March 3 and 4

After Marsha left from Charleston, Ann and I began our short journey to her friends Kat and Steve's home in South Carolina. Of course, we Needed to search out a full-on honest-to-goodness South Carolina BBQ lunch. YUMMM.

This place is open only Fri-Sat-Sun. Notice the folding conference tables. Notice the buffet line up. We were Happy!

From Kat: "the bbq place you ate in Orangeburg is Earl Dukes world famous and you did eat at the best one cause there are 4 or 5 Earl Dukes there."
Coming on to spend a lively afternoon and evening with Kat and Steve, this was our view as we turned into a half hidden road. Meet the Aeolian Hill Farm.

Kat inherited this plantation Big House and hundreds of acres of cotton fields and out buildings from her Great Aunt around 1981 I think, when Kat was in her early 30s. Is that something or what!?
It wasn't quite the season...but imagine warm sweet breezes and a cool mint julep...
Kat has turned this amazing place into a total wonderland.
One of those every time, everywhere you cast your eyes you see something new kind of places.
She designs these tableau on every surface.
Curved stained glass in one of the two front rooms. This one they call The Library and contains a vast collection from way back then.
This is the other front room - The Parlor. Check out that Chinese/Japanese tansu chest in the corner. You can't imagine the worlds that live in there.
Stained glass in the stairway leading to the second floor.
Out back. the land of cotton. They lease out most of the land to keep it in cultivation.
Here's Ann and Steve (who's been with Kat for about five years now) on our afternoon walk.
This is called a 'Charleston Green' gardening shed...
...and this is another outbuilding that once served as 'the company store' during the real plantation era.
I gotta get me one of these babies. It's the Japanese Magnolia and it does grow happily in Southern California I hear.

It was one of the very few plants that were blooming. It was cool to be able to see through all the trees but of course Spring will be heavenly here.
An abandoned cotton building. We also saw a lot of old machinery being retaken by the earth.

From Kat: "the brick cotton building was a gin Press where they pressed the ginned cotton (de-seeded cotton) into giant bales wrapped in burlap."
And an old barn filled with hidden treasure - old cabinet-quality wood, a chest of correspondence, furniture, and more.
This is the dining room where we enjoyed a lovely supper. Every piece of furniture has a personal and interesting story. Nothing is from Ikea.
Here's Mimi, one of the three cats.
The entry hall...
...and another one of the innumerable and heart beat assemblages.
Dawn from the upstairs balcony.

Imagine old sash windows, then make those windows gigantic, like a door, and that's how you get out onto the balcony.
Kat. What a woman.
For many years Kat hosted group events here and one of the groups, a Native American women's group, built this circle of stones each stone having a particular meaning.

From Kat: "the Medicine Wheel was built by the Bear Medicine Tribe (started by Sun Bear from California and based on loving Mother Earth and taking care of Her.)

"The center stone represents the Creator and each stone represents an attribute such as Clarity, Wisdom Playfulness, Love, Moon, Illumination, Experience, Sun, Growth, Renewal, etc. Sun Bear has written many books and had a vision of building these wheel all over for people to "walk and meditate"."
Bye! It was grand!!
We left mid-morning for the very long drive from South Carolina to Virginia. This takes us through North Carolina so of course, gotta get some Q!
March 5 and 6

This is dawn in front of Ann's dad's place in central Virginia. Look at those layers of colors. Wow indeed. Were it not still winter I wouldn't have got to see this. I'm counting my below-zero where-is-Spring blessings.
We took a drive to see the house where Ann grew up. This place is 'in town'. I'll have to get the details from Ann later...
And then we went on to tour Monticello which, driving down handsome country roads, is less than an hour away.
This was an 'identifying the past' project. Dear friends and relatives, please remember to write in your photo albums! Get stickers if you need to. The odds are just too overwhelming that you will not remember later.

I'm going to take my own advice...when I get back from New Zealand...I hope...
Ann calls her dad 'Poppa'. On the porch of Poppa's house is Poppa's girlfriend(!), a lovely woman who invited us to her home, fixed us dinner, and entertained us for hours.

Also pictured are some neighbors who were out walking their dogs. One of the dogs is a Katrina rescue and she's still quite skittish.
Here are a couple of pictures out the car window. I got a strange feeling driving through here, like I could sense why it was that Virginians were the most renowned of the patriots and intellectuals of The South.
Madison's home, Montpelier, where he was born and lived his entire life, is being restored to its condition when he was President. The duPonts owned it last and donated the house, grounds, and an endowment for the restoration.
The view from the front entry. In the distance are the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. You can see them from everywhere in this area including from Poppa's grounds.
Ann's natal town hasn't grown too much in population but it has transformed itself into a tourist mecca, being so close to both Monticello and Montpelier. There are even a couple of first class restaurants. Ann reports that back in her day the Dairy Queen was the hot spot in town and these chic-chic spots were the dry cleaners and the shoe repair shop.
Click here for Penny's Great Adventure at Poppa's house.
March 7

Washington DC in the Snow and Ice. Not what I was thinking would happen...
Careful Careful Don't Fall!!

I was absolutely obsessed with not falling myself. You know that black ice thing? It'll bring you down before you realize you've taken a step.
I was doing a little drive-by here...
...circling around and around the main tourist sights. I had been listening to c-span on the radio for several hours now which I must say very much added to the sense of the place.
Tourists who arrived by tour bus seemed more willing to brave the elements I guess since they didn't also have to walk from a far-away parking spot.
And Spring so near.
The Lincoln Memorial. This is not The Scene though. You've got to climb the stairs, see the guy himself in his chair, read the words - it's much more than just this.
I ducked into the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, every one's favorite.
It's full of full-sized real stuff.
There was also a large room of miscellaneous Americana including the below, Dorthy's ruby slippers, these Richard Avedon photos and much more.
Among the first commercial computers and the you-know-whos.
The Smithsonian, I think, is an organization worth supporting. They do good work. This is not such a big thing but it reminded me to say so.

That smaller plane, the DC-3 is hanging behind you when you stand in this spot. This is a visual to give some scale to the Hughes Hercules. Cool.
The WWII display is huge of course, and off to the side, up on the farthest balcony, is a poster board telling about the WASPs. My next-door neighbor Margaret was in the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilot) and I've taken these pictures for her.
The WASPs flew all the planes that came off the production lines before they were delivered to the fighters. They were 'the first women in history to fly American military aircraft.'

Not surprisingly, they were disbanded as soon as the war was over and it was a good long time before women flew for the military again.
March 8

Not wanting to spend a weeks worth of accommodation money in NZ for one night in DC, I stayed out in the 'burbs, then commuted in for a quick one hour of sightseeing before I had to go to the airport.

It was about 8:30AM here, about 18 degrees. But the sky was blue and there was no wind. So that was good.
Here's my main reason for this extension, to see the WWII memorial for the first time. It is positioned about more to the Washington end and it's big.

This is one side, the Atlantic, and if I shot to my left you'd see the same exact configuration for the Pacific. The pillars have the names of states on them.
This is walking along further to the outside...
Forget that convoluted explanation. Here's a shot off the .gov website. More a concept photo. And there was no water when I was there which made me think it had some sort of strange skateboard park down there.
From the bottom step of Lincoln you still get the straight on view of Washington. I'm sure they planned it that way.

No water in the reflecting pool either, which changes everything.
This is Korea, positioned opposite Vietnam, Korea and Vietnam being on either side of Lincoln. Check out that black marble wall in the distance.
Shooting into the marble wall you can see the statues reflected as well as more soldiers and civilians etched into the marble, and you can see me.
Vietnam. Time to go home.
HomeUSA the East • So Carolina-Virginia-DC • '07 Mar: So Carolina, Virginia, and DC

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