My husband and I toured Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Virginia tonight to admire their beautiful Christmas decorations. Belle Grove Plantation was once the home of President James Madison’s sister, Nelly, and her husband Isaac Hite. If you have the chance, please stop by and visit Belle Grove and take a tour of this beautiful home. During the rest of the Christmas Season they also have special live music on Friday’s and Saturday’s from 6-8PM and you can also tour the home. Oh…don’t forget the fabulous gift shop too!!!
There is a famous saying that goes something like “ya never know what you might find in your own backyard…”
Jim and I decided to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon over at Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park. We drive past the large signs daily to and from work every single day and have often commented that we needed to stop by and visit and see what exactly was “Hupps Hill.” We have all heard about the battles of Gettysburg…Bull Run…Antietam…and Cedar Creek which is not too far from us in the Shenandoah Valley.
What is Hupp’s Hill?
After our visit yesterday? I can only say it is a treasured place that is one to be sought out by all.
When we first entered the museum and gift shop we were so graciously welcomed by Linda who is a Tour Guide and Historian at Hupp’s Hill. Linda walked us through the museum and told us the fascinating true story of the events leading up to the fighting at Hupp’s Hill that led up to The Battle of Cedar Creek. There were some things that I learned for the very first time for example…President William McKinley and President Rutherford B. Hayes fought at The Battle of Cedar Creek before they were elected to office.
It was interesting to learn about the significant role Hupp’s Hill had in the campaign in the Shenandoah Valley and especially at Cedar Creek.
A large display in the museum reads:
After soundly defeating Early at Winchester and Fisher’s Hill, the last thing Sheridan expected was a Confederate resurgence. Early, however, believed he could catch a complacent Sheridan off guard and drive his adversary back, buying valuable time for the Confederacy.
On October 13, Early reached Hupp’s Hill, probing the Federal defenses, when one of his artillery batteries fired on Thoburn’s division encampment across Cedar Creek. Thoburn sent two brigades to deal with this “annoyance,” and Early was forced to respond.
A wooded ridge separated the brigades of Cols. George Wells and Thomas Harris as they ascended the heights. Artillery fire slowed Harris, but Wells was able to reach a stone wall before being attacked by a larger force of Confederates under General Connor.
Wells was soon flanked and forced to withdraw, while Harris was being repulsed by General Gordon’s brigade. Wells was killed, and Early sent his body back through the Union lines under a flag of truce.
Sheridan took some precautionary measures but still did not consider the renewed Confederate presence a significant threat. Early was soon poised to launch a masterful surprise attack.
It was also interesting to learn about life in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. Of course, you KNOW I had to take a picture of the recipes that were on display to share with you! 🙂
and my military husband found this to be most intriguing about Myers Original Two-Element Code
A large display of When Johnny Comes Marching Home. How cool is this?
Linda suggested that we watch a short film about the ghosts of Hupp’s Hill. Now you know my attention was off the charts…a ghost? Tell me more! They are in the caverns located right next to the museum building…you can read more about the ghosts here.
Crystal Caverns has its own unique story and place in history…and very haunted! We learned that the famous psychic, Jeanne Dixon, used to visit the caverns and was able to really feel and be in touch with her psychic abilities when down here. The caverns are closed to the public now unfortunately.
After looking through the museum and the fantastic gift shop with beautiful John Paul Strain prints on display for purchase, we walked across the parking lot into the fields. What a gorgeous day it was!
Upon leaving Hupp’s Hill, we looked over to see the lone monument that sits along Rt 11 next to the entrance to the park. Over time, the writing on it has diminished and we no longer are in the know of who the monument was for.
So…you do never know what is in your backyard. Maybe YOU have a “Hupp’s Hill” just waiting to be explored by you and your family. You could find treasures anywhere you look. I sure did yesterday and I highly recommend if you are in the Shenandoah Valley to go visit Hupp’s Hill – its truly is a remarkable place.
In the kitchen tonight making something Southern (and oh so yummy!) that was once enjoyed by a famous person in the Civil War era and it’s his family recipe. Can’t wait to share with you later! #historicalcooking #civilwar #historicalrecipes 🇺🇸
My Country, Tis of Thee
My country tis of thee
sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Land where my fathers died
Land of the pilgrims’ pride
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring…
It is so much fun being able to make (and taste!) things that our ancestors once enjoyed. To be able to eat something that Thomas Jefferson enjoyed? Well, this is way too cool!
Thomas Jefferson had quite an exquisite taste for all things – especially food and he really enjoyed the French cuisine when he was the Minister to France from 1785 to 1789. One of his favorites was this French style marinated asparagus.
To read more about the history of Thomas Jefferson’s love for asparagus and view the recipe you can click here.
We had a lot of fun making it in the kitchen. It was very simple recipe to make and would make a perfect side dish. The only problem I had was…I didn’t know how to boil an egg correctly! I can do many things but boiling an egg was an issue 🙂
The next time you host a party or have to bring something for a potluck make this wonderful recipe and let people know…oh this is just a little something Thomas Jefferson liked.
President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom on June 2, 1886.
Frances Cleveland was the 1st First Lady to marry a serving US president at the White House and she was also the very first First Lady to give birth in the White House
Standing in front of Cedar Hill, the home of Frederick Douglass (Photo Credit: The Historical Homemaker)
My latest travels took me to the historic museum and home of Frederick Douglass, located in Southeast Washington D.C. The museum showcased a timeline of Frederick Douglass’ life which included his many accomplishments and the influences he had on the course of American history. In the museum, there is a wall of his famous quotations, original pieces of his work, and of course, you can visit his beloved home, Cedar Hill, where he spent the last years of his life.
He was born into bondage in 1818 in the vicinity of Talbot County, Maryland. At eight years old, he was sent to a plantation in Baltimore, Maryland and this is where the mistress of the plantation grew very fond of him and started teaching him how to read and write – a practice that was uncommon for the time period (and in some places in the US it was against the law).
Frederick Douglass said goodbye to Baltimore in 1838 when he was 20 years old – leaving his former life in bondage behind for a brand new life in New York. Anna Murray Douglass, his first wife, sold her personal belongings to purchase him a ticket to New York. He was still a slave, however, and he vowed not to marry Anna as a slave but only if he were a free man. It wasn’t until after he secured his freedom that he and Anna were married. It was in New York that he met with the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who recognized Frederick Douglass as a talented speaker. He was then enlisted to give speeches across the country to help educate people about the horrible atrocities of slavery. Being that he knew first had what being a slave entailed, he was able to give a personal perspective on slavery and his audience continued to grow and he became a very popular orator.
Some of the highlights of his life:
- In 1845 wrote his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which became an international best seller.
- Met with President Lincoln in 1863 to assist in enlisting African Americans in joining the Union troops. Did you know that the first two men he had inquired to enlist were his oldest two sons? Lewis Henry Douglass and Frederick Douglass Jr.
- Frederick Douglass accepted the offer when President Hayes enlisted him to be the official US Marshall of Washington, D.C.
- His first wife passed away in 1882 and he remarried two years afterwards to Helen Pitts. This caused controversy because she was a white woman and interracial marriages was not accepted socially (and in some States it was illegal)
One of Frederick Douglass’ famous quotes on display at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Original autobiography copy on display at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Frederick Douglass’ Family Tree on Display at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Exterior of Cedar Hill (I’m sitting on the left side of the porch) (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
On February 20, 1895, Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart attack at Cedar Hill, and was buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY with his first wife, Anna. Shortly after he passed, Helen Pitts Douglass established the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association to preserve his legacy as well as his impact on United States history. The association still maintains the legacy today.
Cedar Hill beautifully sits on top of a hill overlooking Southeast Washington D.C. The tours are free, during which you will learn about the history of the house and Frederick Douglass’ time while living there. Most of the items in the house are original pieces including the portraits, dining room furniture, and beds.
There are several rooms in the house including two rooms for entertaining and over half a dozen bedrooms. Although the entire house is rich with history, three rooms in particular I found most interesting: the first den, the dining room, one of the three guest rooms for women, and Frederick Douglass’ bedroom, all of which have original pieces from when he lived at the house.
Entertaining room, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
The first room used for informal entertaining of guests and showcases a piano in the left corner, a fireplace in the center of the room, and a bust of Frederick Douglass gifted to his family when he lived there. I learned in the tour that Frederick Douglass combined interior design with remembrance of American history, this being shown by the ball and chain tied around the curtains to the room symbolizing the roots of slavery in American history.
Picture of ball and chain curtain ties, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
The dining room of Cedar Hill include pictures taken with other prominent Washington, DC people at the time, and original dining furniture. Frederick Douglass sat at the head of the table. This is indicated by the wheels on the bottom of the chair, which made it easier for him to stand up and speak, which he did frequently while entertaining his distinguished guests.
Dining Room, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
On the second floor of Cedar Hill, there are three bedrooms: three for women (including guests and one room for each of his wives) and three rooms for men (including the personal bedroom of Frederick Douglass). The guest room used for women included an original portrait of Susan B. Anthony, whom he was very fond of for her advocacy for women’s rights.
Many people don’t know that since 1848, Frederick Douglass was also an advocate for women’s right to vote.
Women’s guest room with Susan B. Anthony portrait in the upper left side, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
His bedroom was opposite of his first wife’s room in the upstairs hall. Frederick Douglass would use dumbbells to work out every morning after waking up to exercise and stay physically fit. Cedar Hill has these dumbbells and they can be seen on display by the foot of the chair in his room
Frederick Douglass’ bedroom, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Chair with original Dumbbells, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Two other pieces I found very interesting include his desk in his office and a trunk with his name on it, which was used on his many travels throughout the country and Europe.
Frederick Douglass’ Trunk, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Frederick Douglass’ Office, Cedar Hill (Photo Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Every room in Cedar Hill is beautiful in its unique way and the tour guides are very knowledgeable and will answer any questions you can think of while touring the house. Visiting Cedar Hill and learning about Frederick Douglass’ life and his huge impact on American History was truly a memorable experience for me, not to mention the wonderful scenic view from Cedar Hill.
View from outside Cedar Hill (Phot Credit: The Historical Traveler)
Click here to plan your free visit to Cedar Hill and the Frederick Douglass Museum.
Meeting with the Historical Traveler today. He is going on a new adventure and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born today in 1867. As a child, I spent many hours reading her books and watched every episode of Little House on the Prairie. What a truly gifted writer she was and I am so glad that she shared her magnificent stories with us. If you are ever in Mansfield, MO – stop by and visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum