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Archive for the ‘History and Places’ Category

 

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We were in Baltimore, Maryland and enjoying breakfast.

Discussing sightseeing adventures might have been a good topic of conversation.

Instead we were concentrating on Naming An Unidentified Floating Object we could see out the window!

The “thing” was a giant water wheel with no familiar or observable purpose.

Being rather shy and reserved people (from the Virginia countryside) we are usually hesitant to ask questions.  But the temptation was too great, so Bill finally asked the restaurant manager, “What is that thing?”

Not being shy or reserved, the manager gave us a mini-history lesson.

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Inner Harbor Water Wheel, Baltimore, Maryland

“That is a water cleaner, said the Manager.”  It has been here for four years.  People would dump things in the water and it was 80% polluted.  Now it is 40% polluted.  The goal is to make the water in the Inner Harbor swimmable by 2020.  Very young engineers maintain the project and it costs almost nothing to run.”

“Does it have a name?” I asked.

“What is that shell you hold to your ear?….you know – a Conch!” he said.

I decided to look up the conch shell water cleaner when we got home, but couldn’t find a thing until I began looking up Cleaning Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.    If it is called a CONCH, I find no reference to it, but here is what I did find:

The Mystery Barge is called the Water Wheel or Mr. Trash Wheel or officially – The Inner Harbor Water Wheel.  It is a hydro and solar-powered barge parked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor since 2014, slurping up all garbage that makes its way downriver.  And it uses nothing but the current and the sun!

Historic ship manager, John Kellett, was getting sick of watching garbage in the rivers on his way to work, so he invented this giant floating wheel that turns with the current.  It places trash from the harbor onto an on-board conveyor belt which then routes it into dumpsters on board.

The “Wheel” is part of a Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Plan which has a goal to clean up the harbor enough to make it safe for swimming by 2020!

Baltimore Polluted Harbor

Before Mr. Trash Wheel

On April 20, 2015, Mr. Trash Wheel removed 19 tons of garbage in that one day.  And at the end of the first quarter in 2016 it was noted that the Wheel had collected over 1,000,000 pounds of trash since its inception.

The ingenuity of man seems boundless and The Thing in Baltimore Harbor restores my faith in our ability to clean up our own messes and make life pure again.

Now if only we could figure out how to control traffic!

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Baltimore, MD -The View from our room.

I am home from a Big City-BigFoot adventure and happy to be alive and well.

Baltimore is a beautiful old Maryland city, with more than enough to do if you are young, agile, and don’t mind horrific traffic in the inner city.

Strike “young.”

Strike “agile.”

As for the traffic?

A nightmare!

But we somehow got where we were going in spite of white knuckle rides and hysterical screaming at our GPS lady and maybe one or two jabs at each other (to say nothing of unacceptable language).

For solace, we turned to food.

Have you ever had Maryland crab cakes?  They are the best and of course I had to have crab at Phillips’ famous seafood restaurant.  It was just around the block from the hotel, but may as well have been on Mars.

445 Crab Cake Plattercrp1

I am back to driving challenges again!  Sigh.

 

But of course, the original purpose of our visit to Baltimore was for an appointment with an expert orthopedic doctor at The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy.

And a wonderful doctor did spend a whole hour with us, discussing, analyzing, offering advice and answering many questions.

In a nutshell, this Gimpy Gal (me, Big Foot) simply (or maybe not) has an injured “talus” bone that may take a long time to heal.

So it was back to frolicking in Baltimore!

We frolicked over to the Whole Foods place and actually started to get lost in the garage.  But we somehow frolickedstumbled into the place and found the six loaves of decadent bread I wanted so badly!

We would surely not starve with all that in the car right?

At breakfast next morning we managed some exciting sight seeing by looking out the window next to our table (no driving required).

There was a mysterious tent-covered barge-like THING with a giant water wheel and it was parked and floating in the harbor basin, and the big water wheel seemed to turn of its own accord when and if it wanted to.

We took turns guessing what the mysterious barge might be.

And I wondered why technology wouldn’t let me take a picture and ask Google to please identify the unidentified object.  Why couldn’t I just say, “Hey Google, What is this?”

Whatever it was though,  it made for great conversation over pancakes!

Can YOU guess what it really is?

This is the unidentified floating object.

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To be continued….

 

 

 

 

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There is a dance that is new to me and maybe to you too.  It is a dance that is “as old as the hills.”

My good friend, Amy, who is always trying new things, filled me in on this enchanting activity that is good clean fun, great exercise, and a place to meet friends and smile.

 Have you ever heard of Contra Dancing?

Well, one site describes it like this: “If Swing Dancing and Square Dancing met in a bar, you’d get Contra.”

  • It is similar to square dancing but not the same.
  • It is considered a social dance that you can attend without a partner, but is danced in pairs.
  • It is danced in long lines and couples progress up and down the lines dancing with each other and other couples in the line.
  • There is a caller who teaches the sequence of figures before the music starts.
  • The music can be Irish, Scottish, old-time, or French Canadian folk tunes.
  • It is impossible not to smile at the music.
  • The fiddle is the core instrument, but can also feature the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin.

 Contra is a folk dance with mixed origins from English country, Scottish,  and French dance styles in the 17th century and African influence from Appalachia.  Sometimes described as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance, Contra Dances can be found around the world as well as in most US states.

Check out Contra Dancing in your state or community.  Guaranteed to make you smile!

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For Milk Delivery

This old building in downtown Lexington, Virginia features a small set of doors on a side wall.

I thought the little doors were a local curiosity and my own curiosity prompted a small research project.  Google is quick to respond so it didn’t take long.

The old doors were called a “milk chute”.

Evidently they open to a platform where the milkman (they used to have milkmen in the old days you know) could pick up empty milk bottles and replace them with full ones.

The homeowner would retrieve the delivery (not the man – the milk bottles) from inside the house.

And if something extra was needed  (not the man) or  something different (well, maybe the man) from the usual order, the owner could leave a note in the neck of one of the returning empty bottles (hmm…secret messages?).  Actually, you could order vegetables or bread too.  The chutes were multi purpose.

And if you locked yourself out of your house, a little kid could usually crawl through the chute to get inside and open the door for you.

Clever huh?

Although home deliveries of perishable products came to a halt by the late 1960’s, there are still many old buildings with milk chutes (unfortunately, not milk men).

But, discovering little doors like this made me yearn for the good old days of  home deliveries, milkmen and mystery doors.

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vintage milktruck

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Photo courtesy of the Lone Tree Museum, Lone Tree, Iowa

 

“Wash on Monday, 

Iron on Tuesday,

Mend on Wednesday,

Churn on Thursday,

Clean on Friday,

Bake on Saturday,

Rest on Sunday.”

~ From Pioneer Journeys of the Ingalls Family, Pepin, Wisconsin,  Household Chores

It’s Friday again in Virginia!

I vowed to send off an events diary every week for your reading pleasure

and to share my own life in capsule form.

But I am failing to meet the challenge.

My life has been a panorama of dedication to routines and commitments.

Time to let go right and make some serious life changes?

I’m washing today and it’s FRIDAY!

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Chownings Mug Sign

Chownings Tavern – Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

The Way We Were

Chownings Tavern Welcome Team

Tavern Reception Team

Bill and I have been escaping the past several days, on a brief trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia – not the first time for sure.  There is always something to see and do and never enough time for any of it.

The main allure of this incredible place is the ability to experience a “living museum”

where you can see and feel the past

whilst knowing you are viewing it from the future.

O.K. I know this doesn’t make much sense but it is perfectly true.

But we had another reason to visit the area this time.

We stopped at the MAI Conference being held at the Williamsburg Lodge!

Our friend, Pete, is the organizer and MAI stands for Mid Atlantic Innkeepers, so it was a conference and trade show for Bed and Breakfast people.

Attendees are either eager Hosts and Hostesses, eagerly Aspiring hosts and hostesses, or eager Suppliers of eager hosts and hostesses.

In any case, they are all delightfully friendly energetic people enjoying courses, classes, and camaraderie dedicated to optimizing the travel experience in today’s bustling new world.

Here are photographs of our friends who were working so hard to make the conference a success.

MAI Organizer Pete Holladay http://midatlanticinnkeepers.com

MAI Organizer Pete Holladay
http://midatlanticinnkeepers.com

MAI Ladies

Beautiful Friends Phebe and Katherine

Where Are We

Bill Wondering Where We Were

Believe it or not, the Williamsburg Lodge was a stop on our bus route around the periphery of Colonial Williamsburg.  We had lunch at Chownings Tavern along the way.

Bill tried the Shepherd’s Pie with Root Beer to swig it all down.  And I had Brunswick Stew and hot apple cider.  We were serenaded by a lovely lady in period costume who played the fiddle and then we were visited by a fellow who looked like John Adams. Then we heard a fife in the back room.

Talk about being transported back in time!

How I would love to vacation again in Colonial Williamsburg – but via a time machine back to 1734.  Then I would return of course, to all my modern conveniences!

Well, a lunch hour at the Tavern in the restored Old Towne will have to do.

A Colonial Street of Homes

A Colonial Street of Homes

John Adams Maybe

 

Wood Pile at the Ready

Wood Pile at the Ready

 

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20160221_174840We had dinner at The Pink Cadillac again, since it changed owners.  The “diner” has always been a great trip to the past, and now it is freshly painted, and refurbished.

A fellow came in and asked our hostess what she would recommend on the menu.  Her reply was quick.

“An Elvis Burger, French Fries and a Milk Shake!”

I had not ordered that but maybe next time.  Sounds irresistible if not deadly!

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I love the Texaco gas pump and tried to photograph the gas price on the front.  It isn’t clear but it was 32 cents a gallon!  Sometimes I think we are headed back, back, back to the old pricing doesn’t it?

20160221_173725 Oh look!  A real jukebox on the back wall.  It still works and plays a lot of Elvis tunes as well as some more modern selections.

There’s a great feeling at this little diner on the edge of Lexington, Virginia where you just can’t help smiling.

If you come here for a visit, I’ll meet you at the Pink Cadillac for an Elvis Burger, French Fries, and a Milk Shake!

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