You can’t go home again, or can you?

A "Leisurely" Drive
A “Leisurely” Drive (Photo credit: Cayusa)

We made a pointless trip over to Alexandria today, my goal to visit the Eldercrafter store, only to discover it is no more.  I don’t know the cause, but suspect high rent drove it out of business.  Alexandria is a pricey part of the world.

Frustrated, I asked David to drive out Fort Hunt Road which takes us past Mount Vernon Plantation, Woodlawn Plantation, and the Pope-Leighy house, as well as Gunston Hall. Mount Vernon was George Washington’s primary residence; Woodlawn, given to his stepson

Correction, Robert E. Lee married Mary Anna Randolph Custis (1808–73), great-granddaughter of Martha Washington by her first husband Daniel Parke Custis;

The Pope-Leighy House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was moved to VA to save from destruction; and Gunston Hall the home of George Mason, author of the Fairfax Resolves, basis of the Virginia Bill of Rights and a model for the US Bill of Rights.

Now if that isn’t enough history for you, we also passed Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home, Washington’s distillery and grist mill, several of his farms (he was a huge land owner) and several colonial era Georgian style Episcopal churches which claim Washington served on the vestry.

I could go on (honestly) but unless you are a real history buff, you would be comatose when I finished.

Amazingly, these protected sites are still intact and most of them better maintained than some modern inhabited housing. What has changed to the point I can barely make my way around anymore, is the terrain, including housing, roads and rail lines, schools, shops, etc.  Yes, much has changed, and the local vegetation is very sad.

Of course, you say, it’s winter and what do you expect? Winter is the time to be in urban areas with the brightly colored lights.

At the end of our fruitless venture, after we passed under and though the Springfield Exchange where I-95 and the Capital Beltway intersect in an amazing network of roads suspended in midair that make the Meadowlands* in North New Jersey look rural, we found our way back home on far less stressful back routes.  We were one step ahead of the Rush Hour Traffic, madly dashing out to the areas we had left..

* Jersey residents will recognize this marshland just outside New York City.

Sentinel - NJ Meadowlands
NJ Meadowlands with Empire State Building in the distance.  (Photo credit: samenstelling)

13 thoughts on “You can’t go home again, or can you?

  1. I love all the history around DC. I spent a semester there in college, and used to visit all the time when my sister lived there. But I avoid the place now; the traffic is just too terrifying (not that the New Jersey Turnpike is any picnic!)

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  2. Just out of curiosity ( because I wasn’t familiar with Eldercraft) I googled and found they have a website where they explain the reason for their closure. Yes rent prices seem to be the culprit. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the history/ historical significance of the real estate in your area?
    Oh and the ‘stuff’ used in the ‘Crossing the line’ ceremony was uncooked coloured meringue.
    Take care
    Cathy

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  3. I think we’ve been to Mt. Vernon a long time ago. I’d really like to see it again because I can hardly remember it and probably confuse it with Monticello. Robert E. Lee was married to Washington’s step daughter? Amazing!

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  4. Well, of course being from the Pacific Northwest originally, where a 100-year-old farm gets special attention, we would be (and have been ) absolutely astounded to drive by the kind of historical homes and churches that you mention. Yours is an area that we MUST visit. So many places ….

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  5. That’s a lot of history and some of us really appreciate you writing it. It’s a gift to appreciate what’s right under your nose, many of us don’t.

    I’m reminded of a time when I was working in center city Philadelphia in my younger years. I was returning from lunch with some of my co-workers when I suddenly stopped to look around. I had realized we were right in the middle of the square at Independence Hall. The others walked on, but I wanted to bask in it for a moment. This was where the founders walked and gathered as they prepared our country to move forward. Awesome.

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