“Pic of the Week”, October 5, 2018 : Space Shuttle, “Discovery”

04 Discovery

When the Space Shuttle program was discontinued in the early years of the Obama administration, museums around the world scrambled for the right to receive and exhibit one of the four remaining shuttles.   It seems highly appropriate that one of these unique spacecraft should find its final home at the prestigious Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (located in Virginia, close to Washington Dulles Airport, about a half hour’s drive from downtown DC).  

Situated in a separate wing of the Udvar-Hazy Center with other relics of space travel (including an especially an impressive collection of satellites), the Shuttle is one of the Center’s prized exhibits.  The shuttle Discovery is parked so that you can walk around it …

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.All Trips / North America / Southeastern USA / Virginia

A brief tour of Virginia’s Civil War battlefields

A brief tour of Virginia’s Civil War battlefields

The rich history of Virginia is more intertwined with war than any other state in the Union. This is especially true of the war between the North and the South which was to a large degree centered on Virginia because of its geographic proximity to Washington D.C.  The Civil War marked a major turning point in our society and almost destroyed the Union between the states — before ultimately saving it.  The background of the war, politics behind it and details of this lengthy bloody conflict are beyond the scope of this blog.  If interested you’re highly encouraged to watch the superbly crafted documentary miniseries directed by one of the finest American storytellers, Ken Burns.  If more details are sought …

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A Walk through Virginia’s Historic Triangle

A Walk through Virginia’s Historic Triangle

Besides a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, an important reason for our trip to Virginia was to explore its famous historic triangle.  The points of the triangle are three towns — Jamestowne, Williamsburg and Yorktown — situated on a peninsula between the York and James Rivers, about an hour’s drive east of Richmond.  Jamestowne was the site of the first successful British Colony in America in the early 1600s.  Colonial Williamsburg is a fascinating place, beautifully preserved and restored to the mid 1750s, and Yorktown was the site of General George Washington’s final victory in our Revolutionary War against the British Crown — winning independence for the American Colonies after a long and difficult struggle.

Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg was Capitol of Virginia during …

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.All Trips / North America / Southeastern USA / Virginia

Charlottesville – Land of Presidents

Charlottesville – land of Presidents

The region immediately around Charlottesville was home to three American Presidents – Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Madison (our 3rd, 4th and 5th Presidents) — an impressive record for any city but especially surprising from such a small population (currently just over 100,000).  I’ll discuss Monroe and Madison shortly, but initially want to focus on Mr. Jefferson, one of our wisest and most talented Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson‘s writing skills are well known.  He authored one of history’s greatest statements of liberty, our Declaration of Independence (if you’ve never read it before, give it a try).  Jefferson served in many political offices, most notably as the third President of the United States, but he was also a scientist, avid gardener …

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