Savannah, GA

We spent a week in the Savannah area. When I planned our loop this year I was dismayed that there weren’t a lot of hiking opportunities. We’ve spent most of our time during this loop exploring cities (big and small). Cities aren’t really our thing. We prefer the wilds. But, when you’re trying to see all fifty states…well, there are states known for their great hiking and there are states known for their history. I’ve come to realize that most of our loop for this year has been spent on learning history and going to cities because we felt we should see them. Savannah is one of those cities I felt we needed to see.

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Savannah is known for it’s beautiful parks (all 22 of them) and its cobblestoned historic district.

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We only went to two of the parks. They were both shaded with oak trees covered with Spanish moss. We, along with many other locals and tourists, enjoyed walking though them. Savannah is smaller than I’d thought it would be. It had that small town, homey feel where time seems to slow down and suddenly every one is addressed as “honey” or “sweetie” and no one’s a stranger.

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We found the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It was beautiful inside and out. One of the big touristy things to do in Savannah is take a carriage ride. We opted against it. I’m sure the history and info given during the tour is worth the price but we like to go at our own pace. I can’t be rushed when I’m taking pictures or we find something interesting we want to investigate.

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We took a stroll down by the river where all of the shops are. I’d looked ahead of time and had two places I wanted to visit. Now, one of the questions we get asked all the time is about souvenirs. Do we get them? What do we get? Where do we keep them? How do we decide when to get one? We get a lot of questions about souvenirs. We don’t really get many. We simply don’t have room. And honestly, I’m more interested in food anyway. If I get something it’s more than likely going to be something I can eat. We do get a shot glass from each state and I pick up postcards from various places we go.

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It may come as no surprise to y’all that one of the souvenirs I’d already decided I was going to get from Savannah was some pralines. They were soooo good! I’ll be making my own over the holiday season sometime. Jerl got something called a gopher. It reminded me of a Texas millionaire. It must have been good…his eyes kind of slid up to the back of his head and glazed over during his first bite. I, quite happily, stuck with my pralines.

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We also hit up the Peanut Shop where we sampled all of the various flavors (there were soooo many flavors!) of peanuts before making our decision on which to buy. And we definitely bought some.

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The best thing we did there was visit Fort Pulaski National Monument. The boys snagged another Junior Ranger badge here.

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Fort Pulaski was damaged during hurricane Mathew so we couldn’t just wander around it. We had to stick with a guided tour. Y’all know how I feel about having to hurry up. I was at the end of the line trying my hardest to take my sweet little time without holding everyone else up. Fort Pulaski was great! Seriously, if you have the chance to go…do it. It’s been set up to represent what it would have looked like while it was occupied so there are several rooms with furnishings.

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During one of the times the fort was in the hands of the Union, some of the soldiers decided to leave a little…graffiti. It’s still there.

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While most of the fort has been reconstructed and restored, some of it is has been left in ruins.

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The wall was left to show the damage a cannon could do. We would have liked to spend more time poking around, but we had to stick with the tour and the tour had to be out before the next one could go in.

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Let’s talk food. I’d initially planned on eating at Lady & Sons…because…well…Paula Deen is the queen of southern comfort food, right?  But, when I looked up the reviews and then the price. If I’m going to pay that much to eat, the reviews had better be outstanding and not just mediocre. So, we drove by it and waved at all the people inside eating what we can only assume to be an overpriced, ok meal designed to bring in all of the tourists. Sorry Paula.

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We ended up going to a place the locals go.  Sandfly BBQ. Everything we had was great and the price was very reasonable. Now, I will tell you, the meat was fantastic…the sides were super sweet and very salty. But the meat was spot on!

We enjoyed our time in Savannah!

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Georgia, National Park | Leave a comment

Charleston, SC

Hey Guys!! We spent two weeks in the Charleston, SC area!

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One of our favorite things to do is go check out a beach in the area! We happened to make it to the Kiawah Beachwalker Park on the last warm day during our stay. It was a fantastic day with temps in the low 80s! We collect a little sand and some shells from each beach we visit.

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We found our first sea star out in the wild although, I think it might have been…a little…dead. I’m hoping when the tide came back in it perked up and made a recovery.

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I found one of the best shells I’ve found on a beach so far! Too bad is was already spoken for. We put this little guy back into the sand.

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We stayed until the park started closing and it got a little too cool for our taste.

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We visited Fort Moultrie. You might not recognize the name…Fort Moultrie is right across from its more famous counterpart, Fort Sumter. One of the coolest things we get to do is visit old Forts. We don’t always get a chance to see them all, but we try to hit at least one when they’re available. Some Forts are open for visitors to roam around on their own while others require you to sign up for a guided tour. We like them both…we like to take our time and look, but we also enjoy the knowledge the tour guides impart. Fort Moultrie is a free roaming Fort. There were tons of nooks and crannies we ventured into.

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This is as close as we got to Fort Sumter. While it is a part of the National Park System, a private ferry ticket is required to reach it. We can’t always do every thing in a city we want to. Since we’re not technically on vacation, we have to pick and choose keeping in mind the cities to come and what those offer, as well.

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The biggest reason we didn’t spring for Fort Sumter is because I wanted to visit Boone Hall Plantation.

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Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations. You’re looking at the Avenue of Oaks. I love the look of the giant oak trees with the Spanish moss! The trees were planted back in 1743 by Captain Thomas Boone. It took more than 200 years for the two rows of trees to meet overhead in the middle. You might recognize this Avenue of Oaks form the mini-series North & South or maybe from the movie The Notebook. Boone Hall Plantation has been in quite a few movies, shows, and print articles.

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Boone Hall has quite the history and is part of the Underground Railroad. Our favorite experience at Boone Hall was the Gullah Culture presentation.

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This surprised us. To be honest, we didn’t know what Gullah is.

This isn’t our video. I didn’t take one. I could just kick myself for not taking a video. But, this is the same woman we saw and she was really good. If you get to visit Boone Hall Plantation, don’t miss the Gullah Geechee presentation. Plan your day around it.

I’m going to add one more video. This one isn’t at Boone Hall Plantation, but this is a story she told us. Her name is Jackie Michael and she’s a retired schoolteacher turned Gullah Geechee story teller.

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The sweetgrass baskets everyone loves comes from the Gullah culture. You can find them all over Charleston. We got to see them being made at a few different places. The picture above was taken at Boone Hall Plantation, but we also saw them at the Charleston City Market and there were some roadside stands as well.

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This is the Charleston City Market and if you’re ever in the area you should definitely at least walk through it.

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You’ll find some of the best souvenirs here. And food. They sell food. Souvenirs, sweets and BBQ…what more do you need?

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There’s a lot of history in Charleston. There are several different tours you can go on. If history is your thing, I would definitely suggest a tour. This is the Old Slave Mart. I’m sure you can guess what happened here.

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This is called Rainbow Row. You’ll see this on sooo many Charleston souvenirs. It does depict the quintessential Charleston. I love that the buildings are pretty pastel colors!

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Another Charleston must see is the Pineapple Fountain. There were tons of people at this park…all taking photos. The park is gorgeous and right by the waterfront. We saw just as many locals enjoying the park as we did tourists.

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Welcome to the land of cotton. We saw so many huge fields of cotton while we were in this area! It was pretty neat to see. The one in the photo above was one of the smaller fields.
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Lets talk food. Guys, plan to splurge here. The food is ah-maze-ing. Amazing! This was one of my splurges…it’s a pimento cheese, fried green tomato, bacon, and fried egg sandwich on Texas toast. And please notice the pickled okra next to it. Have you ever seen anything more southern on a plate? It was fantastic!

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The other foodie find was a place called Charleston Burger Co. It’s definitely splurge worthy, but they do offer gluten free buns for anyone interested. The Dude got The Killer Beehive burger…and yes, he ate it all!

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Angel Oak is a live oak tree that is estimated to be anywhere between 400 and 600 years old. The state of South Carolina has it fenced off and has set hours to visit to try and keep vandals away from it.

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The sheer size of this tree was unbelievable!

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The last touristy thing we did was go to the Charleston Tea Plantation where we learned all about what goes into making the tea we drink. It was pretty cool and…it was free. Seriously. The tour and all the samples you want…free. It’s definitely worth a stop.

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Are you ready for some pretties?

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There were tons of pretties in the Charleston area!

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Nope, I don’t know any of their names.

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I could do an entire post just on the pretties of Charelston. I was in flower heaven!

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We also saw more butterflies and honey bees than we have in a long time!

So there you have it! Our two week stay in Charleston! We didn’t see even half of what there was to see!

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, National Park, South Carolina | Leave a comment

Atlanta, GA

We spent a week just south of Atlanta, GA.

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We made it to the State Capitol Building. It was impressive!

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Check out that golden dome with the Miss Freedom standing so proudly on top!

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And since we’re talking about the dome…I’ll go ahead and show you the inside of it. Now, my favorite domes have stained glass or a mural on it, but this one with the windows all around it was very nice.

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Georgia makes State Capitol Building number 31 for us. That’s a lot of SBCs! Some of my favorite things about SBCs (besides the dome) are the staircases. I’m not an architect. I don’t know anything about what style this is…I just know it’s pleasing to the eye. It’s nice and orderly. Oh! Check out the statue made of pink marble! This SBC had tons of pink marble that had been mined from Georgia. On the fourth floor there was a nice, small museum. We enjoyed this SCB.

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Out of thirty one SBCs this was a first for us. We got to go into the Governor’s Office! One of the secretaries offered to take a photo of us behind the desk. She took three…this one was the best. It’s a little blurry, but that’s ok…we appreciated the offer!

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The boys even got to hold this WWE belt. It was heavier than we thought it would be!

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I have to mention how nice everyone that we came into contact with at the Georgia State Capitol Building was!

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While we were in Atlanta, we stopped by The Varsity to grab lunch. The Varsity is the world’s largest drive-in. When we were there it was packed! The menu isn’t that big. They’ve got burgers, hotdogs, fries, and onion rings. Oh… and fried pies. Between the five of us we tried it all. The food was what you would expect. I enjoyed my chili dog with coleslaw on top of it and I really loved the onion rings! Now, would I go back? Um, probably not. lol! Once was kind of enough. Not because the food was super bad…it just wasn’t the best.

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I know…it’s a metal fence. But, guys…it’s The Walking Dead metal fence! You’re looking at Alexandria…well, it’s actually in a town called Senoia…but still!! We couldn’t get any closer because all the roads were blocked and guarded because they were filming. Which kind of made it cooler for me. To know they were just…right…there…….filming!!! Sorry. Fan girl moment. I’m ok now.

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We did actually get some hiking in this time! We love hiking and there hasn’t been as many opportunities to get some miles in during this year’s loop. We stopped by the High Falls State Park for a quick mile or so to see the falls.

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Georgia has been in a pretty bad drought since June, so the falls weren’t full and rushing, but they were still enjoyable.

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We found Covington, GA…you might recognize it as Mystic Falls from the show The Vampire Diaries. I didn’t realize how many shows/films are filmed in the Atlanta area. We didn’t bump into any of the stars, but it was neat to walk around a town I’d seen on a television show.

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We even made it to another hike! This one was at the Arabia Mountain A.W.A.R.E. area.

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We were rewarded with an awesome view! The weather was perfect for hiking while we were in the Atlanta area.

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We found this street sign and I had to snap a pic. There’s a big Gone With The Wind thing in the area.

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We went to the B.A.P.S. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir while we were in the Houston area and we’d learned that there are actually a few of them in the US. We made it to the one in Atlanta. It’s just as gorgeous! And just like the one in Houston, photography isn’t permitted inside or even close to the inside. If you ever find yourself near one of these go in. It’s truly breath taking. The amount of detail on all of the hand carved marble is astounding.

That’s it for the Atlanta area! We didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what there is to do here so I imagine we will have to visit again.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Georgia, Hiking | Leave a comment

Oh Carolina…

Hey Guys!! We spent a week in the Raleigh, NC area.

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We didn’t do much.

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We made it to the State Capitol Building.

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Most of the North Carolina State Capitol Building is a museum. They’ve arranged rooms to resemble what they were in years past. The room above is the geology room. We love it when there’s a museum in the SCBs! We learn so much about the state through these museums.

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Y’all know we love foodie spots. Let me introduce you to Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. You can get burgers, sushi, and burger/sushi fusions!

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There were so many options…you could eat there everyday for months and not get the same thing. We absolutley loved Cowfish!! The owner came out and talked with us while we were there and guys…he was so nice. Seriously. If there’s a Cowfish near you, go check it out!

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We also spent a week in Columbia, SC.

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We didn’t take a tour at the South Carolina State Capitol Building, but we did get to roam around. I thought the dome was pretty.

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Most of the SCBs we’ve visited have a redish/pink color scheme in at least a few of the rooms, but both of the Carolina’s SBCs were more earthy tones with blue highlights. It was a nice change.

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We made it to Congaree National Park. I’d been looking forward to this park since I’d done the initial planning for our whole nomadic fifty state tour. It stuck in my head because there was a caution that this park inhabits six venomous snakes and alligators. Six. Six venomous snakes all in one park. And then they add alligators on top of that!

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No, I don’t like snakes. Not even a little, but I felt like we were be safe enough with the boardwalk trail. We got there the week after Hurricane Mathew mucked up our plans and sent us fleeing to Asheville. So…we were already irritated with Mathew. When we got to Congraee we learned Mathew wasn’t done messing with us. Nope. He’d blown through the park and messed up pretty much all of the trails. We got to walk a teeny tiny bit of the boardwalk trail. We were so bummed. I’d been looking forward to it for soooo long and then bam! A hurricane.

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But it wasn’t a total loss. We found an all you can eat buffet at Little Pigs Barbecue. All. You. Can. Eat…BBQ!!! What?!?!

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I counted four different kinds of pulled pork! There was also all the fixin’s! All of them. Oh, and by-the-way…in the Carolinas anytime you hear BBQ they mean pork. Always. It was soooo stinkin’ good! Little Pigs is a no frills kind of place, but that’s ok because it helps keep the cost down. When was the last time you’ve eaten at an all you can eat buffet for $10? That includes a drink. Yum-oh!

We have officially fallen in love with the Carolinas!

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, National Park, North Carolina, South Carolina | Leave a comment

The Biltmore

Since Hurricane Mathew interrupted our time on the North Carolina coast, we headed to the Asheville area to escape the weather. Asheville is where you’ll find The Biltmore.

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Built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, The Biltmore was just one of the Vanderbilt family homes. It’s huge. Let me see if I can remember the details…thirty-three bedrooms, forty-three bathrooms, 250 rooms, and sixty-five fireplaces all add up to a grand total of about four acres of floor space.

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We opted to take the ninety minute guided audio tour. We feel like audio tours really add to the experience. In the photo above, you can see the Winter Garden. The Winter Garden is actually inside the mansion. That’s a glass roof you’re looking at and what used to be a working fountain.
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On one side of the massive banquet hall is this set of built in shelves with the organ loft. The organ actually works. In the basement, there’s a room that has the air pump for the organ. I love the shelves!

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On the other side of the banquet hall is a wall of triple fireplaces. Because three is always better than one, right? This room was huge. The pictures can’t even begin to portray the true size of it. The ceiling in the banquet hall is seven stories high!

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Here you can see the Breakfast Room where the Vanderbilt family ate lunch. Yep, you read that right. They named it The Breakfast Room, but they would eat lunch there. Maybe it was a really late breakfast…more like brunch?

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The ceilings in The Biltmore were just as ornate and thought out as the rest of the rooms.

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The Tapestry Gallery is more like a wide hallway. There are three tapestries hanging here that are a part of seven. Each tapestry depicted one of the Seven Virtues.

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This fireplace was in the Tapestry Gallery. I love how ornate it is! Check out the turtles on the bottom of the lamps.

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We’ve made it to my favorite room in the whole place. The Library.

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I took more photos of the Library than any other room at The Biltmore. I mean…look at that fireplace! Can you imagine perusing the books to find that perfect read and curling up by the fireplace to have a quiet afternoon? Oh! See the big blue and white urn type thing? It once belonged to a Chinese Emperor about 500 years ago. He used it as a fish bowl.

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This was George Vanderbilt’s bedroom. It’s huge! And I love all of the woodwork in it. All hand carved by super important artsy people. I don’t remember all of their names…there were so many different names said during this tour. Can you see the gold colored walls? That’s real gold. It’s gilded 24 Karat gold burlap.

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All of the fireplaces were different. Different colors, different materials, different style. This one was in George Vanderbilt’s bedroom.

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This sitting room joined the family bedrooms. There was a small table for food, a writing desk, and a game table. This is where the family would have breakfast while they planned the day’s events.

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Edith Vanderbilt’s room was oval shaped and decorated in gold and purple. Edith made sure she knew all the names of everyone working at The Biltmore during a time when it was improper for the family to speak to the staff. She also made sure to send care baskets when children were born. Edith went so far as to start a trade-school that taught weaving and wood working so the servant’s children would be able to learn a craft or trade that they could use to earn a living.

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The Biltmore was really built so the family could entertain guests. The third floor living hall was right outside all of the guest suites. The guests would wait to go down to breakfast here as they sat around and chatted.

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I loved looking at all of the old family photographs. Notice the books against the wall? George Vanderbilt had a 23,000 volume collection of books. That alone makes me like him. I mean, anyone who takes the time to accumulate that many beloved books has to be good, right?

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This is in one of the guest suites. I really enjoy the way they have the rooms set up. It’s like we’re getting to take a peak back in time. With the dress on the bed with the gloves over the footboard…it’s like catching a fleeting glimpse into their lives.

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This is in the same guest suite. The vanity table all set up and waiting. This guest suite was just for single ladies. The single ladies and single gentlemen were kept in separate suits since it was inappropriate for them to sleep in the same area of the house.

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Check out this chandelier. It’s three stories high with three chandeliers on it. Can you imagine trying to dust that thing?

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In the basement you’ll find the recreation area. Complete with a bowling alley,

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a 70,000 gallon heated swimming pool that they only kept filled for a few days at a time,

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and a gymnasium because even back then being healthy was important.

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They supplied private dressing rooms because no self-respecting lady of that time would be caught walking though the house in a “bathing costume”. There was a row for the women and a separate row (on the other side of the wall) for the men.

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The library was my favorite room…the pastry kitchen is a close second. Imagine having an entire kitchen solely for the purpose of baking…

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There would’ve been more than a dozen people in here working to prepare the meals for the Vanderbilt family and their guests. The copper pots hanging above the worktable are actually original.

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Check out the mortar and pestle! Huge!

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This was the servant’s dining room. The dining room maid would have served the servants three meals a day here.

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There were sooo many pantry rooms. Each dedicated to different things. This one is mainly for the canned goods.

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Most people have one room for the laundry. At The Biltmore, there was a sewing room, main laundry room, drying room,

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and a dying room. Notice the box and bottles of dyes?

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This was the smoking room. More books. The books were everywhere! It was a book lovers dream!

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This pic gives you a good idea of the many different levels at The Biltmore.

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This is the view the Vanderbilt Family and their guests enjoyed. George Vanderbilt and his architect used a ladder to determine what the best view would be before they began building.

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 We got to The Biltmore around 2’ish…we didn’t leave until around 8. There are so many things to look at.

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We took a quick walk through some of the gardens, but we didn’t have time to look at everything.

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Here area some of the pretties…

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look how bright and vibrant they are!

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I would love to see the gardens during each season.

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There was a wine tasting included with the house ticket. If you know me, you know I’m not really into wine. The boys thought it was funny to watch my face as I tasted each wine.

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The boys all got grape juice to try. They also had their fill of these pallet cleansing little biscuits that were sitting out.

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We ended up getting three bottles of wine! lol! I found two white’s that I actually like.

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When we left it was dark. There were several hummingbirds flitting between these big flowers and we stood there for a few minutes watching them. The picture’s not the best. It was dark and I only had my phone…but this little hummingbird decided to see what The Dude tasted like and flew down to lick his leg. It was pretty funny!

We had a great time exploring The Biltmore!

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Destinations, EasternLoop2016, North Carolina | 2 Comments

A Time Of Firsts

The plan was to stay a week on the outer banks of North Carolina enjoying the Kitty Hawk area. Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench in our plans though with Hurricane Mathew so we only stayed for three days. We crammed everything we could into those three days and in the process totally fell in love with the area.

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My main reason for going to the area was to visit The Wright Brothers National Memorial. In the photo above you can see the original buildings the Wright Brothers lived and worked in while they were at Kill Devil Hills trying to get their contraption to fly. You can also see the Memorial up on the hill. This is the first and biggest memorial to be built for someone while they were still living.

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Nope. It’s not the original, but it’s a copy right down to every detail, built the same way the Wright Brothers would have built theirs. The original was destroyed when a gust of wind caught it and threw it around before they could get it tied down after the fourth flight attempt.

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 You can see the stone markers signifying where each of the first three flights landed in the picture above. You can also see on the sign, a copy of the photo that was taken of that very first flight that lasted all of 12 seconds and went a grand total of 120 feet.

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There’s a neat little area set up that shows what that first attempt looked like with the Wright Brothers and the few guys they had helping. Notice it’s on sand? That’s because when the Wright Brothers were there the area was more like a desert. Not much grass and no trees. Go look up a picture of it on the interwebs. You’ll be surprised at how different it looked back then.

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On our first morning there, we got up to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. It was pretty spectacular.

It was an amazing way to start the day! We even spotted a pod of dolphins playing in the surf!

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We made it to Roanoke Island where the first English Colony was formed and where the first English child (Virginia Dare) was born in the New World.

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You might remember from your history class that the fate of the people of this colony is unknown. The only clue was the word “Croatoan” carved in a tree. Nope. It’s not the original tree, but it is a fun picture opportunity!

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We only made it to one of the area’s lighthouses since our time was cut short, but it was a really neat lighthouse and it was one of the Visitor Center’s for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We didn’t make it all the way down to Cape Hatteras either…but, that’s ok. We’ll just have to go back and visit the area again.

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After talking to our neighbors (hi neighbors!) we decided to go to Corolla Beach and try to find the wild horses. We didn’t see them, but we had fun driving on the beach!

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We did take time to play on the beach. It was right outside our RV park. We could see it from our door and hear the waves at night. It was pretty fantastic! Littlest wanted to fly a kite on the beach so we went and found a kite. It wasn’t hard, they sold them everywhere. It was our first time flying a kite on the beach! You’ll notice we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We didn’t mind.

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We spent the entire afternoon building sandcastles, playing in the waves, finding seashells and sea glass and just…relaxing. None of us wanted to leave.

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We tried Duck Donuts for the first time. It won’t be our last. We’ve all declared Duck Donuts as our favorite donut place. You walk in and order your donut with the glaze/frosting you want, add whatever toppings you want, and top it off with the drizzle of your choice. And then you get to watch them pull your donut out of the fryer and make it so when you get it it’s still warm!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!! We’ll be in Raleigh, NC next week…guess what donut place is there! Muuwaahahahaha…I’ll eat one for you.

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We also got our very first taste of North Carolina BBQ. We’re fans. It’s quite possibly the best BBQ we’ve ever had…anywhere. We went to a place called High Cotton. Guys, we’ll go back to the Kitty Hawk area again just to eat there. It’s really that good. We got to chat with the owner while we were there and he’s the nicest guy. If you’re ever in the area, you have got to stop in and grab a meal. Then get one to go so you can have “leftovers” the next day!

That was all the time we had. The boys managed to earn three new Junior Ranger badges before we had to head inland. We weren’t sure what Hurricane Mathew was going to do and it’s better to play it safe in situations like that, but we’ll be back! We didn’t even scratch the surface of what there is to do there.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, National Park, North Carolina | Leave a comment

Beach Bummer

Hey Guys!! So…we stayed a week in Virginia Beach. A whole week to soak up all of the…errr….rain? Yup, it rained pretty much the entire week we were there. But! The show trip must go on!

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On the way to Virginia Beach we had a first for us. We drove the RV through a tunnel that went under the water!

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 It was kind of a long tunnel…and I’m not gonna lie…about half way through the tunnel I started worrying about what would happen if the tunnel sprung a leak. And then I started thinking about how if we were on the Walking Dead show, there would be tons of walkers in the tunnel. And right when panic started to make me get a little twitchy I saw the light at the end of the tunnel (literally) and we were exiting. I’m not sure I want to do another underwater tunnel with the RV again anytime soon.

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You are looking at the only time we saw sun while in the VA Beach area. This is the Cape Henry lighthouse which is located on an active military base. I’m laughing as I write this because we didn’t realize we were going to an active base. Total planning fail on my part. So, when we pulled up and had to have our car searched and there were some pretty strict rules as to where we could and could not go/take pics…well, it was a new experience! And to be honest…we all thought it was pretty cool! Everyone we interacted with were very nice and polite and we never got the feeling that we were intruding or anything.

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We stayed at a place called Holiday Tav-L-Park. This is what I thought we would end up getting. This is really a pretty basic kind of site.

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This is what we got. This was our site. We laughed about the difference. Kind of funny what $30 more per night will get you…grass, concrete, and cable. This Rv park was huge! It had four pools, mini-golf, and various playgrounds. We would actually stay there again and if we ever make it back to the VA Beach area we probably will. The lack of grass didn’t bother us and we never watch cable anyway.

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One of my HP friends lives in VA Beach and we got to meet up with her and her kiddos for dinner one night! *waves at friend* We had a great time meeting face-to-face for the first time while enjoying some tasty Mexican food! One of the neatest things about our #easternloop2016 has been seeing so many of my HP/FB friends. Our kiddos have been switching numbers and staying in touch too!

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We did make it to the famous Neptune statue on VA Beach! The rain even held off long enough for us to snap a picture and take a look at the beach!

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Virginia even gave us a rainbow on our last night there. We really enjoyed our time in Virginia and will visit the state again!

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop

#keepingitreal

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Keeping It Real, Virginia | Leave a comment

America’s Historic Triangle

Located in Virginia: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown are known as America’s Historic Triangle. We spent two weeks here, but really only scratched the surface of what there is to see and do.

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We started at the Yorktown Battlefield where we learned about the final major battle of the American Revolution.

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The boys loved it. They got to hear a canon being fired not once, but several times during our visit.

I thought y’all might want to see the cannon fire and hear how loud it was.

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If you head into the Visitor Center, you can see the Witness Cannon they have on display. What’s a Witness Cannon? It’s a cannon that was actually at the battle. It’s genuine. You need to say that last part in your best Southern accent. Really dawl it out and add a few syllables.

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You can even see where a cannonball hit it.

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We love the battlefield auto tours so we grabbed one in the Visitor Center and headed out to see the battlefield. There were a few other families out doing the tour, but not many.
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The countryside in Virginia is beautiful. We really enjoyed our time in Virginia. It’s nice to get back to the Southern hospitality.

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Historic Jamestown was next on our list. This is the site of America’s first permanent English settlement. You don’t really get to see anything that was there. It’s all buried to keep it protected. But they’ve built a few structures to give guests an idea of what it might have looked like. It was neat to be there…but I think next time we’ll check out the Jamestown Settlement, which is the State Park version of the one we went to.

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The last place we went was Williamsburg. We had some good friends fly all the way from Texas to Virginia to visit with us and they went with us to Jamestown and Williamsburg.

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We toured the Governor’s Palace where we got to see how the king’s representative lived.

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The whole house was impressive, but I liked the entrance the best. Check out all of those weapons!

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All of the weapons were on display not only to show wealth and intimidate, but also to keep them in easy reach when needed. Can you imagine having to keep all of those polished and cleaned?

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All of the bright colors surprised me. The photo above was in the ballroom. The rug was rolled up and stored to the side anytime dancing happened.

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I’m happy to report none of us got lost in the maze! It was close…I’m soooo bad at these things.

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Some of my favorite things about Williamsburg were all of the artisans. We got to roam around and poke our heads into the many wonderful period era shops.

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Most of the historic interpreters did a good job of staying in character without making it weird or awkward.

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Littlest and The Dude were kind enough to demonstrate the pillory for us. I may or may not have taken my time getting this picture. ha!

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One of the highlights of the whole two weeks was the tour through the capitol building at Williamsburg. Our tour guide was amazing! She was knowledgeable, entertaining and came across as genuinely passionate. If all history lessons were as good as hers I would’ve done so much better in school.

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We had to check out the jail. The one above was a bit morbid with the coffin in it. See the steps on the right side of the picture? That’s the toilet.

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We were close to Richmond, VA so we took the opportunity to see the VA State Capitol Building.

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The VA State Capitol Building was a nice surprise. From the outside you can’t see the dome…but, surprise! There’s a dome!

We had a great time in Williamsburg. We will definitely be back to visit VA again.

See y’all down the road!!

#easterloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Historic Landmark, National Park, Virginia | Leave a comment

Pizza Roundup 2 Wives pizzeria

For my fellow pizza lovers, I bring to you a pizza post from 2 Wives pizzeria in New London, Connecticut.

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2 Wives is a really good pizzeria with tasty pizza, and the crust is like bread sticks!   img_5776

The service there is good and the staff are nice, even better, they have a great selection and dairy free cheese.

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The decor was ok and the bathrooms were clean so in all that, I give 2 Wives Pizzeria a 5 star review.

See ya next time on…

Pizza Street!!

Categories: Connecticut, EasternLoop2016, Pizza Street | Leave a comment

Washington DC

Hey Guys!! We spent one week in the DC area and it wasn’t nearly long enough. We had four very crazy, very full, very looonngggg days where we ventured into the DC area and we still didn’t get everything on our list done.

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We somehow managed to snag tickets for the White House tour. We heard we were one of only five Texas families since February 2016 that’s been approved.

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We got to look through some of the rooms that I’m pretty sure aren’t really used much anymore.

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Several of the rooms had a color theme. Can you guess the name of the room above?

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There were Secret Servicemen everywhere. Most of them were super nice and full of all kinds of info. We asked them all the questions we could think to ask. From how many colors of green were in the Green Room to how heavy the chandeliers are in the photo above.

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Caught this view out one of the White House windows. Not bad, right?

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I’m pretty sure they set this up as a photo opp…but it’s a good one.

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And check out this piano! Gorgeous!!!

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The very first thing we did in the area was visit the zoo. Littlest is panda crazy and has been looking forward to seeing a real, live panda in person all summer.

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He was in heaven. We met an old friend of ours and her family at the zoo. *waves at Kiki & family* We got to catch up while the kids all watched the animals.

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We stayed at an RV park not too far from DC. They have an orientation about how to get around the area. It was super helpful. We used these two maps the whole time. We never had to actually drive into the DC area. We always utilized the Metro system.

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One of the experiences we missed out on in NYC was the subway system. The boys were curious about it and wanting to ride it, but we just didn’t get to do it. So, while we were in DC we rode the Metro often. The first ride was pretty exciting for them.

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For those of you wondering what it looks like. Here’s one of the Metro stops.

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We found a few foodies… This is a Banana Fosters Shake. It was fantastic! So good!!

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And we found a great little hole-in-the-wall Salvadoran place. It too was just fantastic!!

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We hit all of the memorials that we could. This is the WWII Memorial.imgp6993

We had to snag a picture by the Texas post.

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

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Lincoln Memorial. We actually got a decent picture of the boys here without tons of other people in the shot. I think there were roughly a thousand or so people there at the same time we were trying to get the Junior Ranger stuff done.

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Korean War Memorial

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The Washington Monument was closed while we were there. Something to do with the elevators. We still enjoyed seeing it.

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Vietnam War Memorial.

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Iwo Jima Memorial.

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We found the National Cathedral. It was gorgeous. I love all of the angles and spires around it.

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We made it to the Arlington National Cemetery.

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It’s a lovely place full of quiet reverence.

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We spent several hours here walking around.

imgp7056 We watched the changing of the guard before we left. It changed us all. You can’t watch something like that and not be changed. The boys still bring it up in conversation every so often.

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We made it to the Maryland State House!

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The dome was ok…

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It had some pretty stained glass.

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We found the reddest room in the world. If it’s not official it should be. The walls were red velvet.

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The Maryland State House is where George Washington resigned from the military.

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There was a neat little museum on the first floor. The area around the building was pretty neat too! We enjoyed this one.

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We even managed to get in a tour of the Nation’s Capitol Building! We wanted a complete set…

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Did you know that if you contact your State Rep that they will set up a private tour for you so you don’t have to wait in the long lines? And you get to go into the tunnels that connect the Capitol Complex. It was pretty cool.

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I want y’all to know I got in trouble taking this picture for y’all. Apparently you’re not supposed to stop in the center and lay your phone down on the ground while you’re at the Nation’s Capitol. I thought for a minute I was going to get kicked out. I made sure to snap the picture before getting up though. I mean, I was already there…and in trouble…might as well get the shot.

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 Each state gets to have two statues in the building. So…there are statues sitting everywhere. It’s kind of weird.

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Our tour guide showed us the Whispering Spot where John Quincy Adams used to have his desk in the room in the photo above this one. We stood over this spot and our guide stood way over across the room and whispered. And we heard him! It was the coolest thing!

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This is the old Senate Chambers. It used to have wooden floors. Notice the spittoon. They were everywhere! According to our guide all of the Senators used to chew tobacco and instead of using the spittoons they would just spit on the floor. It became so gross that if you dropped anything at all you just left it. And instead of stopping or using the spittoons they would just rip out the wooden floor every so often and replace it. Talk about a waist of money. Sheesh. Can you even imagine the smell this room most have had??? Bleh!!!

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We found a few pretties…

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Not too many. It was late in the season.

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We walked a lot in the four days we were in DC. Sometimes it pays to be the Littlest.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Historic Landmark, Maryland, National Park, Washington DC | 2 Comments