Monday, July 13, 2009

Adventures in Merry-Land

Well, it wasn't all merry, but most of it was.    As some of you may have already heard, the day of flying and traveling over to Piney Point, Maryland was quite nightmarish beginning with a couple loud fits in the airport, and culminating with a five minute screaming freak-out as soon as we got on our plane (he got scared and wanted to get off).  But, all's well that ends well, and I think this trip ended well, and overall we had a lot of fun times.  I now understand Erik's complete misery every time he goes to school.  It's a very nice campus, but being stuck there not learning anything, nothing to do but watch TV, nothing within walking distance for about 10 miles other than a dive bar called The OCI, combined with the really yucky, greasy, overcooked food they serve at the school... it gets old fast.  Fortunately we had a car, so Elliot and I typically took off every morning, came back in the afternoon, went for a swim with Erik when he got done with school, and then we all went somewhere tolerable for dinner.  I learned my way around the area pretty quick, and it really helped that we had Mary and Bill's GPS to help us find all the cool things to do in the area.  The place was beautiful!  Surrounded by the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay, there was water everywhere.  And that water was absolutely teeming with life:  Sea Nettles, Cow-nosed Rays, Dogfish, and Comb Jellies, Diamond-backed Terrapin, and of course crabs and shellfish - all of which we saw in their natural habitat.  The landscape was completely green, and sprawling with lots of open space lots of very cute old brick houses, and colonial style mansions along side tumbledown old barns and abandoned old victorian houses with vines growing in the windows.  We didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked because of the small storage space of the old camera I was using, but here they are:

The above are pictures from the first free day we had together.  We went to the Calvert Lighthouse and Museum/Aquarium, which was great fun.  They had a sailboat that Elliot could climb around in, a little lighthouse for kids to play in, a touch tank with a Diamond-backed Terrapin turtle (I fell in love with it - the cutest turtle I've ever seen), rays, river otters, tons of model and real sailboats, etc.  Elliot got to build his own wooden boat, which he named "The Cattyboo", and of course we got to go up in the lighthouse.  Not to mention we make a pretty cute family of pirates and mermaid.

We also went to Washington D.C. and walked all around the Capital and National Mall area.  Elliot's behavior was ... let's just say, not ideal that day.  Hence, the expression on Erik's face in this picture that was taken on our final walk back to the car before leaving.  But it was neat to see everything, and we took Elliot to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which was cool because we got to see a 3D Ocean IMAX movie.  Ellliot absolutely loved that and kept standing up and trying to reach out and grab jellyfish and other sea life that looked like it was coming over to him.  It was quite entertaining for us all.  Oh yeah, and for some reason Elliot kept stopping and  hugging trees.  That's right, he's a tree-hugger.  So we had to get a picture of that.

Above are some pictures of a lighthouse that Elliot and I visited on our own.  It's the Piney Point lighthouse, just around the corner from Erik's school.  We were the only ones there, so we got our own private tour.  It was very beautiful and old, and peaceful.  There used to be a resort right next to it where presidents used to go for some "down time", kind of like they go to Camp David now.  So, there was some interesting history behind the place.  And here's Elliot looking all touristy in his sunglasses and S.I.U. hat, which he calls his "crusty crab hat", since it somewhat resembles Sponge Bob's hat.

Here is the beginning of the pictures of our visit to Historic Saint Mary's City, which was Maryland's first capital, and is now a living history village.  This means people dress in colonial costumes, and have the village set up in the way it was way back then.  It was very interesting, and Elliot liked it lots more that I expected.  We both had a great day (Erik was in school), and came back with some fabulous souveniers, the best of which was a clay pipe we got for Erik.  It was made by the last clay pipe maker in the U.S.  I am told that after he dies, there will be no more clay pipes made at all!  Anyway, he loves it.  The above is Elliot walking with me through the cemetery at Trinity Church, the oldest church in Maryland.  Some of the graves were from the 1600s! 
Here he is peeking out of an old barn.  The outside is recreated, but the inside is really, really old.  I wish I remember more details about it, but it was supposed to be a really famous barn or something...
You can see the old wood on the right hand side in this picture.  And that's the wagon I pulled Elliot around in for most of the day.
He pulled it some of the time.  As you can see, it was very beautiful there.  The field to the right was full of wild carrots (the ones you can kind of see have white flowers on the top).  And, there were wild berries and roses on the left hand side.
Here's Elliot learning how to water the garden the old-fashioned way.  He scooped the water out of the bucket with a gourd and then let the water go through the holes in the bottom of the gourd, just like a watering can.  He pretty much watered the whole herb garden.  It was a really hot day, so playing in water, and having his shirt off felt good.
Luckily this girl was really patient and liked kids, 'cause Elliot seemed to want to stay in this one house forever.  Here she is showing him how the musket was even bigger than him!  They also had a bunch of games, including dominos made of bone, and dice made of iron and wood.
Here's Elliot in one of the bunks of the Maryland Dove, a recreated sailing ship.  He closed the curtains and decided he was going to take a nap there.
Here's a view of the Maryland Dove.  There were jellyfish in the water that we could see off the pier.

This is the print house where the printer would have lived.  This girl is spreading ink over the lead letters with leather blotters and getting ready to make a print on this old fashioned printing press.
Here we are at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation.  The boy in front is getting ready to fire a musket for us.  It look him a really long time to get it ready.  The most interesting thing about this place was the tobacco field.  To us it would just look like a field of weeds.  They used the Native American method of farming, so to them a "new field" was basically a forest.  They would gird the trees by cutting a ring of bark from the bottom, and wait for the trees to die to let more light in.  They never plowed their fields, but just planted the tobacco in individual raised mounds right among whatever native plants were there, and then picked off the horned tobacco worms by hand.  So eco-friendly.
And here was Elliot's favorite part of the plantation - holding some baby chickens that were wandering around the garden.  

So there's our vacation!  It was so fun to go exploring and spend some time with Erik.  I hope that wasn't too long and boring to read about.  We are really glad to be home and back in lovely California.  And.... I got a new camera!  Horray!  So there will be lots more blogging again, and hopefully lots of lovely pictures!  See you next time!

1 comment:

Erin said...

I love it! Thanks for putting together this epic, fabulous post. It was a true pleasure to read! This comment comes at the occasion of my second reading of it. (c: Lovie lou