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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Who's Who of Hollywood Cemetery

We really love visiting old cemeteries and like to see if we can find the oldest headstones, different shapes and styles ~ also the ones that are very ornate.  We can spend several hours exploring some of the really great ones and this was one of the best.  I know it sounds kinds eerie but well we all have our dark sides... so off we went to visit Hollywood Cemetery.
First a little background:

Hollywood Cemetery is a large, sprawling cemetery located at 412 South Cherry Street in Richmond, Virginia.  Characterized by rolling hills and winding paths overlooking the James River, it is the resting place of two United States Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as the only Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis. It is also the resting place of 25 Confederate generals, more than any other cemetery in the country. Included are George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart.

James Monroe
John Tyler

Hollywood Cemetery was opened in 1849, constructed on land known as "Harvie's Woods" that was once owned by William Byrd II. It was designed in the rural garden style, with its name, "Hollywood," coming from the holly trees dotting the hills of the property.  In 1869, a 90-foot high granite pyramid was built as a memorial to the more than 18,000 enlisted men of the Confederate Army buried in the cemetery. 

Jefferson Davis
Hollywood Cemetery is one of Richmond's major tourist attractions. There are many local legends surrounding certain tombs and grave sites in the cemetery, including one about a little girl and the black iron statue of a dog standing watch over her grave. Other notable legends rely on ghosts haunting the many mausoleums. One of the most well-known of these is the legend of the Richmond Vampire.
A place rich in history, legend, and Gothic landscape.
Some of the many mausoleums
There are so many beautiful statues and headstones that I made a slide show of the pictures we took.  The Civil War was a GREAT tragedy but it is history and as I learn more and more about it the sadder I become for all the lives lost on both sides during the many battles. Rest in Peace brave men.

click on square on left to make video full screen
I sure hope you enjoyed our slide show of Hollywood Cemetery
Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Confederate Whitehouse & Monument Drive

While in Richmond we decided to go see the Confederate White House and Museum.  The museum is 3 floors of artifacts and information all about the Confederate's side of the war and then there is the Confederate White House which was a counterpart to the White House in Washington DC as far as what took place there but on the Confederate side.

The Museum of the Confederacy is located in Richmond, Virginia. The museum includes the former White House of the Confederacy and maintains a comprehensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts and photographs from the Confederate States of America and the American Civil War (1861-1865).

The White House of the Confederacy is a gray stuccoed neoclassical mansion built in 1818 by John Brockenbrough, who was president of the Bank of Virginia. Designed by Robert Mills, Brockenbrough’s private residence was built in early nineteenth century Richmond's affluent Shockoe Hill neighborhood (later known as the Court End District), and was two blocks north of the Virginia State Capitol. Among his neighbors were U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, Aaron Burr, defense attorney John Wickham, and future U.S. Senator Benjamin Watkins Leigh.
Sold by the Brockenbrough family in 1844, the house passed through a succession of wealthy families throughout the antebellum period, including U.S. Congressman and future Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon. Just prior to the American Civil War, Lewis Dabney Crenshaw purchased the house and added a third floor. He sold the home to the City of Richmond, which in turn rented it to the Confederate government as its Executive Mansion.

Jefferson Davis, his wife Varina, and their children moved into the house in August 1861, and lived there for the remainder of the war. Davis suffered from recurring bouts with malaria, facial neuralgia, cataracts (in his left eye), unhealed wounds from the Mexican War (bone spurs in his heel), and insomnia. Consequently, President Davis maintained an at-home office on the second floor of the White House. This was an unusual practice at that time – the West Wing of the White House in Washington, DC, was not added until the Theodore Roosevelt Administration. President Davis’ personal secretary, Colonel Burton Harrison, also lived in the house.
The Davis family was quite young during their stay at the White House of the Confederacy. When they moved in the First Family consisted of the President and First Lady, six year-old Margaret, four year-old Jefferson Davis, Jr., and two year-old Joseph. The two youngest Davis children, William and Varina Anne (“Winnie”), were born in the White House, in 1861 and 1864, respectively. Among their neighborhood playmates was George Smith Patton, whose father commanded the 22nd Virginia Infantry, and whose son commanded the U.S. Third Army in World War Two. Joseph Davis died in the spring of 1864, after a 15-foot fall from the railing on the White House’s east portico. Mrs. Davis’ mother and sister were occasional visitors to the Confederate executive mansion.

interior lighting formerly gas, now electric

The house was abandoned during the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. Within twelve hours, soldiers from Major General Godfrey Weitzel’s XVIII Corps seized the former Confederate White House, intact. President Abraham Lincoln, who was in nearby City Point (now Hopewell, Virginia), traveled up the James River to tour the captured city, and visited Davis' former residence for about three hours - although the President only toured the first floor, feeling it would be improper to visit the more private second floor of another man's home. Admiral David Porter accompanied Lincoln during the visit to the former Confederate executive mansion. They held a number of meetings with local officials in the White House. Among them was Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Reid Anderson, who owned the Tredegar Iron Works.
During Reconstruction, the White House of the Confederacy served as the headquarters for Military District Number One (Virginia), and was occasionally used as the residence of the commanding officer of the Department of Virginia. Among those who served there were Major Generals Edward O.C. Ord, Alfred Terry, Henry Halleck, and Edward R.S. Canby. When Reconstruction ended in Virginia, (October 1870), the City of Richmond retook possession of the house, and subsequently used it as Richmond Central School, one of the first public schools in postwar Richmond.When the City announced its plans to demolish the building to make way for a more modern school building in 1890, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society was formed with the sole purpose of saving the White House from destruction.

After touring the Confederate White House we took a ride down Monument Drive where we saw the huge statues of Jefferson Davis,  not to mention the gorgeous era homes along the way too.  Monument Avenue, is a premier example of the Grand American Avenue city planning style. The first monument, a statue of Robert E. Lee was erected in 1890. Between 1900 and 1925, Monument Avenue exploded with architecturally significant houses, churches and apartment buildings. A tree-lined grassy mall divides the east and west-bound sides of the street and is punctuated by statues memorializing Virginian Confederate participants of the Civil War Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
George Washington
Robert E. Lee
George Washington @ Virginia Capital
These monuments are huge and so impressive and are a great tribute to men who fought in a horrible war
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

There is a ton of history in the Richmond area and I highly recommend visiting here ~ spending at least a week if you love the history of the Civil War.

"JEB" Stuart
There are not to many BIG rig RV Parks in this are so we stayed at a KOA ~ we are not big fans of KOAs because we think they are pricey for what they offer.  That being said this one was not too bad.  Click here to see a complete review of the park.
Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Historic Beginnings.... the Virginia Triangle

We stayed in the Williamsburg area at American Heritage RV Park for 5 days so that we could explore Colonial National Historic Park and explore it we did.  This park included Yorktown & Jamestown ~ they both took us each an entire day to see.  We went out everyday and checked out all the history we could in this historic triangle area which also included Historic Williamsburg (not a National park but definitely full of historic beginnings for this country. We had one of the best Chinese Buffets we have ever ate at while here also.  Peking Palace was exceptionally clean and the food was fabulous.  Our first day out was spent visiting Yorktown:
Yorktowne, Virginia:
There's plenty to do in this charming riverside town. There are many small cafes, shops and restaurants that you can spend an entire day exploring. There are also many historically-significant points of interest to learn about that revolve around the Civil War and the American Revolution.
Yorktown Battlefield and Visitor Center is a national park where tours include battlefield earthworks, Washington’s Headquarters, Washington’s tent and Surrender Field. You can step back in time walking through the battlefield, past the Yorktown Victory Monument, and then past Moore House where surrender terms were negotiated. Yorktown Victory Center is a living history museum of the American Revolution tell the stories of men, women and children who lived during the war. Outside, a recreated military encampment depicts life in the military including the use of medicine in Colonial times.
At a simulated 1780s farm site, you can learn about growing crops, preserving and preparing food and turning flax and wool into cloth.

There is both a driving tour a a walking tour of the Battlefield ~ while there we had one of the best Park Rangers (Linda) giving us the story of the American Revolution that happened there.  We also did the driving tour through the battlefield.

Jamestown, Virginia ~ America's Birthplace 1607
Star your experience at the Historic Jamestown visitor center, where exhibits and walking tours with Park Rangers provide background on Jamestown’s beginnings. Walk through the town site to see the original church tower dating to the 1640s and the reconstructed foundations of some of the earliest buildings. At the museum pier, see the replicas of the 3 ships that transported the original colonists to Jamestown in 1607.  An Powhatans Indian Village is recreates to see how they lived and farmed at the time the English arrived.  Hear about the actual meeting and relationship between Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. You can also see and learn how the settlers lived at the recreated Fort James Settlement.  This was a fascinating day and we really enjoyed stepping back in history.  

We also visited the Jamestown Rediscovery excavation, where archaeologists are uncovering the remains of the original James Fort and learning how the environment and climate in 1607 affected the settlers. At the Dale House, see a modest exhibit of artifacts, watch conservators working on the latest finds from the James Fort and browse the museum store books and memorabilia of Jamestown archaeology. This was another day full of discovery and learning about our country's beginnings.  Hope you enjoyed the slide show. I couldn't figure out the new blogger so I put slide shows in...

Colonial Williamsburg:
This is where it all began ~ our separation from England. The likes of George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson all were here to make the major decisions in our futures as Americans.  It is a great place to visit but make sure you allow at least 3 days to explore and enjoy this historic town.  Some of it is actual buildings and some are rebuilt but all are full of history.  There are many re-inactors that wander the streets and reenact daily life amongst the colonist.  It all started here on July 12th, 1776...  Have dinner at one of the historic Inns ~ the food was GREAT!!!



We really enjoyed our time in this area and being lovers of history it was a learning experience... Now we are moving on the Richmond Virginia where we will explore one of our country most trying and sadist time ~ the Civil War. A war where our we fought each other....

To see a complete review of American Heritage RV Park click here.
Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012


We arrived at Kitty Hawk RV Park on the beach where we spent 5 days exploring the Outer Banks of North Carolina from one end to the other ~ we took in the Wright Brothers National Monument, Visited Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 4 Historic Lighthouses, the beautiful beaches, rode a ferry to Ocrackoe Island and saw the wild horses on the beaches... Not to mention all the GREAT seafood we ate while here ~ so many crab legs I was about to bust!!!

The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible and successfully become airborne. We enjoyed seeing where the actually few for the first time and walking around the historic grounds. Did you know that a small piece of their plane went into space on the first manned lunar landing? Cool huh!!!

We love Lighthouses & visit as many of them as we can. So naturally we wanted to hit all the ones on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Lighthouses seem to fascinate many people. They bring feelings of hope & wonder! Lighthouses are fun. There are many great stories about lighthouses of the past, stories of the lighthouse keepers & the danger of the seas. There are also stories of haunted lighthouses that bring with them a sense of mystery around the lighthouse. It is great fun to see lighthouses & read about their history.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of very few places in America where wild mustangs still roam free, stubbornly surviving in this once remote coastal environment. Descended from Spanish mustangs which arrived close to 500 years ago, these hardy, tenacious wild horses have lived here since the earliest explorers and shipwrecks. In previous centuries there were thousands of these wild mustangs roaming the full length of the Outer Banks, from Shackleford Banks, all along Core Banks, Ocracoke, Hatteras, and on northward beyond Corolla on Currituck Banks. With the protected status now afforded to them, they should remain free to live as their ancestors have for centuries. They continue to capture the imagination of many people,especially horse-lovers. If a horse escapes the beach it can never return because it could bring disease back to the other horses also they only eat & drink what they can find on the beach and marsh area because other food can make them very ill. In Corolla you can go see these horses if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle or go on one of the tours to take you out on the beach.
Beautiful wild Spanish horses on the beach in Corolla, North Carolina

We stayed at Kitty Hawk RV Park ~ It was kinda crowded BUT we had a good site with good electric and Full hook-up. It is not real big rig friendly BUT it does have a couple of sites that would work good for you (31 & 32). To see a complete review of this park click here.

It was a GREAT time here on the Outer Banks but now it is time for us to move on to the next part of our adventure ~ Historic Williamsburg, Yorktown & Jamestown in Virginia.

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fort Pulaski, a Cemetery & John the Baptist

While visiting Savannah we took some time to go visit Fort Pulaski, a Civil War fort named after the Polish Revolutionary War Hero, Count Casimir Pulaski, who died in the Siege of Savannah in 1779. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Fort Pulaski was a federal (or Union) fort. Confederate forces seized the fort one week after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, and it became a Confederate Fort once Georgia seceded two weeks later. Once the war got underway, troops and civilians fled from Tybee Island, which was the one place from which Fort Pulaski could be reached by the Union. The general stationed at Pulaski refused the surrender order he had been given because he knew that the Union army was still a mile away, more than twice the effective range of Union artillery, and the fort’s 7 ½-foot thick walls were thought to be unbreachable.
However, what the troops at Fort Pulaski didn’t know was that the Union had acquired ten brand new rifled cannons, whose projectiles began to bore through Pulaski’s walls, reducing entire sections of the fort to rubble. All “rifled” means is that these new cannons had gently spiraling grooves on the inside of the otherwise smooth cannon, which allowed for increased speed and range. The fort surrendered 30 hours after the siege began. Fort Pulaski was abandoned not long after the Civil War and left to the forces of nature until restoration began in 1933.

Fun Trivia about Fort Pulaski:• Count Pulaski saved the life of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War and became a general in the Continental Army.

The Colonial Cemetery has very interesting crypts and headstones, the most recent of which is from 1853. However, the entire city of Savannah was built on various burial grounds making the city a “big ol’ necropolis” as our tour guide put it. In the colonial cemetery alone, x-rays have shown more than 10,000 graves, but there are only around 650 headstones. During the Civil war Union troops set up camp inside the cemetery and when they got bored the defaced headstones by changing the dates and breaking them. When they left no one knew where the headstones belonged so they just attached them to the wall in the cemetery.
This why Savannah is so haunted I guess.

When in Savannah one of the things to do is to see the magnificent French Gothic style cathedral church in Savannah ~ John The Baptist Cathedral ~ The colonial charter of Savannah prohibited Roman Catholics from settling in Savannah. The English Trustees feared that Roman Catholics would be more loyal to the Spanish in Florida than the English. This prohibition faded shortly after the American Revolutionary War and this congregation was reorganized around 1796. French Catholic emigres established the first church in 1799 fleeing from Haiti after an uprising and fleeing the French Revolution.A second church was dedicated in 1839 due to the increase in population of Savannah Catholics. Construction began on the new Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in 1873 and was completed by the addition of the spires in 1896. It was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1898 and through diligent effort was rebuilt by 1899.

This pretty much wraps up our time in Savannah ~ but don't be sad because we will return to this fun and historic city. Tomorrow we head out for Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where we will be exploring the Outer Banks and the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

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