Archive for October, 2008

President James Monroe’s Ash Lawn – Highland

This was the home of the 5th President of the United States from 1799-1825.   This was not his only home and of course he  mostly resided at a place commonly referred to as the White House between 1817 – 1825. 

One of the most striking things about this home was its relative modesty compared to nearby Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

Another President who lived not too far away was Monroe’s predecessor, James Madison.  Monroe served as Madison’s Secretary of State during the time of the Purchase of the Louisiana Territory and as his  Secretary of War during the War of 1812.  With a resume like that it’s no wonder he was elected to the highest office.

Supposedly this tree dates back to the time Monroe lived here.

Monroe had a great view from where he lived.

Later in the day I came across the Wintergreen Ski Resort which is within the George Washington National Forest.  I found it a very interesting site without a drop of snow on the ground.  Almost spooky in a way.

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Statue of Liberty National Monument

At the south end of Battery Park is the ferry that travels to Statue of Liberty National Monument.  The national monument is comprised not only the Statue of Liberty but also Ellis Island.  There was quite a line to take the ferry and all of the stories about the airport like security procedure before boarding are true.  The ferry drops people off at both islands.  I was inside the crown of the Statue of Liberty as a child. Nowadays you have to enter a lottery to see if you will be allowed even to enter the pedestal.  I see the need to limit access when there are so many people trying to get in at the same time.  I just feel bad for the children and adults who are making their one and only visit to the island and will never get to have the full experience.  This is something every U.S. citizen should get to experience at least once in their lifetime.  It’s a shame some never will.

I did not disembark when the ferry stopped at the Statue but stayed on and got off at Ellis Island.

Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island lie in the Upper New York Bay.  The waters surrounding the islands are actually part of New Jersey.  Liberty Island however is wholly part of New York and Ellis Island is partially considered New Jersey and partially New York.   It’s a little silly considering the Islands are both federal property.

I’m still not clear on whether my ancestors came through Ellis Island or not.  Some probably did, some probably didn’t.   It was very interesting reading the various displays on the sentiment of immigration at that time.  You could almost cut and paste some of the arguments being made 100 or so years ago with the arguments being made for and against immigration today.

I took the ferry ride back to Manhattan and had dinner at the Heartland Brewery on Union Square.  They have several locations in Manhattan and as far as I could tell, they are the only microbrewery in Manhattan.

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World Trade Center Site

This was my first trip to New York post September 11, 2001, so the visit to the World Trade Center site was obligatory.  I visited the site of the Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania in September 2004, so this was the second of the September 11th sites I’ve visited.  The biggest impression that was made on me here was not the actual site itself but the walk to the site.  I was heading south on Broadway and turned onto Vesey Street.  The mood of the people walking past me suddenly became one a somber nature and there was near silence.  This itself sent a chill down my spine.  About a block later I arrived at the site and walked around the perimeter.

It really does look like one big construction site.  It’s still unclear exactly how the site will look once completed.   I can’t imagine working in an office building built on the site.  Personally I think a memorial park with a museum is all that is needed.  Perhaps a reprise of the twin lights that were shown for a period following the attacks shining at night from the actual footprints as well.  I’m not against rebuilding.  I just can’t imagine anyone wanting to work there.

Leaving the site I went to Battery Park to see the “Sphere” sculpture that was salvaged from the wreckage of the collapsed buildings.

The day continues……………………………..

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

I spent the day in Manhattan.  It was a perfect October autumn day.  The first stop was the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site.  Unfortunately it turned out the site is closed on Sunday’s, so I will have to come back some other time.

The day continues………………….

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