Sunday, June 26, 2011

Last Day in DC

For our last day in DC, DH got up early and went out to take picture of the Library of Congress and the Capitol while the light was good. Here are some of this amazing pictures.

Madison Building, Library of Congress

Detail, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

Library of Congress Street Light with US Capitol in background.

Fountain, Library of Congress

United States Capitol

United States Capitol

Portico, United States Capitol

Dome, United States Capitol

Fountain with United States Capitol in the background.

Fountain detail with United States Capitol dome in the background.

United States Capitol

United States Capitol

Detail, United States Capitol

Detail, United States Capitol

Smithsonian Castle taken from Capital Hill


Flowers Gardens and Fountain

Washington Monument

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bosnian Slipper Socks

Now this is a pair of socks I can sink my needles into...

Bosnian Slipper Socks

The pattern is available in the latest edition of Knitty or on Ravelry.

Maybe tones of purple and pink...


I has taken a while for me to finish the series of posts about our trip to DC but here is the one for Baltimore.

On Saturday evening, we took the train up to Baltimore for dinner and a walk around the Inner Harbor. DH is a huge train fan and after a day of walking and going to yarn shops with me, I thought the least we could do was hop a train somewhere. We thought about going all the way to Philly but it would have required an earlier departure time and neither of us wanted to give up more time in DC.

We went straight from Penn Station to McCormick & Schmick's. Our reservation was for 7 pm and we got there about 30 minutes early so we walked over the Seven Foot Lighthouse. There was a wedding going on in the park and that was interesting to watch. I sat in the grass while DH climbed up the lighthouse for a look around. I was amazed at the number of language I heard from passersby. At least one Asian language, 2 or more Eastern European/Russian languages, and I think a little Italian. Fascinating!!!

Dinner was wonderful! We started off by telling our waiter that we were without our child that night and that we were very fast eaters so we wanted to have a slow dinner experience. So we ordered an appetizer - Lump Crab Cake, what else!?!?! - and didn't order our entrees until after we finished the appetizer. I had Sea Scallops and DH had Mahi Mahi. The scallops melted in my mouth (as they should) and they were paired with a divine lemony, buttery cream sauce. Then dessert - why not? I had mixed berries with cream. I know it is a simple dessert but I'm always excited to see it on a dessert menu because I just love it. DH had a Profiterole. What is a Profiterole you ask??? It is a flaky pastry roll, dipped in chocolate and fill with vanilla bean ice cream and served with berries.

After that dinner we needed a walk. Actually we needed to run for miles but walking was all we were going to do. DH wanted to see the USS Constellation so we strolled over to where it was docked. On the way, we passed the Aquarium. Apparently the folks in Chattanooga hired the same firm because they look identical and I think that the Baltimore Aquarium was built first. There is also a Coast Guard ship, the USCGC Taney, which is the last surviving warship of Pearl Harbor.  We had a wonderful time and then it was back to Penn Station and back to DC.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bragging on my DH's photographic talents.

My DH is an amazing photographer. He is very critical of his work but I love it. So here are pictures from our recent trip to Washington, DC and Baltimore. Enjoy and watch for an Etsy shop coming soon.

Lights not so good but the amazing architecture is still viable.

Detail of the church in the picture above.

Church across the street from our hotel.

Detail of church across of the street from our hotel.

Rectory building.

Fire House No. 7, Barracks Row.

Dream house on Capital Hill.

They don't build factories like they used to.

The walk back from Naval Yards.

I mean really - look at the detail.

Birds in Dupont Circle.

Q Street Metro Entrance at Dupont Circle.

7 foot Lighthouse at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

Domino Sugars sign at night.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Washington DC: Day 2

Really old church that DH saw when he was walking back from the hotel.
Saturday morning we got up and took the subway from Capitol South to Eastern Market. I know what you are thinking - a subway ride for just a few blocks - but we were hungry and I didn't want my DH to get too distracted by the wonderful Capitol Hill architecture. There would be time for that later. I was on a mission to go to Eastern Market and to visit a LYS called Stitch DC.

We ate breakfast at a fabulous restaurant called Ted's Bulletin. Homemade pop tarts and other breakfast pastries; adult milkshakes and good coffee (according to DH); to die for bacon and scrambled eggs; and cool decor. Perfect vacation breakfast! Then DH realized that he didn't have his wallet and we barely had enough cash to cover breakfast and tip. So back to the hotel for DH and strolling around Barracks Row for me. The LYS didn't open until 11 and I had about 30 minutes to kill. I slowly walked around Marine Barracks Row and slowly window shopped at the shops around Stitch DC. For those of you who don't know me personally, walking slowing and killing time is not something I do very well. I walk fast (like I'm running to a fire is how my dad describes it) and I hate waiting - even for a LYS to open. Finally the LYS was open and from the every beginning, it was packed. DH walked back from the hotel and got to see the architecture he wanted to and I got to slowly (I know!) walk through the shop and look at everything.

Stitch DC is owned by Marie Connolly, author of The Expectant Knitter. She is loud, opinionated and gracious - I mean all of those as compliments. She welcomes you into her shop with happiness and excitement. There are no strangers at Stitch DC. DH's walk was longer than expected and so I keep finding stuff I couldn't live without. Like...Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Cotton to make this hoodie. I splurged and got a set of addi click interchangeable bamboo needles. What a treat!!!

USS Barry
We never made it to Eastern Market because we got distracted by the Naval Yards and the Naval Museum. It was a long walk but the museum was worth it. Unlike so many military museums, the exhibits were well done and the text was actually readable. I mean a non-military person can understand it. The USS Barry is on display and other really cool military stuff. I was about a 3/4 of mile downhill to the museum so it was over a 3/4 of a mile partly uphill to the Metro stop. Thankfully there was a CVS about a block from the Metro so we could get water. We hadn't prepared for that much walking in 100 degree temperatures. Water never tasted so good!

Next we headed to Dupont Circle for LYS #2 of the day. The water and sitting on the Metro for about 15 minutes revived us. We walked through Dupont Circle. DH took some great pictures. He was trying to get a picture of me in front of the fountain and I didn't know he was try to take a picture so I keep moving around because I was trying to figure out where the LYS was in relationship to the Circle. PRIORITIES!!!  Finally he said "Stop moving!!" And he got the picture of me in front of the fountain.

Then it was off to shop and find the LYS. We stopped in a fabulous bookstore. It was called Kramerbooks. As DH said - "if we had a bookstore like this in LR, I wouldn't need to go to Barnes and Noble anymore." We judge bookstores by their history sections, transportation sections, and their Jane Austen sections. Kramerbooks got a Z+ in all three. A quick look in Ann Taylor Loft (there was a sale) and it was up the street to Looped Yarn Works.

Up a narrow stair case, we found Looped Yarn Works. What I cool big city experience that was! We never have to go to the 2nd floor to shop in Arkansas except at the mall. Of the 3 LYS I visited in DC, this was my favorite. I don't know that I can explain why but it was magical! I was like the shop I dream about owning. Comfy couches, long wood table for classes, wonderful organized yarn in white, wood cube shelves. Trendy but understated at the same time. The sales clerk was friendly and helpful but not hovering.

I walked away with some Rowan Lenpur Linen, Wolles Harmony 50 gram, FrogTree PediBoo, and a single skein of Tilli Tomas Mermaid. But my best find was this project bag.

After about 8 hours of walking, we were exhausted but we still had a night in Baltimore ahead of us. More about that in a later post... 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Washington DC: Day 1

On Friday, I left the hotel in Silver Springs and took the Metro downtown to the Library of Congress. I decided to spend the morning doing research at the LOC before heading out to Old Town Alexandria for some shopping and LYS hunting.

Madison Building at the Library of Congress
To most people the Library of Congress is the Jefferson Building, with it impressive dome and grand reading room. But the Library is actually made up of several buildings. The Breckinridge Family Papers - the collection that houses Katherine Breckinridge's letters - is part of the Manuscript Collection. The Manuscript Reading Room is located in the James Madison Building on Independence Ave. (across from the US Capitol). I spent 2 and 1/2 hours looking at some of Katherine's letters and other family members papers that I just didn't get a chance to look at when I was researching my thesis. More details about what I discovered will have to come in another post. Researching at the Library of Congress is pure joy for me. It is a rare treat these days and I enjoyed every second of it. But I didn't want to spend too much time there (I could spend weeks) because I wanted to do something non-academic as well.

Capitol South Metro Stop
So underground I went to the Metro and off to Old Town Alexandria. I love using the Metro. Maybe it is because I live in a town without a subway system and wish at times that public transportation was more usable in Little Rock. I love being able to "commute" in Dc without having to drive. I love being able to knit or read during a commute. I would get so much knitting done if I didn't have to drive myself to work each day. I know what you're thinking - if I had to do it everyday, the fun would wear off. I don't know if it would or not. But I love it when I'm there.
fibre space LYS

I had heard about Old Town Alexandria but had never been there. It seemed that on other trips to DC, I always ended up in Georgetown. But this time I was on a mission to go to fibre space. This wonderful, funky yarn shop is just a 10 minute walk from the Metro stop along the brick paved sidewalks of Old Town. The shop was everything you want in a LYS - friendly, knowledgeable staff; the perfect selection of various yarn weights, fibers and colors. Local yarns were identified with special tags and all yarns were labeled on the shelf as well as the skein. They had yarns and patterns that I had heard of but never touched/seen before. Like Spud & Chole. And Mirasol. They had t-shirts and tote bags for sale with the shop logo. And if you spent a certain amount, you got a free drawstring bag. Don't know what the amount was but I spent it because I got a bag. The shop was wonderfully merchandised and there were 3 or 4 knitters sitting and knitting in the front of the shop (in the middle of the day on Friday!)

I ended up with a long sleeve t-shirt (the short sleeve looked like the sleeves were super short), a couple of small muslin project bags (LOVE!) and a package of new Hiya-Hiya darning needles. As for yarn, I snatched up some Mirasol  Lachiwa and Sweet Georgia. The store clerks encouraged me to stay and sit and knit but I was hungry and looking for lunch. The clerks and the customers recommended a number of places but I ended up at a Lebanese place called Layla's. I had a wonderful Chicken Shawarma Sandwich and a glass of wine (yes, at lunch in the middle of the day). After lunch I started back toward the Metro - shopping along the way. I was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

Then it was back on the Metro and up to Maryland to get my DH from his training sessions. We took a taxi to our hotel - the Capital Hill Suites. If you are looking for a wonderful hotel in the heart of the District but don't want to feel like a tourist, then Capital Hill Suites is for you. It is my favorite hotel in all of DC and it is tucked in a residential area just a block off Independence Ave. and next door to the Library of Congress. A change of clothes and we were off to Georgia Brown's. DH made reservations and we were seated immediately. Skirt steak with home fries and spinach - delicious!!! DH had Rainbow Trout and you couldn't see the trout for all the shrimp on top. Dessert was Key Lime Pie for me and Pecan Pie (really Chocolate Pecan Pie) for DH. After that meal we needed to walk some of those calories off, so across Lafayette Square and to the White House. In all my trips to DC, I had never been to the White House. Tourists everywhere and 3 Libyans, holding Libyan flags, silently asking President Obama to help. It was a surreal scene.

A walk back to the hotel and rest for the day to come.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wonderful Washington DC

On Thursday I flew to Washington DC to spend the weekend with DH. It was a fabulous three day trip in one of my favorite cities. We ate some fantastic food, visited the newly remodeled Museum of American History, rode the Metro, walked for hours, rode the train to Baltimore, ate some more, visited the Navy Museum at the Naval Ship Yards, scrolled along King Street in Old Town Alexandra, and visited 3 LYS.

More details in upcoming posts...

Where was Hazelwood????

Here is one of the frustrating things about my chosen professional. Without a time machine, some pieces of the historical puzzle are lost to time. Hazelwood, the estate of James Lees and his wife, Susanna Preston Lees, seems to be one of those puzzle pieces.

Let me fill in the blanks...

When Federal troops crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana in 1863, the Carson family of Airlie Plantation headed west to Tyler, Texas. Once in the Piney Woods of eastern Texas, Catherine Waller Carson feared for the safety of her only daughter and sent Katherine Breckinridge Carson to live with her aunt, Susanna Preston Waller Lees. Most of the letters between mother and daughter are addressed very simply - Katherine Carson, Hazelwood, New York or Katherine Carson, Hazelwood, High Bridge, New York.

So I'm have been on a mission off and on for 10 years to find the location of Hazelwood (and I would really hit the jackpot if I find a drawing or photograph of the house).

I know that High Bridge refers to the area around the High Bridge Aqueduct in the borough of modern-day Bronx. I have located the Lees in the 1860 and 1870 Census and they are listed as living in the township of West Farms in the county of Westchester, New York. In 1860 the Post Office is listed as Mount Vernon and in 1870 the Post Office is listed at Tremont. In the 1900 Census, Susanna Preston Lees is listed as a widow and the township is listed as the Borough of the Bronx. She died two years later and I can't find the death record of James Lees.

Where is Hazelwood? This was not a small wood frame house. Accounts in letters, diaries, and journals describe a grand estate with outbuildings and land. Katherine describes her memories of Hazelwood as an ideal place to grow up. Census data records gardeners and servants with their own households tied to the Lees Family. The New York City Public Library has maps including Sanborn maps of the area for the 1900 period but without a better understanding of the geography, I could spend weeks searching. The New York City Public Library also has some photographs of other house in the neighborhood and they are grand in the Gilded Age style.

The search continues...