Well, it wasn't free, but I'm glad we went all the same :)
Today was, according to my Pack Leader (Cub Scouts), a free day in honor of Robert E. Lee's Birthday (which is Tuesday) at Stratford Hall (his birthplace). Little Drew and I scrambledish to get there an hour late... I had to go to the coffee shop this morning and pick up some joe and then ran over to the bakery to get breakfast, so we were late. Anyway, we get to the ticket gate at Stratford Hall and... the gate keeper denied us entrance. He said it was most definitely NOT a free day.
Now, I love Stratford Hall, it's beautiful and educational, and beautiful, but... it's 10 big ones for an adult (rediculous when you consider George Washington's Birthplace is HALF that) and 5 smackers for a kid. We usually only go on Lee's birthday, when it's free, because I'm a tightwad... This time, though... those big brown eyes next to me pleading, I shelled out the $15.
I am SO GLAD I did! We were, literally, the only two visitors.
We had a private tour of Lee's home with a grandmotherly type guide that made it feel like she was telling us gossip about people she knew (she was not a period worker). Here's some more pics!
The oval site is a new archaeological dig. They found a basement and some other stuff underneath fields that have been farmed as long as there have been records.
Andrew took a few pictures, this is one of the carraiges. These aren't all display only, they actually use them for carraige days.
This is the view out of one of the lower floor doors. You can see the family tomb (forgot who's there, I'm terrible!) and the compass/weather vain, they all line up, I thought that was pretty neat.
This is the bridge you cross to between the visitor's center and the main touristy area. It's really hard to show the drop in the middle, but years of erosion mean that you're quite a ways up. You can just see Andrew halway down the bridge.
These are the cliffs. When you hike down to where the mill is at you get some really nice views of the Potomac and the cliffs. These are in worse shape than the others in the area. Andrew and I watched rocks and earth slipping down. It seemed like anytime you looked at them bits and pieces were falling off. It is beautiful, though.
See how happy!
This is the mill. It's rediculous, I've lived her over 20 years, I've been to Lee's birthplace countless times, yet this is the first time I've ever wandered down to the mill. It was, of course, not open, but splendid all the same. We have about 14 pictures just of the ice under where the water goes and around the big wheel.
The mill pond, it's much larger than you might think and besides sporting a mill, it also has a nifty little overrun ditch that has rapids and waterfalls. It's a concrete ditch, nothing fancy, but I think we spent about twenty minutes here, just dropping gumballs into the little creek to watch them bounce over the rapids and go flying into the oblivion off the falls.
The hike back from the mill. It's always harder going back than it is embarking.
We really had a wonderful time, my boy and me, but now we must run out and procur dinner for Dad and Luke (who were out doing manly shopping).