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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in travel (13)

Tuesday
Sep202011

Desperate Genie Travels to Scotland: Days One and Two

Hello from Scotland! I've been traveling a lot lately, my current position is the Highlands of Scotland! This is my first trip to the UK and so far it's been great. Normally when I travel I find blogging impossible and I'm trying to break that pattern. I spent the past month in sunny southern California and the transition to northern Scotland has my body shocked from the time zone and temperature changes. The weather here is a constant mix of cloudy/rainy/windy with intermittent sunshine with an average temperature somewhere in the 50's.

We first visited the William Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland. I have to admit- I've never seen the movie Braveheart, but I now know the main character is based off the actions of William Wallace. I was still a little jet lagged and awake for the 20 something hour in a row so I didn't take any pictures. But it was a beautiful spot with amazing views of Stirling.

A scenic drive through the rural roads of the highlands followed. We saw Highland Cows, "eeland coos" as pronounced by the locals. We've had fun saying their name. They are so cute with their long shaggy hair!

"eeland coo"

We made our way to the picturesque town of Elgin to visit the magnificent ruins of Elgin Cathedral. The remains of this church and the cemetery that surrounds are just beautiful.

To avoid most tourist routes, we have been taking many small back roads to get a feel for the real Scottish Highlands. While driving down a small road near Dulsie we spotted a sign for an ancient Scottish landmark, the Ardclach Bell Tower. I am SO happy we made the stop. This might be one of the coolest off the map places I've ever experienced. It's located off a very remote road and even when you get to the primitive staircase leading up a tall hill- you still have no idea what you are about to to see!

The Ardclach Bell Tower, circa 1655, is an open landmark and it seemed like we were the only people for miles! Located on top of a small hill, this tiny small building is a relic bell tower and rumored prison with sprawling views of the country hillside. It was beautiful and breathtaking. You can even ring the bell!

 

 

Stay tuned for more travel updates! If you have an ancestor or relative from Northern Scotland and you'd like to request a picture of a place like a house, cemetery, or headstone- please contact me! I'll be here for another week.

In the next edition of Desperate Genie Travels to Scotland: Days Three and Four...Cawdor Castle and The Clava Cairns.

Monday
Jul252011

* Summer Vacation: Vintage Jersey Shore Pictures

A love of the beach must run in the family! I've found many vintage pictures of my family playing on the beaches of the Jersey shore. The pictures range from early 1920's-1938. With each picture you get a snapshot of typical clothing, photography, and technology of the time period. I love the clothes! I wonder what they would think about what we wear to the beach?

A few historical events during this time period:

Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933, The Wall Street Crash of 1929- resulting in a 12 year Great Depression, 1931 Inventor Thomas Edison dies, 1934  Fuji Photo Film founded,  1935 Kodachrome color reversal film is developed by Eastman Kodak, 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is released, and in 1938 Fuji is making cameras and lenses in addition to film.

Also keep in mind that many of these young men and women would soon find themselves in the midst of WWII. My grandfather and his 4 brothers all served their country, and my grandmother worked as a volunteer for the red cross. Their lives changed so much in just a few years from these happy summer days down the Jersey shore.

Ocean Grove, NJ 1923-ish

The little girl 3rd from the left is my Grandmother and she was born in 1917. I think she looks about 6 years old here, so I'm estimating this picture to be from about 1923.

Ocean Grove, NJ about 1923 - left to right- unknown, unknown, My Grandmother Marjorie Middleton, My Great Grandfather Wentworth Middleton

Ocean Grove, NJ about 1923 left to right- unknown, Marjorie Middleton, Wentworth Middleton, unknown

Atlantic City, NJ 1929

My Great Great Grandfather, Thomas Nolen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlantic City, NJ 1933

My Grandfather Joseph K Wright, Atlantic City NJ, 1933

Atlantic City, NJ 1936

My Great Uncle John "Jack" Wright, The Brighton Hotel- Atlantic City NJ, 1936

Atlantic City, NJ 1937

Atlantic City, NJ 1937 left to right: unknown, My Great Uncles Vincent Wright and Jerome Wright

Toms River, NJ 1938

Jack Wright, Marjorie Middleton Wright, Joseph K Wright, Jo?, Toms River NJ, 1938

Atlantic City, NJ 1938

My Grandparents Joseph and Marjorie Wright, Atlantic City, 1938

 

 

 

Marjorie, Atlantic City NJ, 1938

Sunday
Jul242011

* Sightseeing Sundays: Historic Chincoteague, VA 

Chincoteague, Virginia- pronounced "shing-kuh-TEEG", is located on the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva Peninsula. The island of Chincoteague is very unique, boasting fresh seafood, history, and a beautiful beach! It's connected to Assateague Island National Seashore. I've been visiting since I was a baby. My grandparents once lived not to far from it. This is where I learned how to boogie board, dive through waves, and collect seashells.

The beach is a barrier island and with each year hurricanes and storms have slowly but surely eroded the sandy beaches. When I was little we used to buy a special pass, get there early, and drive our Izuzu Trooper down the sandy beach to find own private beach spot! Within the past 30 years the size of the beach has eroded to at least half the size it used to be. Gone are the bath houses, high dunes, and large parking lots. I hope it's around for my future generations to enjoy.

My sister and I dancing on the beachA nosy pony wants to meet my dad Old Bathing Houses at Assateague (date unknown) 

 

 

 

 

 

 A herd of wild ponies have inhabited this sandy, marshy, pine tree covered island for over 200 years. No one knows for sure how the Chincoteague Ponies ended up on this island. One popular legend is that when a Spanish ship sank off the coast in the 1600's the surviving ponies swam to the island. There is a protected wildlife refuge where the herds roam wild. When I was a kid, the ponies would venture all the way to the road- sometimes right up to your car! In the picture above you can see a nosy pony checking out our car! I'm in the back in my car seat, what a treat. But I haven't seen them get that close in the past 10 years or so.

A famous annual event is "Pony Penning Day". Selected young ponies are herded from Assateague into the bay and they swim across to Chincoteague. Following the short swim they are penned and auctioned off. This has been a long held tradition, 2011 marks the 86th year. The 2011 Pony Penning Day and Fireman's Carnival is this week! The ponies will swim on Wednesday July, 27, 2011 and the auction will be on Thursday July 28, 2011. I've never been but I bet it's a really amazing thing to watch!

A Famous Chincoteague Pony

The Island Roxy Theater, 2011Misty's Prints 2011

  "Misty of Chincoteague" was a wild pony born on the island, made famous in a book written by Marguerite Henry in 1947. Misty's story was brought to the big screen in the 1960s! The movie premiere of "Misty" was held at the Historic Island Roxy Theater. Misty herself walked down the center aisle before the show. To commemorate the occasion, her hoof prints were captured in the sidewalk outside of the theater. Since horses can't write their own name, it was Marguerite Henry who wrote "Misty" above the prints. I went to take a picture and I was surprised how worn down the dedication has become.  I think the hoof prints need to be preserved a little better! It would be such a shame for this historical landmark to be worn away don't you think? 

 The Island Roxy Theater is still in operation today! If you're looking for a beautiful beach on the Eastern Shore, I suggest you check out all Chincoteague has to offer. 

Wednesday
Jul062011

* wedding wednesday: Betsy Ross Ashburn Claypoole

My wedding wednesday was inspired by our visit to the Betsy Ross House. It was a beautiful summer day exploring historic philadelphia. We really enjoyed touring the historic house on Arch Street (between 2nd and 3rd Streets) in Philadelphia, PA. This is the original house Betsy Ross rented while running her upholstery business when George Washington approached her to construct the American Flag. It was a fun experience and I suggest checking it out. We learned a lot in a short time at an affordable cost, the tour was $4 for adults. There is no photography allowed in the house. One aspect of Betsy's life that I found particularly interesting was her marriages. I had no idea she was married 3 times or the tragedies she endured as a very young woman. A timeline of Betsy's marriages...

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