Harlaxton – England!

July 22, 2010


Home, sweet, home!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

      I’ve been sitting at my computer for some time, trying to keep my mind focused on work.  However, it continues to drift back toward my travels this week to Harlaxton College, in England for a 30 year reunion.   I arrived home Sunday evening, June 11th and I have been unable to concentrate on anything as the Harlaxton magic continues to pull my thoughts its way.  Thank goodness a good friend talked me into attending because it truly was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.   It seemed so peaceful and the cares of our adult world fell away as we all became 21 again, even if for a short time.  Just yesterday I sat at the table looking at Pikes Peak and thinking I am the luckiest girl in the world.  Great friends, family, and career! 

The Old Oak Staircase

Medieval Feast with my buds!

     During this trip, we made visits around the Grantham area, then spent about four days in London and one day in Paris.  However, for me the best was the time spent at Harlaxton, walking the grounds, and soaking up the manor’s majesty and breathtaking beauty. 

The sun room

Reliving vivid memories, and thinking about people who made my time there, so wonderful 30 years ago.  This reunion became another chapter which extended my time at Harlaxton. I can’t say enough about how 30 years just seemed to melt away and it seemed like it had only been 3 days since we had last seen one another.  Truly magic!  It was great to see that same awe and wonder in the eyes of everyone who was there.

Buds forever!

     Every evening we took long walks down the drive or to the village pond and just walked and talked reconnecting  and getting to know perhaps some we didn’t know as well,  but got to know better this time.  Some mornings we didn’t get back to our room until 3:00 a.m.!  When was the last time any of us did that? 

The Mile long drive past the gate house

I will be forever grateful for my time at Harlaxton as I have been shaped and molded into the person I am as a result of this incredible experience.  I was reminded that the manor holds its mystical spell over us and it is the people who made and make it such a wonderful experience.   Hopefully, those who didn’t make it this time will be on for Evansville next April and Turkey in 2012.  It will be an awesome time!

Harlaxton Magic


Old Sacramento, Pony Express, Railroad and Sacramento Museum

June 24, 2010


Railroad Museum

 Today we went to Sacramento and spent the day at the Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento and Sacramento History Museum.  We learned a lot about the Transcontinental Railroad which helps give teachers more background when teaching about the railroad.  The museum had lots of different trains throughout train history.  We saw examples of Pullman coaches which was very cool, considering we went to the Pullman Museum in Chicago last year.


  The museum spoke about how a young nation began a new way of life, but destroyed the Indians.  We also learned about the contribution the Chinese made to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and how they lived a very healthy life.

Chinese immigrant

One of the two gold spikes was recovered 5 generations after the man’s family who had paid for them to be made, gave them to the museum to display. That was awesome to see!

The Lost Golden Spike

The Pony Express Riders began in Sacramento and that was very interesting, especially as I’m from Missouri and St. Joseph is where the express ended.

Dana, Lindsey, and I went down to the American River to put our feet in the river where John Marshall who worked for Mr. Sutter, found gold and changed the United States forever causing  the Gold Rush.   The mill was actually at a different place, the desk clerk told us, but the same river.

River of Gold!

      Old Sacramento was very touristy but we had a great time shopping and eating a great meal at Fat City Restaurant.  The veggie lasagna was delicious.

California Historical Museum and WICKED!!!!

June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22 2010

All I can say is, “WOW!!!!!” Dana, Lindsey, and I just returned from seeing WICKED.  I have stars in my eyes and a song in my head that keeps repeating, “Because I knew you…….la, la, la.   Gosh, I wish Scott Whitehead had been here, I think he would have loved it. This is the kind of musical that keeps people going back for a similar experience.  I am sooo glad Lindsey found tickets for cheap.  I really want to buy the sound track and learn all the music.  When we were walking home the fog had rolled in above us and it was truly a magical moment.  Too fun!

Foggyy Evening

Earlier in the day we attended a class at the California Historical Society where I think we were able to look at some really summeries of cases that led to Brown vs. Board of Education like Plessy vs. Ferguson, Dred Scott, etc.  That was cool. 

Also, there was a very interesting, handwritten letter from James Otis’s nephew chronicling his adventures across the ocean to China at the age of 16.  Pretty cool stuff and his beautiful handwriting is a great example to show students.

James Otis's newphew's letter about travels on a steamer to China

Afterward, Linsey and I took off for Haight-Ashbury, saw lots of peace and love.  Then headed for some inexpensive shopping in China townwhere I bought a yellow San Francisco jacket which made me quite happy.  Up until then I was shivering in the San Francisco cold.  Now life is good again.

Orpheus Theatre

The BLOG GOES ON – San Francisco Trip

June 22, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I left my cell phone in the van, what a bummer.  I’m sure I will miss having contact with my family.  Once we arrived in San Francisco and checked into the Hilton, a group of us walked to the Ferry Building.  We were immediately struck with how different San Fran is than New York.  Panhandling is much more rampant and a lesser police force is evident.  I do not feel near as safe here as we did in New York.  We walked along and shopped at some of the street vendors along the way.  We saw lots of jewelry and all kinds of stuff. 

     The real excitement came later in the evening when all of us went to Kulecko’s Italian restaurant and Donna, Lindsey, Dana, Genevive, John, ___________ and I got stuck in this teeny, elevator.  Wall to wall people.  Oh my.  When we really realized we were stuck it was hard to keep from panicking, as it became hotter and there was no air circulating.  Dana called the phone on the elevator car to let them know we were stuck and then Matt who was really funny, but not. After about 15 minutes they pried the door open and into the restaurant we went to share dinner.   The food was excellent!

Monday, June 21, 2010

      I’m missing my family a lot.  Without my phone it is hard and people have been kind to loan theirs but I didn’t memorize many numbers because I’m used using the phone list in my phone.  We went on a walking tour of San Fran today.  Our guide took us to China Town, Little Italy, the Barbary Coast, and all kinds of interesting places.  We ate lunch at a baseball restaurant called Lefty O’Doul’s.  After the walking tour finished, a bunch of us opted to catch the bus to Fishernan’s Wharf.  We walked along the water, shopped at the street vendors, bought a couple of pair of earrings, saw the Dolphin Club swimming in the bay, hiked up to Ghirardelli Square and observed their chocolate making process and of course we had to try some.  Very tasty!  Their hot fudge is amazingly good.  Then we headed to the Wharf and got sidetracked with designer purses. Donna, and Lindsey each bought a purse or two and got to experience the room behind the wall. It was pretty funny.  Finally, we made it to the Wharf and saw all of the seafood such as lobster and crab for sale.  Some of the crabs were still moving after being cooked.  That freaked us all out.  It didn’t seem that most of us were seafood lovers, so we went to a bakery and I enjoyed bread bowl chili.  Then we were enticed by the purses behind the wall again and missed our bus like three times.  It grew very cool temperature wise on the wharf.  I was glad to finally make it back to the hotel and crash.  It was really a fun day.  We also landed tickets for WICKED for only fifty dollars for tomorrow evening!  Anybody else want to go?  That price is sooo much better than the $200 tickets in New York.  Cool!

New York Summary Post

June 21, 2010

June 19, 2010

I’ve had a few days to sit and reflect about the New York trip, and all I can say is WOW! What an incredible experience!  Our time was filled with visits to fabulous historical sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Little Italy, Central Park, Five Points, Tenement House Museum, Ellis Island, the Erie Canal, Ticonderoga and Saratoga, Harriet Tubman and William Seward’s home.  And that is the short list.  Our group exerienced educational program experiences, such as EY Zipris Primary Source Workshop, which will be  become invaluable as we translate our New York experience into the classroom.  This trip has given me so much background information and will provide enrichment  for my class and students.   Our group experienced soooo many different things and we wore ourselves out!

Of course, the opportunity to be dropped into New York City’s  past and present for a week and a half was such a treat!  While there, I found the city to be very safe and New Yorkers extremely helpful and kind.  Looking back, it is so amazing that such a diverse population has learned to coexist effectively and rather peacefully.  The city sounds and hordes of people are everywhere, all the time and that was pretty cool.  New Yorkers were extremely kind to answer any questions we asked, to the point of walking along with us, and making sure we didn’t get lost. The New York Police force boasts 40,000 police officers, who can say more with their facial expressions than most people with their voices.

New York is a great example of a melting pot full of people from all walks of life, who choose to live in the city to make their fame and fortune.  There are some who can’t wait to make the almighty dollar, get out, and others who would never dream of leaving New York. 

     When asked what my favorite activity was, I have to say it seems to change daily.  At the moment, visiting Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill home comes to mind.  While sitting in rocking chairs on his front porch, it became easy to imagine him and his wife doing the very same thing not long ago.  Walking across the lawn and hiking with friends through the woods to Oyster Bay was pretty amazing as well. 

Oyster Bay

I could just see the Roosevelt children spending their days collecting shells, oysters, crabs, and other sea creatures at the beach.  Then, to have these lovely woods to hike through, must have been pure delight.  I really enjoyed hearing that Teddy reserved playtime his kids at the 4:00 hour, and the dinner table was reserved for family time.  I think perhaps those are some lessons families could learn today.  When it’s all said and done what do we leave behind – family and hopefully positive impacts upon those we love.  For some reason, I also enjoyed the simplicity of the Roosevelt’s grave site covered with ivy.  It seemed very quaint and peaceful. 

Oyster Bay

          In upstate New York, Fort Ticonderoga was an enjoyable site to see.  I took a few minutes and walked to the garden below the fort, and discovered a delightful greenhouse, flower and vegetable garden once I passed through a wrought iron gate and a red, brick wall, that enclosed the garden.  

The Secret Garden!  Ooh!Of course  the boat ride on the Erie Canal will allow me to bring first hand photos of the canal opening and closing to share with my class.  To think the canal cut the cost of shipping 90-95%.  Awesome!

Kings Garden at Ft. Ticonderoga

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night was awessome.  We  felt safe and thoroughly enjoyed the views all around.   Thank you Jonathan for assigning McCullough’s book as I wouldn’t have had any background on that bridge or understood its importance.  My experience in New York has given me a new appreciation for its history and the part it plays in the world as a major city.  Now, I better understand why New York is considered to be the center of the world culturally, and financially to so many. 

I feel blessed to have been able to attend Boston, Philly, Chicago, and New York.  Thank you gentlemen for a job well done! 

Chester Arthur’s Grave site and Home Sweet Home

June 20, 2010

June 16, 2010

I’m glad we stopped by Chester Arthur’s grave site on the way to the airport, as it is interesting to see how different each Presidential grave site is.  In comparison with Teddy Roosevelt’s, I felt Arthur’s monument lacked the warmth and charm of the green ivy covered graves and the tall, wrought iron gates surrounding Teddy and and Edith’s graves.

Teddy and Edith Roosevelt's grave

Of course, Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s graves are right in the middle of his mother’s rose garden with their pets.

Roosevelt Rose Garden

After arriving back to Pueblo, I was amazed at how lovely the stars and cool wind seemed to me.  It was wonderful to experience New York City, and Upstate New York, but their is nothing like coming home.

Ft. Toconderoga and Saratoga

June 16, 2010

Fort Ticondroga

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

James Hughto was our guide and he gave us lots of good information about these forts.  First we watched the video Something More at Stake and we  were informed that  Saratoga was a changing point in the war.  What beautiful countryside! The lake on the way to Ticonderoga looked so inviting.  The surrounding terrain was green, with cabins here and there.   We saw a mountain with a small peak with flag poles at the top and that is Mt. Defiance where the British put their guns in 1777 campaign overlooking Ft. Ticonderoga.  At the bottom of hill is where outlet of Lake George flows to Lake Champlain.  This is where Abercrombie set up headquarters during the French and Indian War.  This assault that the British fought against Ft. Caroline is significant to the Campaign of 1777 and revolution in general.  Hughto also told us the outlet cascades through several waterfalls hence the name Carillion because the French felt cascading waterfalls sounded like a musical instrument.  To start our tour we stopped at the French lines, which are just inside the gate of Fort Ticonderoga which borders Vermont.  Mt. Defiance felt that the British would not be able to get canons up their but General Phillips said, “Where a goat can go a man can go”, and proved it by dragging to Mt. Defiance.   

      Walking around the fort was pretty awesome and being able to see Point Defiant was great.  The view of Lake Champlain was spellbinding.  

The Fort was used during the French and Indian and American Revolutionary War by the British.   After the battle at Lexintgon and Concord, The Green Mountain Boys, Benedict Arnold, and Ethan Allen forced the British to give up the fort.  Former book seller Henry Knox began moving captured cannon to Boston to provide General Washington with much needed supplies.     

       Phillip Schuyler was replaced with Horatio Gates because fort had been taken without a shot.  American’s pulled out of Fort Ticonderoga and retreated all the way to the Mohawk River and Gates in charge from there.   We followed John Burgoyne’s route to Saratoga.  Upon retreat American’s crossed bridge of boats in the night and slipped away from the British who pursued them.  The American’s did leave behind a couple of guys and cannons across the lake from Ticonderoga.  The cannon they left were given instructions to fire upon bridge of boats when British were coming. 

     The British pursued and caught straggling Americans at Hoverton, Vermont.  Hughto felt the British should have taken note of how the American’s were fighting, as they would pretend to surrender then turn on them.  The Hoverton Battle was a defeat for Americans who retreated to the Mohawk River.  Then the British main army sailed up Lake Champlain towards Whitehall.   (Vermont across the lake.)  Whitehall founded by Phillip Skein (sp?) awarded for service during the French Indian War and brought in Scotch Irish settlers named Skeinsborough after him. It was a boat manufacturing center.  Hughto informed us that the mountains to the right were the Adirondacks which are still rising, as they go up about a ¼ of an inch a year.  In the distance to left are the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Just across the lake represent the Teconic Mountains which are some of the oldest. 

     Three weeks after the battle of Lexington and Concord Ethan Allen and the green mountain boys surprised the British and took over the fort by dawn capturing Ft. Ticonderoga.  The greatest treasures were cannon and ammunitions which book seller Henry Knox managed to take overland in the winter to drive British from Boston. 

     Whitehall claims to be the birthplace of the U.S. navy where Benedict Arnold built his boats and battled Valcore Island.  The British pursed the Americans and captured wounded and sick sent to Whitehall for their safety and imprisoned them, Phillip Skein stayed for about 10 days and Americans got their act together the Great Portage between Lake Champlain and Hudson River.  22 mile stretch and takes British 22 days to move 22 miles because of all the cut down trees.

    Ft. Ann was a small fort built to guard the portage of La Portage and.  In this area Robert Rogers’s rangers would confront the French.  This was contested ground.  San Luc was a Frenchman who went native and seemed to be everywhere during the French and Indian war.  He drove Robert Rogers crazy. 

Fort Edward split by the Hudson River.  It was not a strong fort, British advance one mile a day that our bus drove along.  Once Burgoyne gets to Ft. Edward there are no more falls and he can get supplies on boats but army will march. We passed by an island where Rogers would muster his men.

 I learned today that there were two Saratoga Battles.  I did not know that.  It was also interesting to compare Arnold with Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma Bomber with Benedict Arnold who were both war heroes, but turned against their country afterward. A good comparison and one I may use in my classroom.  When my students  get to Benedict Arnold, we will discuss him, I will explain the word traitor, and possibly compare him to Timothy McVeigh. I’m sure it will be thought provoking.  I am assuming the man who put the monument up for Arnold knew him. 

Having visited Ticonderoga and Saratoga will certainly enlived classroom discussions about these battles, and allow me to teach on these subjects more effectively.  Thank you Jonathan, Scott, and Matt!