Exploring Fredericksburg

Poppa Higg and I spent his last day in town exploring my historical new home. So of course I had to blog about it so you will come on my next exploring trip.

Our first stop was the Fredericksburg Battlefield…He’s so excited!!

While Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the four battles that occurred around Fredericksburg were the cause of the most casualties (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania). We chose to explore the Fredericksburg Battlefield. And it. Was. Awesome.

The Confederate soldiers dominated the Union soldiers in this battle. The Confederate soldiers were situated behind this original piece of the wall as the Union soldiers marched towards them.

This battlefield also houses a cemetery. This entrance still displays the bullet holes from the battles.

Our next stop was the James Munroe Museum situated right downtown. I couldn’t take any pictures because I wasn’t technically allowed to and the manager lady was following me around like a hawk. Long story short–James Munroe did lots of stuff and owned lots of stuff.

Fun Fact: James Munroe was the first president to live in the White House (Then called the “President’s House”) after it was re-built from the British burning it. The oldest furniture in the White House today is from James Munroe’s family.

After eating downtown, we visited George Washington’s boyhood home called the Ferry Farm. Sort of.

You see, there aren’t any remains from anything on GW’s farm or home. So they’ve attempted to recreate it–or guess where it happened.

See this house?

It’s not George Washintgon’s. It’s the Visitor’s Center for the Ferry Farm.

George Washington’s family grew tobacco. Not this tobacco, but his tobacco probably looked like this.

We started walking around the property and we got confused. You see, George Washinton’s home was no longer standing. But archeologists think it was somewhere in a huge field. We think Poppa Higg is pointing to it. Maybe.

Then we found these stones they believe outline GW’s home. Maybe. Poppa Higg swears he found a sapling that had re-sprouted from THE cherry tree that GW chopped down as a young boy. He is a Doctor of Forestry. And cannot tell a lie.

We continued to explore the Ferry Farm and found ourselves lost in the woods. Poppa Higg was blazing his own trail so we got lost for a minute. But we used our excellent skills to break out of the forest. I was sweaty and tired and ready for a nap.

Take Aways from the Ferry Farm: We paid $8 to wander around land guessing where stuff happened.

GW had a dog. He probably ran with him here.

GW liked surveying. He probably surveyed this land.

Overall the day was a success and I’m definitely looking forward to some more exploring.

Airplane Adventures

I adore airplanes.  And Skymalls. I have since I was a kid.

But, I’m also the girl who sits next to you on the plane, makes eye contact, and wants to chat.

Now, I fully understand and respect folks who don’t want to chat on a plane or in an airport, but through the years I’ve met some very interesting people.


Like the time I sat in the middle of the University of Texas Men’s Track & Field Team and played Scrabble.  Ahem…I won.


Or the time a lady was taking a little too much room. But instead of being mean, I was sneaky and took a picture so I could eventually blog about it.

Haha! Take that, rude lady who will never ever read this!


Or the time I was stuck on a runway for a few hours and a nice lady shared M&Ms with me because I hadn’t eaten all day.


Or the time I sat next to a man who I could have sworn was a terrorist because he used the bathroom five times and used his phone during the whole flight.


Or the grandpa who chatted with me about World War II and proudly showed me photos of his grandchildren (specifically his single grandson) for an hour.  I love old people 🙂


I recently had a quick flight and met a young man who was on his way to a skateboarding camp.  There were many high school boys on the plane headed to the same camp but they cursed often and smelt like gym socks and Axe  body spray.  But the young man sitting next to me by the window was very different.

Window-Seat Occupant (WSO):  “I hate flying.”

Me (put down my book): “Do you?”

WSO: “Yeah.  I’ve flown a lot, but I just hate it.  I don’t even like roller coasters.”

Me: “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

I begin reading my book again–It’s odd for me to not chat, but I really like my book and I’m almost done. So I choose to keep reading.

The plane begins to move away from the terminal.

WSO: “Oh geez…oh geez.” *pulls down the window shade, grips armrests*

At this point, I realize this kid is terrified.  I put my book in the back seat pocket and turn to him in attempt to get his mind off of flying.

Me: “You’re not going to throw up on me, are you?”

WSO: *laughs* “Oh no…at least I hope not.” And his face relaxed.

We begin chatting and I find that he is from South Carolina, is 14 years-old, and loves skating, making movies, and God.  And despite his scary skate boarding hobby, he hates heights.  Before taking off, one of the foul-mouthed teenagers shouted an expletive.  WSO leaned over and assured me that “not all skaters act like idiots and use profanity.”  This young man completely impressed me.  And he didn’t smell like a teenager.

I kept him in conversation as we flipped through a Skymall and talked about God. WSO had already been on five mission trips.  Some in America, others in Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and some in Europe.

WSO is a “street skater” and has a skate park built in his backyard.  Literally.  He also talked about how he wanted to be a “jerk” (which I think means to be a professional skater) so he was totally “stoked” for his second year at camp.  He hoped he wasn’t in “cabin full of posers” or rude yankees.

WSO: “..Last year everyone in my cabin was from New York.  I was the only one from the South.”

Me: “There’s nothing wrong with that.  I like being Southern.”

WSO: “Oh, me too.  My friends at home call me a Southern Belle because I open doors and say ‘yes ma’am’.”

Me *I hold back a chuckle*: “…Umm…I think Southern Belles are female.  I bet you’re a Southern gentleman....”

WSO *eyes wide*: “Wait, what?!? Awww man…”

Me *I laugh*: “Just say Southern gentleman from now on.”

Anyways, our convo was literally one of the best I’ve had in a while.  WSO didn’t puke and I never got his name.  But I hope he stays the way he is forever–So nice, so genuine, so friendly, and so passionate about Christ.

Getting off the plane we exchanged goodbyes.

WSO: “Hey..it was great meeting you.  Good luck with everything.”

Me: “Have fun at your camp.  Make good decisions….and don’t break any bones.  And if you do, at least make it into a cool story.”

All Sorts of Culture

I’m a simple Southern girl, but I really love history, traveling, and fun facts.  You could have guessed this if you read about me spending a summer at UGA or visiting Washington, D.C.

This past week I got all sorts of culture and travel under my belt.

Last Saturday I spent a gorgeous sunny day with Lauren at Blacksburg’s Fork and Cork, a wine and food festival.  We spent the day tasking wines and enjoying the sunshine.

Later that night, Dennis and I listened to the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra play Mozart’s Requiem.

Fun Fact: Mozart’s Requiem is a really interesting piece.  In 1791, Count von Walsegg requested that Mozart create this piece in memory of his late young wife.  Mozart died in the midst of writing it and his wife hired composers to complete the piece.  Walsegg attempted to pass the symphony off as his own work, but in the end, Mozart received the correct credit.

Dennis was an interesting Symphony partner.  The Orchestra was dressed in all black and at one point Dennis leaned over and said:

“It’d be awkward if someone was wearing tennis shoes..I’ve been looking.”

The entire arrangement lasts near an hour.  Half-way through Dennis leaned in again:

“I feel bad for that conductor.  I mean, he’s just flapping his arms around.  Must be sweatin’ up a storm. I just want to get him a towel and a bottle of Hokie water.”

A week later, I took off for Richmond, Virginia to participate in a Rugged Maniac (more on that in a future post).

A friend and I decided to explore as much as we could before the race.  First we stopped by Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The house was gorgeous.  TJ was all sorts of interesting and complex.  In his garden, he built this cool little shelter.  It’s where he went to do all of his thinking (at least that’s what I think).

 I decided to try it out…

I thought pointing would help me think….but it didn’t.

Fun Fact: TJ was one of the major contributors to wine in America and his household consumed over 400 bottles of wine annually #wow

PS The woman selling the tour tickets didn’t believe I was in graduate school because I “looked too young.”  Must be the headband.

Fun Fact: TJ did so much for America, like purchase the Louisiana Purchase, initiate the Lewis and Clark expedition, contribute to the Constitution, etc…But there are only three things he wanted to be remembered for on his grave-stone:  1) He wrote the Declaration of Independence, 2) He wrote the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, and 3) He was the Father of UVA.

Fun fact: TJ died on July 4th.  A few hours later, President James Monroe died as well.

The morning before the race, we traveled into Richmond to visit the Virginia State Capitol.

Fun fact: Along with Monticello, TJ designed the Capitol building #swag

Here’s a statue near the Capitol depicting all sorts of important folks.

As you walk toward the Capitol steps you see this:

Fun fact: “Sic Semper Tyrannis” was shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Lincoln.

My week of culture was great, but Rugged Maniac was even better…stay tuned.