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Family Vacation


Susquehanna State Park

We went on a little camping trip, with the intention of chasing some ice cream. I didn't know this before, but the park contains a historic site within it including an 1804 house, grist mill, canal and other structures. I didn't take any pictures, but I can recommend that you visit the site if you are in the area. The structures are well-preserved and the grist mill is fully open (though not operational). You can climb all the way to the top floor! 

We were able to join up with a group for the house tour, which meant that we jumped in right as the docent was getting to the slavery portion of the tour. I was glad to hear him speak at length on the experiences of slaves at that farm and in the household. Visitors were even allowed to climb the very steep steps to the attic where the slaves slept. As for the family who owned and operated the house and farm, they had an interesting story related to their son's decision to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War. 

We also spent time walking along the canal paths, and the role of the Susquehanna in 18th/19th century Baltimore commerce was on my mind the entire day. Just last week, I was looking over some accounts from a 19th century Baltimore merchant, Frederick Hammer. In 1812, this man invested over $10,000 in turnpikes alone. These roads connected Baltimore to places like York and Frederick, but his financial support went to other projects that connected York and Conowego (Conowingo - where the hydroelectic dam now exists). Hammer also invested in canals, banks and insurance companies.

Walking the paths and visiting the structures that are left from this period renews my intellectual interest in their conception and use. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to spend a day seeing and experiencing these sites. So, thanks, Maryland Department of Natural Resources!

P.S. I chose "Mint Mookie" as my ice cream flavor. It was delicious. 



Skyline Drive

Over the weekend, we (that is me, my spouse Weston, and our tiny dog Max) drove the Skyline Drive and part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The weather was perfect and beautiful, including some great clouds as backdrops for some of our photos.  The Appalachian Trail criss-crosses both parkways, and we walked about a mile on it.  Another highlight of the weekend was the picnic lunch we enjoyed.  Max assumed any food at ground level was good eating for him.  We tried to be vigilant, but he did get a few licks of chicken salad!  Since long car trips aren't his favorite thing in the world, I suppose he deserved it.  

I was happy to see so many families on the drive (we waited in a long line of cars to get access to the Skyline Drive), especially since there was no cell service to be had along most of it.  I can imagine myself as a younger person, and I'm not sure I would have bought into a trip like this before I was 18 or so.  We didn't stop at any of the visitor centers or listen to any of the Ranger talks, but their descriptions seemed like they would be engaging for a variety of visitors.  I was also amused by the number of precariously perched photographers we saw hanging off fences, railings, and rocks to get their perfect shot.  Luckily, I don't pretend to be a photographer of any skill, so mine are all from safe, non-lifethreatening positions.  

The weekend getaway was our celebration of Weston's 30th birthday.  So, thanks to everyone who sent him gifts (i.e. gas and hotel $$)!  We had a really great time, and it was nice to get away from the internet for a couple of days.