Cobey is working on a project about Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign. The goal of this trip was to see and learn as much about the campaign as possible. Well, for me to learn since Cobey already knew a lot about the campaign. We spend about two and half days on this project. We were based out of Winchester at a friends house. I would say you would need at least this much time. We were rushed and didn’t get to everything and plan a returned trip.

Prtitchard House

11947592_10206265273845458_5292582860261259085_nThe first stop was at Kernstown Battlefield where Jackson’s only defeat took place.   I would give yourself at least two hours. There is a small museum, a house and a battlefield walk. The staff and volunteers were very helpful and friendly.  Claire and a friend did a scavenger hunt which I highly recommend for elementary age children. The Pritchard House was built in 1854 and was there during the battle.  You can find a walking tour in the museum and the way winds throughout the battlefield.    The battlefield is only open on weekends so be sure to check times.

Rose Hill Farm

Jackson Headquarter in WinchesterWe had a wonderful visit to Stonewall Headquarters in Winchester. I highly recommend this museum. The costumed guide was very knowledgeable and informative. They have many original items in the house and items used by Jackson.  The only disappointment is there are no photos allowed in the house. We also went by and saw the plaque for the Winchester Battle and the Rose Hill Farm. The farm is where part of the battle of Kernstown took place.

Prospect Hill Cemetry
Warren County, VA Courthouse

After lunch, Cobey and I headed to Front Royal. We purchased a driving tour at the visitor center. I had my laptop in the car which was nice because Cobey could look at the photos and listen in between stops. The tour includes a DVD and a book. It is very well done. There was only one stop, the last one that we could not find the marker. The rest were easy to find if you followed directions and the information was great.  It says it takes around three hours.  We listened to stories in between stops so it took us about half the time that it suggested.  The stops included the one above of Prospect Hill which has a memorial to the Confederates. There is a confederate from every state buried here. The picture to the left is where town square was and urban warfare took place in this area.

 

The next day we had a full day as we headed South.  Our first stop was at the Harrisonburg Visitor Center where we watched a short film and got some information. The next stop was the Heritage Museum in Dayton. There is a presentation of the Jackson Campaign with an electronic map which is quiet good and a great overview.  This is a small but good historical museum. I wish we had more time to spend in the exhibits but we had a full day planned.

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We then attempted to find the civil war markers throughout the area for the Battle of Cross Keys and Battle of Port Republic. Some were hard to find even with address and GPS. There was one on private property that said you had to have permission to see. After the driving tour at Front Royal, this was disappointing and frustrating but we did find a few makers. We did find the memorial where General Turner Ashby died. He was the general over Jackson’s cavalry.  We then ran out of town because we had an appointment at 3pm in McDowell.

 

The Highland County Museum at The Manson

Inside the Highland County Museum

 

The road to McDowell not only was a VERY curvy mountain road , it had road construction.  At the Highland County Museum, we saw a film on the Battle of McDowell. We also visited the exhibits and got some helpful tips of other things to visit in the area. The museum is housed in the mansion house where I loved the painting they found under the wallpaper. The walls were painted to look like wood. It was quiet interesting. (although nothing to do with Jackson Campaign) We then made stops at the house down the street that was Jackson’s Headquarters for two weeks and a church down the street which was hospital. We attempted to hike the mile up the mountain to find the battle markers but the trail was not marked and we found one but don’t think we found the one at the top.

 

 

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Historical Harpers Ferry

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Aug 24, 2015 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Good Eats/Not So Good Eats, Kid's Corner, Travel

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We were blessed to have a tour with Scot Faulkner the President of the Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.  This was our second visit to the area but through the eyes of a local historian was more than we could have imagined.  We started with a great overview at Bolivar Heights.  Mr. Faulkner told story of the Great Train Raid of 1861. He did a brilliant job explaining the strategic importance of the area and painting a picture of what occurred.

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We then headed to Murphy Farm. This is where we saw some great views. In 1862, General A.P. Hill forced the surrender of 12,000 Union troops here which concluded General “Stonewall” Jackson’s siege of  Harpers Ferry.  This was accomplished with a flanking move on Bolivar Heights. The area has great views and trails. We then headed down to the town.

 

 

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In the town, we learned more about the story of John Brown through a great exhibit there. We visited the Lewis and Clark exhibit, the General Store and John Brown’s fort. We learned about the different floods and saw the water line for each one.  We also let the kids wade in the river.  I knew there was a possibility of that not ending well and it didn’t. I let Claire go out one last time and she slipped and fell. She was soaked.  A purchase of an over sized T-shirt at the Bookstore saved the day.  The bookstore is phenomenal so don’t miss it if you are in the area.  We learned about the St. Peter’s Church and how it was saved from being burned during the war by Father Costello raising a Union Jack flag. We then stopped for some great ice cream at Scoop’s Ice Cream. This was the fuel to tackle our last stop – Jefferson Rock.

 

Jefferson RockThomas Jefferson wrote about this place in his book – Notes of the State of Virginia.  The book was like a travel guide.  He stood on the rock October 25, 1783 and wrote “this scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic”. The rock used to rest on a natural rock formation that  you could rock but over the years it became dangerous and supports were added.

We then had a great dinner at the Anvil. They had a great variety of food and everyone was able to find something they wanted. Cobey got the suicide wings which were very hot. The waitress was surprised he finished them and said grown men sent them back saying they were too hot. The food was good and great service. Great ending to a wonderful afternoon and evening in Harpers Ferry.

To top off the day, Scott Faulkner was kind enough to sign Cobey’s book. He is the author Naked Emperors- The Failure of the Republican Revolution which is a great read.

 

 

 

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We have been to Asheville several times and decided to official complete Buncombe County with field trip friends. In previous trips, we have been to Biltmore multiple times. We absolutely love it. We have eaten at the Stables and also Cederic Tavern. They have the best audio for kids staring Cederic the dog. If you go to the area, don’t miss Biltmore it is worth the money. Homeschoolers check out Homeschool Days to save money.  We have stayed in Biltmore Inn also which is nice but not worth the money unless you get a special. Just my opinion. Having said all that, this trip was about exploring different things.

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The first stop was a tour of Basilica of St. Lawrence. The tour was informative but not my favorite tour guide. The church is breathtaking. It is open to the public and a must see. There is parking beside the church and a brochure in the church that will give you more information. Raphael Guastavino who worked on the Biltmore House was the architect for this National Treasure. After the tour, we took a walking tour of the Urban Tour in Downtown in Asheville. The tour has 30 stops with whimsical statues. It was a fun walk with a little history worked in. One tip, be careful not to get lost and try to cut through the parking lot of the Federal Building. They really don’t like that.. The photo below is from the trail.

 

Urban Trail

 

 

 

North Carolina Arboretum We made a stop that evening at the North Carolina Arboretum. I had been wanting to go for a while. It was not a good call. After a morning hiking at Mt Mitchel and then a long walking tour,  we were worn out. Claire loved the Bonsai collection which is phenomenal. We also liked the section that had a quilt pattern with flowers and the one that showed dye from different flowers and plants. There are a ton of trails you could enjoy and spend half a day easy. We were just too tired and hungry and headed out. We had a terrific meal at Stone Ridge Tavern. Cobey liked it so much that he asked if we could come back the next day. Cobey had gator bites, Claire had basil tomato soup and I had Greco Chicken. We had good service and good atmosphere. I highly recommend it and hope to make it back there.

 

 

11954810_10206275918111558_122406355404593091_n11232129_10206275914111458_4375354067668124217_n The next morning we started with a tour of Vance Birthplace in Weaverville. The Vance family purchased the property in 1795. There is a small visitor center with information where we learned more about civil war. In the house, we learned more about Governor Vance and about how it would have been to live during that time. The program was well put together. They recommended we had lunch at nearby Stoney Knob Cafe. This place was out of this world. They handled a large group seamlessly. The food was fresh and delicious. Go check out Vance Birthplace and then grab a bite to eat at Stoney Knob Cafe.

Thomas Wolfe HouseWe then went to Thomas Wolfe House for a tour.   Thomas Wolfe was a famous writer who wrote “Look Homeward, Angel” in this home which was a boardinghouse his mother had.  The house was built in 1883 and the second owners called it Old Kentucky. Thomas had a troubled childhood with an alcoholic father, distracted mother and a brother that died. We watched a film and had a tour of the house.  There is also a small museum which we unfortunately did not have time to enjoy. The photo on right was taken by Kim Biglow.

11951869_10206275903471192_8679276978285113411_nThe final day tour was at Asheville Botanical Gardens which is on the campus of UNC-Asheville. We started a talk by the director of the gardens. He did a great job of telling us about things to look for in the gardens and gave some background. It was clear that he was passionate about his work and I love for my children to be exposed to people like that. Some of the highlights of the gardens were bullfrogs, the moon tree from a seedling that went to the moon and a hummingbird moth.  I actually liked this place better than North Carolina Arboretum. I loved the native plants to the Southern Appalachia and natural feel. It is a beautiful area. Our last stop for the county was Ultimate Ice Cream. We had been hearing that it was the best in town. Cobey tried the Brown Sugar Maple and Bacon Ice Cream which they are famous for and he said it was great. He said it did not disappoint. They were not stingy with the samples and everyone enjoyed the ice cream.

Ultimate Ice Cream

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Maymount and the Confederate White House

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Feb 27, 2013 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel, Uncategorized

MaymountWe took a one day trip to Richmond to go to Maymount. I had never heard of it but found it when I was searching for possible trips for the time period we are studying in history. The house was the home of James and Sallie Dooley and was built in the early 1890s. We had a guided tour of the mansion that was very interesting. We learned about the life of the servants and the Dooley’s in the house. The house is beautifully furnished and most of the furnishings were the Dooley’s.

After the tour, we went to the nature center which was part of the property. There is a fee to enter and honestly there is not too much. I would skip it unless you have time and money to waste. We then spent a little over and hour exploring the grounds at a quick pass. I would love to go back in the spring because I am sure it is quite beautiful then. They have an Italian Garden, Japanese Garden and animals to see. You could spend a day touring the house and enjoying the gardens and animals. I hope to back in the Spring.

I was then out voted and we went to the Confederate White House and the Museum of the Confederacy. The tour was very interesting with great stories about Jefferson Davis’ children. The kids loved the story about the toy canon that actually fired and about Davis going to talk to one of the gangs in the area. After the tour, the kids did the audio tour of the Museum of the Confederacy. The museum is small but interesting and I highly recommend the audio tour. The kids got much more out of it because of the audio. They have a kid’s version.

 

 

 

 

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Gettysburg National Park

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jun 27, 2012 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

Our last stop on our Disney Cruise vacation was Gettysburg. We spent a full day at Gettysburg and got a great overview.  We got into town in time the night before to get the Junior Ranger Book and get an overview of the town. We also could have done a Ghost Tour but decided against it because of Claire. They would only give us one Junior Ranger book which bothered the kids. They did not want to share but in the end it made it easier. Between the two of them they did all the activities and I think it was a well put together program. We started  with the movie and Diorama. The movie is good a great way to start the day. The Diorama is very impressive and Claire especially enjoyed the presentation.  We then went thru the museum and answered the correlated questions in the book. We also went to a ranger program because the kids wanted to collect the trading cards. It was interesting and we did learn a few things. We then picked out a audio tour in the museum. There are several different versions but we decided on . It was an excellent choice. I really liked the book that went along with the audio and added to the experience. The audio seemed thorough but not too long. The audio told some great stories. Claire loved the story about the solider that saved the nest of bird during the battle. Cobey liked Devil’s Den because of all the rock formations.

 

After we finished the audio tour we went to the Gettysburg train station where Lincoln arrived in town. There was not much to the train station and the person working there was on the phone so he was not helpful at all. We did not stay long and then moved on to the Willis House where Lincoln stayed while  in Gettysburg. You have to pay an entry fee to go into the house and we were there less than an hour. We saw a few short films that gave information about the owner of the house and about Lincolns visit. I really liked seeing the room where Lincoln slept.  Claire bought a Lincoln top hat and book in the gift shop. It was a little pricey for what it is but there is something about being in the place that Lincoln was that somehow makes it worth it. The last stop was the Cemetery where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. It was really neat to trace Lincoln’s steps.  The cemetery has a beautiful towering monument in the center that we learned more about from answering the questions. We made it back to visitor center in time to turn in our book and do a little shopping.  It was a rushed day but we got a lot in and feel like we got a good overview. You could easily spend several days at the park and in the town if you are interested in history.

 

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Tennessee Trip Day Three/Four

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday May 16, 2012 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

We spent the majority of third day at Shiloh National Park.  There is not much to the visitor center but Junior Ranger program was good. We purchased the CD wfor the tour of the battlefield.  It was a little hard to follow because the stops  are  in a different order but we all learned a lot. One of the highlights was when we went on walking tour at the Shiloh Indian Mounds. We somehow got off the trail and started walking deeper and deeper into the woods. We were on a different  trail and sort of lost. Claire was our hero and lead us out of the woods. We saw the Hornet’s Nest, a densely wooded , named by the Confederates because of the stinging shots and shells they faced there. We saw where General Johnston died. He was shot and kept fighting not realizing how bad the wound in his leg was and he bleed to death. We ended our visit in the National Cemetery where the kids found tombstones of soldiers. We then drove to Nashville stopping at Logan’s to celebrate Cobey’s birthday!! It was a wonderful day.

The next day Bruce was suppose to fly out. He went down to the lobby to check-in to his flight and could not. We finally figured out that I had the wrong days and he was actually flying out the following day. Oops! It all worked out in the end. He had his laptop so he did some work for hotel that night and the next day.

On the fourth day, we added Stone’s River National Park to the schedule and I am so glad we did. It was my favorite National Park on the trip. It is a little strange because it is broken up by the town that has grown around it. There is a nice visitor center with a good video to give you background on the battle.  You have to drive to the different areas of the park.  The earthworks that remain of Fortress Rosecrans were interesting. This 200 acre fortress protected railroad and warehouse and supplies. The kids favorite part was Hell’s Half Acre, a rocky area where Union soldiers held their ground. You could easily see how they used the rocks for cover. Claire’s highlight would be her purchase of a Junior Ranger vest, hat and backpack that she now takes on all of our trips. The photo to the right is  Hell’s Half Acre and the bottom is Claire’s new outfit.

We left Stone’s River and headed to Hermitage,  home of Andrew Jackson. There was much more at this site than I excepted and we could have used more time. It is not just a house but a museum, gardens, and  outbuildings. We started with a movie that was an overview of his life then headed to the house. They had audio tours that were included in the price of admission. They had a great kids version from the viewpoint of Andrew’s pet parrot.  After a guided tour of the home, we toured the garden’s and saw his tomb. We then went and saw the slave quarters and other outbuildings.  I was impressed that they did not sugarcoat the past and told of  Jackson being a slave owner, ignoring the Constitution and marrying his wife while she was still married.  He was a great leader at the Battle of New Orleans but not so sure of his presidency. We are not big fans of Jackson but had a great visit and recommend the site. I would not try to do both in one day unless you start early and have lunch on the go.

 

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I never got around to posting about all my April trips. Now that I think about it, I have one from last April I still want to do.   Over Easter weekend, we headed to Tennessee to check out some Civil War and Indian sites. The first day we drove and drove and drove some more then we stayed at a hotel. The next morning we were up and out early. The first stop was the New Echota which is Northern Ga. This was the capital of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 until 1832. It was here that the Cherokee council met, that the Cherokee Supreme Court heard cases, and that the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper was first published.  The site has rebuilt  buildings to represent each of these and the house  of Samuel Worcester, a minister and loyal friend to the Cherokee nation. The Treaty of New Echota was  signed here which was the controversial document used by the American government to justify the removal now known as the Trail of Tears.

It was here that we began to learn that  we did not care for Andrew Jackson. The US Supreme Court ruled in Worcester v. Georgia,  that Georgia did not have the right to have passed those laws to force Cherokee out of the state.  However, President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in this case. This is a great historical site. We started with the movie and small visitor center. The kids loved trying to speak Cherokee and even bought a book.  We then spent an hour or so touring the buildings outside. There was a nature trail we missed because of the weather and time. We were off to Chickamauga Battlefield.                                                                                                                  

The Chickamauga Battle was one of the few where the Confederates outnumbered the Union. The confederates had a strong victory here and slowed the advance to Atlanta.  We went on the driving touring of the battlefield. The kids earned a Junior Ranger Badge here and then we headed to Lookout Mountain photo at top of this blog entry. They earned another badge there. The view was nice when you were not looking over the city. I am a little partial to my NC mountains when you are not looking at buildings and such. The highlight of the day for me was the 150th Anniversary Luminaries at Shiloh Battlefield. There was one for each solider that died at the battle and there was just so many. The photo below is around Bloody Pond. It was said that so many died here that the pond turned red. It was very moving experience. The kids enjoyed it at first but both ended up falling asleep and missing the last half of the drive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bennett Place

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Nov 7, 2011 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, NC History, Travel, Uncategorized

Last week, we took a field trip to Bennett Place in Durham. This is the site of the largest surrender of troops during the Civil War. I really did not know much about the site and had never been. We started out looking at the small visitor center and then watching the movie. The movie was gave a great background of what was going on during the time period and the significance of the site. We then took a tour of the site where they have rebuilt the home, kitchen and smokehouse that once stood there. The tour was mostly about how the family would have lived during that time. The last part of our visit was when a Civil War solider taught the children how to march. I have never seen that group stand so straight and be so quite. The parents decided they all need military school. The solider showed the kids how to load and shot a musket to end his part. The field trip was free and very well put together. It is an interesting part of NC history and recommend you check it out.

 

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We started the day at St John’s Church. This is where Patrick Henry gave his famous- Give Me Liberty speech. The colonial leaders met at the church to avoid Lord Dunmore in Williamsburg, Va. in March 1775. We paid for the tour which includes a map with explanations of the buildings on the the grounds and tombstones. For the guided tour portion, you sit inside the church as he gives you history of the church. Cobey was disappointed in the talk and said he already knew all of it. The church is beautiful and with it’s rich history is  still worth the admission price. You will only  need to plan to spend an hour or so there. I think it would be even better to go to during one of  the reenactments that they do in the summer.

We had extra time so we stopped into the Chimborazo Medical Museum. This is one of the thirteen sites of the Richmond National Battlefield Park.  It has a small visitor center with one room of artifacts, a model of how the site looked, and a movie.  The story of the Chimborazo Hospital was very interesting. There was only one volunteer who had to start the movie, answer the phone and give the talk.  It was very busy while we were there and he could have used some help but  he did an excellent job. The kids did the Junior Ranger Program here which I thought was okay. The page where they had to label the map using the model was the best. Overall, I think it is a good stop because it gives you a different aspect of the war than just the battles.

We then made our way to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It is the final days of the Picasso Exhibit so it was quite crowded. I had prearranged a group tour on America’s Beginnings. I found enough people to make a group through homeschool yahoo groups in the area. I was so pleased that everyone showed up and they were very well behaved. Jan Carroll was our guide and she was awesome. She was very knowledgeable and you could tell she loved her job. The tour gave a great variety and taught about history and art. After the tour, we went through the museum. I forgot how much I love this museum. It has so many great pieces. Claire loved the section with all the horses. I would love to go back without the kids and spend some time there . I hated not to go the Picasso Exhibit but I knew the kids would rush me so I did not want to spend the money. And he is not my favorite anyway.

After we left the museum, we headed to Bottoms Up 1700 Dock Street for a early dinner/late lunch. It was recommended by a FB friend- a great place to get tips. This place was awesome. It had a friendly staff, great food, cool atmosphere and was reasonably priced. I had the salad supreme which was huge. Cobey had a slice of the Chesapeake which had crab meat on it and Claire had cheese.  I saw a plate of Nachos going out as we left that was huge and looked great. Cobey liked it  even better than Y Not? in Norfolk. We will definitely be back.

I will be home for a few days so I hope to blog on some trips in our recent past and on the book I just finished.

 

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