Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Gettysburg Visit

Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Did you know you can tell if the rider died in battle by his mount's  the hoof position?

Did you know that you can tell from an equestrian statue if the rider survived the battle by looking at his mounts hooves?

GETTYSBURG

Gettysburg is a quaint small town inextricably tied to the historic event that took its name from the place: The Battle of Gettysburg.

The battle was actually many battles over three bloody days of the Civil War.  The aftermath crippled the town and gave it its legacy.

My recent visit included a spot at the place where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in such record time that the photographers never got a shot of him speaking.  The only existing photo was taken by someone in the crowd (likely using the newest smartphone).

Author Jenna Kernan at the site of the Gettysburg Address

Author Jenna Kernan at the site of the Gettysburg Address

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

The speech was given to dedicate the national cemetery.  Everyone knows the Four score and seven years ago part, but my favorite bit is tucked in the middle:

“…we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced…”

Notice how he changed the purpose from dedicating a cemetery to dedication to the cause of preservation of the union?  Masterful!

This is the stone carvers version of erasing

This is the stone carvers version of erasing

NATIONAL CEMETERY

But here’s a little-known fact thanks to a previous National Parks Service tour.  This grave with the funny hollowed place did not always read: UNKNOWN.  Imagine the surprise of the veteran, after returning to visit the grave of his fallen comrades, discovering his own grave.  There were so many bodies strewn over such historic battle sites as Devil’s Den and the Wheatfield, that identification was difficult to impossible.  His body was identified by the contents of his backpack but the veteran reported the pack was stolen the night before the battle.

So the stone should read: THIEF.  Or perhaps, UNKNOWN THIEF.

The Farnsworth House Inn in Gettysburg, PA

The Farnsworth House Inn in Gettysburg, PA

THE TOWN

The town still bears the scars of the battle that ebbed and flowed for days.  The Farnsworth House Inn was the site of Confederate sharpshooters and the efforts to eliminate them is etched on the stone wall.  Each minie ball strike is painted white to show its location.  If you walk around the town, you can find other many homes with such scars and some with cannon balls still in embedded in the brick.

Minnie Ball damage

Minie Ball damage

We visited the train station where Lincoln arrived in downtown Gettysburg.  There is a small museum there and many shops and restaurants nearby.

The Gettysburg Train Station where Abraham Lincoln arrive to dedicate the National Cemetary

The Gettysburg Train Station where Abraham Lincoln arrive to dedicate the National Cemetery

Outside of town in the Military Park there are numerous monuments (it’s nearly impossible to see them all) and the new welcome center.  Funny, I went straight to the old site which once housed the Electric Map.  Do you remember that?

Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center moved on me!

Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center moved on me!

GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

Well both the map and the building were gone.  The new location is larger and includes an extensive museum, film, gift shops, restaurant and cyclorama which is the largest painting (circa 1880) of the battle which is longer than a football field and viewed from a platform inside the circular painting.  We were there during an Eagle Scout invasion driving us to take a higher position.

Jennie Wade, the only civilian casualty of the battle

Jennie Wade, the only civilian casualty of the battle

Do you know there was only ONE civilian casualty of the battle?  Here name was Jenny Wade and she was making bread in her kitchen when she was struck and killed by a mini ball.  Her home is now a museum. This reminds me of the kind of accidental shootings still hitting innocents today.  Thankfully, the gift shop does not serve bread.

If you are a history buff, Gettysburg is a must see!

He made it through the battle alive!

He made it through the battle alive!

EQUESTRIAN STATUES

So…Back to the riders hoof position giving us clues to how the rider fared in battle.  This from Wiki: 

“In the United States and the United Kingdom, an urban legend states that if the horse is rearing (both front legs in the air), the rider died in battle; one front leg up means the rider was wounded in battle or died of battle wounds; and if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died outside battle.”



Daytrip – Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at Bronx Botanic Garden

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Visit the Garden

Jenna Kernan exploring the @NYBG rose garden

Jenna Kernan exploring the @NYBG rose garden

Last month I said that water brings me calm and so is a favorite destinations when I need to relax.  A very close second is a visit to the garden. Any garden, but especially the New York Botanic Garden (@NYBG) in June because…ROSES!

2016-06-15 12.23.53

A spectacular rose-covered arches lead into the garden

I’ve never met a garden I didn’t like.  The NYBG or New York Botanic Garden is a gem.  I missed the May visit which is spectacular for azaleas.  But I did arrive in perfect time to visit the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.

The scent of roses fills the air.

The scent of roses fills the air.

Completed in 1988 by David Rockefeller and named for his wife, “The Rose Garden has received many international awards, and is considered to be among the world’s best rose gardens.” according to the NYBG site.

2016-06-15 12.30.29

June Means Roses

Roses require lots of TLC – the Bronx Botanic Garden has a really great blog with lots of great information for gardener to help roses thrive.

2016-06-15 12.29.22

The central arbor is draped in climbing roses

Rose Watch!

The NYBG website has a rose color meter called ROSE WATCH!  How happy was I to visit on a week that had 80 percent peak color.  They weren’t lying.  Magnificent in color and scent.

2016-06-15 12.09.46

Yes – this is a purple rose.

 

 



Take a Walk – Central Park Saturday

Saturday, June 4th, 2016
Author Jenna Kernan with statue of Hans Christian Anderson in NYC's Central Park

Author Jenna Kernan with statue of Hans Christian Anderson in NYC’s Central Park

How was your Saturday?  I enjoyed the sunshine and a lovely walk in  one of my favorite NYC spots, Central Park.  I walked from the Metropolitan Museum of Art all the way down to the Plaza at the Southeast entrance.

 

Walking a shady grove past artist and vendors in NYC's Central Park

Walking a shady grove past artist and vendors in NYC’s Central Park

There are so many statues, grottoes, lakes, ponds, rocks and buildings to explore.  There’s even a zoo, a castle and an outdoor theater.

Beautiful Iris bloom beside a pond in NYC's Central Park

Beautiful Iris bloom beside a pond in NYC’s Central Park

I love visiting familiar favorite spots and poking around to discover new sights.  If you haven’t been, you must go. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera.  You will not believe the size and all the wonderful places to visit without even leaving the park.

Turtles!  NYC's Central Park has plenty of wildlife.

Turtles! NYC’s Central Park has plenty of wildlife.

The Dairy is a great place for information and that perfect Central Park t-shirt.  Mine was so old, I had to replace it.

The Dairy is a great place for information and that perfect Central Park t-shirt. Mine was so old, I had to replace it.

Rent a boat or enjoy the fountain as you name all the movies that have been filmed on this spot.

Rent a boat or enjoy the fountain as you name all the movies that have been filmed on this spot.

On my way up to the Chess House where locals and out-of-towners settle for a game of chess or checkers.

On my way up to the Chess House where locals and out-of-towners settle for a game of chess or checkers.

 



Sedona Visit & Vortex

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Shadow Wolf & Hunter Moon made the climb to Cathedral Rock with me.

Shadow Wolf & Hunter Moon made the climb to Cathedral Rock with me.

Sedona has been on my bucket list for some time.  It exceeded my expectations.  There are a few places I have visited that are truly breath-taking.  This is one.

Photos and descriptions of those red rocks at sunset just do not do justice to the majestic beauty of this place.

Twisted tree in Sedona, Arizona seen on Jenna Kernan's hike

Twisted tree in Sedona, Arizona seen on Jenna Kernan’s hike

The natural splendor of Sedona is reason enough for a visit, but in addition to the absolutely amazing rock formations, there are Vortexes.  I went there not really knowing what a vortex was, aside from the general understanding that it is a place where the earth’s energy is either magnified or released.  The website Wild Sedona says that a vortex is ” a place, usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a beneficial source of energy.”  As they suspected, I was skeptical but open to an experience.  I’m always up for a trip outdoors that involves hiking boots and vast quantities of drinking water.  The only thing I like better is one that also involves a rock hammer.

Author Jenna Kernan at the saddle of Cathedral Rock vortex

Author Jenna Kernan at the saddle of Cathedral Rock vortex

If you pay attention, you will notice that in certain places the trunks of the trees begin to twist.  Before visiting, I thought to my clever self that this must be due to wind.  I believed this because I have seen trees on the coast in the Northeast that are twisted and bent by the savage winds.  But these places are not subject to any particular winds that would not affect the trees growing in close proximity.  Yet they twist.

I visited three vortexes.  Two on purpose and one by accident upon arrival on our first hike.  The first was at Bell Rock.

Jenna Kernan at the Bell Rock Vortex

Jenna Kernan at the Bell Rock Vortex

I paused in the vortex without knowing it.  It was the only place we stopped on the hike.  Why there?  It was beautiful and it just felt right.  Only after sitting and having some water did I notice the twisting trees.  I could not leave without promising myself to return someday because I did not want to leave.  Promise made, we continued on.

The Cathedral Rock vortex left me energized

The Cathedral Rock vortex left me energized

The second vortex was reached after making a great climb up Cathedral Rock to the saddle.  You can reach the vortex from the parking lot and do not need to climb, but I the view is worth the effort.  This place was devoid of trees but was one of the most magnificent vistas I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to linger and did delay for as long as possible.  But the day was heating up and we still had to climb down.

Jenna Kernan at the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

Jenna Kernan at the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

The last vortex we visited was Airport Vortex.  This was very easy to reach and, for me, was the most peaceful.  Where Cathedral Rock was exhilarating (perhaps because I did not die on the ascent), Airport Vortex just made me want to linger.  Sitting on the trunk of a twisted tree, I felt a deep sense of calm and found myself smiling.  I’m not generally tranquil, but there I certainly was and felt completely at ease with my surroundings.

Sedona's red rocks at sunset

Sedona’s red rocks at sunset

My experience in Sedona has left me believing that there is power in those red rocks and the wide blue sky.  If you get a chance to go – grab it.  If you visit, don’t forget to pack water, hiking shoes and an open mind.

For more on Sedona: Visit Sedona website



“Mayberry on Acid”

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

“Mayberry on Acid” reads the sign in one of the many tourist shops that climb the main street of Bisbee, AZ.  The town sits eight miles from the border of Mexico and I visited in February because of a recommendation of a man sitting next to me on a bar stool in Tuscon.

“You should go!” So I did.

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

The town’s elevation attracts tourists because it is about 10 degrees cooler here than in Tuscon.  You might need a burro to climb the main street or reach one of the guest houses.  Many of these accommodations feature fabulous views, streets that would put San Francisco’s crooked street to shame and stairs, stairs and more stairs.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

We stayed in the Copper Queen.  You can’t miss it.  This is the biggest building in town.  I was built when the Copper Mine opened, then a hard-rock mine.  It remained there for the famous, the working class and the working-girls.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Two plaques drew my attention.  President Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, of course, and actor John Wayne, also of course. The names of other plaques were not familiar but I discovered they are former working girls and one is a resident ghost.  They still rent his room, though.

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past.

Entering the lobby and looking at the safe tucked behind the counter and the old room keys, I really felt I should ask for a brandy and a cigar.

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

There are many artists in Bisbee and creative folks.  This is a fence made of old metal headboards that I found really creative.

2016-02-08 12.50.50

Not all the sights are awe-inspiring. This is the remains of the Lavender Pit – an open pit copper mine.

900 feet deep scar sits south of Bisbee – the Lavender Pit is named for the man who founded the mine, not for the color of the stone.

2016-02-08 21.34.27

The bars that were once filled with copper miners are now filled with tourists drinking margaritas.

I sat at the bar in this popular Mexican restaurant and watched the bartender making Margaritas like a Margarita-making machine.  They are the most popular drink there, he said.  I watched a petite woman finish hers and weave out the door with her date who looked none too steady on his feet.  Seems like a one-and-done drink.