MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Newport, RI continued …

Believe it or not, no more mansions 🙂  just a little of this and a little of that.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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Portuguese Discovery monument

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Sunset at Breton Point

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And this and that…

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This concludes my posts about the trip to Newport, RI … I think 🙂

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)


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Newport, RI – Part 4 – Kingscote…

Kingscote, our final mansion.

George Noble Jones, a southern plantation owner constructed this Gothic Revival style summer cottage in 1839 along a farm path known as Bellevue Avenue. Designed by Richard Upjohn, the house is an early example of the picturesque Gothic Revival style, with its irregular and busy roofline. Kingscote was one of the first summer “cottages” constructed in Newport. It was owned by the King family from 1863 until 1972, when it was given to the Preservation Society of Newport County.

According to the Preservation Society of Newport County: Today, Kingscote is a rare example of a Gothic Revival house and landscape setting preserved intact with original family collections.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed our mansion tours, we had a lot of fun.

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(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)

http://www.newportmansions.org/explore/kingscote

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingscote_%28mansion%29


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Newport, RI – Part 3 – The Elms…

 

The Elms…

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.

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pizap.com14637846840792The original Elms circa 1897.

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I think the Elms might be my favorite…I mean they’re all beautiful in their over the top ornate way but somehow the Elms seems to be more cozy if that’s possible. Or perhaps it’s the fact that this piece of history came within weeks of being torn down !

The Elms was the summer residence of Edward and Sarah Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. In 1922 Mrs. Berwind died, and Edward asked his youngest sister Julia Berwind to move in and become the hostess of The Elms. In 1936 when he died he willed the house to Julia who lived there until she died in 1961.

This according to Wikipedia: Childless, Julia Berwind willed the estate to a nephew, who did not want it and fruitlessly tried to pass The Elms to someone else in the family. Finally the family auctioned off the contents of the estate and sold the property to a developer who wanted to tear it down. In 1962, just weeks before its date with the wrecking ball, The Elms was purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County for $116,000.  Since then, the house has been open to the public for tours. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

Let’s take a look around the house and gardens before heading off to my favorite part of the tour !!!

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The conservatory… I could spend all my time in here…

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The back lawn and gardens…

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Julia A Berwind, sister of Edward Berwind.

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According to Wikipedia: Edward asked his youngest sister Julia A. Berwind to move in and become the hostess of The Elms after his wife died. In 1936, when he died, he willed the house to Julia, who  was well known in Newport. She would invite children from the nearby Fifth Ward (a working-class immigrant neighborhood) to the estate for milk and cookies. She had a love for cars and would drive around Newport every day in one of her luxury cars. This was somewhat shocking to the rest of Newport society where it was considered “unladylike” for women to drive themselves.

Now let’s get around to my favorite part …  the Servant Life Tour.  It’s 82 steps up to the 3td  floor. A balustrade around the roof of the mansion hides the entire dormitory-style third floor where single female and male servants lived in 16 rooms with 3 bathrooms. Married staff lived offsite. The back staircase kept the staff very much behind the scenes as they went about their duties,

pizap.com14639572316861There was also access to the roof and a beautiful view of Newport..

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From there we headed back down the 82 steps to the basement to view the coal-fired furnaces and the tunnel from which the coal is brought into the basement from a nearby street, there’s a little coal in the corner to give you an idea of how massive this coal storage area was. Seen here is also the laundry room and kitchen.

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That concludes the tour of the three mansions we visited.  But that’s not all so stay tuned for more.   In the meantime let your imagination take you away to a midnight stroll in the garden… happy dreaming.

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New Port Preservation Society, The Elms CLICK HERE

Wikipedia The Elms CLICK HERE

Servants Life Tour CLICK HERE

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)


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Newport, RI – Part 2 – The Breakers…

The Breakers – if you only have time to see one mansion/summer cottage, this the THE one to visit.

From wikipedia: ” The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island. The Breakers was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Breakers is the architectural and social archetype of the ‘Gilded Age’ a period when members of the Vanderbilt family were among the major industrialists of America. Vanderbilt was the President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad, and was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Commodore made the family fortune in the steamship and railroad industries.In 1895, the year of its completion, The Breakers was the largest, most opulent house in the Newport area.”

CLICK HERE to read more….

This was the original Breakers which was destroyed by fire in 1892.  A modest summer cottage…

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Vanderbilt commissioned famed architect Richard Morris Hunt to rebuild it and  insisted that the building be made as fireproof as possible and as such, the structure of the building used steel trusses and no wooden parts.

And this is the Breakers in 1895… somewhat different from the original, wouldn’t you say.

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Great hall …

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Around the ‘cottage’… 2 sitting rooms – music room – library – bathroom – dining room.

In the library the fireplace, taken from a 16th-century French chateau  bears the inscription “I laugh at great wealth, and never miss it; nothing but wisdom matters in the end.”

mosaic2d3c178bc4b28b48496f16dc95b9f9c94d6d87e4Back of grand staircase – ceiling – gilded door – portrait – platinum wall paper – chandelier.

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‘The kitchen, unlike others in the time period, was situated on the first floor away from the main house to prevent the possibility of fires and cooking smells reaching the main parts of the house.’ You can understand why after the original Breakers burned down that they’d want the kitchen further away. This kitchen is gorgeous, it could even tempt me to whip up a cake or something.  Maybe.

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The grounds … you never know what you might see out there 🙂

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The Breakers is amazing… not just in its beauty and opulence but in the thought and foresight that went into building it.

Just a few more pictures, really, just a few 🙂

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If you haven’t been to the Breakers I hope you get to go.  In the mean time CLICK HERE for the Breakers and HERE to find out more about Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

Coming next … what mansion came within weeks of being torn down !!

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)


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Chappy’s 3 Guest Posts …

Been thinking a lot about Chappy and of course how much he is missed and what a void he has left.  Along with the memories and the thousands of photographs of Chappy I also have a few guest posts from him on this blog… you see where I’m going with this right 🙂

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Here in Chappy’s own words, post #1 – MV WITH PETS

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Hi, this is me in the car going to Martha’s Vineyard.  I know I look all relaxed and eager to get there but in reality I’m a nervous mess.  I don’t like car rides, especially the 1000 hours it takes to get there from NJ.  OK, maybe not 1000, more like 6 but in dog hours it could be 1000.

Once we arrived I could stretch my legs, have a bite to eat and get settled in. See, this is me very, very settled in… in fact I’m so settled I’m almost asleep.

The Island Inn is a great place to stay with your people.  All the accommodations have kitchenettes in them… I love that, I think it’s very important to always have food nearby.   The people there have their own dogs who help us 4 legged guests check in.  Everyone is super friendly and nice.  We like it there a lot.

I have to say that at first I thought the dogs and kids were a little aloof and then my mom explained to me that this is something called a sculpture.  Wow, what a relief that was, I mean there wasn’t any scent I could pick up and it freaked me out.

I love walking around on the Vineyard, the scenery is so pretty… like here in Edgartown near the lighthouse.  Even though I can’t see all the colors I’m still amazed at the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard.

And the shopping… the Vineyard is so dog friendly that I’m allowed just about everywhere.  There are lots of good stores for dogs… I think my favorite one is Good Dog Goods in Oak Bluffs.   The owner Kerry Scott and all her people who work there are so nice.  They get right down on the floor and play with me,  and offer me treats… I like that in a person.  We always bring bags of treats home to NJ with us… I like that too.  And I like this sticker.

So let’s see… I’ve mentioned where we like to stay… and where I like to shop… and how dog friendly MV is… all that’s left is for you to experience MV yourself.

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This is me on the way home… I am so totally and happily exhaustatated that I’m actually sleeping.

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Post #2 – GOING TO THE MV FIBER FESTIVAL

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Hi, I’m Chappy and I just popped over to gram’s blog  to tell you about another wonderful trip to MV. Actually, I posted here in January about pets on MV, it was so much fun that I’m back to guest post again.

   Bradys NESW inn in Oak Bluffs is where we stayed.

  This is Amie, she is Brady’s dog and the official greeter for us four-legged guests.  She showed us right to our room and clued me in on the good things to sniff and check out.  She’s really nice.

  Our room had a window seat, I wasn’t sure what that was although I’ve heard mom say time and time again that she’d love to have one.  Now I know why, they’re wonderful.. I mean really, a big window to look out of and the sun pouring in to bask in… what more (except food) could a guy ask for.  Once in awhile I actually shared it with mom… see how happy she looks… I do too.

The first morning we were there we went for a walk after breakfast.  The beach and the water look so pretty but it was too cold to dip my paws in the water.  I met another dog friend, she had only been with her adopted mom a few days and was getting used to her new home… she was nice.

Then we went to the MV Fiber Farm festival.  I had never seen sheep and goats before and I just didn’t know what to make of them.  They sure didn’t smell like any animals I ever met before.  I was perplexed and they seemed to be too.  “Hey, you lookin at me!”  Yup, they sure were, they kept a close eye on mom and me, wherever we moved to they followed us… it was like a game after awhile.

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I got to meet two more dogs… Fritz, a sheltie and
also a brown spaniel.It was fun getting to know them and we played each time we saw each other.

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This is mom and me relaxing a little bit.  She’s of course knitting and I’m fighting to keep my eyes open.  I lost..teehee.  It was a really, really full and fun day.   But the fun wasn’t over because the next day..
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… we went to see the baby goats that weren’t at the festival.Look at me !  I’m sniffing a goats behind !!  I can’t believe it either.

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They’re so cute and smaller then I am, but not for long. They were so friendly, they came right up to us and they let mom and gram pet them…… mom even KISSED one !

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This is mom and me sitting in the Campground while gram takes a few pictures.  We were all happily tired.

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We did manage to visit a few new people while we were on MV and of course we ate some good food too.  I love eating in mom’s car which we call Cafe Volvo. I always get some of what mom and gram are eating and that makes me very happy especially when they have chicken… or donuts… or hamburgers… or anything.

Thank you gram for letting me visit your blog… this is Chappy signing off.

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And lastly post #3 written on his 11th birthday, July 7, 2012 simply titled..IT’S CHAPPY

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Hi, it’s Chappy.  I haven’t visited gram’s blog in awhile and since today is my 11th birthday she invited me to write a post.   Here goes.

This is where it all began… me with my brothers and one sister all smooshed up against our dog mom Tawny.

This is mom and dad… Tawny and Buddy.  I’ve been told I look more like my mom and have her sweet disposition…but I’ve got some of dad’s sense of fun in me too.

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This is my mom, Deb.  Oops, I’m skipping ahead here, I wanted to tell you about our first day together.  Well , not all of it, some of it was traumatic but that’s for another post someday.

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After I said goodbye to Tawny and Buddy we began our long trek across Pennsylvania to New Jersey.  You can see I was already in the driver’s seat.

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I caused quite a ruckus when we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.  I had no idea I was so cute and I certainly had no idea what wonderful smells and tastes were out in the world.  Talk about excitement, I actually stayed awake for awhile.

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Finally after days on the road, well it seemed like days to me, what did I know about cars and roads and big noisy trucks that kept waking me up.  Mom says it was more like 6 hours… in puppy time that IS days.   Good thing I was so rested ’cause when we got home look at all the toys waiting for me… I couldn’t believe it.  The six of us siblings had one toy and one tennis ball to play with, I was in toy heaven.

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Just look at me… sweet, adorable, just a hint of mischief in my eyes.  Yup, I picked the absolute  best mom and family in the world. But enough of the mushy stuff.

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The pictures below weren’t my idea…  gram snuck them on here when I wasn’t looking.  Really, I have no idea how they got here but go ahead and enjoy them… I like the ones of me with mom the best.  Okay, bye for now, Chappy signing off:)

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I hope you enjoyed Chappy’s posts, I wish he had stopped by more often, he really had a way with woofs and words.  Love you Chappy   ❤


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Maude Louise …

My mother, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman was born in Waterville, Maine on March 11, 1907.

(my mother and her mother Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Grant Baird)

The picture below is one of my most favorite pictures of all time…

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard…

 

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my mother and grandmother at their house on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs, 1924

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After graduating from Oak Bluffs High School in 1926 she moved to Newark, NJ where she met, and married a Jersey boy… Joseph Albert Freeman

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and had a Jersey girl (me)…

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I have posted the above pictures etc several times here on my blog either on my mother’s birthday or on Mother’s Day so why am I doing it again this year ?   During the past several months my daughter Deb and I (90% Deb) have been digging into the ancestry of our family.  I posted back in October 2015 how my mother’s ancestors did indeed come on the first voyage of the Mayflower …. but since then Deb has discovered ancestors on mom’s side all over the place and going back many generations.  She’s also discovered facts about my grandparents on my dad’s side which has been amazing since we didn’t know anything about them at all.  But that’s a post for another time. Today it’s all about my mom, Maude Louise.

A friend asked me the other day to describe my mother…what was she like, what did she like to do.  I pondered this question and found it was sort of a hard one to answer.  To me my mother was funny and a little nutsy at times, a trait I’ve happily inherited by the way… she was kind and loving,  a hard worker, she adored my dad, and me. She liked to crochet, she made tablecloths and doilies,  and also made lace on handkerchiefs.  She made one for my best friend to carry on her wedding day… when I got married I carried it as my ‘something borrowed’.. as did my daughter Patty when she got married.

She had her problems as well though, she went through a period of over a year when I was around 11 when she wouldn’t leave the house… at all… ever.  She would wait for me to get home from school and then send me to the corner store for her cigarettes or milk or whatever.  We didn’t know what to do about this but then the solution presented itself one morning when my dad was home and he took advantage of it.   Mom was doing the wash in one of those machines that had wringers where you’d put the clothes through to get excess water off of them.  Somehow my mother’s arm went half way through the wringer…she screamed.. my dad went running to see what was wrong.  He quickly took the wringer apart and freed mom’s arm.  She claimed she was okay but my dad being a policeman who had worked in the emergency squad division thought otherwise.  And here’s where his genius solution to mom’s not wanting to leave the house came in.  He said he was taking her to the hospital, she started up the stairs to get dressed (she was in her robe) and he said no, there wasn’t time for that.  And then he took her to the worst, most crowded hospital in the city and left her there.  He left her because I was due home for lunch break and someone had to be there.  Of course when I got home I wondered why Mom wasn’t there and he said she’d gone shopping !  Shopping, really !  The woman hadn’t left the house in months and months and now she suddenly went downtown to go shopping.  I was skeptical.  When I came home from school later in the day there sat my mother all dressed up like she really had gone shopping.  I, of course asked if she’d bought me anything.. hey I was 11 and very self involved.

But what my dad did was just what was needed to snap her back to herself.  She had been so embarrassed sitting in the hospital in her night clothes with so many people around that I guess she vowed to take her life back and do something other than sitting and crocheting all the time.

And she did…. a week later she went to the personnel office in the bank she had worked for before I was born, applied for a job as a bookkeeper and was hired on the spot.

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But there was a lot more to my mother than that episode above… the fact that she had the spirit in her to get herself back on track, I find myself calling on that spirit at times too.

She was a kook in her younger years and I’ve got the photo album that proves it.

The first page says ‘taken during the year 1926’.. most of the photos are of mom and her friends on Martha’s Vineyard…there are a few from NJ as well.   I love how she wrote in white ink on the black pages…and wow, what typical 1926 sayings she wrote.  My mother it seems was turning into a flapper… I love it.

For instance, the picture on the lower left says ‘The Oak Bluffs Sheik “oh daddy” “He’s a hound with the ladies.”  I’m 80% sure I know who that hound was but I’m not telling 🙂

It would have been fun to have known my mother when she was that age, to have hung out with her and her friends on the Vineyard, to be in on their inside jokes and what really went on in with the sheik of Oak Bluffs ! Okay, maybe not. Does one really want to know THAT much about their parents, some things are better left unknown 🙂

pizap.com14576305662362Yes indeed, my mother was one of my favorite people to spend time with.  Some nights when my dad was working the night shift my mom and I would have our favorite supper and speak our ‘silly language’, which was to put ‘S’ in front of every word… not as easy as you think and certainly made for gales of laughter from both of us.

I feel that maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time on the above story about her bout with, depression, and I was tempted to go back and delete it…but no, it goes to show that she was a strong woman, who lost herself for awhile and then found and reinvented herself…and I’m proud of her for that and like to think that I got some of that fortitude or spunk from her… I definitely got my quirkiness from her and I thank her for that.

Happy birthday mom… ❤


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Vineyard Februaries …

I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard in February and I love it.  I love it any time but February is as different from summer on the Vineyard as you can possibly get.

There’s a  cold crispness in the air, the colors are more vivid, the Island is quiet and yet speaks volumes to those who take the time to look, listen and drink in the beauty and wonder that is the soul of Martha’s Vineyard.

February 1989…  a light dusting of snow made everything look like powdered sugar had fallen all over the Island.

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February 1995…  no snow that trip but bitter cold.  Did not stop me from visiting the Gay Head cliffs in Aquinnah on the western most tip of the Vineyard… or hiking through the woods of Christiantown to visit the tiny chapel there.

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I also  experimented a bit with black and white film. From top left… Edgartown harbor, Christiantown stone wall..Sengekontacket Pond and South Beach.

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February 2007… bitter cold, dusting of over night snow, icy ponds and harbors… and brilliant sunsets.

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My birthday is in February and sadly the only one I’ve ever spent on the Vineyard was in 1950 when my beloved godmother, Gertrude Norris passed away.  But I’m not anywhere near done having birthdays so who knows what the future will bring 🙂


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Plymouth, MA – This and That …

Part 4 of our trip..

This is the National Monument to the Forefathers

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The monument lists the names of the Mayflower Pilgrims and also on the four buttresses are seated figures emblematical of the principles upon which the Pilgrims founded their Commonwealth; Morality, Law, Education and Liberty.

According to Wikipedia : {The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument, commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims

 CLICK HERE

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And this is the Pilgrim Hall Museum ..CLICK HERE

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The nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum houses an unmatched collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of brave and determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world. See William Bradford’s Bible, Myles Standish’s sword, the only portrait of a Pilgrim (Edward Winslow) painted from life, the cradle of New England’s first–born, Peregrine White, the great chair of William Brewster, and the earliest sampler made in America, embroidered by Myles Standish’s daughter.

The only thing we were allowed to photograph were these beautiful stained glass windows

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And that….  that’s two of the most delicious, mouth watering, , heavenly New England lobster rolls… 🙂

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This concludes part 4 of our Plymouth, MA trip.. actually it may conclude this series all together, or it may not !!  Hope it’s been as enjoyable to read about as it was to have experienced it 🙂

(pictures are mine and Debs)


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Plymouth, MA – Standish and Alden …

Part 3 of our trip into the past to visit the Myles Standish Burial Ground and the John & Priscilla Alden House.

Our first stop in the charming and historic town of Duxbury, Massachusetts was the Myles Standish Burial Ground, the oldest maintained cemetery in the United States.

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It’s not a large cemetery, only 1.5 acres.  It is the resting place of several of the original Mayflower Pilgrims including Myles Standish and John & Priscilla Alden.   I felt a kind of peacefulness as I meandered around.  I felt respectful and humbled, it moved me more than I anticipated.

The Myles Standish grave site

pizap.com14454779088691The John and Priscilla Alden grave site

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Second stop in Duxbury… the Alden House Historic Site… CLICK HERE

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We arrived at the house only to find out that tours had stopped at the end of September so unfortunately we weren’t going to be able to go inside the house !

We wandered around and took some pictures  but of course it wasn’t like being inside.

pizap.com14454824657531As we were leaving we noticed two cars in front of the administration office so decided to walk over and say hello.   We were SO glad we did.  Not only were the two young women pleasant and smiley and full of information but… they said they’d give us a tour even though the house was closed.  Golly, wow.   So off we went… back into the past into the house of  John & Priscilla Alden.  I don’t know what they a actually looked like but I like this painting of them.  He was 21 and she 18 when they married.  They had 10 children.

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mosaica87ee7b48553477f85f6c668a051d66c06edb741Our tour guide (Trish) was terrific, she peppered historical facts with humorous family stories.  Why wasn’t history like this when I went to school… it was all about names and dates and not about people’s lives and adventures.

For instance the reason for wall paper and newspaper on the walls in this small closet, or as they called it, a clothes press.  The walls were covered with newspaper to protect clothing from getting snagged or caught on the rough walls.  Later on someone covered the newspaper with wall paper.  I believe our guide said the newspapers were from the time of the War of 1812.

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We did some quick gift shopping and Deb joined the AKA (Aldin Kindred of America) while we were there.   We hated to leave but we alas we had to come back to the 21st century.

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🙂  🙂  🙂

This concludes part 3 of our trip and I thought this was going to be the last installment… but no, there’s a bit of ‘this n that’ still to come !!

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)