EPIC US ROAD TRIP 2017

DAYS 2-5 - MIDDLE COLONIES - PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, MARYLAND & WASHINGTON D.C.


Image || Through sunglasses. The US Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.

Epic US Road Trip 2017 – Middle Colonies

The ruefulness of the tragedy that was the infamous Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. Stepping back in time among the Amish of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. Reliving the birth of the nation in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Stepping out on the iconic boardwalk of New Jersey’s brassy Atlantic City, the eastern seaboard’s Vegas. Quaint little Delaware. The nautical niceties of Maryland’s Annapolis. And the instantly-recognisable monuments, those venerated altars to democracy, in Washington D.C., the nation’s showpiece & tourist-heavy capital. The 450-plus miles we drove over the course of four days and through as many states – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware & Maryland – threw up an abundance of tasty road-trippin’ treats. The Middle Colonies. They were busy, they were fun, but most of all they were educational.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). Founding Father; 3rd President of the United States; chief drafter of the Declaration of Independence; made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore it. Dusk at the Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C. Day 5. October 1, 2017.

The Original Thirteen Colonies & The Birth of The US
Populated for at least 15 millennia, Europeans first arrived in North America in the 1500s with the country as we know today emerging from the so-called Thirteen Colonies, the 13 British colonies of the North American East Coast settled by the British between 1607 (with the founding of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, the first colony) and 1732 (with the founding of the Province of Georgia, the 13th). The combination of grievances with the British government – the primary one being the infamous “No Taxation Without Representation” grudge born out of the perceived non-representation of the colonists in the distant British Parliament – and numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the 1756-1763 Seven Years’ War ultimately led to the 1775-1783 American Revolution, the seminal war ending with Great Britain formally recognising the independence of the United States via the Treaty of Paris in what was to be the very first successful war of independence against a mighty European power. On July 4, 1776, in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, and during the course of the Revolutionary War, the 13 colonies declared their independence by ratifying the US Declaration of Independence, composed largely by Thomas Jefferson and unanimously passed two days’ earlier on July 2nd.

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

– Thomas Jefferson in a letter to his wife dated July 2, 1776.

The Assembly Room of UNESCO-listed Independence Hall in Philadelphia where both the US Declaration of Independence (1776) and the United States Constitution (1787) were drafted, debated and signed. Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Day 4. September 30, 2017.

|| Day 2 || September 28 || Traffic jam. Upper Bronx, New York.


“…the traffic. Oh the traffic. We didn’t suffer one traffic jam over the course of 36 days of US road-trippin’ last year, the roads of the eastern seaboard wasting no time in proving to be as busy, as time-consuming and as frustrating as we suspected they would be.”

Day 2 || September 28 2017

Route || New Haven, Connecticut to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 312 (502)

Day 2. We took a look around New Haven, Connecticut, this morning, America’s oldest planned city & the home to the Ivy League Yale University. After that we hit the road to cover the 300+ miles to Gettysburg. It was an eventful drive. Slow at times, but eventful nonetheless. This is a road trip and we were road-trippin’.

Traffic jam. The Bronx, New York, USA. September 28, 2017.

NEW YORK TRAFFIC JAM/GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE/NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE || Traffic jam. Crawling through the upper Bronx, New York. September 28 2017. ||

Yes, it was an eventful drive to Gettysburg. We had hoped to get to stop off en route at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but the traffic. Oh the traffic. We didn’t suffer one traffic jam over the course of 36 days of US road-trippin’ last year, the roads of the eastern seaboard wasting no time in proving to be as busy, as time-consuming and as frustrating as we suspected they would be. Shortly after capturing this picture, the only one I captured on the drive west to Gettysburg, we were crossing high over the Hudson River into New Jersey courtesy of the massive double-decked George Washington Bridge. Seemingly the 14-lane conduit carries over 100 million vehicles a year making it the world’s busiest passenger vehicle bridge. We crossed over the Hudson via one of the 6 lower-level lanes (there are 8 more on the upper deck) meaning we didn’t see a whole lot that was picture worthy crossing the state line into New Jersey, and onto the New Jersey Turnpike. Suffice to say, there wasn’t much of anything that was photogenic here either. Running between two major US East Coast cities, New York & Philadelphia, this 122-mile (197-kilometre) stretch of toll road is one of the most prominent and heavily trafficked roadways in the country, so they probably won’t worry too much over us missing the toll we did miss (there were frustrations here, too). The Turnpike, as it’s affectionately known, was considered the pinnacle of highway building in the early 1950s (the road opened in 1951), quickly becoming something of a pop culture icon thanks to unusual exit signage & 13 designated rest areas that are each named after prominent New Jerseyans. An iconic road it may be, but scenic byway status it will never attain. Presenting New Jersey at its post-industrial worst, the decaying dystopic landscapes synonymous with this region are, unsurprisingly, not pretty (the only vistas of note en route were the very distant skyscrapers discernible at the southern tip of Manhattan), reason enough to keep my camera stowed for the drive to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Thankfully things are an awful lot prettier there.

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. Founded as a proprietary colony by Quaker William Penn in 1681.

pennsylvania_glossy_square_icon_256Pennsylvania

State Nicknames – Keystone State, Quaker State. State Motto – Virtue, Liberty and Independence. Admitted To The Union – December 12, 1787 (2nd state). Population – 12.8 million (6th most populous state). Area – 46,000 sq miles (33rd largest state). Capital – Harrisburg. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 2/1. Famous For – History (Philadelphia is home to the US Constitution & the Liberty Bell and Gettysburg home to the bloodiest battle ever fought on US soil); steel; Heinz; religious tolerance & the Amish; snack food; firsts (daily newspaper (1784), zoo (1874), auto service station (1913) and computer (1946)). State Highlights – All that history. Pennsylvania Titbits – Pennsylvania is one of only 4 states – the others being Kentucky, Virginia & Massachusetts – to designate itself as a commonwealth in its full official state name (the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania); the state has been known as the Keystone State since 1802 in part due to its central location among the Thirteen Colonies, the original British Colonies of the North American east coast that collectively declared independence from Great Britain to form the US, and also in part because of the number of ground-breaking documents signed in the state, the Declaration of Independence the obvious example; a largely rural & agricultural-based state (milk is the official state beverage), Pennsylvania ranks number 1 in the land in the production of mushrooms; while gambling is legal in state casinos, sports gambling is outlawed (strange for a state with a professional franchise in each of the country’s professional, top-tier leagues (with two teams in each of MLB, the NHL & the NFL)); a snack food haven, Pennsylvania produces the most potato chips & pretzels in the US while the US chocolate industry is centred on Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania. State #2. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA STATE LINE || At the Ohio/Pennsylvania State Line on Interstate 90, northern Pennsylvania. October 20, 2017. ||

We had two forays into Pennsylvania: on days 2-4, when we visited Gettysburg, Amish Country & Philadelphia in the southeast of the state; and on day 20 when we spent a night in Erie, the largest settlement on Pennsylvania’s 51-mile-long Lake Erie coastline in the very north of the state. We captured this image at the state line with Ohio while driving west to east en route to New York and neighbouring New England.

Pennsylvania Highlights – Gettysburg, Amish Country & Philadelphia
The Province of Pennsylvania was founded as a proprietary colony in 1681 by Quaker William Penn – the name Pennsylvania, which roughly translates as ‘Penn’s Woods’, was created by combining the Penn surname (in honor of William’s father, Admiral Sir William Penn) with the Latin word sylvania, meaning ‘forest land’. Once the richest and most populous of all the British colonies in North America, not to mention one of its most industrial, Pennsylvania for us was always going to be about its history & its simple-livin’ Amish inhabitants.

DAY 4 – HISTORIC PHILADELPHIA || The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017 ||

Founded in 1682 and named by its founder William Penn, Philadelphia, Greek for brotherly love (from philos, “love” or “friendship”, and adelphos, “brother”), was the largest of the colonial cities and was once the second-largest city in the British Empire (after London). It was also a centre for opposition to British colonial policy. As the new nation’s capital at the start of the 1775-1783 Revolutionary War, and pretty much right up until the approved-by-congress-but-still-to-be-constructed Washington D.C. took over the mantle in July 1790, Philadelphia’s UNESCO-listed Independence Hall is where both the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were drafted & first read, and where, on July 8 1776, the (cracked) Liberty Bell, seen here, was rung to announce the signing of the aforementioned Declaration. Yep, gritty Philly has historic clout in abundance, and tourist numbers to match.

DAY 3 – HISTORIC GETTYSBURG || Gettysburg National Military Cemetry, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017 ||

Some 80 years after ridding themselves of the Brits and the Americans found the need to fight among themselves with one of the most decisive and pivotal battles of the 1861-1865 American Civil War, not to mention the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, taking place in and around the historic Pennsylvanian town of Gettysburg, today beautifully & touchingly commemorated (in this the US clearly has no equal) at the vast Gettysburg National Military Park, the exploration of which was to be the highlight of Epic US Road Trip 2017 Day 3.

DAY 4 – AMISH COUNTRY || Farming in Amish Country outside Bird-in-Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

Between the horrors of Gettysburg and pioneering Philly there’s agricultural Amish Country. Centred on Pennsylvanian’s Lancaster County and definitely not a place to overlook on any visit to the region, witnessing the simple living of these Anabaptists, who fled persecution in their native Europe in the early 1700s & settled in pockets of tolerable northeastern North America, was a memorable step back in time, not to mention the highlight, pictorial and otherwise, of Epic US Road Trip 2017 Day 4.

You’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do!

– A rather bold claim by VisitPA.com

Image of the Day


|| Day 3 || September 29 || Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania.


“Some 80 years after ridding themselves of the Brits and the Americans found the need to fight among themselves with one of the most decisive and pivotal battles of the 1861-1865 American Civil War, not to mention the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, taking place at Gettysburg.”

Day 3 || September 29 2017

Route || Gettysburg to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 98 (158)
Today’s Highlight || Gettysburg National Military Park

Day 3. It started in a bright & sunny Gettysburg & ended in a dark and chilly Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 98 miles we clocked on the odometer in between were leisurely, educational and sobering.

July 2 1863, day 2 of the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Gettysburg
Make no mistake, a visit to Gettysburg will be a schooling. Founded in 1780 and named after a James Gettys, one of the town’s first settlers, this sleepy little town of less than 8,000 inhabitants is something of a history heavy-hitter, playing host as it did to two defining periods in American history – the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), the biggest and bloodiest battle to ever be fought on American soil, and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg is history – the question is, how do you want to experience that history?

DestinationGettysburg.com

Motel 8, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

‘Gettysburg is history’ indeed. Even the Gettysburg motels evoke the town’s storied past. Motel 8, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Lincoln Square in Historic Downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Historic Downtown Gettysburg
You’re probably going to stay downtown, and you’ll definitely have to pass through it in getting to the main event, Gettysburg National Military Park on the town’s fringes, but quaint Historic Downtown Gettysburg is worth a poke around in its own right. A tranquil place that emanates out from the central Lincoln Square, the town’s irresistible combination of early 20th century Beaux-Arts & well-preserved Victorian-era architecture, Civil War Americana, fluttering Star-Spangled Banners and pretty foliage means that Gettysburg is not only historic but also undeniably photogenic.

The Brafferton Inn, Lincoln Highway, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

BRAFFERTON INN || The Brafferton Inn, York Street, Histortic Downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017. ||

A standout among many eye-catching Historic Downtown Gettysburg edifices, the National Registry of Historic Places-listed, 17-room Brafferton Inn dates to 1786 making it Gettysburg’s oldest deeded house and the town’s oldest continual residence.

R.R. DEPOT || The old Railroad Depot, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017. ||

Built in 1858 in the Italianate Villa style, the Railroad Depot and its attendant telegraph line afforded Gettysburg with modern day transportation and communication services. Serving as an army hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, train services were resumed shortly after the war – then sitting president Abraham Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg at this depot on November 18 1863 to deliver is famous Gettysburg Address the following day. Today the historic Old Railroad Depot plays host to the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Visitor Information Center, closed when we twice happened by, once before our visit to the nearby Gettysburg National Military Park and once after it. Their loss.

The Battle of Gettysburg & Gettysburg National Military Park
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought over a 3-day period in 1863, from the 1st to the 3rd of July. With over 50,000 soldiers dead, wounded or missing, the battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire 1861-1865 American Civil War. Indeed, more men fell during the Battle of Gettysburg than in any other battle on American soil before or since. Often described as the war’s turning point, the defeat of Robert E. Lee’s invading Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was a major victory for the Union’s Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac, halting Lee’s invasion of the North.

On the approach to the Pennsylvania Memorial of Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Last year we toured Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. This year it was the turn of Gettysburg. The 1863 battlefield is today Gettysburg National Military Park. Centred on the impressive Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Centre where many of the park’s 43,000 American Civil War artifacts are displayed, the park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 battle; while the park encircles the town of Gettysburg, most of the park lies to its south. Brilliantly presented & managed by the National Park Service (I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – the Americans really do honour their dead in a way no other nation does), the park can be explored via a range of Visitor Centre tours and/or free ranger-led hikes, walks and talks that explore key moments and locations on the Gettysburg battlefield. Most, however, explore the 8-square-mile park via the park’s 24-mile Self-Guiding Auto Tour, driving between numbered stops and around hundreds of ridges, fences, rocks, sentry posts, statues, placards, cannons, overlooks & memorials to the fallen.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE MEMORIAL || The Pennsylvania State Memorial, Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017. ||

Completed in 1914 to commemorate the 34,530 Pennsylvania soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg (whose names are inscribed in a series of bronze tablets on the memorial’s exterior), the 34-metre-high, Beaux-Arts style Pennsylvania State Memorial is the largest of all the memorials in Gettysburg National Military Park. A visually impressive structure, steps led to the a square granite pedestal upon which rests a towering granite pavilion whose 4 corner towers – perches for 8 portrait statues, among them Abraham Lincoln & Maj. Gen. George Meade – are linked by arches that form an impressive triumphal arch. The whole shebang is topped by a dome, itself topped by a bronze figure of Nike, the ancient Greek mythology Goddess of Victory and Peace.

SOLDIERS’ NATIONAL CEMETERY & THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS || At the Soldiers’ National Monument in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, the scene of the Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017. ||

Upon the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg some 51,000 soldiers lay dead, wounded of missing, the town of Gettysburg itself both a shambles and overwhelmed. Some 4 months after the battle, a 17-acre plot of land was set aside as a burial ground. Primarily for Union dead (most Confederate soldiers were reinterred in southern cemeteries), today this hallowed ground is known as the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. It was here, on November 19, 1863 and at a spot today marked by the Soldiers’ National Monument, that Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the cemetery’s dedication ceremony. The ceremony’s principle speaker, Edward Everett, delivered a well-received two-hour oration rich in historical detail and classical allusion. He was followed by Lincoln, who had been asked to make “a few appropriate remarks.” Lincoln’s speech, which contained 272 words and which took barely two minutes to deliver, is today considered a masterpiece of the English language and a speech that that is credited with transforming Gettysburg from a scene of carnage into a symbol, giving meaning to the sacrifice of the dead and inspiration to the living.

I should be glad if I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.

– Edward Everett to President Abraham Lincoln after Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg. November 19, 1863.

The fallen, some known only to god and resting below blank markers. Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

US Scenic Byways LogoWhile driving in and around Gettysburg we drove a portion of the wider 180-mile-long Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway, the second National Scenic Byway of the wider road trip.

National Scenic Byway #2 – Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway

The 180-mile Journey Through Hallowed Ground byway corridor from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Monticello, Virginia, is “Where America Happened.” It is said that this three-state route, spanning Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, holds more historic sites than any other in the US. It was an active transportation route during the Revolutionary War, a critical transition zone for the Underground Railroad, and a key battleground during the Civil War. This early corridor was the literal “roadbed” for the creation of our country and American ideals.

FHWA.dot.gov/byways

On a ‘Journey Through Hallowed Ground’ while touring Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAYS & ALL-AMERICAN ROADS

US Scenic Byways Logo
While each state can and does designate its own Scenic Byways, a National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the US Department of Transportation for one or more of six ‘intrinsic qualities’, they being archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation’s scenic but often less-travelled roads and to promote tourism and economic development. The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The most scenic byways are designated All-American Roads. These roads must meet two out of the six intrinsic qualities. An All-American designation means these roads have features that do not exist elsewhere in the US and are unique and important enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves.

As of November 2010 there are 120 National Scenic Byways and 31 All-American Roads located in 46 states (all except Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas).

Eisenhower National Historic Site
We were late departing Gettysburg, the decision to visit the neighbouring Eisenhower National Historic Site ensuring it was dark when we arrived into Lancaster, Pennsylvania to end this road trip day. The retirement base for Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the US and decorated war general who supervised the invasion of Normandy and the defeat of Nazi Germany, the cottage & farm where Ike spent the last nine years of his life is today a National Historic Site, one only accessible via a guided tour from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Centre.

Our guide outside the Eisenhower Home of the Eisenhower National Historic Site, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

LIVING ROOM || The Living room of the Eisenhower Home of the Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017. ||

The only home the Eisenhower’s – Dwight D. & Mamie – ever owned was purchased in 1950, two years before the 30-year military man won by a landslide to become America’s 34th president. When purchased it was a tumbledown redbrick farmhouse in much need of repair. Dismantled and rebuilt while retaining aspects of the old structure, the house was completed in 1955 although it wasn’t used as the retirement home it was purchased for until Eisenhower finished his 2nd term as president, handing over the reins to JFK in January 1961 (it was used as a weekend retreat and “temporary White House” prior to this). Between 1961 and his death in 1969 at the age of 78, Eisenhower used the farm to host world leaders and important dignitaries, farm prize-winning Angus cattle (the farm’s Show Barn is well-preserved and nicely presented) and pursue his hobby of oil painting on the rear porch, his favourite room in the house, while gazing out over the rolling Pennsylvania hills of the surrounding landscape (and Gettysburg National Military Park). The large 2-storey house, which retains most of its original furnishings, is explored via a self-guided one-way route with information garnered from a pamphlet, giving an intimate glimpse into the life and times of one of the country’s most revered leaders.

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|| Day 4 || September 30 || Farming outside Bird-in-Hand in Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


“I doubt one ever forgets their first sighting of the Amish and their simple, rural & Bible-centered existence. Our gawking (it’s unavoidable for first-timers) started when we passed an Amish buggy on the 8-mile road from Lancaster to Bird-in-Hand…”

Day 4 || September 30 2017

Route || Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 149 (240)
Today’s Highlight || The Amish of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country

Day 4. Pennsylvanian Amish Country in the morning, Philadelphia, the historic City of Brotherly Love, in the afternoon and Atlantic City, the east coast’s very own Vegas, in the evening. Three very different locals on a busy day.

Day 4. Off the Boardwalk at dusk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017.

The Amish & Amish Country
I doubt one ever forgets their first sighting of the Amish and their simple, rural & Bible-centered existence. Our gawking (trust me, it’s unavoidable for first-timers) started when we passed an Amish buggy on the 8-mile road from Lancaster to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. We pulled over allowing the buggy to pass and watched it as it navigated a traffic junction. There were plenty more Amish eye-openers to come over the proceeding hours, a period when we felt like we’d left the world as we know it and stepped back to a much earlier period in time.

An Amish buggy on the roads outside Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

An Amish buggy on the roads outside Bird-in-Hand in Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.

Bring home priceless memories of the expected – farmlands, family-style feasts and the Amish.

Discoverlancaster.com

Established in 1681, the colony of Pennsylvania was one that respected religious freedom and thus it attracted minority religious sects. This included the Mennonite and Amish communities, Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins – the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann and whose followers became known as Amish. Know today by some as the ‘Plain People’, the sect settled here in tolerant Pennsylvania in the early 1700s fleeing persecution in Switzerland, something I’d imagine would be would be unheard of in the Swiss society of today. Speaking a German dialect, known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch, they are known for having large families (6-7 children the norm, a blessing from god); for marrying within the faith, a requirement if baptised (baptism usually taking place in their late teens or early twenties with almost 90% Amish teenagers choosing to be baptised and to join the church); for their plain dress; for valuing humility & having an aversion to asserting oneself or self-promotion (not selfie takers, individual photographs might cultivate personal vanity); and for living a simple, rural and Bible-centered life, the rules of which – collectively termed the Ordnung, meaning order in German – see them shunning, or severely limiting, their use of power-line electricity (to do so would be going against the Bible which says that you shall not be “Conformed to the world”), motor cars, telephones and motorised tools, manual labour being just one way of living what they interpret to be God’s word while being more self-sufficient/less dependent on community.

Amish farming outside Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

AMISH FARMING || Amish farming outside Bird-in-Hand, Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

The Amish simple life is 100% rural and revolves around two things – the Bible (& its word) & farming. The main crops raised by Amish here in Lancaster County are corn, hay, wheat, tobacco, soybeans, barley and potatoes. Farming is, of course, simple and all carried out with the aid of horse-drawn equipment with metal wheels (you won’t find a rubber tyre in these fields for love nor money).

While they keep themselves to themselves, invariably pressures from the modern world have seen a dilution of strict traditional Amish values and customs in some regions of the US & Canada. Diluted or not, their way of life is a big tourist draw around these parts, a simple and curious existence that draws the hordes from far and wide. There are Amish communities in some 8 US states, the largest concentration found here in Pennsylvania – some 75,000 of the nearly 300,000 North American Amish population live in the state with the Amish communities in an around Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County something of an Amish hotbed. Yep, Welcome to Amishville.

FARMERS MARKET – AMISH QUILTS & RAG DOLLS || Amish stalwarts. Quilts & rag dolls. Farmers Market, Bird-in-Hand, Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

While the Amish want nothing more than to be left alone, they have long since accepted their draw as a tourist attraction, and are even cashing in on it. The intimate Amish eye-opener that is the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market is first & foremost a market for locally-produced Amish crops & organic produce, but it’s also something of a one-stop local for all things touristy Amish (& it draws the hordes by the busload). Hand quilted quilts of striking detail & rag dolls are favourite Amish keepsakes. Some of the faces portrayed faceless, be they on quilts, dolls or whatever, the reason being, and similar to the refusal to have pictures of people, that from an early age children learn not to have images, likenesses or idols.

Farmers Market, Bird-in-Hand, Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.

AMISH DRESS – FEMALE || Farmers Market, Bird-in-Hand, Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

It’s hard to photograph the Amish, even in the busy & touristy setting of the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market; they just don’t like having their picture taken and, for the most part, people seem cognisant of this. Amish women and girls wear modest dresses made from solid-colored fabric with long sleeves and a full skirt (not shorter than half-way between knee and floor). These dresses are covered with a cape and apron and are fastened with straight pins or snaps. They never cut their hair, which they wear in a bun on the back of the head. On their heads they wear a prayer covering – white if they are married and a black if they are single. Amish women do not wear jewelry. The Amish feel their distinctive clothes is just another way to ensure humility and separation from the wider world. Far from being a costume, their garb is a visual expression of their faith and beliefs.

AMISH FARMING || Amish farming outside Bird in Hand, Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

We took a drive into the countryside outside Bird-in-Hand in the hopes of seeing something. Anything. Anything Amish. We got lucky. Very lucky. It’s approaching the fall harvesting period and all Amish farms in Lancaster County are gearing up for their busiest time of the year, whole families tending to harvesting chores as the unit they are. While watching these Amish at work, while listening to satellite radio from the cosy confines of my technology-rich 2017 Ford Fusion cabin, it really struck home to me the value they place on simplicity and self-denial over comfort and convenience, a lifestyle choice that deliberately separates them from the wider world while helping to maintain their self-sufficiency. I wanted to interrupt this guy (not really), trundling towards me via horsepower alone, and tell him there was an easier way, but I suspect he already knows that; the Amish get along without modernity, choosing to do so knowing modernity is readily available. Needless to say, this self-imposed ostracisation from the modern world results in there being a very special bond that unites Amish communities, one that both protects them from outside influences and ensures their unique and utterly fascinating way of life survives from generation to generation.

AMISH DRESS – MALE || Intercourse, Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

Amish Men and boys wear dark-colored suits, straight-cut coats without lapels, broadfall trousers, suspenders, solid-colored shirts, black socks and shoes, and black or straw broad-brimmed hats. Their shirts fasten with conventional buttons, but their suit coats and vests fasten with hooks and eyes. They do not have mustaches (these have a long history of being associated with the military, and therefore are forbidden among the Amish people), but they grow beards after they marry.

At Independence National Historic Park, the old cracked bell still proclaims “liberty,” and Independence Hall still echoes the words “We the People.” Explore Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia and learn about America’s past and present struggle to fulfill the Founders’ declaration that “all men are created equal.

www.recreation.gov

Philadelphia
In hindsight, I guess we didn’t mind booking days in advance to view the inside of two rooms in a 264-year-old hall, albeit a UNESCO-listed one. Nor did we mind standing in a snaking queue for 45 minutes to get an up-close look at an underwhelming & defunct bell (seemingly the queues are much longer at peak times). (And although it hurt at the time, we don’t hold any grudges now at having to pay almost $30 for a few hours of parking in downtown Philly.) Admittedly that somewhat simplistic and non-too-flattering summary of gritty Philadelphia’s two must-sees – Independence Hall & The Liberty Bell – does a massive disservice to the historic clout of both attractions, but make no mistake – advanced planning, patience & an ease with crowds are prerequisites for these tourist hotspots. That said, there are must-sees, and they are such for a very good reason.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

INDEPENDENCE HALL || Independence Hall, Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

The somewhat unassuming centrepiece of Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park, an L-shaped, 45-acre, 20-block central city park that has been called ‘America’s most historic Square mile’ given its abundance of storied buildings (over 30) where the seeds of the 1775-1783 Revolutionary War were planted and where the US Government came into being, the Georgian-style Independence Hall was built by the citizens of Philadelphia between 1732 and 1756 as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania. Often called the birthplace of the United States of American & where the American government as we know it today was first formed, this is where delegates of the 13 original colonies met to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; it was in the small square at the rear of the hall, Independence Square & from where this picture was captured, where the deceleration was first read in public. It was also here, a decade+ later in 1787, that the Constitution of the United States was adopted.

The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed in this building in Philadelphia. The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on law-makers around the world.

– UNESCO commenting on Independence Hall

ASSEMBLY ROOM – UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION – ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ || The Assembly Room of UNESCO-listed Independence Hall, Philadelphia, where both the US Declaration of Independence (1776) and the United States Constitution (1787) were debated and adopted. Independence Hall, Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

The precursor to the United States Constitution of today, the Articles of Confederation were ratified by the then new United States of America, i.e. the original Thirteen Colonies, in 1781, 5 years after they declared independence from Great Britain (a guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states, a principle adhered to with the future expansion of the union to its present 50 states). The Revolutionary War ended in 1783, Great Britain formally recognising, via the Treaty of Paris, the independence of the United States in what was the very first successful war of independence against a mighty European power. With the Articles of Confederation adjudged to provide inadequate federal powers, the current United States Constitution, which famously starts with the words ‘We the People’, was drafted, adopted & signed over the course of 4 months in 1787, the first permanent constitution of its kind in the world. Its first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and were designed to guarantee many fundamental and now famous civil liberties including the right to bear arms (the Second Amendment) & the right to decline to give self-incriminating information, a.k.a. pleading the fifth (the Fifth Amendment). And it all started here in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a room, and much like the rest of the building, inside & out, that has been restored wherever possible to its original mid- to late-18th century appearance; most of the furnishings seen here are period pieces, including the so-called “rising sun” chair used by George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention (seen here to the rear of the room beyond the Syng Inkstand used by delegates/founders such as James Madison, James Wilson, Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders to sign the seminal documents drafted here).

The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.

– George Washington (1732-1799), Founding Father, Declaration of Independence & Constitution of the United States signatory & first president of the United States (1789-1797)

The Liberty Bell in the Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

LIBERTY BELL || The Liberty Bell of the Liberty Bell Center with Independence Hall seen in the background. Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017. ||

An internationally recognised symbol of freedom and deemed “a very significant symbol of the entire democratic world” by none other than Nelson Mandela, the Liberty Bell, first called such in the 1830s by abolitionists fighting slavery who used it as a symbol of their cause, was cast in London and arrived in Philadelphia in 1752. Housed in Independence Hall (then the Pennsylvania State House), it was most famously rung on July 8 1776 to announce the signing of the Declaration of Independence, an occasion that changed world history. A travelling beacon of pacification during its earlier years, for most of the past century it has been on display here in Philadelphia, people queuing for extended periods of time take a close look at the 940-kilogram gong that famously sports a blemish, an irreparable gap resulting from a failed 1846 attempt to fix a thin crack that destroyed the brittle bell’s tone sometime after the 1775-1783 American Revolution (the exact date that the crack developed has been lost to history).

Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof

– Inscription on the Liberty Bell, from Leviticus XXV, v.10, The Bible

New Jersey, Part II
After the frustrations with New Jersey & its Turnpike on Day 2, the frustrations with the Garden State, as deceptive a nickname for a US state as you’ll find, resumed on this day, Day 4. Within seconds of leaving the city of Philadelphia by crossing the Delaware River via the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, while also crossing the Pennsylvania/New Jersey state line, we were on yet another New Jersey toll road. From there it was barely 60 miles to Atlantic City, but we’d be required to pay multiple tolls en route. The toll torment continued into Day 5, when we found ourselves wondering as to whether every main conduit in this state is tolled or just the ones we happened upon. And why are the roads, although tolled, so badly signed compared to the rest of the country? I remember thinking at the time, with NJ discontent at its acme, that when I do eventually get around to writing about my time in the state that I’d have to be gentle, to make a conscious effort to be somewhat positive; after all, people call this state home (a lot of people – it’s the country’s most densely populated state). But, and now that the time has come, that’s going to be hard (time is no healer where NJ is concerned). The best part of the New Jersey experience for me wasn’t stepping out on the iconic Boardwalk of Atlantic City, somewhere I had wanted to visit for a long time and somewhere I suspected pre-arrival would be the state highlight. Nor was it the Jersey Shore drive south from AC to Cape May, a drive that has potential, has Lucy The Elephant and has the Atlantic Ocean and so should be pretty, but just isn’t. Nope, the New Jersey state highlight for me was actually getting the ferry out of the state and into neighbouring Delaware, getting away from New Jersey’s route frustrations, its endless, sterile malls, its ugliness and its tackiness. We didn’t even capture our US road trip staple, the thumbs-up ‘Welcome To New Jersey’ state line picture, the only state sign picture we’ve missed from the 42 states we’ve now visited over the course two epic US road trips. That’s a glaring blot on our US Road Trip copybook & a monumental failing given the lengths we have gone to to capture some state line pictures. The fact that that failing didn’t really bother me says it all for New Jersey.

Whoops. She tried, bless her, but not even Lucy The Elephant bathed in glorious sunshine early morning on a Sunday Funday could make me like New Jersey. Oh well. You can’t like em’ all. Margate, Jersey Shore, New Jersey. October 1, 2017.

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. A proprietary colony from 1664, a crown colony from 1702.

newjersey_glossy_square_icon_256New Jersey

State Nickname – The Garden State. State Motto – Liberty and prosperity. Admitted To The Union – December 18, 1787 (3rd state). Population – 9 million New Jerseyans/New Jerseyites (11th most populous state). Area – 8,700 sq miles (4th smallest state). Capital – Trenton. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 2/0. Famous For – Being the birthplace of many an a-lister (Frank Sinatra, Meryl Streep, Bruce Springsteen, John Travolta, Danny DeVito and Jon Bon Jovi to name but a few); tacky-to-classy Jersey Shore; The Statue of Liberty (yes, it’s in New Jersey. Kind of; Liberty Island is New York, the waters surrounding it New Jersey); a road (the Turnpike); political scandals; The Sopranos (shot on location in New Jersey); the Miss America pageant (first held in Atlantic City in 1921); inventions (Thomas Edison, America’s greatest inventor, moluded some of his greatest inventions – including the lightbulb, the phonograph and the movie – in his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey); Revolutionary War battles (more were fought in New Jersey than in any of the other 12 original Thirteen Colonies); the All-American diner (there are over 600 diners in the state, more than anywhere else in the world); shopping malls; decaying dystopic landscapes of the Industrial Revolution era, i.e. ugliness (and it calls itself the Garden State). State Highlights – Emm, I’m struggling here. New Jersey Titbits – Wrestled from the Dutch by the colonising British, the state is named after the largest of the British Channel Island, Jersey; New Jersey is home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world; the state has the highest cumulative tax rate of all 50 states; a large portion of New Jersey consists of suburbs of neighbouring New York City and Philadelphia; Fill ‘er up! New Jersey is the only state in the US where fuel stations are required to provide a full-service to customers at all times – it is against the law for a customer to pump their own gas, seemingly the fire hazard associated with doing so the reason; it’s also the only state without an official state song; New Jersey gave the boardwalk (1870), the submarine (1878), salt water taffy (1880s), movies (1889) & the drive-in theatre (1933) to the world; being the 4th smallest and 11th most populous state makes New Jersey the most densely populated state in the US and the only one that has had every one of its counties classified as urban. The state is more densely populated than China and almost as crowded as India (it’s no wonder there are so many malls).

New Jersey. State #3. Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017.

Atlantic City || AC
Suffice to say, I don’t have a lot of good to say about Atlantic City, so I won’t say much. The entertainment hub of Jersey Shore, it’s a chilly Las Vegas with sand, seagulls & sea breezes. And where Vegas has The Strip, AC has The Boardwalk. A nationally renowned resort city of shopping and (supposedly fine) dining, AC, which served as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly, is also happy to run with the title of “Gambling Capital of the East Coast” – it’s second only to the aforementioned Las Vegas in yearly gaming revenue, in the number of casinos it offers up to good-time risk takers and in the number of hotel rooms it boasts in which to sleep off the AC hangover. It might be a somewhat enjoyable place to visit during the warmer and more rumbustious summer months, when a swagger or Rolling Chair ride down the Boardwalk with a beer or oversized luminous cocktail in hand would surely help to numb the ennui, but the overbearing neon, noise and kitsch is hard to warm to on a chilly late September Saturday evening.

Sun, sand, towering resort hotels, the bustling Boardwalk, the awe-inspiring Atlantic — this is one beach party you don’t want to miss.

AtlanticCityNJ.com (but they would say that)

The Boardwalk. Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. September 30, 2017.

AC BOARDWALK|| Dusk on the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017. ||

The world’s very first boardwalk started out in 1870 as a mile-long solution to keeping sand from plush beachfront hotels, one dissembled and stored during the winter months. Rebuilt and extended many times over the years, the present system of a herringbone board pattern, supportive steel pilings and steel beams was first installed in 1916. While no commerce of any kind was allowed within thirty feet of the boardwalk in the 1870s, today it’s a totally different story. Stretching for 4 miles, the permanent promenade is an (almost) continuous stretch of confection shops, amusements, neon signs, fortune tellers & psychics, tacky tourist tat, tattoo artists, hotels, bars, restaurants, shopping malls &, of course, casinos. Home of the Miss America pageant since its inception in 1921, a large part of AC’s draw has been its starring role in many a film and television series, most notably the well-received HBO period crime drama series Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014). Set during the prohibition era of the 1920s and 1930s, I guess it was way too much to hope for that present-day AC would retain even an inkling of the 1930s AC as portrayed in the awesome production that was Boardwalk Empire.

Beach Patrol. Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017.

Jersey Shore
New Jersey’s coastal region stretches for 140 miles (230 kilometres), from Perth Amboy in the north to Cape May in the south. With over 40 different communities and a sting of resort towns ranging from tacky to classy, this is boardwalk, arcade and amusement park central. Hugely popular in the summer months, especially with New Jerseyans, New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians, there’s certainly not a whole lot happening this time of year.

PLAYGROUND PIER || Playground Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017. ||

Just like the state that houses it, AC can’t be accused of being pretty, its seaside setting doing absolutely nothing to boost its aesthetics. It doesn’t surprise me to read that the city skyline has been transformed over the decades by the construction (ad hoc construction if first glimpses are anything to go by) of new casinos, hotels, condominia and shopping malls, especially since the legalisation of casino gambling in Atlantic City (only AC, not the state of New Jersey) in 1976. In a city full of them, one of AC’s largest eyesores is the hulking lime-coloured Playground Pier. Opened as an amusement pier in 1906 and the largest of AC’s piers, it was reborn in the 1980s as a 4-storey, 28,000 m² luxury shopping mall adjacent to Caesars hotel & casino (we took a look around the casino innards, with its bizarre adjacent smoking & non-smoking areas, time we probably could have passed more wisely elsewhere). It may strive for luxury internally, but externally this structure is certainly best viewed from afar, like as seen here from the sands of AC beach late in the day – each step you take towards it increases its unsightliness.

Image of the Day


|| Day 5 || October 1 || The northern facade of the White House as seen from Lafayette Square, Washington D.C.


“I didn’t have one presentable picture from two previous visits to what is arguably the most influential city on earth – in 1998 & 2003 – and so was determined, over the course of an evening and a morning in the city on this third visit, to put that right. Washington played ball – it and its iconic neoclassical monuments looked great bathed in the soft light towards the end of day 5 and just as good in the bright sunshine on the morning of day 6. Who would have thought that a hub of bureaucracy and policy could ever look as good.”

Day 5 || October 1 2017

Route || Atlantic City, New Jersey to Washington D.C.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 201 (324)
Today’s Highlight || Late afternoon in the National Mall, Washington D.C.

What felt like a watery escape from New Jersey was followed by a dash through Delaware into Maryland, and all was topped off by a welcome and warm return to Washington D.C. Another New Jersey toll, ‘The World’s Biggest Elephant’, a ferry ride that’s actually an extension of a road (how does that work?), an All-American Road, a National Scenic Byway, a long & precarious bridge, the ‘Sailing Capital of the World’, and the nation’s capital. Two state lines, three states, 1 district and 201 miles. All of this and more on Epic US Road Trip 2017 Day 5, probably the busiest day yet.

Day 5 ferry. Continuing the road trip on water. Crossing Delaware Bay on the ferry Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017.

I suspect I’d be a tad more complimentary about New Jersey if we had of succeeded in getting to Camp May Lighthouse prior to driving onto the ferry for the crossing to Lewes, Delaware, as was the plan when setting out on this morning from Atlantic City (it would have been nice, too, to see some of the nicely preserved Victorian buildings the resort town of Cape May boasts). Frustratingly poor road signage on the seemingly straightforward 50-mile drive south down Jersey Shore from AC to Cape May meant that by the time we arrived we only had the time as was required to board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry that was to take us out of New Jersey. I guess it could have been worse; at least we made the ferry meaning no further time was required in New Jersey.

LUCY THE ELEPHANT || Lucy The Elephant. Margate, New Jersey. October 1, 2017. ||

At least we did get to see Lucy The Elephant en route from AC to Cape May, although in fairness she’d be hard to miss. Twenty metres high, built of wood (1 million pieces, seemingly) and covered with 1,100 m² of tin sheeting, 136-year-old (& counting) Lucy was built in 1881 as a gimmicky roadside novelty architecture structure to help promote regional real estate and attract tourists, who could enjoy views of the surrounds from her howdah (carriage). She hasn’t had it easy and has had various roles over the years including as a restaurant, an office, a cottage and even a tavern. She has also had to battle fires, hurricanes, floods, neglect & closure (1962-1974). Even after all that she’s still standing mainly thanks to efforts of a concerned group of locals, the Save Lucy Committee. The oldest roadside attraction in the US, Lucy got her dues in 1976 when she was designated a National Historic Landmark as the oldest surviving example of a unique form of “zoomorphic” architecture. Most recently restored in 2000 and as popular today with tourists as she has ever been, ‘The World’s Biggest Elephant’ & the most popular non-gaming attraction in the greater Atlantic City region is open for tours, just not on a Sunday morning in early October – the place was deserted when we came calling by.

S Decatur Avenue, Margate City, New Jersey. October 1, 2017.

CAPE MAY-LEWES FERRY || At the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in Cape May, New Jersey. October 1, 2017. ||

The first sighting one gets of New Jersey if arriving from Lewes, Delaware. Thankfully we were going in the other direction. Constituting a 27-kilometre portion of US Route 9, the ferry crossing of Delaware Bay from Cape May to Lewes has been in operation since 1964. Although primarily a vital transportation link between the two states, the ferry is something of a tourist attraction in its own right and has been optimised by the operating Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) over the years to attract tourists.

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. A proprietary colony established in 1664.

delaware_glossy_square_icon_256Delaware

State Nicknames – The First State, The Small Wonder, Blue Hen State, The Diamond State. State Motto – Liberty and Independence. Admitted To The Union – December 7, 1787 (1st state). Population – 1 million Delawareans (6th least populous state). Area – 1,950 sq miles (2nd smallest state). Capital – Dover. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 1/0. Famous For – Being first (it was the first state to ratify the US Constitution); being small; being overlooked; having low tax rates & no sales tax; the Du Pont family & DuPont Chemicals (founded here in 1802); banking & credit card companies; chickens & chicken farms. State Highlight – Its beaches. Delaware Titbits – Delaware is named after the Delaware River, its name derived from one Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and the first colonial governor of Virginia; the state is comprised of three counties, the smallest number of any state; Delaware’s unique northern boundary with the state of Pennsylvania, referred to the Twelve-Mile Circle, is the only nominally circular state boundary in the US; the Irish are the largest European ancestry group in Delaware (over 18% of the population trace their roots back to Ireland); favourable state tax rates ensures there are more corporations registered in the state (1 million-plus) then there are people living there (also, more than 50% of all US publicly traded companies are incorporated in Delaware); Grounded – as of 2016, there are no scheduled air service from any Delaware airport.

Delaware. State #4. The current Delaware state license plate design was introduced way back in 1959 making this the longest-running license plate design in US history. Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017.

Welcome to Delaware. Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017.

Imagine miles of pristine beaches and friendly, fun coastal towns. See yourself taking a tax-free shopping spree at Delaware beach boutiques and galleries, then stepping out for an evening of cutting-edge culinary adventure, followed by a quiet walk along the surf. Envision a land adorned with grand mansions and lush gardens, inviting us all to share the regal charm of Delaware’s “Chateau Country.” Take time to pamper yourself with a spa weekend, or a quiet escape into Delaware’s wildlife refuges, alive with birds and beauty. In Delaware, so many paths are yours to explore – for a day, for a weekend, or any time at all.

VisitDelaware.com

Ahh, Delaware. Quaint little Delaware. It looks like something of a cartographer’s afterthought, occupying as it does the northeastern quadrant of the Delmarva Peninsula (Maryland claims the lion’s share of the peninsula with Virginia its southern reaches, ‘Delmarva’ being an acronym for the three states that occupy it). While the British took over in 1664, Delaware was initially colonized in 1631 by Dutch traders who set up a whaling station at Zwaanendael (Valley of the Swans) near the present-day town of Lewes. This seaside gem is probably Delaware’s most beloved town and thus was as good a place as any for us to get acquainted with the country’s second-smallest state.

LEWES || The Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017. ||

The Zwaanendael Museum building made us pull over for a closer look (they’ve nothing like this across Delaware Bay in New Jersey). A replica of the Town Hall in Hoorn, Holland, and sporting a severe lean, it was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first European settlement in Delaware. As it’s a museum, it recounts important regional history from the time of the Dutch arrival to the present day. I know this thanks to the information posted outside the building as seen here; the museum itself was closed.

DELAWARE BEACHES || E Savannah Road, Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017. ||

Beaches. That’s probably Delaware’s biggest draw, boasting 28 miles of dune-backed Atlantic Ocean beaches. And even if you don’t want to go to the beach then the beach will probably come to you as seen here on E Savannah Road, a few hundred metres from sparkin’ Lewes Beach.

LEWES ARCHITECTURE || Savannah Road, Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017. ||

Dignified and friendly Lewes, with its unique Coastal Delaware bayside ambiance, is a perennial favourite with travellers, although it was awfully quiet when we swung by. The small but historic downtown is awash with gorgeous English & Dutch architecture offering charming boutique accommodations and high-class restaurants & boutiques. Striking edifices abound, the very purple Ocean Retreat Day Spa & Hair Studio on Savannah Road, right across from the Zwaanendael Museum, one of the more noticeable buildings in town.

ZWAANENDAEL PARK / FISHER-MARTIN HOUSE || The Lewes Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau in Zwaanendael Park, ‘A Garden Park & Colonial Library’, Lewes, Delaware. October 1, 2017. ||

One of the town’s most historic buildings, the wooden barn-esque Fisher Martin House was built in the 1730’s. Preserved and moved to its current location in 1980 on the edge of Zwaanendael Park, the building houses and is cared for by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, a good place, we assume (it was closed on this day, a Sunday), to swing by to learn about the rich history of the town.

Being only 35 miles wide at its widest point means the drive east to west across Delaware to the state line with Maryland didn’t take long. There wasn’t a whole lot to see en route, just chicken farms, one after the other, their massive poultry houses belying the tiny size of the state, probably my abiding memory of the time we spent in Delaware (admittedly not long).

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. A proprietary colony established in 1632.

maryland_glossy_square_icon_256Maryland

State Nicknames – Old Line State, Free State, Little America, America in Miniature. State MottoFatti maschii, parole femine (Strong Deeds, Gentle Words). Admitted To The Union – April 28, 1788 (7th state). Population – 6 million Marylanders (19th most populous state). Area – 12,400 sq miles (9th smallest state). Capital – Annapolis. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 4/2. Famous For – Religious freedom; sailors; blue crabs; being the birthplace of The Star-Spangled Banner, the US National Anthem, & Babe Ruth. State Highlights – Chesapeake Bay; nautical Annapolis, a.k.a. the sailing capital of the world, & gritty Baltimore. Maryland Titbits – Maryland is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria of France; formed by George Calvert in the early 17th century as an intended refuge for persecuted Catholics from England, Maryland’s 1649 Tolerance Act, which allowed for freedom of any Christian worship, was North American’s first such act (Baltimore’s early 19th century Basilica, an architectural masterpiece and one of the finest 19th century buildings in the world, was the first Catholic cathedral built in the US); land ceded by Maryland & Virginia was used in 1790 when founding Washington D.C.; top of the pile when it comes to Median Household Income, Maryland households are the wealthiest in the US; The Star-Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem, was written by Francis Scott Key, a Maryland lawyer. It is believed Key wrote the anthem on September 14, 1814 while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.

Maryland. State #5. Annapolis, Maryland. October 1, 2017.

Welcome to Maryland. On the Delaware/Maryland State Line on Route 404/Seashore Highway. October 1, 2017.

Maryland
I’d been to irregular-shaped Maryland (check out Maryland’s margin madness here) a few times before, most recently a 2013 visit to Baltimore, the state’s largest urban centre. This time it was the turn of the watery state capital of Annapolis to charm the senses in much the same was as gritty & historic Charm City itself did back in 2013.

Colourful Prince George Street on a gorgeous sunny Sunday afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland. October 1, 2017.

Much like Delaware before it, crossing the state of Maryland, although approximately four times as wide as tiny Delaware, didn’t take long. From the state line with Delaware in the east to Washington D.C. in the west is a distance of less than 140 miles, but en route we still managed to drive a portion of an All-American Road, a National Scenic Byway and across an impressive but precarious bridge. And as already mentioned we also found the time to stop off in Maryland’s nautical nicety, its picturesque capital of Annapolis (to miss that would have been an embarrassing omission).

All-American Road #1 – Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad BywayUS Scenic Byways Logo
We only drove a very small portion of the All-American Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, an 8-mile stretch of Maryland Route 404 between Denton & Hillsboro. Although aware of the road’s presence in the region, we didn’t actually know at the time that we were driving an All-America Road, didn’t stop and certainly didn’t capture any pictures. All that said, it still counts as the first All-American Road of Epic US Road Trip 2017 (our rules). Named after Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist born a slave on a plantation in Maryland who became a famous conductor on the Underground Railroad leading other slaves to freedom in the North, the 125-mile road, which runs mostly north to south, commemorates Tubman and everyone else – black and white, enslaved and free – involved in the Underground Railroad, the secret aid channels (roads, waterways, trails and hiding places) provided by abolitionists in the years before the American Civil War and used by enslaved people fleeing from bondage. Threading together some of the most pristine and well-preserved working landscapes found along the East Coast, the route captures the same culture of family farming and life on the Chesapeake that Tubman grew up in; welcoming towns and hamlets reflect the vernacular architecture of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1850s. To explore the byway landscapes is to walk in Tubman’s footsteps as she grew from infant to woman, enslaved to free, ordinary to extraordinary.

National Scenic Byway #3 – Chesapeake Country Scenic BywayUS Scenic Byways Logo
The state of Maryland is defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on both the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. Travelling through historic towns and scenic stretches of farmland of this Mid-Atlantic Region, the state’s 85-mile Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway aims to celebrate life on the Chesapeake Bay, the large inlet of the North Atlantic fed by Susquehanna River that separates Maryland and Virginia.

CHESAPEAKE BAY & THE CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE || Crossing Chesapeake Bay via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Maryland. October 1, 2017. ||

At over 11,500 km², Chesapeake Bay is not only the dominant geographical feature around these parts but also the largest estuary in North America. Needless to say water rules around here and it’s never too far away. The Bay is spanned only twice by bridges, the 17.6-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel further south in the state of Virginia someway longer than Maryland’s massive Chesapeake Bay Bridge. While not officially on the route of the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway, crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a.k.a. The William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, was a highlight of this day. A major dual-span bridge spanning Chesapeake Bay & connecting Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore, whence we came, with its more urban Western Shore, the bridge runs for 4.3 miles (7 kilometres). Opened as a single-span structure in 1952, when it was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure, a parallel span was added in 1973. It provides a picturesque drive on sunny and calm days like today, but it’s a totally different story in adverse weather. Narrow lanes (there are no hard shoulders), low & flimsy-looking guardrails, a disconcerting dogleg curve, declines and (blind) inclines between spans (this dashboard picture was captured on one of the inclines) and sitting at a height of 200 feet (60 metres) above the water all makes this a particularly perilous place to be in bad weather. When the wind blows, which it does often, some people avoid the bridge altogether, others choosing to avail of a Maryland Transportation Authority arrangement through private companies to help anxious motorists drive over the bridge for a fee.

Drivers are notoriously afraid of this bridge, as it’s subjected to frequent—and often violent—storms. And when the bad weather hits, forget about visibility: get to the middle of this five-mile-long bridge and you can barely see land. Crossing the bridge is quite an endeavor, even when the weather is fine.

Dangerousroads.org commenting on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Annapolis
Coming down off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and taking an exit off Maryland’s US Route 50 brought us into Annapolis. Being Maryland’s capital would be reason enough to visit – the city’s domed Maryland State House dates to 1772 making it the oldest state capitol building in continuous legislative use in the US – but charming, bricked streets lined with one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, great seafood from Chesapeake Bay (the region is renowned for its blue crab, indigenous to the Bay & one of its most important economic products), and an unrivaled nautical heritage all make this jewel of Chesapeake Bay one of the most visitable cities in the country (and we picked a good time to visit because, and unlike Jersey Shore, New Jersey, & Lewes, Delaware, earlier in this day, Annapolis was alive & buzzing on this sunny Sunday afternoon).

Main Street, Annapolis, Maryland. October 1, 2017.

History, culture, food and fun mingle on the bricked streets of this colonial capital.

VisitMaryland.org commenting on Annapolis

ABSORBING ANNAPOLIS || Annapolis, Maryland. October 1, 2017. ||

Parking was a chore, not to mention expensive, as we hear it always is, but once that hurdle was overcome we were free to explore the preserved Colonial Architecture, cobblestones, and rows of 18th-century brick houses that make Annapolis the strollable stunner it is (we also found time to sample the nosh in Chick & Ruth’s Dely, a busy & quirky city institution since 1965). Indeed, this city has more 18th-century buildings than any other US city, including the homes of all four Marylanders who signed the Declaration of Independence.

SAILING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD || Spa Creek, Annapolis, Maryland. October 1, 2017. ||

Life in Annapolis revolves around its rich maritime heritage. With a motto of ‘Come Sail Away’, the town claims to be the ‘Sailing Capital of the World’ (although Newport, Rhode Island, might have a thing or two to say about that). Annapolis Harbor is full of vessels of all shapes and sizes, smaller oceangoing vessels able to navigate the tight confines of the city’s Sap Creek right in the centre of the historic town.

US NAVAL ACADEMY || On sale on Main Street, Annapolis, Maryland. October 1, 2017. ||

Annapolis’ claim of being the Sailing Capital of the World is bolstered somewhat by the presence of the US Naval Academy. One of the most selective undergraduate universities in the country, the Academy has been educating officers of the US Navy here in Annapolis since 1845. The Academy’s sprawling waterfront campus, much like Annapolis itself, is steeped history and culture, the highlights of which include the US Naval Academy Museum and a beautiful domed chapel that holds the ornate crypt of John Paul Jones, father of the US Navy. We didn’t visit the Academy, but we did make the mistake of driving into the Academy grounds, although only for long enough to be told we should be here are that we’d need to leave – we duly did (‘Aye aye!’).

Washington D.C.
Stoked. I was pumped to be getting back to Washington D.C., a short 30-mile drive west of Annapolis. I didn’t have one presentable picture from two previous visits to what is arguably the most influential city on earth – in 1998 & 2003 – and so was determined, over the course of an evening and a morning in the city on this third visit, to put that right. Washington played ball – it and its iconic neoclassical monuments looked great bathed in the soft light towards the end of day 5 and just as good in the bright sunshine on the morning of day 6. Who would have thought that a hub of bureaucracy and policy could ever look so good.

Day 6 at the Lincoln Memorial of the National Mall, Washington D.C. October 2, 2017.

Monuments and memorials, eclectic neighborhoods, true local flavor – Washington, DC is a place unlike any other. It’s your home away from home with free museums and America’s front yard.

Washington.org

DC || Then & Now
Approved in 1790, formally founded in 1791, and named in honour of President George Washington, central, swampy Washington, District of Columbia (DC), was designated the new nation’s capital to diffuse regional tension. Built by the Potomac River on land ceded by neighbouring Maryland & Virginia (Congress returned to Virginia in 1846 the land originally ceded by the state) and geographically located at the mid-way point of the original 13 colonies, the present-day city is the result of a compromise, a happy medium between the wants of Southern & Northern politicians, the idea to carve out a new city for the then 15-year-old country preferable to bestowing the title of capital on already well-established cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Designed by Pierre L’Enfant & Andrew Ellicott, the 68 sq mi (177 km²) city, the central core of the wider Washington metropolitan area, is designed to be navigable, split as it is into 4 quadrants (the northwestern quadrant hosts the bulk of the tourist hotspots) where letters go east-west & numbers north-south. The city has a population of almost 700,000, a number that swells to over a million during the work week with commuters from neighbouring Maryland & Virginia, inhabitants taxed like all other Americans yet not represented in Congress (DC’s unofficial motto and license plate slogan is ‘Taxation Without Representation’).

Gleaming once again following a recent renovation, the impressive dome of the US Capitol on Capitol Hill at the eastern extremity of the National Mall in Washington D.C. October 1, 2017.

Beyond the National Mall, Washington D.C. is a multilayered, multifaceted city filled with culture, restaurants, shopping, nightlife & distinct neighbourhoods; the city is both a marbled temple to federal government (and residence for its employees) and an urban ghetto of various (& oft crime-ridden) outlying neighbourhoods for immigrants and African Americans. One of the most touristed locations in the US, the city attracts over 20 million visitors a year, visitors who come to soak up the history, the museums (DC is home to the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, a globally prestigious research unit & group of (free) museums established in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge” and administered today by the US Government), the imposing governmental buildings (the city is home to all three branches of the American government), and of course the array of mammoth neoclassical white marble monuments, those instantly-recognisable venerated altars to the democracy America has championed around the world since its very founding.

It was a day for sunglasses. The US Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. October 1, 2017.

The National Mall
When one thinks of Washington D.C. one invariable thinks of the National Mall, America’s vast public space full of symbolism, power, political swots, suits, museums, government buildings, lobbyists, lawyers, memorials, galleries, cultural institutions, sculptures, monuments and tourists. Originally planned as a ‘grand avenue’ in L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for the city and today an official unit of the national park system, it stretches for 1.9 miles (3 kilometres) – from the steps of the US Capitol in the east to the Lincoln Memorial in the west – providing, according to the National Park Service, ‘a monumental, dignified, and symbolic setting for the governmental structures, museums and national memorials as first delineated by the L’Enfant plan’. We arrived into the city late in the afternoon. It being a Sunday meant parking in the vicinity of the US Capitol was both abundant and free (the excessive parking fees paid in Philadelphia and Annapolis, not to mention a parking ticket acquired in Gettysburg, were still fresh in the memory). It was a beautiful sunny and warm day and the Mall’s famous edifices & monuments looked great as a result.

UNITED STATES CAPITOL || Fronting the US Capitol, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. October 1, 2017.||

Marking the origin point of the 4 DC quadrants, policy decisions made under the iconic dome and within the marble walls of the massive United States Capitol building resonate around the world, for good or bad. Originally to be called Congress House, it was called the ‘Capitol’ by Thomas Jefferson (the word ‘Capitol’ comes from Latin and is associated with the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome). First built in 1800, it has been added to at various stages over the years – the Capitol’s most distinguished feature, its iconic wedding-cake style, 30-metre-diameter (96 feet), 88-metre-high (288 feet), cast-iron dome, painted white to appear to be made of the same stone as the Capitol building itself, was added between 1855 and 1866 (the Capitol even got a visitor center in 2008). This is where the legislative branch of the US government (Congress) meets to write the country’s laws; the lower House of Representatives (438 members) in the building’s south wing and the upper Senate (100 members, 2 senators per state) in the north wing. Built in a distinctive neoclassical style, the blindingly white exterior, and especially the dome, free again of scaffolding following an extensive 2-year renovation (2014-2016), looked great in the late afternoon sunlight on this sunny Sunday.

THE WHITE HOUSE || The northern facade of the White House (& the Washington monument) as seen from Lafayette Square, Washington D.C. October 1, 2017. ||

Cars can no longer pass Pennsylvania Avenue fronting the southern facade, sporting its famous semi-circular portico, of the White House, famously addressed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so we pulled up at Lafayette Square and peaked at its columned northern facade instead. Again, the fading light played its part, making the scene look all the more appealing. I vaguely remember my tour of the White House innards back in 1998, but I do remember clearly being underwhelmed. Accessible these days only via a prearranged tour (& it’s seemingly quite the rigmarole to organise), probably Washington’s most famous & beloved building (it came second, behind New York City’s Empire State Building, on a 2006-2007 American Institute of Architects list of ‘America’s Favorite Architecture’) was designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban. Built between 1792 and 1800 in the neoclassical style using Aquia Creek sandstone painted white, it is, of course, the official residence and workplace of the President of the US, and has been for every US president since John Adams in 1800, the 2nd US preseident.

The sun had almost set by the time we made it back to the Mall and found ourselves at the foot of Washington’s tallest structure.

WASHINGTON MONUMENT || Late evening at the base of the Washington Monument of the National Mall, Washington D.C. October 1, 2017. ||

The Washington Monument was built almost in the middle of the National Mall (it’s positioning is slightly off-center) to commemorate George Washington, the nation’s first president hailed as the father of his country. DC’s tallest building, the 169-metre-high obelisk is both the world’s tallest stone structure (it’s made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss) and the world’s tallest obelisk. Construction started in 1848, but was halted from 1854 to 1877 due to a shortage of funds & the 1861-1865 American Civil War. It was fully completed in 1888, a difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 46 metres (150 feet) up the structure, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source. I’ve peered over the National Mall (and further afield) from atop the claustrophobic confines of the Washington Monument before, again back in 1998, not an option on this visit – the monument is closed to the public until at least 2019 to facilitate a refit of its elevator.

JEFFERSON MEMORIAL || Dusk at the Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C., October 1, 2017. ||

The sun was well gone by the time we made it to the Jefferson Memorial, another high-profile & heavily-columnated neoclassical Washington D.C. memorial, this one located across the Tidal Basin, a 0.43 km² partially man-made reservoir, from the National Mall. One of DC’s newest monuments (it was built between 1939 and 1943) and open to the elements, it is constructed of white marble from Vermont.

Inside the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C. October 1, 2017.

A flight of marble steps lead up from the shore of the Tidal Basin to the memorial’s 8-column portico, beyond which is the central rotunda. Pride of place in here, in the centre of a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns topped by a shallow dome, is a 5.8-metre-tall (19 foot) bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Founding Father, 3rd President of the United States & chief drafter of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, quotes from which adorn the internal walls of the memorial. However, probably the most prominent are the words which are inscribed in a frieze below the dome: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man,” a sentence taken from a letter written by Jefferson in September 1800 to a Dr. Benjamin Rush wherein he defends the constitutional refusal to recognise a state religion.

LINCOLN MEMORIAL || On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial of the National Mall, Washington D.C. October 2, 2017. ||

A pop culture icon, probably the most instantly-recognisable of all DC’s instantly-recognisable monuments and with a staring role in a string of Hollywood blockbusters & TV shows, the Lincoln Memorial, marking the western end of the National Mall, was built between 1914 and 1922. A huge draw for tourists since its dedication, it has also been something of a symbolic center focused on race relations ever since civil rights leader Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I have a Dream’ speech from the memorial’s steps in August 1963.

The Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C. October 2, 2017.

The interior of the Lincoln Memorial is divided into three chambers by two rows of four 15-metre-tall Ionic columns. The low-lit flanking chambers display carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address, but most of the attention is on the memorial’s 18-metre-wide by 18-metre-high central chamber housing a 6-metre-tall statue of ‘Poppa Abraham’ sitting in contemplation atop a 3-metre-high oblong pedestal of Tennessee marble.

The Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, Washington D.C. October 2, 2017.

Carved from Georgia white marble over a four-year period and originally intended to be a more modest 3 metres tall, the memorial’s seated statue of Lincoln weighs upwards of 160,000 kilograms and was shipped in 28 pieces. Sculpted by American sculptor Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli Brothers, it depicts the figure of Lincoln gazing directly ahead and slightly down with an expression of gravity and solemnity. His frock coat is unbuttoned, and a large US flag is draped over the chair back and sides. French paid special attention to Lincoln’s expressive hands (he used casts of his own fingers to achieve the correct placement) which rest on the enormous arms of a circular, ceremonial chair, the fronts of which bear fasces, symbols of a magistrate’s power from Roman antiquity. Finally, the ‘In This Temple’ inscription above the statute was penned by American art historian Royal Cortissozs.

VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL || At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C. October 2, 2017. ||

Completed in 1982 and contrasting sharply with the capital’s gleaming white marble, the black reflective gabbro wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a low-lying 150-metre-long V-shaped memorial, symbolically described as a “wound that is closed and healing”, is inscribed with the names of the 58,318 (as of May 2017, only 8 of which are women) servicemen who died in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members unaccounted for (missing in action, MIA) during the war. Designed by American architect Maya Lin, of DC’s many memorials, this may just be the most powerful of them all.

At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C. October 2, 2017.

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY || Where Valor Proudly Sleeps. Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. October 2, 2017. ||

Across the Potomac River in neighbouring Virginia and on land that was once part of Washington (it was returned to Virginia in 1847, 17 years before the cemetery’s founding in May 1864), Arlington National Cemetery is as hallowed as hallowed ground gets. Covering a hilly 2.5 km² (625 acres), this is the somber final resting place for more than 400,000 military personnel and their dependents, with veterans of every US war starting with the Civil War, as well as reinterred dead from earlier wars; the first soldier to be buried in Arlington was Private William Henry Christman of Pennsylvania on May 13, 1864.

JFK GRAVESITE & ARLINGTON HOUSE, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY || The JFK Gravesite below Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. October 2, 2017. ||

Arlington National Cemetery was established during the 1861-1865 Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, seen here in the background occupying the highest point of today’s Arlington Cemetery and visible from far & wide. The former home of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, he of Battle of Gettysburg defeat infamy, the land was confiscated by Union troops to bury their dead when Lee left to lead Virginia’s army in the Civil War (the son of a Revolutionary War hero & a proud native Virginian with 3 decades of decorated service in the US Army, Lee was torn between representing the Union or the Confederation at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, eventually realising he could not “raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home” & thus opting to serve his home state & the Confederacy in what was ultimately a losing cause). The house, a salmon-coloured Greek revival style mansion, was first restored to honor Lee in 1925, was made a permanent national memorial in 1955, and is today open to the public as Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. Although primarily for military personnel and their dependents, a number of persons known for their civilian accomplishments are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Five state funerals, greatly influenced by protocol, steeped in tradition, rich in history and the highest possible honor bestowed upon a person posthumously in the US, have been held here: those of President William Howard Taft (1930), General of the Armies John J. Pershing (1948), and President John F. Kennedy (1963) & his two brothers, Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1968, the only nighttime burial to have ever taken place at Arlington) and Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (2009). (Whether they were wartime service members or not, US presidents are eligible to be buried at Arlington by virtue of the fact that as Commander-in-Chief they oversaw the armed forces.) Today the eternal flame that marks the grave of JFK, next to those of his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and two of their infant children, is probably Arlington’s biggest attraction; you won’t need a map of the cemetery to find this burial plot, just simply follow the crowds.

All-American Road #2 – George Washington Memorial ParkwayUS Scenic Byways Logo
Before leaving the DC area for Monticello in rural Virginia, we drove a portion of the All-American Washington Memorial Parkway, the second All-American Road of the wider road trip. The 25-mile (40 kilometre) route is a busy road. Almost entirely within Virginia, it runs along the south bank of the Potomac River from Mount Vernon to Langley.

This scenic grand gateway and greenway to our Nation’s Capital offers the opportunity to experience the historic story of the birth of our Nation. See Mount Vernon where George Washington lived, sweeping views of our Nation’s Capital, and the breathtaking Great Falls of the Potomac.

FHWA.dot.gov/byways

Off the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Washington D.C. as seen from Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. October 2, 2017.

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