Friday, September 1, 2017

Sabbatical Trip - Part 2 - U.S. Naval Academy

Saturday, June 17, 2017. That's a reminder to me more than it is a point of reference for readers. For today, we vaulted into September. That's how it feels, anyway. August proved to be a busy month that skipped by and so I had to postpone the already way-behind vacation posts.

We spent our last day in Annapolis at the United States Naval Academy. Once you fight the narrow streets and battle your way into one of the relatively few parking places nearby, and then march the distance to the entrance, you determine that it is well worth it. The majesty of the campus is only surpassed by appreciation for those who have served in our military.

The campus sits on the Chesapeake Bay where the Severn River flows into it. The walking tour (your only choice) begins outside the visitor center and your first view is the bay. Our guide laid out the requirements for entry into the Academy and then the grueling schedule they keep once there. With their college classes and study, military training, and required athletic participation, a midshipmen (or, if you are in your first year, plebe) doesn't have much time for anything else. Upon graduation, they serve a minimum of 5 years in the Navy or Marines.

 Bancroft Hall - Dorm for all the midshipmen

All of the officers who teach or supervise live on campus
and proudly display the "Go Navy" banner which often
includes the line "Beat Army".

 Battle of Midway Memorial

 Other USNA sites

Did I mention that parking to visit the academy was a pain? Well, that proved to be a benefit in the long run. I left the tour about 20 minutes before it ended because parking is only for 2 hours. The tour is an hour and 15 minutes. The wait for a tour is about 45 minutes and, of course, there's the walk to/from the car. While searching for the ever-elusive gas station (trying to use the time well), I stumbled upon the Maryland WW2 Memorial. It is a small area in the median of an Annapolis road but the view that overlooks the academy and the bay is great.

NYC - Day 1 
NYC - Day 2 
NYC - Day 3 
NYC - Day 4a 
NYC - Day 4b 
NYC - Day 5 
NYC - Day 6 
NYC - Day 7

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sabbatical Trip Part 2 - Day 9

June 16, 2017, was our 33 anniversary. We celebrated with a late start day trip from Annapolis to Baltimore. Scott found Nick's Crab Shack for lunch and it was tasty!

This picture is included because we were
eating outdoors and Scott found my solution
to the bright sun and reading the menu quite amusing. 

The next stop was one that I was really looking forward to and requires a bit of background as to why. There are two pieces of music that nearly always bring tears to my eyes: several parts of Handel's Messiah (especially part 3) and The Star Spangled Banner. My favorite version of our national anthem is linked to the title. It's a bit different but I love it and I love the energy with which Madison Rising sings it.

Anyway, why am I so moved by the song? Because of the story behind it - a story which took place at Ft. McHenry. Every time we get to the line, "Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave", I imagine the anxiety that Francis Scott Key and the men with him must have felt waiting to see if the fort in the Chesapeake Bay was secure. Then, I imagine the relief and excitement after this very important battle for keeping our country was over.

So there, now you know. Click here for 9 things you might not know about the Star Spangled Banner at History.com. And,  Here are a few pictures:


What would make an anniversary perfect? Glad you asked - a Cardinal baseball game at Camden Yards. I know this comes as a big surprise to readers who know me, but the Cardinals happened to be on the east coast while we were. I'll save most of the details for the baseball park blog I hope to do someday, but I will tell you that Camden Yards did not disappoint. It's the 16th stadium that I've been to and it makes my top three.

 First, a view of M&T Bank Stadium
Home of the Baltimore Ravens

Even the walk from the parking lot
to the stadium was nice. 

This is Eutaw Street from inside
the stadium. It is working alive
before, during, and after the game. 

 The "Iron Man", Cal Ripken, Jr.
He played in 2632 consecutive games
His number and his statute.

  You might also recognize Babe Ruth and Jim Palmer. The Babe was born in Baltimore and first played minor league ball for the Orioles.

 Picnic area inside the park:

Waino signed quite a few autographs
before the game. I tried, but I think you
needed to be under 15 or over 80. 

Our original seats were in the outfield
but if you know me, you know we didn't
end the game there. 

 After the game, there was a little
"Rocket's red glare."

And bombs bursting in air!

Sparks were flying on this anniversary! 
(some homes have "dad jokes" - ours has "mom jokes")

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sabbatical Trip Part 2 - Day 8

Last time I posted NYC was in the rear view mirror. We moved down the New Jersey Turnpike towards Annapolis, Maryland. Have you ever heard of highway robbery? That's basically what you run into on the NJ Turnpike! As I recall, it costs nearly $40 in tolls to get to Annapolis. At the first toll bridge in NY, we had no idea that we really needed to either purchase E-Z Pass or activate it on our rental car. This would have saved time and some money (not a lot). The non-toll option would have taken us deep into Pennsylvania, another 50 miles, and an extra hour of driving. If you are back east and use Google Maps, make sure to check the options button and look at avoiding tolls in the route options.

What I did like about the route was the bridges such as the Delaware Memorial Bridge taking us from NJ into Delaware:

And the mile and half Baltimore Harbor Tunnel under the Patapsco River:

Here's the 6 second video we made for our grandsons. I thoroughly enjoyed all the bridges on our trip!

That's pretty much it for the rest of Day 7. My apologies if you feel misled from by the blog title but I did have to end Day 7 and it really wasn't part of the NYC blogging! Besides, Day 8 was mostly laundry day so there's only a few pictures. You did need to know this - on a long trip, be sure to work in one laundry day!

I was a teenager last time I was in Annapolis and this was Scott's first time there so it was mostly new to us and we were very pleasantly surprised. Our main purpose was to see the US Naval Academy and to use Maryland's capital for a base to visit a couple of places in Baltimore.

Our photos of the harbor don't do it justice but here you go anyway:

And, we ran across a marker about America's favorite Frenchman, again, the Marquis De Lafayette. Just want to keep you up on your history.

This is taken at the Maryland State House. I'm sharing Lawyer's Mall  with the first African American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall served our country as a justice from 1967 to 1991. The Maryland capital is in the background.

 The Maryland State Capital Building

 The Maryland Inn with a view of some
of the shops in the background. For some
of you who are from our area, we described
downtown Annapolis as being kind of like
St. Charles, MO, on steroids.

I loved how close to the street these old houses were. You had to be careful driving because at some of them, someone could step straight out of the house and onto the street!

That wraps of laundry day. Stay tuned for Day 9, June 16, 2017 - which happened to be our 33 anniversary.