Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mr. Slavik goes to Washington('s Birthplace)

I like history.  I want my boys to appreciate history.  Thankfully I have a spouse and friends who are willing to humor me.

Westmoreland State Park is less than 5 miles from the place where George Washington was born in 1732 - a large plantation called Wakefield on the banks of Pope's Creek.  Though young George moved away from Wakefield at the age of 3, the property stayed in the Washington family and has since become a National Monument.  The house where George was born burned in a fire in the late 1700s, but a memorial home was constructed in George's honor and the remainder of the farm stands much as it did back in George's day.  This includes a working blacksmith shop, kitchen, and farm with heirloom breeds from the same era.

When we arrived, the kids jumped out of the car and excitedly ran to the visitor center.  You're probably thinking that they were excited to go to the bathroom or something.  Wrong.  They were actually excited to go into the visitor center!  I just don't think they knew what a visitor center was.

We enjoyed walking along Pope's Creek and seeing the waterfowl that had taken refuge in the area.  Compared to the stormy "seas" that we'd seen the day before on the Potomac, Pope's Creek was calm and serene.  Our first stop was at the memorial house - complete with a historically inaccurate but greatly appreciated wheelchair ramp - where we braved showed off our extremely well-behaved and historically-astute kids on a tour with a park ranger.  Thankfully no one broke anything.

After the house tour, we marveled at the gated garden near the house, spotted a brave squirrel preparing for the winter, and learned how to read a sundial.

The highlight for all the kids was definitely the farm.  There were cows with horns, large noisy sheep, and the biggest pigs you ever saw... with little piglets that ran through the mud and made us all laugh.  The best view in the house was from one of hundreds of sections of split log fences on the property.

The highlight for the adults?  Aside from enjoying our weekend, hiking, spending time together and cooking a lot of yummy food... we spotted a bald eagle soaring overhead as we toured George Washington's birthplace.  How patriotically perfect, right?!  You can't script things like this.  You just take a moment with your mouth gaping, and hope desperately that you remembered to take off the lens cap as you feverishly take pictures.

No comments: