First, I can’t believe we have finally reached #76 on our journey. It feels like we might make this goal of all 100 counties before Cobey graduates. I might not have to delay his graduation after all. Several have asked what order we go in! The answer is there is no rhyme or reason or plan. Where we go next may depend on the time of year, what we are studying, or someone may invite us to come check out their county. It just all depends. This all leads me to how we ended up in Duplin. It was one of the counties we had left on the way (sort of) to the beach for Thanksgiving.

20171121_112657We started out at Duplin County Veterans Museum in Warsaw. The museum is located in the beautiful 1894 L.W. Best home. Warsaw is famous for the longest continuous running Veteran’s Day parade. It is evident that the county appreciates and loves veterans. The museum focuses on veterans from the county and their stories. It has tons of memorabilia throughout history. The museum is only open two days a week. It is usually not open on Tuesday but we called about a week ahead of time and they kindly opened for us. I encourage you to plan ahead and check out the museum when you are in the area.

23847452_375166186241673_3435016980061895842_oNext, we had lunch at the Country Squire opened in 1961. I highly recommend this place! It is a very captivating atmosphere located inside an old barn and cabin.  The decor of old cupboards, trees, fireplaces, and antiques give it the feeling of legends and romance. It is  Southern hospitality with a Scottish flair. You have to see it to understand it! The food was very good and reasonable. We also had good service for a large party.  The dinner menu is totally different- more upscale and looks wonderful. I can’t wait to go back and try out it out with maybe a glass of their own wine.


20171121_14525920171121_150337Our next stop was Liberty Hall in Kenansville which was fascinating. The Kenan family is one of the founding families of UNC-CH. The 1800s home is beautiful and I particularly loved the George Washington painting that was upstairs. We have been to many many houses but the stories made this one interesting and unique. The furnishings and history were boarded up and left intact after the death of Mary Lillian Kenan in 1906 until the house was restored and opened to the public in 1965. You can watch a movie and see interesting artifacts in the visitor center. The house is fully furnished and their several outbuildings so plan on two hours for your visit.

We ended with a quick visit to the Cowan Museum located across the parking lot. It is a small museum with a large collection of items focusing on history and science. The items come from of the private collection of George and Illa Cowan. The collection largely consists of 19th and 20th-century tools and technology from that period.  It also has several other buildings and a park.  The kids enjoyed seeing the perm machine and music exhibit. Don’t forget to stop by the courthouse when you are in town. It is a beauty. On your next trip down to the beach, take a stop off 40 and take in a museum or a bite to eat at The Country Squire.


For those following along. Here is what we have left from east to west…. Pamlico, Carteret, Onslow, Jones, Pitt, Matin, Wayne, Sampson, Franklin, Warren, Vance, Robeson, Scotland, Richmond, Guilford, Rockingham, Wilkes, Ashe, Caldwell, Alexander, Catawba, Lincoln, Madison, Jackson

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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.


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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Tank Museum/D-Day Memorial

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday May 4, 2014 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Military Museums, Travel

Group Photo at D-Day Memorial

Claire And EmilyIt was a full day but very doable from the triangle, triad or Charlotte areas. We first stopped at the Tank Museum in Danville. We had best the exit many times but it is only open limited times. It was a self-guided tour. Each tank or other military equipment had background information. We spent about two hours but part of the group did not go with us to the second part and stayed longer.  Some of our group absolutely loved this museum. I personally would have enjoyed it more with a tour.

????????We grabbed lunch and then headed for the D-Day Memorial. This was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint. We first had an hour tour that gave information about life as a solider during WWII and some about the home front. It also touched on the story of the Bedford Boys.  We next had an hour tour of the Memorial. The tour was an excellent. We would have missed so much without it.  The tour was so informative about the memorial, the planning of D-day, what happen that day and more. The guide was great at telling stories of men who fought that day.  It is probably my new favorite Memorial. Be sure to get a tour when you are there and put this on your summer to do list.

D-Day Memorial

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National Museum of the Marine Corps

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Friday Feb 15, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Military Museums, Travel, Uncategorized

D-Day HeroCobey and I went to this museum on the way back from The Generation Joshua conference. We loved it and had to rush thru because of time but we put it on the list to comeback and bring Bruce and Claire. We finally made the time to go. This time we rented the audio tour for the kids and had several hours. It is a great timeline of American history and there are several hands-on activities for the kids. The exhibits are very well put together and have interesting variety of use of artifacts, audio, visual, etc. The best part of this visit was meeting and talking with a man who was at Iwo Jima in War World. He told us how three ships that were damaged at Pearl Harbor were refurbished and took part at Iwo Jima (Nevada, West Virginia and the Tennessee).  Both the Nevada and West Virginia were sunk at Pearl Harbor and then raised and refitted.  The Nevada is the only ship to be at Pearl Harbor, the D-Day invasion of Europe and Iwo Jima.  I highly recommend this museum. I am surprised that a military museum would be one of my top picks but this one is.


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Baltimore- Day Two

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday Oct 8, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Military Museums, National Parks, Travel

We had a rough start to the day. No one had slept well. We stayed at Hilton Garden and the hotel was fine except Claire did not get her french toast which is her favorite thing there. And they don’t know how to cook grits this far north. Cobey and Bruce haves colds so the first stop was the CVS. We then tried to find our way to Fort McHenry. We were very close but it took almost an hour. There was first a VERY long VERY slow train that came to a stop. We then try to find our way around the train when we find a bridge out that we had to navigate around. We were only a few miles from the fort but it took forever.

Cobey loved the visitor center. His favorite part was the interactive time line. He liked how “modern” it was. The visitor center is small but has a great movie and some interesting exhibits. The fort is well preserved and has displays in most of the buildings.  You could also walk around the outside and top of the fort. The kids did the Junior Ranger program which was okay but not a stand out at all.

The fort is famous for the battle during the War 1812 where Frances Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. The fort was also used during the civil was as a prison and World War I as a hospital. Bruce and Cobey said the fort was their favorite part of the day.

We then headed back to Inner Harbor for the Star Spangled Banner Museum and the Flag Museum.  They have a small museum with a film. The film was interesting but was hard to hear and understand. We then got a guided tour of the house where the flag that flew over Fort McHenry was made. This was my favorite part of the day. I learned the flag at that time had 15 stripes and that it was put together in a brewery across the street. The tour guide was interesting and informative. The picture is showing how big the actual flag would have been. Amazing!! Claire loved the room inside the museum where she got to dress up and pretend to cook by the fire.

We finally made it to what Cobey had been asking for the Historic Ships We first went into the USS Torsk a submarine. There is no guide, no audio and very little printed information. It is interesting to walk thru and get a size perspective. I really liked the USS Constellation. There is a great audio tour – one version for adults and one for kids. I listened to the kid one and it was very good at teaching about the boat and what life would be like on the boat. It did not get into what kind of action the ship saw. You get to see all four levels of the ship and Cobey even got to try out the sleeping arrangements.  This tour turned out really good.

The last stop was the dragon paddle boats for Claire. She had been asking to go on the them for two days. We decided we enjoyed the Sawn boats in Boston better. You got to relax more and the scenery was nicer.

We ended up getting the museum membership for the Historic Ships. It is better than a Go Card!  Our membership will last till Dec 2012 and gets us in free to over 15 Baltimore History Museums and over 30 Maritime Museums.  Some of the museums are already free so look carefully to see if it will pay off for you.  As much as we travel I know it will pay for itself very soon!

We at at Denny’s because Saturday is Kids Eat Free! We are at the Embassy Suites tonight and the kids had a great time at the pool. Now for a good nights sleep.

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Fort Lee and Home

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Friday Jul 1, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Military Museums, Travel

On the way home, I wanted to make one stop. I had been wanting to see my friend- Sherry Womack’s picture at the Women’s Museum at Fort Lee. I did  not know it was a wonderful painting. It is a great piece of art called Have Stethoscope will Travel by Stewart Wavell-Smith. The photo to left its not great. It is such a tender side of war. She was the first female physician’s assistant to accompany special forces into a combat zone.  I love the piece!! I hate that the dvd was broken so I did not get to see her movie.

The other surprise was how great this little museum was. The kids loved dressing up in uniforms and carrying around the guns. They have exhibits that do a great job of telling you the history of women in the military.

We also went next door to the Quartermaster Museum. This is another great museum with some fun exhibits.  They have a program like junior rangers where you answer the questions and get a surprise. We did not have time to complete it but it looked great. Both of these museums are worth your time!

Last night we stayed downtown Baltimore at a Home 2 Suites by Hilton. It is the newest chain by Hilton. The check-in, check-out and valet staff were friendly and helpful. They were some of the best on our trip. The hotel is decorated very modern and hip. It was a nice change of scenery. Your room includes full fridge, microwave and dishes. There is no parking so you have to find a place on street or valet park. Valet is $25 a night standard for a city. The breakfast is not outstanding. We got down to breakfast about ten minutes before the end and there was not much left. There was no fresh fruit which is strange for continental. There were only three cereals to choose from, a muffin with eggs you toast, some breads, instant grits and yogurt. The strangest part was we had to go to the front desk to get milk for Claire’s  cereal. I felt they were rationing the milk out. The rest of the stay was great and I would try it again.

We have been in twelve states, eleven National Parks, ten hotels and two bed and breakfast in eighteen days. I learned I need more cash for tolls, New Jersey has crazy drivers, Massachusetts does not believe in marked lanes and Maine and Vermont are beautiful. It has been an awesome journey but I am glad to be home.

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