more to see than the time we had available.  Barb and I hope to go back again someday to see more.