Thursday, May 3, 2012

Virginia Day 4

I was lucky to have a tour guide today. Someone that had grown up in "Old Towne Alexandria" which is just outside of Washington, DC. So off we went for a tour. I'm glad I didn't have to drive as there sure was some really confusing roads and LOTS of toll roads! FYI, I think the makers of the GPS systems and the Toll roads have a secret arrangement. If you are lost, the GPS will NOT take you the most direct route.... it will take you to the nearest toll road.... As an interesting side note. Apparently this is what Washington looked like waaaay back when, before they built the land up and drained parts of it.
Alexandria was really really neat, lots of old buildings and history. I loved going through the antique shops, you really get an idea of what the area was like back then. One of them was full of antique silver table settings of all kinds. It's interesting to see the different things compared to the shops up here at home.
This is Captains Row (or Rowe?), it's the oldest original street in Alexandria, the cobblestones have been there for hundreds of years.
This is something I found really interesting. I saw these metal stars on the sides of buildings all over the place. Apparently they are actually structural supports for the brick buildings to keep the walls from bowing out. They run a metal pole through the house, from one side to the other and these decorative looking stars are actually the end of those.
We had lunch at a place called the "Fish Market", seafood chowder and oyster po-boy sandwich! So good! And we found an interesting little gift shop where the hot item I was told was the chocolate covered peanuts. Apparently they grow a lot of peanuts in Virginia, who knew? Not me! (They are pretty tasty too!) I was also told that the pineapple was a symbol used to show hospitality and people would carve it into the columns near the entrance of a house or plantation. Here's some more history if you're interested in reading it. After lunch we drove out to Mount Vernon, which was George Washington's home. Unfortunately we couldn't seem much from the road and we didn't have time to go in and do the tour. It's on the list for things to do next time. Apparently George Washington would ride his horse from his house in Mt. Vernon to Alexandria, must have been quite the ride back then as it was a decent distance apart.
Along the way we saw the Pentagon...
The Washington monument...
Dogwood flowers everywhere. I wish these would grow up here!
The Lincoln memorial...
This was just beautiful, the Eleanor Roosevelt monument with tulips in full bloom. (If you look in the background, the round dome is the Jefferson Memorial)
Fort Mc...something... There was a fort on each side of the river, they were there to protect Washington from anything that might try to come up and attack the city.
Here's the fort on the other side of the Potomac river, you can see what the backside of it looks like. They had great big cannons on top and stored all of their ammunition below.
Did you notice how there are no skyrise buildings in Washington? There is a statue, on top of one of the monuments and there is a law that says nothing can be taller than the top of that statue. Interesting isn't it? Another neat thing we saw was the planes flying into the airport. They are required, by law to follow the course of the Potomac river, they are not allowed to fly over Washington for ANY reason. We came back from Alexandria and I had another sidesaddle lesson, this time from Jane Nordstrom on a lovely Cleveland Bay mare Savanna. She has a canter that's just amazing! You could ride it all day.

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