Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pittsburgh's Toonseum

It's a catchy name for it -- and I had high hopes of spending an afternoon exploring the history of cartoons and comics, and seeing some quirky examples from years past and perhaps an exploration of how cartoons and comics have evolved. Plus the art form -- going from black and white to color, where and how they were published, and so on.

So, no. That's not what the Toonseum is all about.



It's a bad sign that the admissions dude also "gives you a tour," only it's to explain, almost apologetically I thought, that there are "political cartoons" in this room (and only from the current election debacle) and that the Captain America exhibit is "not that door, but the next."



Ummm, okay. So it's not a large museum. Two rooms. Which is as they claim: the Toonseum is a boutique museum, which is "quite small." My fault for not reading through that and giving myself false expectations. They called it as it is: a boutique museum with rotating exhibits. And once you accept that, then it's easier to enjoy the Toonseum for what it does offer: an exploration of different topics.



The "This Campaign is Yuuuge!" exhibit, featuring the "top political cartoonists" insight and humor about, mostly, Hillary Clinton and the Donald, runs through August 28. I enjoyed the political cartoons -- almost all of which I hadn't seen before -- and I chuckled a few times as I moved through the exhibit.





The museum's second exhibit focused on Captain America: 75 Years of the Sentinel of Liberty," which examined some original comic art "and ephemera" celebrating America's first Avenger.



I note, sadly, that there will be an upcoming exhibit that almost hits what I was looking for -- it's entitled, "Draw Me! The Art of the Cartooning Schools," billed as an "historical exploration of a century of cartooning schools and instruction courses." This exhibit will run from August 20 - October 23.



Also coming up is "To Boldly Go: The Graphic Art of Star Trek," celebrating 50 years of voyages with the crew of the Starship Enterprise on the comic pages. This exhibit runs from October 28 to January 15. As a longtime Trekkie, I am also disappointed that I'll miss this exhibit. I may have to go back.

Getting there: Do you still want to? Okay, it's located at 945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.

Hours: Closed most major holidays ( New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence
Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day); otherwise, open Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.

Website: www.toonseum.org

If you enjoyed this post, go to this page to keep exploring all the other interesting places the Blog has visited! And share the Blog with others!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Gotta Catch Them All: 11 Best Places to Play Pokemon Go



With multiple Pokéstops and Pokégyms, 1. Columbia's four lakes in Howard County, MD, offer Pokémon Go players great game play in a pleasant, shaded setting that belies its urban location. Proximity to water also ensures you'll catch plenty of magikarp as you collect what you need to evolve a gyarados.



2. Downtown Pittsburgh has hundreds of Pokéstops to check out, as well as its fair share of Pokégyms, and quite a few near enough to one of the rivers to catch the desired magikarp. With very walkable streets, often leading down to the Three Rivers Historic Trail that line both sides of all three rivers, Pittsburgh offers a great location to play Pokémon Go. On the opposite side of the state, 3. Philadelphia likewise offers hundreds of Pokéstops and Pokégyms!


4. Historic Ellicott City, MD offers 30 plus Pokéstops and several Pokégyms along its very walkable mile-long main street. With the Patapsco River running through it, you'll find quite a few of the coveted magikarps along the way! Because there are antiques and boutique stores, family members who aren't into the game will find lots to interest them, making it fun for everyone. While you're there, be sure to check out one of the fine restaurants that line main street!



Almost every monument is a Pokéstop or Pokégym, making 5. Gettysburg National Battlefield one of the best places to go if you need to farm for Pokéballs or other game items. Throw up a lure, settle yourself down in this pleasant historic setting, activate an incense, and farm for Pokémon! Whether you bike, hike, or drive the Battlefield, please maintain awareness of other visitors, as this is one of the more crowded locations, and most of the other visitors there WON'T be farming Pokémon. Be considerate of others visiting the Battlefield, and remember, this is Hallowed Ground.



Ingress players have long acknowledged cemeteries as fine places to go play the game, and there's no reason you can't do so respectfully! 6. Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery, 7. Baltimore's Loudon Park Cemetery and 8. Green Mount Cemetery, 9. Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery, and Sleepy Hollow, NY's famous 10. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery all offer many Pokéstops and Pokégyms for the adventurous Pokémon Go player. All these cemeteries were created in the Victorian tradition of park-like cemeteries, where families could go spend the afternoon or picnic in a picturesque and natural setting, contemplating nature's beauty amidst reminders of life's certain ending.

These places were meant to be visited and enjoyed by the living, regardless of whether you had a loved one interred there. So go, enjoy, and play -- respectfully, of course. If there are funerals or folks visiting their loved ones, head in the opposite direction, and keep your voices low. Keep in mind, many cemeteries' gates lock in the evenings -- so around 4 p.m., be mindful of the time so you don't get locked in. Based on my experience so far, collecting pokémon in a cemetery is no assurance you'll collect "ghastly" pokémon!



11. Baltimore's Waterfront Promenade is one of the best places to go catch them all -- with a variety of Pokémon appearing, including the much desired magikarps! The five-mile walk will give you and your pooch some excellent exercise. Great views of the harbor plus numerous restaurants and other sightseeing possibilities make this one of the best destinations to play and enjoy.



If you enjoyed this post, go to this page to keep exploring all the other interesting places the Blog has visited! And share the Blog with others!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Baltimore's Waterfront Promenade




My friend suggested Baltimore's Waterfront Promenade as a daytrip destination earlier this year, and we'd been waiting for a weekend which we both had some free time to go explore it in its entirety -- or almost in its entirety. I am still amazed that I can live within minutes of some of these daytrip destinations and not have heard about them except by chance -- how much of our own neighborhoods go unexplored?



The Waterfront Promenade is a paved walkway that hugs nearly seven miles of the waterline of the Inner Harbor from Fort McHenry to the Canton Waterfront Park. We walked approximately 4.7 miles of it one Saturday morning, encountering not just sweeping views of the Inner Harbor, but also farmers markets and quaint streets in Fells Point, where construction on the waterfront forced us to head inland for a block or two -- well worth the minor detour because it led us past some coffee joints.



We started at the Korean War Memorial, heading west toward the touristy part of the Inner Harbor, and ended our walk at the Rusty Scupper, where we picked up the water taxi, which took us back to Fells Point, where we transferred from the yellow to the blue line, and were dropped off at the Korean War Memorial.



The Promenade began in the early 1970s as a 35-foot wide brick walkway at the current site of Harborplace, part of long-range plans to develop the Inner Harbor. Since then, the Promenade has been extended both east and west as the harbor has been developed. Although not all 7 miles are contiguous, nearly 5 miles of it is. You'll encounter joggers, dog walkers, local residents out for a stroll, and of course tourists -- but you'll encounter almost no bikers, because bikes aren't allowed on the Promenade.



As a dedicated bicyclist, I was at first saddened at the biking prohibition, but then realized it really made it more relaxing to walk, in part because it is such a busy trail. But the crowds aren't unreasonable -- at least not at 8 to noon on a Saturday. It was pleasant, and the views lovely. You could see remnants of the Inner Harbor's industrial past despite all the gentrification and the million-dollar condos and townhomes.



The Domino Sugar Factory still is a presence on the harbor and can be seen from multiple perspectives during the walk.



There is limited parking at the Korean War Memorial -- still plenty there even at 12:30 when we finally returned to our car. In Canton, it's well away from the crowded Inner Harbor area, where parking garages charge a small fortune for a few hours parking.



Over the past couple of decades, the Canton neighborhood has transformed from neglected industrial waterfront to marinas and expensive waterfront townhomes and condos. Despite the urban setting, I was startled but happy to see several grey heron during our walk, as well as a plethora of mallard ducks and Canada geese. We also saw cormorants, which I hadn't expected in such an industrial or urban setting.



At just over 1 and a half miles, we came to Fells Point. Dating back to 1670, it's one of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods. It became incorporated as its own town in 1763, but formally joined Baltimore just 10 years later. Be sure to keep looking behind you because the lovely golden onion domes of St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church can be easily spotted.



Soon, we rounded a corner and Baltimore's financial district came into view.



If you aren't into "just" walking and prefer to also do some more serious sightseeing, the Waterfront Promenade offers many different opportunities. Tour the Seven Knolls Lighthouse or visit the USCG Cutter Taney, the only remaining survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, sitting in the water to the right of the promenade.



There are the more famous attractions, such as the National Aquarium or the Baltimore Public Works Museum, the child-friendly Science Museum, but you could also venture up to the 27th floor of the pentagonal World Trade Center for an unmatched view of the harbor and Baltimore's skyline.





















Ultimately, walking most of the length of the Waterfront Promenade revealed a side of Baltimore that we tend to overlook -- that Baltimore began, rather humbly, as a busy colonial port.



Know before you go: A map of the Promenade route is available in PDF format on the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore website. The seven-mile walkway is not fully contiguous; in particular, several sections on the west side of the harbor are disconnected. Also, the Promenade isn’t entirely paved with brick. Stretches on the east side consist of boardwalk. All sections of the promenade are easily accessible by foot or wheelchair, but no bicycles are allowed.

Getting there: We found ample parking on a Saturday morning adjacent Canton Waterfront Park. 3001 Boston Street, Baltimore.

Dogs: A perfect trail for happy tails!

If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends on Facebook!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Four Lakes in Columbia



Maryland has no natural lakes. Thus, to find a place with several lakes that look completely natural, with many lovely scenes, and walking paths so you can enjoy the scenery, is a wonderful discovery. Over the years, I've enjoyed Columbia's lakes throughout the seasons.

If you're a fan of the new and popular Pokémon Go, these lakes offer multiple Pokéstops and Pokégyms; because the paths wind closely to the water, you'll also find many, many magikarp.


I've lived in Howard County, MD, for more than two decades. It's the lakes that keep me here. I realized recently that these lakes, which yes, I do take for granted, might themselves be a worthy day trip destination. Like Patapsco Valley State Park, I visit the lakes often, multiple times a month. Early morning and after dinner are my favorite times to visit -- inevitably we'll see herons and Canada geese. At Centennial lake, it's likely we'll see deer and fox as well. Columbia's bike paths connect all the lakes, an example of the genus of James Rouse, founder of Columbia.



In fact, one of my favorite lakes for a morning or evening stroll is Centennial Lake.  Located within, and anchoring, a 337-acre park, at 54-acres, this is one of the largest local lakes. Like Columbia's other lakes, Centennial is man-made, secured by an earthen dam, but it has become home to a variety of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, beavers, foxes, turtles, herons, and other bird species.



As with all the lakes, you can walk, run or bike the 2.6-mile paved pathway that meanders around the lake, and you can rent kayaks or paddle-boats to go out on the lake itself. It's where I introduced my family to kayaking and had to yell at my youngest who was intent on chasing the Canada geese -- by kayak! As with most urban parks, you're never quite alone. But a walk around the lake will tire out a beagle and help you feel at one with your world again. Multiple pavilions offer sheltered picnicking and grilling, making this one of the most popular destinations in the area. In addition, a simple refreshment stand offers a variety of sandwiches, drinks and ice-creams, with picnic tables where you can enjoy the view of the lake while you dine.

Getting there: 10000 Route 108.  Ellicott City, MD 21042



Lake Elkhorn is my favorite of Columbia's lakes and this is where we'll head most often, including this morning (tired beagles are happy beagles and even happier owners!). This 37-acre lake was built by the Columbia Association in 1974, and has a watershed of about 2,500 acres. The path around Lake Elkhorn is two miles, and is likewise popular with bicyclists, dog walkers, joggers and runners, and those who simply want to stroll; as you circle the lake, different perspectives of the lake and opposing shore come into view, providing constant interest. Along with the typical song birds, I've often seen heron and on several occasions through the years, orioles of the bird variety, not the fans or baseball players.

As with the other lakes, it is stocked with trout each spring, and it's likely you'll encounter folks fishing. A convenient boat dock allows for quiet relaxation on the lake, although unfortunately, there are no kayak rentals at this lake. Although homes line the shores, there's usually a wooded buffer, so for most of the walk it feels as if you're away from the hustle and bustle of it all, a green oasis in the midst of suburbia.

Getting there: 6800 Cradlerock Way,  Columbia, MD 21046



Lake Kittamaqundi, in Columbia Town Center, is a 27-acre man-made lake. Its name, taken from the first recorded Native American settlement in Howard County, means “meeting place.” The lake features a boathouse with a wooden pier and a launching ramp along its western shore. Nomanizan Island, located in Lake Kittamaqundi, can be reached by boat and is a popular gathering spot.

After a nice walk around this lake, visit one of Columbia's lakeside restaurants for a tasty meal and to watch the boaters out on the water.

Getting there: 10221 Wincopin Circle,  Columbia, MD 21044



Where Wilde Lake is now was originally a low-lying meadow of rough grass featuring a small stream, until Columbia's founder came along and decided that, yeah, the place could use another lake! As with Lake Elkhorn, this lake is created by a dam, which stands 15 feet high and 200 feet wide with the dam face constructed of four poured concrete steps, embedded with logs to achieve a sort of beauty with the cascading water.

Wilde Lake flows downstream into Lake Kittamaqundi. The path around Wilde Lake is 1.46 miles; and ironically, given it's name, this lake is the least wild of all four lakes -- you walk along the lake, next to condos, apartments, townhouses, and single family homes, all well cared for and lovely, with carefully tended landscaping and hanging baskets of flowers. You're right next to the heart of Columbia, the epitome of suburbia, but you're walking through a lovely, quiet neighborhood. Such is the genus of James Rouse, founder of Columbia.

Getting there: Parking can be accessed off Hyla Brook Road in The Birches neighborhood off Little Patuxent Parkway.



Hours: Dawn through dusk.

Dogs: Practically mandatory!

If you enjoy this blog, please share it with your friends on FB!




Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Battle That Saved D.C.

True confession: Not only had I grown up in Frederick, MD, without ever going to see the Monocacy National Battlefield Park, which is a scant 9 miles south of Frederick, but I'd grown up without even knowing it had taken place.



To be fair to the local school system, I'm an Army brat, and had spent two years in high school in Panama. My American history teacher there pronounced state names such as Missouri and Louisiana like "Mizura" and "Loosiana." We heard a lot about Southern generals' victories. I came out of his class with the faint impression that the South had somehow pulled out the victory, which never made much sense to me, but then again, I wasn't an A student in history. It wasn't until adulthood that I connected Sherman's devastating March to the Sea with Southern defeat. My history teacher despised Sherman more than he despised Hitler. But we never made it to Hitler and World War II during U.S. History. For him, the Civil War still raged on in the tender grounds of his students' minds.

Thus it was with a bit of a shock that I learned about the Battle of Monocacy during a tour of Mount Olivet Cemetery two years ago (Confederate soldiers are buried there). I determined that I really needed to visit the battlefield.

It was called the Battle that Saved Washington DC. Otherwise, the Battle of Monocacy was another confrontation which the North lost.

In June and July 1864, General Grant's forces had General Lee's army under siege at Petersburg, VA. In an attempt to divert Union forces away, Lee sent Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early's north through the Shenandoah valley, with the bold plan to attack Washington, DC and liberate Confederate prisoners of war being held by the Union at Point Lookout, MD.

The Best farmhouse.


Union Major General Lew Wallace, commander of the Middle Department headquartered in Baltimore became aware of the Confederate advance. Wallace advanced to Monocacy Junction in the early hours of July 5. His job was threefold: determine Early's objective, determine Early's strength, and delay Early's advance long enough for reinforcements to arrive via ship from Petersburg.

On Saturday, July 9, about 6,800 Union soldiers were positioned at the bridges and fords of the Monocacy River. The higher elevation of the river's east bank formed a natural breastwork for some of the men, while others occupied the two block-houses and trenches dug near the bridges.The Confederates marched down from the north, and occupied the farm on the west bank, the Best Farm.



The driving tour takes you first to several stops around the battlefield, which took place over several local farms: the Best Farm, where the Confederates initially engaged the Union troops, then the Worthington and Thomas Farms on the east bank. You learn about the impact of the battle on local families and their slaves. You also get a little sense of the area's earlier history. On the Best Farm, there's archeological evidence of an earlier slave village when the farm had different owners, a family of French planters, the Vincendieres, who had fled from unrest in the colony of Saint-Domingue (now known as Haiti). They had a large population of slaves on the farm; contemporary accounts indicate the enslaved individuals were treated cruelly. 

Eventually, the Union troops were pushed over the river, over the covered bridge, which they burned behind them, and the nearby railroad bridge. The Confederates were able to ford the river and the battle continued. Union troops rebuffed the Confederates over several attempts to push them further from the river, but eventually the Southern troops, superior in number, prevailed. Those skirmishes took place on the Thomas and Worthington farms.

The Thomas farm house.
The battle was the northernmost Confederate victory of the war. Wallace's troops retreated to Baltimore, while the Confederates continued toward Washington, DC, but the battle at Monocacy had delayed Early's march for a day, allowing time for Union reinforcements to arrive and protect the capitol. Thus, it was a strategic win for the North -- Wallace had met his objectives. The Confederate attack on Washington on July 12 was unsuccessful and they eventually retreated to Virginia.

The Worthington farmhouse. The farms are set in lovely rolling countryside.
A few weeks ago, my sister and mother, who both live in Frederick, took advantage of an open house to tour the Best family farmhouse. They shared their photos of the inside. Several years ago, the park was given funding to renovate the house -- the goal is to return it to the way it looked on 9 July 1864. When they started examining the house to plan the restoration, they discovered it was riddled with termites. Stabilizing the house took up all the available funding, indefinitely delaying the restoration.




On Saturday, July 16, 2016, you have the opportunity to tour the Worthington House and look through the window where Glenn Worthington watched the battle. And on Saturday, August 20, tour the Thomas House, site of the heaviest fighting during the battle. Check out the battle scars during your tour.

Know before you go #1: At the visitor's center there are three excellent little brochures for sale; you'll only spend 3 bucks. Published by the National Park Service, "Thomas Farm," "Best Farm," and "Battlefield Trails: Battle of Monocacy Walking Tours," provide detailed explanations of the two major farm battlefields and walking tours.

Know before you go #2: Armed with the brochures, you can easily spend at least a half day exploring the battlefields, so leave yourself enough time to really explore.

Getting there: 5201 Urbana Pike, Frederick, MD 21704

Dogs: Yes for the walks, but no for the exhibits and battle explanation in the visitors center, which you really shouldn't skip.

Hours: 8:30 am - 5 pm

Website: http://www.nps.gov/mono/index.htm

If you enjoyed this post, go to this page to keep exploring all the other interesting places the Blog has visited! And share the Blog with others!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

The railroad bridge over the Monocacy River, where intense fighting occurred during the battle.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Washington's Crossing

Beginning in May 2016, I started running a series of nine posts about Bucks County and New Hope. This is the third installment of this series. To read other posts about destinations and attractions in Bucks County, click on the "Bucks County" label at the bottom of this post.

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, 1851.

Washington's Crossing State Park, in Buck's County, PA, is a park in two parts -- one where the crossing itself occurred, and another part -- just as, if not even more interesting, just up the road. The park commemorates the famous Crossing as the turning point of the American Revolution.



Boiled down, on the night of December 25, 1776, General George Washington and a small army of 2,400 men crossed the Delaware River at McConkey's Ferry, on their way to attack a Hessian garrison of 1,500 in Trenton, NJ. The crossing was a desperate act made by a desperate general: the Continental Army had suffered devastating defeats in New York and New Jersey prior. Morale was the lowest it had ever been during the American Revolution, and the crossing and the subsequent victory at Trenton renewed hope among the Continental Army, Congress and the colonists. Later, at the Battle of Trenton, they were able to force the Hessian soldiers to surrender, without any American casualties, essentially turning the tide of war to favor the Americans.

Taylorsville Houses: These 19th century buildings were built by different members of the Taylor family as
their own residences or to rent to trades and craftsmen. Many 19th-century country villages and towns \

also had general stores that sold a wide array of merchandise.
Not surprisingly, there was a who's who of American history crossing the Delaware River that fateful night. Two future Presidents: George Washington, of course, and James Monroe, and one future Vice President: Aaron Burr. There also was a future Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall; a future Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and a future Secretary of War, Henry Knox.

The stately home is the Mahlon Taylor House, and demonstrates Taylor’s successful career as a merchant and entrepreneur. The house is a fine example of the degree to which the fashions and refinement of upper-class Philadelphians were beginning to influence rural Pennsylvania. Built in 1816-17, the house epitomized Taylor’s success.


Start your visit in the lower park at the visitors center. It features a small exhibition with some Revolutionary war artifacts, and an original letter written by George Washington while in the Mckonkey's Ferry Inn. Spring for the ticket for both tours -- a bargain for $11. When we were there our tour guide was a gentleman who'd grown up in a house (now gone) right next to the barn housing the Durham boats. A well-read and thoughtful history buff as well as park docent, he answered our many questions (I know, sadly, very little about the Revolutionary War, although ask me a question about the Civil War and I'd probably have the answer...).

McConkey's Ferry Inn


McConkey's Ferry Inn, at the site of Washington's Crossing, is an interesting building. The Baker family built the first ferry on this site, one of many Delaware River ferry sites in Bucks County. The Bakers sold the ferry business to Samuel McConkey, who was the owner in 1776. During the Continental army’s stay in Bucks County in December 1776, the inn and the nearby ferry launch site were closely guarded by the troops. At McConkey’s Ferry on December 25, 1776, Washington wrote to Colonel Cadwalader, “I am determined as the night is favorable to cross the River . . .”




The lower park includes 13 historic buildings including McConkey's Ferry Inn, where General George Washington and his aides ate dinner and made plans prior to the crossing. Among the historic buildings is a 20th-century barn that houses five replica Durham Boats. Durham boats were large, open boats that were used to transport pig iron along the Delaware River at the time of the Revolution and these boats, along with the ferries and others, were used to transport soldiers, horses, and equipment across the river on the night of December 25–26, 1776.

After you tour the buildings, including McConkey's Ferry Inn, around the lower park, drive the 4.5 miles north on Route 32 to visit the upper park and tour the wonderful Thompson-Neely House, pay your respects to the fallen soldiers buried nearby, and go up Bowman's Hill Tower, which marks where Washington's troops were supposed to have kept a lookout on British troops' movements.

The Thompson-Neely House, was used as a military hospital during Washington's encampment in the area, and the graves of an estimated 40 to 60 soldiers who died there. Unfortunately it was raining -- and raining hard -- when we visited, so we did not go pay our respects to these brave men.



The Thompson-Neely House was probably my favorite part of the park. It's pretty typical of colonial construction--a farm house added onto over the years, starting first with a low, single room building (although it's likely it had a loft), then as additions were added, the house grew.



On the National Register of Historic Places, The Thompson-Neely House is a fine example of middle-class 18th-century architecture. Its expansion from a low, one-room dwelling to a two-story, multi-roomed farmhouse reflects the growth of colonial Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy and the prosperity enjoyed by those who milled grain into flour for export. The second owner of the property, Quaker miller John Simpson, constructed the original central section of this house about 1740, as well as a gristmill along Pidcock Creek. At the time of his death in 1747, Simpson was a prosperous farmer with an interest in a sawmill besides his other holdings. His widow, Hannah, married Scots-Irish miller Robert Thompson in 1748, whose farming and milling businesses on the property made him one of the wealthiest men in Solebury Township by 1761.



The exact location of the graves is unknown, though they were partially unearthed during the construction of the nearby Delaware Canal in the early 19th century and during other nearby construction projects. Presently there are 23 memorial headstones as a reminder that the area is a gravesite.

While you're touring the lower park, consider stopping by for dinner at the lovely Washington's Crossing Inn, a restaurant offering traditional American fare, served among fireplaces or on the patio at this preserved 1817 home. You can expect entrees such as the Washington Crossing Mixed Grill, a combination of grilled rosemary lamb chops, mesquite honey spare ribs, beef filet medallions served with fries and summer slaw; salmon with lemon caper sauce served with asparagus, mashed potatoes, and caper popcorn, or chicken schnitzel -- thinly pounded and panko-breaded chicken breast, served with mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach and lemon caper sauce. We enjoyed both the dinner (delicious!!) as well as the lovely surroundings.




Getting there: The park visitor's center is located at 1112 River Rd, Washington Crossing, PA 18977; the Thomas-McNeely house is located 4.5 miles north of the visitors center on River Road/Rt 32. Washington's Crossing Inn is located at General Washington Memorial Blvd, Washington Crossing, PA 18977.

Dogs: Park yes, buildings no, restaurant no.

Hours: The park's visitor's center is open every day, 10 am – 5 pm; the park provides tours 7 days a week, 10-4, seasonally -- check in at the visitor's center for more information. Please call ahead to be sure that the tower and Thompson Neely House are open. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk for free self-guided tours. Check the Washington's Crossing Inn's website for hours and to make reservations.



Websites: Washington's Crossing Historic Park -- http://www.washingtoncrossingpark.org/; Washington's Crossing Inn -- http://washingtoncrossinginn.com/.

If you enjoy this blog, please tell your friends about it!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger!