Heather and Mark drove up for a visit, arriving on Friday evening, Oct 19. Saturday, the 20th, was a beautiful, fall day and we enjoyed a trip to Mount Vernon, VA to see the home and grounds of George and Martha Washington's estate. It's only about an hour's drive from us, and we were able to go at a nice leisurely pace.
I posted most of these pics on facebook, but decided to include them here as well.
Walking toward the house. . .
Front of home
View of the house from the attached portico
The back porch
View of the Potomac River, from the back porch
One of several beautiful, and inspiring, gardens. . .
The blacksmith shop, for forging tools needed on the estate
We had a relaxing Sunday. Enjoyed our meetings at church, ate sloppy joes and asparagus for lunch and made a delicious, cheesy, pull-apart bread for an evening snack.
On Monday, we talked about going down to the National Mall and visiting the National Spy Museum. But, we changed our plans and went toward Manassas and Woodbridge, VA instead.
In Manassas we visited the Bull Run battlefield (first battle of Manassas).
(Civil War battles were named differently by the North and the South. The North mostly named battles according to major rivers. The South named them for states or geographic regions. Hence, this battlefield was named for the nearby Bull Run River by the North, and was named the first battle of Manassas by the South.)
We had a great guide and appreciated learning some of the details of that first battle of the Civil War (which occurred in July 1861.) Most of the landscape and grounds are pretty much as they were then. The second battle of Manassas was fought a year later.
Confederate cannons placed as they would have been during the afternoon of the battle.
Monument to Stonewall JacksonIn the morning of that first battle, it appeared that the North would be able to claim victory. But Gen. McDowell made a tactical error by not pursuing the rebels as they moved over a hill and into a wooded area. During a two-hour lull in which the Union Army rested, the confederates received reinforcements — including a brigade of Virginians under the command of Col. Thomas J. Jackson. Someone supposedly said, "There stands Jackson, like a stone wall." His nickname was born, and the South proved victorious that day.
Heather and Mark walking toward the visitor's center, in the background
I'm always stunned when I see the number of casualties in the Civil War. Nearly as many Americans died in that war as in all other wars the U.S. has been involved in, combined. Perhaps it's a lesson to help us remember that internal conflict is always more destructive than attacks from without.
After seeing Bull Run, we popped over to Cafe Rio and had a great lunch, then drove to Woodbridge and spent some time at Ikea. It's always fun to browse there, and it was Mark's first time to see it.
We had to say good-bye Tuesday morning, but we made plans for another visit soon — when we actually will go to the spy museum.