First Time at Monticello

As as child I was fascinated by Thomas Jefferson and visiting Monticello was always on my list of places that I wanted to see. As I grew older, I better understood how complicated he was, but I still wanted to see Monticello.  Consequently we went to some trouble to schedule the visit and went to the Richmond area specifically to be able to go and see.  I also took Thanksgiving week off (my first full week off since starting my new job) and we scheduled Monday in the hopes it would be less crowded.

Monticello was laid out a little differently than other places we have visited, with a large visitors area at the base and a shuttle bus to take us up the hill to the house.  The times were strictly scheduled for the bus and just getting on while social distancing was strictly regulated.





The bus also had partitions


Once we got to the top though things were a little strange.  We were placed in a tented area where we waited to go into a second tented area and once again they gave lots of information outside of the house.  I understand the need for this I guess, but the experience was a bit like being herded into a cattle car and despite the elaborate precautions I didn’t feel particularly safe.  I did appreciate how knowledgeable all the tour guides were and they told us lots of interesting facts.  The most interesting was that the house was originally designed for just Thomas Jefferson as a retirement home, but ultimately he had kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids living with him which filled up the house pretty quickly.








this is the backside of the house and not the most common view


They let us into the house in groups of twos and threes, so we were left standing on the porch for awhile.  It was pretty windy so I had an opportunity to see a weathervane on the ceiling of the porch.  Never seen anything quite like that before and thought it was super cool.



This clock was also very neat and was both outside and inside

The tour of the house was ok.  Only the ground floor was open, but at least it was self guided and there were lots of people to answer questions.  Once again though the furnishings were mostly not originals because Thomas Jefferson died deeply in debt and many things were sold off.  Thankfully the Levy family stepped in and bought the property.  They were huge fans of Thomas Jefferson, because they were Jewish and Thomas’s writings on religious freedom protected their faith.  Over the years they collected some family items but others are reproductions.

This multiple writing instrument made copies


Loved the solarium. There was a lemon plant growing inside


A few of his actual books were there




The absolute best part of the inside tour was his original bed. It was built top fit his 6’2″ frame and was inside a wall. This gave him ready access to both his bedroom and his study.


To the left you can see the bust of John Adams in his study. Adams had a bust of Jefferson in his and they both died on the same July 4th, 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Coincidence…I think not!

After finishing the house, we toured underneath the building.  The house slave quarters and kitchens were under the main building which was a more European arrangement and very different than Mount Vernon.  There were many signs about the lives of the slaves in this section including the story of Sally Hemmings.  I have always been fascinated by Sally’s story, because she went to France as a house slave with Jefferson and negotiated her return based on how she and her children would be treated.  Because she was half white, many of her children chose to pass as white and their lineage and history is often lost when they changed their names.


Walkway under the house


Kitchen had an interesting multiple burner setup


Jefferson had several slaves trained as French chefs. One of them committed suicide after he was freed.



Only one of the four children who survived to adulthood went into the black community. The others passed into white society.


After reading those stories, I was feeling much less generous about Thomas Jefferson.  Yes, he was the architect of many of the freedoms we hold today, but it is important to remember that most of those freedoms were for white, male landowners.

As we walked around we saw the front part of the house was pretty picturesque, but smaller than I expected. I also had it in my head it was mostly white, but that wasn’t actually the case.





My favorite part of the tour was actually the gardens.  They have gone to significant trouble to plant historical items there and even sell cuttings and seeds of historical plants.  We talked briefly with a gardener there and she was very happy digging in the dirt.







Our favorite was these castor bean bushes which were used to make caster oil. They were beautiful.  Side note:  Ricin is produced in the waste mash from castor oil and has been used experimentally to treat cancer cells.

Finally we walked down to Thomas Jefferson’s family plot and then continued to walk downhill the rest of the way to the visitors center.  It was a beautiful walk and not that long, although I would not recommend walking up the hill since it is pretty steep.


Walk down to the graveyard


The fence was added later


Like Washington, TJ laid out his burial plot prior to his death


Unfortunately the original monument was vandalized by souvenir seekers and was ultimately replaced by congress.  It listed the three things he was the most proud of.  Author of Declaration of Independence, Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Founder of University of Virginia.



When we got back to the visitors area we went into the gift shop (I generally like to go after we tour a place) and although it was a nice one the prices were pretty steep.  My favorite sections were the historical plants and seeds.




Overall I have to say I left feeling unsettled and did not enjoy the tour as much as I had hoped.  It’s just impossible to separate the man from his actions in this case, although I still admire him for many of the things he wrote and the ideas he espoused.  I am glad I went, but I do not think I would go back.  It just made me too sad.


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First Time in Jamestown

Over the years I have heard many things about the Colonial Williamsburg area, but I really didn’t understand the scope of it.  Packed into one relatively small area in Virginia are tons of sites with historical significance.  So many that people take their children on vacation there and consequently many of the sites are pretty touristy.  After I looked into what was available we knew what we didn’t want, but ultimately settled on Jamestown, which is a national park. Jamestown is the site of the first European settlement and is also an archaeological site.  As such the layout is pretty simple, but that is exactly what we wanted to see. It also is dog friendly and we were able to take Jack as we walked around.  He absolutely loved it by the way and enjoyed every second of it.  I liked it as well until it started to get crowded and then we left. I would definitely recommend if you go getting there early in the morning, because it is a very popular site. One other thing I should mention is when you are pulling in there are two Jamestown locations.  The one with the fountains is more like a living recreation, but go past that to get to the historical location.  The reenactment costs $20 to get into and was not our speed but I took some pictures of the fountains and liked the plaques for every state that showed how they entered the US.

The plaza with all of the state flags





Super interesting to me how every state started in a different way







This is the sign for the Jamestown historical site we went into


With the America the Beautiful pass is costs $10 (half off). Jack couldn’t go through the building but we went through the exit to get to it


There is a boardwalk over the marsh to get to the site


And a beautiful monument



When we entered there were building recreations on the right and remains of buildings to the left.  We went left first and there were less people over there.



The signs were pretty interesting along the way


Although they didn’t find gold they found lots of timber which England needed to build ships. That (and the deep bay) is why they settled here.


I didn’t know that 80% of the people sent to the colony were indentured servants and 60% died before they completed their terms. When they started growing tobacco they couldn’t get enough indentured servants which is how the slave trade started.



Mulberry trees were naturally growing in the area and they immediately started trying to get a silk trade going.


This building was one of the largest ruins remaining.  It was the house that was built when this site ultimately became a plantation.


Beautiful views of the bay





Turns out this was a terrible site to build a settlement because of the water.  There are high levels of naturally occurring water in the area and the marsh caused high saline contents.  They also had drought right after they settled here and many people died from the terrible conditions.


After finishing the left side, we walked over to the fort area which was more crowded.  There was a Native American person speaking to groups in that area and we were able to see the remains of the church.


Ferries were going back and forth pretty frequently




My favorite part was the statue of Captain John Smith.  He explored this area with Pocahontas as his guide.  And yes I certainly understand that his relationship with the Native Americans was problematic, but I admire his courage in exploring all this territory.


This map shows his numerous expeditions



I would have liked to see more information about Pocohontas.


The remains of the church tower


The inside was a re-creation, but there is a tomb inside as well.


A scale model of James Fort


One of the original graveyards



Most of the wells were still in place and I learned that most of the cool artifacts they have found were in the wells. After the water dried up they were used as trash disposal areas

Because it was hard to maintain social distance in the fort area, we moved on to the museum.  This building has the artifacts they have found and Lee really enjoyed it.  No puppies allowed though so we took took turns going in and I have to say I didn’t care for it.  Almost immediately upon entering they had a skeleton of one of the original colonists and that bothered me quite a bit.







I appreciated the fact that they went to significant trouble to identify the bones, but having them out like this felt sacrilegious to me.  That’s odd because I find mummies fascinating and they hold dead bodies, but I would have preferred if after they identified him they did not put him on display.  That’s just me. Here’s a few pictures of the rest of the artifacts though.



They found lots of original money

All in all I am really glad that we went and standing where the first Europeans stood gave me chills.  We have a complicated history though with this nation and it’s hard to think about the fact that those things were happening from the very beginning.  We all grow up with a sanitized view of how this country is formed and it isn’t until later that we realize that there were winners and losers in that story. One last thing, on the way out we saw a small sign for the original glass blowing house and decided to stop because we love glass blowing.  That was really neat and the shop was open and they were making traditional items inside.  I loved the little pitchers with the heart shaped mouths, but glass and RV’s don’t go great together so I gave it a pass.  Pretty neat though.


These are obviously modern furnaces with recreated outside structures, but it was interesting to see what it might have looked like.



Finally, for the last several years we have made a calendar for friends and family as Christmas presents and this year I would like to send one to one of our readers.  It’s all about Jack this year, so if you would like to have a chance at receiving a calendar, please email me at with your name and address.  The first email received will get the calendar!  

Thanks to all the people who read this blog.  I wish I could send one to everyone. Have a wonderful holiday and please stay safe. 

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

Kiptopeke State Park and Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The last couple of campgrounds have been pretty great, but Kiptopeke State Park was in a whole other category.  Yes, it is expensive at $50 a night, and in season I am sure it is crowded, but off season it was absolutely lovely, and our site was really great.  Best of all it was a very short walk to the “beach” area and several boardwalks and I was able during work breaks to take short walks with the dog that were absolutely lovely.  We also got a beautiful sunset every night which was very special. 

Our site


Short walk to the amphitheater


With a great view of the beach


Unfortunately half of the beach dogs weren’t allowed


But we still could go on the boardwalk




View to the right


View of the massive fishing pier and boat launch to the left




View looking back shows it is a long boardwalk


The campground was huge with sections for Yurts and tent camping.  Because it was chilly few people were in those areas, but they were nice to walk. 


The yurts were huge


tent area


And a couple of nice cabins as well.


It was also a short walk down to the large parking lot and the pier








The pier was huge


I loved the left side of the bay


And so did Jack


We saw lots of pelicans, seabirds and even dolphins in the bay!


And another beautiful boardwalk




And as I said the sunsets were amazing






These boats were filled with concrete and served as a water breaker


The birds were amazing


The only downside of staying here is in order to get across the bay to Norfolk, Virginia Beach etc you have to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  This bridge is pretty expensive, costing $14 in off season with EZ Pass, and we crossed it numerous times during our week long stay.  We also had several incidents when we crossed it from construction delays one day to a super long delay due to high winds on another.  They forced us to remove anything that wasn’t bolted down in our truck (ratchet straps were not permitted) and have a “wind” van take those items across.  This led to a delay of over an hour one night and that was when we had Costco groceries in the truck.  It was cool to cross one time though and if you are lucky you will see a big tanker closeup when traveling, but the cost and inconvenience made me rethink the wisdom of staying at this state park as a jumping off point to see the area. 

Here are some pictures of the bridge from our many trips. 















We saw a tanker pretty close



Our last day we crossed with the RV and it certainly fit but it was tight in a couple of places.  I wouldn’t have wanted to drive it but Lee did a great job.  What was more concerning was the idea that if the winds were high on our departure day we would have had to completely re-route.  Like I said I liked the park, but it would probably have been easier to find something across the bridge.  

Next up our visit to Jamestown!


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

Delaware Seashore, Assateague, and Crossing The Mason Dixon Line

As our final stop in Delaware, we had the opportunity to stay at one of my favorite campgrounds so far this year.  The Delaware Seashore State Park is broken into two sections, one on each side of the Indian River Inlet at Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay. 


Our campground was on the south side of the inlet.


As you can see, it’s a VERY short walk to the beach, just about 5 minutes.


Our site was right there at at the end. The campground store wasn’t open, so it was nice and quiet down there.

At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but it turned out to be pretty terrific.  Since it was off season it was practically empty and we snagged a really great spot.  Site 390 was close to the snack shop, but also had views of the inlet.  It was far enough from the bridge that we didn’t get bothered by much road traffic and although we couldn’t hear the ocean it was a quick 10 minute walk to the beach.


Our site with the bay and boats behind us.


We were staying on this little spit of land with the bay on one side and the ocean on the other


The marsh was behind the campground and we could watch the sun set on it every night




The bay was super popular for fisherman. My only complaint was I couldn’t walk Jack over there because of the hooks etc lying around


The bridge looms large in the picture, but it was very photogenic.


The walkway under the bridge to the beach


In season this restaurant is open but it was all closed down with minimal beach traffic


Walk up the dunes to the ocean




Jack’s happy place is the ocean and I will say that when Jack is happy with a campground I usually am too.  That is a new criteria for me since we traveled so long without a dog, but I love being in a place where Jack is having a good time.  In season no dogs are allowed on the beach but since it was November he got to go almost every day.  It was also close enough that I was able to walk over a couple times on my work days.  Being in a place where I can take nice walks during my work day is another new criteria for me with campgrounds.





One morning I even woke up early and walked over to watch the sunrise.  It was really beautiful with a small pod of dolphins swimming close to shore.  It’s worth mentioning here that we got incredibly lucky with the weather.  It was absolutely gorgeous for most of the week we stayed there and we were fully aware that the weather was unseasonably warm.



It was warm enough I went barefooted on the sand


Best picture I could get of a dolphin. They were really close.





Happy Jack Happy Life


We did get a little rain, and yes, this campground does have some standing water when it rains, but thankfully it was beautiful again on my day off.  We both wanted to see Assateague National Seashore, because we had been hearing about it since we were kids.  There are two sections to the National Seashore and after researching I learned that only the Maryland half is dog friendly.  They don’t allow dogs, even in your car, on the Virginia side, so unfortunately Jack had to stay home for the day.  Since he was getting lots of beach time, I didn’t feel too guilty about it. One thing I did want to mention before talking about Assateague is how weird it was to cross three states that day.  For those who live in larger states you might not know how different states can be, but as someone who lived in the southwest corner of New Hampshire we routinely crossed from NH to Vermont to Mass in a few hours.  Although there were distinct differences in the states they were all still New England so in many respects there were similarities.  Crossing from Delaware, to Maryland, to Virginia though showed HUGE differences. Keep in mind this was all the same coastal road, but where Delaware was mostly residential, Maryland was huge ocean front high rises.  Maryland was also much “kitschier” with tons of mini golf, souvenir shops, and a packed commercial area.  Then we arrived in Virginia and it changed again.  The scenery became much more rural with more farmland along the route.  The three states also have very different tax rules and regulations and the people were very different.  This was all in a roughly 50 mile stretch of land and it was pretty weird.

We arrived at Assateague on the Maryland side and stopped at the State Park Visitor center.  The State Park and the National Seashore are right next to each other, so you can visit one without the other.  This may matter to you, because the National Seashore is a hefty $25 per car to enter.  It was free for us with the America the Beautiful pass and ultimately I was glad I didn’t pay for it. I know, I know, people love this place but to be honest I thought it was pretty lame.  Yes, tent camping on the beach might be kind of cool, but we only saw one or two horses while we were there, and none of them were cavorting in the water like in the pictures.  Actually that makes sense, because horses eat a lot, and the grass is on the other side of the road away from the ocean. The coolest part of the day was when we were driving to the first location and passed a NASA installation and saw some AWACS planes doing touch and go down and ups and flying in circles.  The planes had huge communication dishes on top of them and we got to see them pretty close up.  Unfortunately the visitor center was closed due to Covid, but I did get a couple of pics.


Lots of giant satellite dishes in the fenced in NASA area


You can barely see the giant dish above the propellers.


The visitors center


Nice little display inside. Each mare is allowed to foal once before being sterilized.


We saw a couple of horses on the state park side



And a couple more blocking traffic on inside the National Seashore

Most of the horses were off in the distance and if you have a kayak you might want to bring it along.  The beach was white and sandy and did allow dogs, but for us at least there wasn’t anything that special about it.


Nice area to launch kayaks






Since it was pretty cold, but beautifully sunny outside we decided to continue on the the Virginia side.  This side does NOT allow dogs (even in your car) and costs $10 to enter.  Unfortunately on this side all the horses were behind a fence pretty far away, but it did have a very cool lighthouse.  The inside was closed due to COVID, but we enjoyed walking up and seeing it.


Beautiful drive down the coast






These horses are kept in fences


Short wooded walk to the lighthouse.


It was neat seeing the huge lighthouse through the trees


Absolutely beautiful


It was weird to see a lighthouse that far inland, and unfortunately the views weren’t great of the water, but it was still fun.


So big couldn’t get a good picture of the whole thing




We did walk down to the water but again it was just a big beach.


The best part of the secondhand trip was when we stopped in a souvenir shop.  They were having a Three for $25 T Shirt sale and they could make anything we wanted.  Lee got one and I got the other two including my new favorite shirt!!!



I liked the color of this one, but it’s not my favorite


This one is!!!!!


All in all the day was a bit of a bust but they can’t all be over the top winners.  Lee gets more upset by that than I do because he wants my Saturdays to be special.  I was happy enough that we got out and once again the sun was shining.  Next up we take a short hop down the Eastern Shore and we will see what happens there.

For those who love the ocean, here’s a nice soothing video of the waves at sunrise. 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.


First Time at Winterthur

Lee and I both love old mansions.  We love the history and the architecture. Our favorites are those with original furnishings, so when I was looking for something to do in Wilmington, Delaware I was immediately interested in Winterthur (one of the Dupont family homes, pronounced Winter Tour).  Traveling during COVID has been hit and miss, but we were both excited when we learned the Winterthur Mansion and Gardens were open.  We bought tour tickets for both the house and the gardens and set out on one of the most beautiful days we have had this year. The weather was absolutely perfect.  Low humidity, sun shining, and a light breeze and incredibly unusual for the month of November.  We weren’t sure what state the grounds would be in, but when we arrived we were thrilled to find many of the leaves still on the trees and an amazing amount of fall color.


Long drive to the visitors center


Beautiful pond with a folly in the front.


They were running the tour buses at half capacity (eight people)


And I was thrilled to see plexiglass between each group.


Beautiful foliage.


Let me start by saying the grounds were amazing.  As interesting as I find heavily manicured grounds they usually don’t speak to me, but these gardens were very natural.  They were carefully designed to take full advantage of nature and minimize the amount of staff that would maintain them.  The large area still requires ten full time gardeners, but this is compared to a possible fifty for a different type of garden.  I absolutely loved it, and can’t think of another cultivated space that made me feel so comfortable.  The garden is divided into different sections and is designed for maximum year round displays of color.  That means you can visit it at many different times of year and get a different experience.  Personally I want to go back and see it again in both the spring and summer.

A one hundred year old Japanese tree had just turned and was absolutely gorgeous


Dawn redwood is also over 100 years old


As we wound through the estate we received several views of the house.  The mansion is nine stories with 175 rooms, but is designed into a hillside so it intentionally does not dominate the landscape.  Henry du Pont did not want the house to to be the star and I absolutely loved that.  It may sound a bit silly but I felt comfortable and thought I could live there, if of course I had millions of dollars 🙂 That was the effect though.


Our first view of the house only showed five stories and it appeared relatively modest.

As a large working estate there was more than the gardens and house of course.  It had its own farms,  train station and still has its own post office to this day.

The train station building



The absolute best part of the gardens though was the children’s area.  We had to walk up to it later, but it was truly spectacular.  I really wish Oliver could have been there to see it, because it even brought out the childish joy in me.



There was a little house




Decorated on the inside of course


A giant birds nest


With large wooden eggs


Had to sit on the eggs!


A toadstool circle


Lots of little ponds








And a hobbit house!


A beautiful circle maze


With lovely inscriptions on the bricks. That level of loving attention to detail was everywhere.



After touring the gardens we went to the house and learned that unfortunately only a small part of the fifth floor was open to tour.  The tour guides themselves were incredibly disappointed that they were only able to show one floor of this incredible house, but I personally loved what we saw. The Du Ponts were immigrants who were very passionate about their new country.  Henry has a large collection of Americana including many George Washington items.  This was particularly interesting to me because we were recently at Mount Vernon where almost everything was a reproduction.  The Du Pont house actually had the originals of some of those works including a VERY famous painting of George Washington.  I can’t wait to go back and see the entire house sometime in the future, but here is some of what we were able to see.


The rooms were roped off and one way and there was a docent in every room to answer questions which was nice.


This piano was gorgeous


The wallpaper was really interesting.  It was covered in plexiglass so you could see all the detail but it stayed protected.


This picture of George Washington was an original that once hung in Mount Vernon


I loved loved this little green room full of candlesticks.

My absolute favorite part of what we saw was an unfinished painting.  It is the American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Negotiations with Great Britain in 1783.  The reason half of the painting is blank is the British never showed up.  Super cool and I have never seen anything quite like it.



Lee was actually more fascinated by the wood steak knife holders that were on both sides.  The work like an old fashioned drinking straw dispenser you would see in a diner. I didn’t see them initially, but they were super cool as well.  We both saw many things we have never seen before in our brief tour and again can’t wait to explore the rest of the house at a later date.


We were both disappointed when we got to the last open room, but there was a woman playing the piano with period authentic music which was a nice touch. We stopped to take some video.


After exploring inside the house we toured the immediate grounds looking at the house from all angles.   Don’t forget to do this if you go because there are lots of neat little areas to see.


The observatory


Amazing views from the porches.










The glade


Loved these path light fixtures throughout


Gorgeous reflecting pool



My favorite picture I took of the day!


After walking around the house, we walked down to the gallery and experienced our first disappointment of the day.  It was an additional cost for the tickets (considering COVID I think it should have been included) and worse we would have to go back to the visitors center to get those tickets.  We were able to see the Campbell soup tureen collection for free but the day ended on a bit of a sour note, which was unfortunate because everything else was fantastic.


The gallery


The free tureen collection was in the Dorrance Gallery. I have included a few pictures of my favorites below.


Gorgeous gold one


Bull baiting silver tureen


Black birds baked in a pie


Boars head


Make sure when you are down in this area you don’t forget to see the “cottage”.  Henry du Pont donated the house and grounds while he was still alive, but continued to manage the property until his death at 89.   As many of us do in these situations he wanted to downsize so built a quite modest 50 room house for he and his wife to live in 🙂  Seriously it was an amazing thing to do, but as people who moved into 400 square feet,  we had to laugh at his concept of downsizing 🙂  


The cottage…its all relative!


One last thing I wanted to mention.  While we were walking the gardens the news came in that new AP had called the presidential election for Joe Biden.  There was a definite buzz of conversation from folks throughout the rest of the day and we even saw this rock placed in part of the garden.



Turns out that Joe lives a few miles away from Winterthur and when I learned that I talked Lee into driving by.  We knew we probably couldn’t get close to his house and we weren’t surprised at all that the his street was blocked to all but local traffic.  The State police turned us around in short order, but it was kind of cool to be so close when everything happened.


The entire experience was absolutely fantastic and as I have stated I can’t wait to go back, which is somewhat unusual for me.  It was not an inexpensive day, but I highly recommend at least the walking the gardens if you come near Winterthur in your travels and I am so grateful we got to experience it.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

Going “Down The Shore”

When I learned that the only campground Lee could find near Wilmington, DE was in New Jersey I got kind of excited.  I lived in Clementon, NJ when I was 9 years old and had not been back since.  Turns out the town I lived in was less than an hour from where we were staying, and so I decided to take a Friday off so I could see it.  (In case you are wondering, btw, how I have so many vacation days, the short answer is I didn’t take any until a few months ago.  COVID and furloughs conspired to keep me working and now I have lots of days left to use or lose.)  Anyway, not only would I be able to see if I could find our old apartment but I would also get to see the Berlin Farmer’s Market.  More about that later. 

First we had to get there though, so we drove up Maryland to the east of D.C., into Delaware, and crossed the river into New Jersey.  The Four Seasons campground  was surprisingly large, well over 400 sites, and once again was mostly seasonal and permanent sites.  And once again the transients were put in less than ideal sites, but at least this time there was a HUGE dog area for Jack close by, just a few feet from our rig. Cell coverage was once again a struggle, but I muddled through,  and at least it didn’t rain very much. (Since the cell signal was weak I decided to not use it at all, and leave it for Tracy, so I used the campground WiFi, which was pretty decent, but needed a boost from the Winegard. The WiFI was good and stable, but we were just far enough from the nearest antenna that it needed just a little push. – Lee) 

Our site. They had basically split one site and put two RV’s side by side nose to tail so it was pretty cramped. The spot on the left was occupied when we got there and didn’t get empty until mid week.



The dog park was great though


On Friday we got up pretty early and headed out.  I asked both of my parents what they remembered about that particular apartment and between the two of them and some Googling we managed to find it.  It didn’t look much like I remembered, but it has been over 40 years, and things do change. 

Dad thought it was named La Casita which was close enough to find this in a search


I sent mom a picture and she verified this was indeed the place although we weren’t sure exactly which townhouse.


She did mention this was her very first apartment with a balcony which she really liked.


After we toured the small town of Clementon and unfortunately nothing resembled my admittedly sketchy memories we headed to Berlin Farmer’s Market.  When I was a kid we used to go there often and my parents would give me a little pocket money to buy what I wanted.  I remembered it as a HUGE place with lots of stalls, food, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  In this case my memory did NOT disappoint.  As we were walking through I recognized several places that still exist and sent pictures to my parents who recognized them as well. It was a really cool experience and Lee said it explained a lot about the types of places I have always liked to go when we were first married.  

Same sign


Gald we went on a Friday it was pretty empty. Masks were 100% required though


This was here when I was a kid, back then we bought 45’s.


I remember eating at this counter


And my dad’s favorite place was this seafood booth. It gets fresh seafood from the shore and I can vividly remember standing with him in crowds as people got little neck clams



As I was walking through I thought quite a bit about my friend Kelly who is a Jersey Girl but has never been here.  I thought everyone knew about it.  Sent her this picture though to say hi!



Other booths I recognized were:


The barber shop


I can vividly remember getting nuts and candy here with my dad


The locksmith has RV keys and Lee got some copies of a lock he’s been trying to find blanks for for months!


And this Amish bakery

Let me stop here and talk about this bakery.  First of all: totally amazing.  But MOST importantly I got an eclair.  Do you know how sometimes you remember a food from childhood and can never quite duplicate it or find it again? You start to think that maybe you are misremembering because you never see it out in the world.  Well that’s eclairs for me.  But guess what? It is a REAL thing and these are THE BEST eclairs ever.  First off, the chocolate is real milk chocolate.  The pastry is flaky and most important the center is filled with real, white cream.  Not yellow stuff or some fake cream, but the real deal.  My eyes rolled back in my head when I took my first bite.  I gave Lee one as well and he agreed…the best! (and now I have diabetes. – Lee)

Chocolate Eclair


I also bought real pound cake and a Splenda cherry pie for Lee.

That wasn’t all though because they also had real Philadelphia water ice.  This is another thing that isn’t like anything else, and believe me I tried.  It doesn’t taste like a Slushy, or Slurpee, or even the frozen Italian ice in the store.  It is it’s own unique thing and although it wasn’t as good as the eclair it was still pretty awesome! (This was really cool to see. She’s been talking about these Water Ice things for 30 years, and I always thought she was crazy, but here they are. I tasted it. It gave me diabetes. How is anyone alive in New Jersey???? – Lee)




(That is the look of someone who is tasting something for the first time in over 40 years and it’s exactly what they remember. She looks like a little kid. – Lee)

When I was 10 through 12 we lived in Philadelphia and they would bring these around on a bicycle in a cart that kept them frozen.  They were pretty cheap so I was almost always allowed to have one and they will always taste like Philadelphia to me. 

After we left the Farmers Market there was still lots of day left so we decided to head “Down the Shore”.  I have been many many times, but Lee had never really had the experience.  Instead of heading to Atlantic or Ocean City we instead went to Wildwoods, and it was a cool experience.  I had never been there and the whole town has a huge vibe.  Since it is out of season we had no trouble finding parking and took Jack to run along the beach.  Visiting places like this can be really fun in the off season, especially when the weather is as nice as that day was. It was practically deserted, and everything was closed. 

Main town area.


Most places had a cool retro vibe


Huge boardwalk was practically empty


Water Parks


And roller coasters made this a real family place. Personally too crowded for me but fun to see off season.

And off course Jack had an amazing time.  He learned how to chase sea birds for the first time and it was really fun to watch him.  






Next up Wilmington, DE and one of the most gorgeous weather days I have ever experienced in November. 

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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Miscellaneous, Maryland and Old Town Alexandria

It’s worth mentioning that while Lee was seeing Washington D.C., most days I was at the Goose Bay Marina in southern Maryland.  Although I was very grateful that we found a place to stay in Maryland, I have to say I was not a huge fan of this campground.  Even though it was on the water, it was mostly very long term seasonal sites (almost all had a deck or a shed or enclosed gazebo or some kind of an outbuilding) and there were only 8 spaces crammed together for “transients” near the back.  The cell coverage was not that great, and there also wasn’t  a good place to walk the dog.  There was a nice field where they stored boats behind us, but it became super swampy when it rained and boy did it rain a lot while we were there.

Our spot, we were lucky most of the two weeks no one was beside us



Some of the seasonal sites were really nice


Walking Jack was challenging because there was lots of trash, food, and fish parts on the ground. On three separate occasions he found chicken legs someone had just thrown on the ground and few things eat as fast as a pupper who finds something to eat on a walk! Crunch. Gulp. Gone.


The marina views were nice


And we did have a couple gorgeous sunsets

What was cool about the area is we were surrounded by history. Down the street was the home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and almost everywhere we went there were historic signs. Unfortunately it wasn’t really close to anything so I spent most of my time at home while Lee went to D.C.  Don’t get me wrong I didn’t begrudge him those trips but I just didn’t care for the campground and by the end of our stay was more than ready to leave.

Port Tobacco was nearby that is an historic town


Lots of local seafood restaurants but their hours were so sporadic we never got to try any of them.


The oldest continuous Jesuit church was also very close


The cemetery was amazing


With great views of the river


The Mudd family (the doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth) was from here and although Dr. Mudd wasn’t buried here his relatives were


The best part of the whole two weeks in the campground (aside from the proximity to D.C.) was the Halloween celebration.  We are rarely in a place with small kids on Halloween, but there were tons of them in this campground.  In order to stay safe I put the candy out and then stood pretty far away so I could see the costumes. Southern Maryland is not that into mask wearing and I actually saw one kid with a mask on his costume get hassled for wearing it by other kids.




The costumes were great.


One of the last things we did before leaving was to visit Oldtown Alexandria.  Lee has a friend Julie who lives in Alexandria, and she and her husband Pruitt met us there.  We were really worried about finding a parking space that would fit the truck but after doing some research Julie recommended a street lot and we were early enough that it had a spot that we could fit in. Barely. 

Totally inside the line.


…and no rubber touching the curb. Judges say 10.0!


We have visited many historic towns in our travels and I find that they are either welcoming or not depending on the locals.  This area was super welcoming and we really enjoyed exploring and our lunch. 

They close the main street on the weekend


The shops were great and very dog friendly. We didn’t take Jack but we certainly could have.




My favorite part was the street performers. This gentleman has been performing here for 20 years. He told us he played clarinet in the Navy band.

The Halloween decorations were great


I wouldn’t want to live this closely packed with others but I did like the small courtyards.


Check out the tiny blue house. When these were subdivided occasionally there are really small ones.


From left: Julie, Pruitt, me and Lee

We certainly got our money’s worth out of Maryland, but I was excited to move on.  Next up we stay in New Jersey, because that was the only campsite we could find near Delaware.  


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We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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November 2020 Budget

November was a super busy month and it is important to note here that we are making lots of choices that we wouldn’t make if we were on a tighter budget.  The pull (for me) to continue to live frugally and sock money away is definitely there, but I also feel like we are making up for all that time we spent living on so little.  It’s an interesting mental struggle to be sure, but as you can see from the $7,263 in monthly expenses in November having fun won out.  For more details see below. (For what it’s worth, we are still putting some money into savings every month. So even though we are spending more than we have in quite some time, we are also saving. – Lee)


Campground Fees – This is an area that shows what it costs if you really don’t pay attention to the cost of where you are staying.  Several of the places we stayed were $50 a night which definitely adds up.  $1,297 is still cheaper than a mortgage 🙂 (This is what it looks like when you have to stay somewhere, as opposed to being able to stay wherever you want. It’s also a very accurate reflection of the absurd prices people charge on the eastern seaboard. – Lee)

E-Cigarettes – Because we were in Virginia and the prices were the absolute cheapest I have seen them I stocked up.  Trying to stay ahead of the curve here because they are getting harder and harder to find.  When we get to Charleston I am going to try and find another solution. (I have nothing to say. I am a model of self restraint. – Lee)

Clothing – T-Shirts, T-Shirts, T-shirts !! $300!

Dining Out –  We spent $575 which wasn’t that bad considering.

Entertainment – At $217 this was a bargain for all we did.  We saved a ton of money by using our America the Beautiful pass and many other things we did were free or near free.

Gifts – This was definitely my contribution to the big month at almost $1K.  It’s nice to have money again and I want to share it.  Trying to share the wealth a little though so it’s not all going to Oliver 🙂

Groceries – It’s $891.  I know, I know …don’t ask me why this is so high.  We eat what we want though which is super nice. (Costco. I also don’t always strip out things that are non-grocery from Walmart. I am going to really focus on that in 2021. – Lee)

Home Repair – We spent $812 on this category.  It’s pretty weird how many things are breaking at the 6 year mark.  The biggest part of this is Lee bought a new to him phone.  It was $482 which was much better than the $800 price it could have been.  His phone was super old and just wasn’t working properly anymore so it was time. (The largest expense that wasn’t the phone was our TV antenna, which broke off and cost $129. Another $100 was a stove cover and LED ceiling lights. – Lee)

Personal Care – I got a pedicure (they had partitions around every station which was cool) and a wax.  Lee by the way is cutting his own hair now and doing a tremendous job.

Tolls and Parking – I talk more about this in a later post but we spent $14 every time we crossed the Chesapeake Bridge and that added up.  $254 in tolls…I miss the west. (Oh my God don’t get me started on tolls. I LOVE paying for roads I already paid for. Such BS. – Lee)

Truck Fuel – This was incredibly reasonable at $286!  Super happy about this category. (I tried to go mostly downhill all month. – Lee)


(Well, that was boring, here’s the cool stuff! – Lee)

Additional monthly data from Lee…

For October we used 362 GB of data on our AT&T unlimited plan, across all of our devices. (Total for the year is 40.321 terrabytes)

We took3,655 pictures, bringing our total for the year to 16,687.

This month 100% of our nights were spent in only five places, because although we are traveling, all of our travel is short hops, which is a new way for us to travel, so we’re not staying anywhere just overnight, but for at least a week at each stop.

The least expensive was the first two days we spent at the NC state fairgrounds at $30 per night. Our favorite was Delaware Seashore State Park at $32 per night. The most expensive was the Four Seasons  at $51.42 per night.

The total cost for our “rent” was $1297, which averaged out to $43.23, a 15% increase over last month.

We put a total of 723 miles on the trailer, pulling it for only five days! Our shortest travel day was only 115 miles, and our longest was 189 miles. Our total travel miles year to date is 5,640.

We put a total (travel and non-travel) of 2,459 miles on the truck over 46 hours of engine time, with a year to date of 13,784 miles on the truck.

Year to date we’ve traveled 13,784 miles, 5,640 of which was pulling the trailer, with year to date engine hours of 442 hrs, 35 mins, 33 secs.

We burned a total of 121 gallons of diesel, and averaged 13.8 mpg for all of our travel, with a year to date total of 1306 gallons at 11.9 avg mpg.

We used the TSD Logistics card four times this month!

Here’s the breakdown of our visits to truck stops using the TSD card. The “street” price is the price on the pump, and the actual price is what we ended up paying, including the fees.

DATE Gallons Actual PG Street Actual Savings % Saved
11/1/2020 18.64 1.92 49.56 35.78 13.78 27.80
11/7/2020 30.52 2.00 82.38 61 21.38 25.95
11/24/2020 30.19 2.00 80.28 60.53 19.75 24.60
11/29/2020 27.67 2.09 73.6 57.86 15.74 21.39

We LOVE using the card. In those four visits we saved $ 70.65, more than an entire fill up!!!

If you haven’t already read about the TSD Logistics card, you can read our post about it here.

Before the travel map, let me explain why the map has stuff that hasn’t been in the blog. There was so much going on in Washington DC that the posts about just that one stop has taken us all the way through November and into the first week of December. We left the Goose Bay Marina November 1, so all the stuff that we did and saw while we stayed at Four Seasons, Delaware Seashore, Kiptopeke and Americamps will be coming up in blog posts. So there are already ten posts in the hopper for you.

Here’s our travel map for October…

And our year to date travel map. In 9 days we will be rolling in to Charleston to see Kyrston and Jeremy and Oliver, having made a giant loop!


Jack says Merry Christmas, everyone!




Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

Smithsonian Art Museum – Part Two

This is Lee again, continuing my visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum from the last post.

Picking up right where I left off…


George Washington, 1853, oil on canvas, Rembrandt Peale



Thomas Jefferson, 1805, oil on canvas, Gilbert Stuart



Abraham Lincoln, 1865, photograph, Alexander Gardner


This is my favorite photograph of Roosevelt. The photo most people associate with him is the one taken in a convertible, cigarette holder clenched between smiling teeth. It’s jaunty, and upbeat and friendly. I’ve included it below. But I always think of him as the ultimate badass. One of history’s most powerful and effective people. A real life superhero.  Love this.  that is the face of determination. – Trace

Franklin Delano Roosevelt At Yalta, 1945, gelatin silver print, Samariy Gurariy




And the other half of the true American superhero team…  and ladies that is why I love my husband – Trace

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1946, oil on canvas, Bernard Frydrysiak


While we’re on the subject of heroes….

Rosa Parks, 1983, painted limewood, Marshall Rumbaugh

The Four Justices, 2012, oil on canvas, Nelson Shanks

George S. Patton Jr., 1945, oil on canvas, Boleslaw Czedkowski


Douglas MacArthur, 1952, oil on canvas, Howard Chandler Christy

Dwight Eisenhower, 1947, oil on canvas, Thomas E Stephens


I am, and always have been, fascinated by this man. This is J. Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the research and design of the atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project. His team at Los Alomos is the one that tested the first nucelar weapon on July 16, 1945, and later he remarked the event brought to his mind a quote from the Bhagavad Gita; “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds”. Just a few weeks later the United States dropped atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The first bomb killed 100,000 people instantly. Mostly civilians. After the war ended, Oppenheimer became chairman of the influential General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission. He lobbied aggressively and tirelessly against the further use of nuclear weapons. I cannot even imagine what it must have been to live the rest of his life trying to undo, or make up for, what he did. He suffered from depression, and things did not go well for him in the ten years after the war ended. Over time his efforts raised the ire of defense professionals, and eventually in the 1950s he was discredited and essentially kicked out of influential politics and policy making. He spent the rest of his life trying to continue his work to protect humanity, and eventually died of complications of throat cancer in 1967 at age 62. Personally I think he was a madman.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1946, gelatin silver print, Lisette Moddel



Monekana, 2001, bronze, Deborah Butterfield


I totally fell for this. Completely creeped me out.

Duane Hanson is known for super realistic sculptures that often cause viewers to pause with uncertainty about what they are looking at. the museum replaced the original National Enquirer on the table with a more recent one.

Woman Eating, 1971, polyester resin and fiberglass with oil and acrylic paints and found accessories, Duane Hanson




Vessel, 1997, eastern white pine, mesh and tar, Martin Puryear



Here is another beautiful image that has great detail.

Cotopaxi, 1855, oil on canvas, Frederic Edwin Church


And another,

Cayambe, 1858, oil on canvas, Frederic Edwin Church


Just look at the detail of the buildings and people!



The Slave Auction, 1859, painted plaster, John Rogers

The Wounded Scout A Friend In The Swamp, 1864, painted plaster, John Rogers

The Freedman, 1863, bronze, John Quincy Adams Ward

Cho-Looke The Yosemite Fall, 1864, oil on canvas, Albert Bierstadt


Love the ship detail of this painting about the Arctic expedition of Isaac Israel Hayes

Aurora Borealis, 1865, oil on canvas, Frederic Edwin Church



Firebird, 1983, Isaac Witkin

This is one of my favorite things, and I almost missed it.  It’s tucked off into a contemporary art niche.

It’s a large sculpture, and has wonderful detail and little nooks and bonuses all around it. It’s called 35 year portrait, by Robert Arneson.









Katharine Hepburn, 1982, oil on canvas, Everett Raymond Kintsler



Abraham Lincoln, 1887, bronze, Augustus Sait-Gaudens



The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone, 1893, oil on canvas, Thomas Moran


And to wrap up, here are my absolute favorites. These were the show stoppers that grabbed me from across the room, pulled me right to them, and held my attention for quite a while.

First, the original first Samuel Morse telegraph, “What Hath God Wrought”, May 24, 1844, which permanently shrunk the world.


Preamble, 1987, license plates on vinyl and wood, Mike Wilkins.  That’s pretty cool take a minute and read it – Trace



I could stare at this one all day. I don’t know why. I just really, really like it. I’ve looked at some other stuff by Andrew Wyeth and I don’t like most of it, but a couple are nice. But this one, if I had a house, I would want it hanging there.


Dodges Ridge, 1947, egg tempera on fiberboard, Andrew Wyeth


But this one is my most favorite of all the artwork in the entire museum. It’s by Abbot Thayer, who, it turns out, grew up near Keene, NH where we lived for 15 years. He lived in the shadow of Mount Monadnock, and was instrumental in protecting it from development. Thayer is known for his paintings of angels, but there’s more to him. He was a lover of birds, and also liked to study natural camouflage. He was the first to write about disruptive patterning, and masquerade, where an animal mimics something in the environment. He also discovered counter shading, and eventually the US Navy accepted his proposal for counter shading ships as a means of camouflage.


Angel, 1887, oil on canvas, Abbot Thayer

And that’s the end of my tour of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thanks for sticking with me to the end. The next post will be about visiting Ford’s theater, something I have wanted to do since I was a child, and a few miscellaneous things that didn’t amount to a post of their own.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Hey, wanna hear a funny story?

On the day I went into town to visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum, it was raining. Not like pouring rain, but drizzling steadily. It had been raining for a while, and so everything was fully wet. I had an umbrella, so that was no big deal. This was the second to last day I was there, so I was an “expert”. I got off the train at LeEnfant Plaza, as usual, and hopped on another line, to the Smithsonian station, and when I got out, I unlocked a scooter and told my phone to give me directions to the museum. Ugh. 



It was a full mile. Even going 10mph on a scooter that was going to be 6 minutes in the rain, probably with the scooter spraying water up from the wheels. And although I am not an expert in fluid dynamics, I know that going faster in the rain does, in fact, keep you from getting as wet as if you go slowly. Not by much, but I don’t like to get wet. Of course, I am also standing in the rain thinking all this through, five feet from the protection of Metro entrance canopy, so I’m not quite as smart as I would have you believe. Anyway. I was on a schedule. I had a timed entry ticket. I needed to eat something before I went to the museum. My phone showed a McDonald’s across the street from the museum. My camera bag backpack is nearly waterproof. It’s only drizzle. I love zipping around on the electric scooter. I have an umbrella. Science says I won’t get very wet. 

Off I go with my umbrella in the drizzle and the wet pavement on my 10mph scooter.

First of all, the same science that said I wouldn’t get very wet also says that an umbrella at 10mph is a lot like a sail and will be hard to hold on to. Science also says that scooter wheels slip and slide more on wet pavement than dry. And science says it’s hard to steer a scooter in the rain at 10mph with one hand. 

I don’t how I got through that mile without wiping out or getting splattered by a car or a bus, but it sure as hell wasn’t science, and I was more or less soaked by the end of it. So I pull up to the McDonald’s and run in and grab myself some quick lunch, then I come back out and lo and behold, what do I see, right in front of me?


Well, sure, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, obviously. It’s a pretty building, isn’t it? This particular picture is from Google street view, that’s why it’s a clear day. I wasn’t about to stand in the middle of the street in the rain getting even more wet to take a picture, not even for a funny story. Here, let me help you out….



That right there is the Gallery/Chinatown Metro station. Conveniently located almost on top of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Enjoy the art!

Susan B. Anthony, oil on canvas, Carl Gutherz, 1895


In general I am fond of bronzes, but this one really spoke to me. I walked all the way across a room straight to it. 

Girl Skating, 1907, bronze, Abastenia St. Legere Eberle




Diana, 1899, bronze, Augustus St. Gaudens



After The Bath, 1910, oil on canvas, Charles Walter Stetson


In Arcadia, 1926, bronze, Bessie Potter Vonnoh


In the hopes of initiating a more active musical life at the White House, Teddy Roosevelt commissioned this piano from Steinway & Sons. It expresses patriotic pride through eagles, garland, and shields with the coats of arms of the first 13 states. 

America Receiving The Nine Muses, 1903, oil and lacquer on wood piano lid, Thomas Wilmer Dewing



Rising Sun, 1914, bronze, Adolph Weinman


Descending Night, 1915, bronze, Adolph Weinman


I really love this one. I was disappointed that there was no way to get high enough to really get a look at her face.

The Vine, 1921, bronze, Harriet Whitney Fishmuth




Venus and Adonis, 1895, bronze, Frederick MacMonnies  I love that Venus has a woman’s body here – Trace


Bacchante and Infant Faun, 1894, bronze, Frederick MacMonnies



Undine, 1880, marble, Chauncey Bradley Ives

An Undine, also spelled Ondine, is a mythological figure of European tradition; a water nymph who becomes human when she falls in love with a man but is doomed to die if he is unfaithful to her. Take a look at her face. I think that tells you what happened. 


I love this painting, and I cannot explain why. Maybe because it looks like Aubrey Plaza. 

Sophie Hunter Colston, 1896, oil on canvas, William Leigh


I also love marble sculpture. It’s all I can manage to not touch them. 

Cleopatra, 1871, marble, Margaret Foley


The Libyan Sybil, 1861, marble, William Wetmore Story





The golden light in this painting is just mesmerizing, particularly on the sails of the many boats gathered tightly at the base of Gibraltar. 

Clearing Storm At Gibraltar, 1860, oil on canvas, Samuel Colman



Looking Out Of Battle Harbor, 1877, oil on canvas, William Bradford


Lake Scene, 1875, oil on canvas, Edward Custer


What I love about this painting is that I was drawn to the boat and the sliver of brightly lit water to the right, and then as I started to turn away, I saw this little person, and thought “I wonder where he’s going?”



California, 1860, marble, Hiram Powers


Clytie was a water nymph, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Look at that perfect ear. 

Clytie, 1865, marble, Hiram Powers


The picture below is a breathtaking 10 feet wide by six feet tall. It is truly spectacular. From the card next to the painting: “Bierstadt’s beautifully crafted paintings appealed to an international market captivated with the idea that the West represented a new Eden, a chance to start over after the Civil War. The landscape depicted is a medley of classic western features. The distinctive falls on the far left, balanced on the right by a peak that deliberately recalls the Swiss Alps, evoking a favorable comparison between the American scenery with the most recognizable mountains of Europe. The scale and majesty of the painting were a metaphor for America’s equally grand cultural ambitions, and paintings like this one were an essential aspect of growing curiosity and tourism in the American west. Despite this painting’s impressive size, it was intended to hang in a private home, a reminder of Bierstadt’s ambitions to paint for a very wealthy clientele. 

Among The Sierra Nevada California was considered a “Great Picture”, a term reserved for paintings deserving a solo exhibition and public unveiling. Similar to a red carpet premiere today, such pictures were revealed when velvet drapes were pulled back. Advertisements in the papers and advance reviews whetted the public’s appetite. The artist sold advance tickets and spectators stood in line to take their turn to take in the work of art. To enhance the experience, printed broadsides described the scenery in great detail, and visitors were encouraged to read the descriptions, admire the painting, and roll up the piece of paper and use it like a telescope to minimize the viewing area so the viewer could focus on a small area at a time.

Accordingly, I have included a couple of much closer detail shots that I took, after the full painting. 

Among The Sierra Nevada California, 1868, oil on canvas, Albert Bierstadt










During the Revolutionary War, Congress gave Washington almost dictatorial powers. In 1783, after the Treaty of Paris ended the war, he specifically declined the continuation of those powers, resigning his commission and becoming an ordinary citizen promising to bear in mind that “as the sword is the last resort to defending our liberties, so it ought to be the first to be laid aside when those liberties are firmly established”. His retirement did not last long; five years later he was unanimously elected as the first President. 

Washington Resigning His Commission, 1841, plaster covered in metal leaf and paint, Ferdinand Pettrich



Lydia The Deaf Flower Girl Of Pompeii, 1853, marble, Randolph Rogers


Eve Tempted, 1839, marble, Hiram Powers




I love this one a lot. I just like the angles and how balanced it is. 

The Lost Pleiad, 1874, marble, Randolph Rogers




“This statue was among the most popular of the 19th century. More than a hundred thousand people saw it during its tour across America mid century. It depicts a Greek woman who has been captured and chained by a Turkish warrior. The statue referred directly to the Greek struggle for independence during the 1820s, but also evoked the issue of slavery in America. It was the first nude statue to be widely accepted by the American public. By emphasizing that the slave was stripped by her captors and not nude by choice, Powers gave the public permission to view the statue without embarrassment.”

The Greek Slave, 1841, marble, Hiram Powers




This is Cordelia, youngest daughter of Shakespeare’s King Lear. In the play, she battles to save her aging father’s kingdom. The Smithsonian used the face of this sculpture as the model for the mannequins used in the First Ladies exhibit at the Museum of American History.

Cordelia, 1865, marble, Pierre Francis Connelly


The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, 1858, oil on canvas, John Quidor






Margaret Leupp, 1845, marble, Henry Kirk Brown


Cupid Stringing His Bow, 1874, marble, William Henry Rinehart


I love the details in the “Puck” statue.

Puck, 1854, Harriet Hosmer





Will o’ The Wisp, 1858, marble, Harriet Hosmer



Boy With Broken Tambourine, 1854, marble, Thomas Crawford


I love statues, and I love marble statues, but I REALLY love marble statues of children. 

La Petite Pensee, 1867, marble, Thomas Ball


Sleeping Children, 1859, marble, William Henry Rinehart



Still Life With Fruit, 1852, oil on canvas, Severin Roesen


The statue below, Reproof, really caught my eye, and I looked at it for a long time. It wasn’t until I was building this post, weeks later, that I realized why I was so entranced by this 1878 work of art. Below is a screen grab of a 1989 video (apologies for the bad quality, it was 1989, HD was not a thing yet!) of our oldest daughter, Kyrston, and our cat Dodger. 

Reproof, 1878, marble, Edward Thaxter

Kyrston: Life Imitates Art, 1989, flesh and blood, Lee and Tracy Perkins



This is a massive museum with TONS of art, and this post is long enough already, so I am going to split it into two separate posts. 

The next post will be the rest of it!


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.