Saturday, August 27, 2011

A walk around the Rosslyn area

Last week Ada was out of town, so I decided to make my way to Theodore Roosevelt Island. I didn't spend enough time looking at a map to see how to get there, so I ended up taking a REALLY out of the way route to get there.

I ended up going past the Marine War Memorial.

I eventually made my way to the Mount Vernon Trail which leads to a bridge that takes you to TR Island. The trail is popular for joggers and cyclists. It's very pretty.

For a sense of perspective, here is a picture I took from the trail. This is the back side of the Lincoln Memorial.

I finally made it to the bridge to the island and this is the view from the bridge.

Once on the island I made my way to see the man himself.
Theodore Roosevelt. Naturalist, writer, hunter, ranchman, soldier, and politician who would become the youngest President in history. I'm almost through reading my second book on him.

On my way back across the bridge I saw a turtle.
Bonus Turtle

Before I headed home I had to go to Ray's Hell Burger again. Best burgers I've ever had.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Manassas

Ada and I got up at 5:30 to begin our short trip to Manassas, Virginia to attend the 150th anniversary reenactment of the First Battle of Manassas. The Battles of Manassas are often known as First and Second Bull Run. The reason for this is because most southern soldiers named battles after the nearest city, while northern soldiers tended to name battles after the nearest river or stream.  Although not the first battle of the Civil War, nor the biggest of the war, it was a game changer. Both sides were sure a quick victory could be achieved by an overwhelming show of force. They were wrong. The soldiers as well as their commanding officers were inexperienced, which led to mistakes on the battlefield.

During this battle the standard carried into battle by the Confederacy was still the "Stars and Bars" which had a resemblance to the Union's "Stars and Stripes". The uniforms worn by the different Confederate regiments, divisions, and brigades were very inconsistent. These caused confusion on the battlefield and the Confederacy soon thereafter switched to the more recognizable Confederate Battle flag.

 Stars and Bars

Confederate Battle Flag

The Aftermath was felt throughout the North and South. The casualties for the Union were just under 3,000, and the Confederates suffered just under 2,000. Any illusion of a quick war were lost as a result of this battle. P.G.T. Beauregard was credited as the hero of the battle and was promoted to full general. The Union was soon looking for a new commanding general and George McClellan would get the job.

The reenactment was amazing! Over 10,000 reenactors took part in the battle, and there were about 50 artillery pieces on the field. Spectators numbered in the thousands as well. At 9:30 in the morning the battle began. It was already approaching 100 degrees, and reenactors were given ice to put under their hats to stay cool. I have worn a wool uniform like they were wearing and I know that it must have been miserable. The sounds of cannons and rifles firing was unlike anything I've ever heard. I've fired my grandfather's cannon, but I'd never heard 20 cannons firing down the line in quick succession or all fired at the same time. 

Here's a little video I took. The sound doesn't do these cannons justice. It was much louder!

I look forward to going to other reenactments such as the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg in 2013.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


On Friday, Mike and I went into DC to the Navy Yard to attend Truckeroo. Truckeroo is a gathering of 20-25 food trucks that normally drive around DC each day. The food trucks gather once a month so people can sample and try new food while listening to live music.

We started out at the BBQ Bus and made our way to the TaKorean truck, and we ended our evening at the Big Cheese Truck which serves only grilled cheese sandwiches.

At the BBQ Mike ordered a BBQ chicken and jalapeno sandwich...yum.

Next stop was the TaKorean food truck (a Korean taco truck) where we ordered steak and pork tacos with chili sauce, cilantro, kimchi slaw and a lime sour cream sauce.

After the tacos we adventured over to the grilled cheese truck and had a grilled cheese sandwich with Gouda and caramelized onions.

We had a fantastic time trying new food the DC food trucks offer. Next month we plan on hitting up the empanada and lobster truck.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

National Portraits Gallery and Ray's Hell Burger

Ada and I got up this gorgeous morning and headed into the city. We hopped on the Yellow Line and went to Chinatown. Our destination was the National Portraits Gallery, which is located in the Old Patent Office Building. We wandered around the gallery for hours and saw some truly amazing works of art. Ada and I quickly realized that in observing and reading about the subjects of the portraits that we were getting a refresher course in U.S. History. (or at least Ada was when I'd start rambling on about Civil War generals.)

Naval Battle during War of 1812

There was a very interesting exhibit about the death of Elmer Ellsworth. Ellsworth is remembered as the first conspicuous casualty of the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln noticed a large Confederate flag flying over the town of Alexandria, Virginia. Ellsworth, who had studied law at Lincoln's office in Illinois, quickly offered to retrieve the flag. Ellsworth and his men marched uncontested into Alexandria. They arrived at the Marshall House Inn where the flag was being flown and climbed to the roof to cut the flag down. On the way back down the owner of the inn shot Ellsworth point blank with a shotgun, killing him instantly. The owner was immediately shot and bayoneted by Ellsworth's men.

This is the shotgun that killed Ellsworth.

On the second floor of the gallery we viewed an exhibit of portraits of Presidents of the United States.

George Washington

John Adams

Andrew Jackson-Old Hickory

Abraham Lincoln

Theodore Roosevelt

John F. Kennedy

This one I added just because it looked interesting up close.
Bill Clinton

After the Portrait Gallery we headed to Rosslyn to go eat at Ray's Hell Burger. Besides just being an awesome burger joint, President Obama took Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to lunch here in 2010. Needless to say, our burgers were AMAZING! I had the Big Punisher which is a Diablo burger, pepper jack cheese, charred jalapenos, grilled onions, piranha sauce. Ada got the New Jack Zing which is a Blackened burger, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, charred jalapenos and sauteed peppers. We also got some sweet potato fries to go along with them. I don't know why sweet potato fries haven't completely replaced regular french fries, because they are superior in every way.


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