Mary Todd Lincoln, Lexington, Ky

Day 786house

     The Mary Todd Lincoln house opened on June 9, 1977 and is the first house museum to honor a First Lady of the United States. Born in Lexington on December 13, 1818, Mary lived here from age 13 to age 20.

     The house was built in 1806 as an inn and tavern, which was called “The Sign of the Green Tree”, before it’s purchased by the Todd family. The family moved into the elegant 14-room three-story home, located on Main Street in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1832. Mary Todd lived in this home until 1839, when she moved to Springfield, Illinois to live with her sister, fall in love, and married some lawyer there. She was 23 years old and he was 33. 

     Although wife of the Union president, more than half of her siblings supported and served in the Confederacy.mirror table

     This house was uniquely interesting because it had some original items from when Mary lived here, as well as items from when she lived in the White House. For example Lincoln’s lounge chair:lincoln lounge

     Dish ware from the White House:dishes

     Lincoln’s writing desk. Those are mirrors to reflect the candlelight:writing table

     Mary’s teapot:teapot

     Down the street from Mary’s house was the Kentucky Horse Park, which gave tribute to all the great names in the horse racing industry. Fortunately, I was there just in time to prevent the statues from escaping: stopping horses

Lexington Horse Park, Kentucky

Day 785duck

     Lamon Vanderburgh Harkness, one of the largest stockholders in Standard Oil, was born January 6, 1850, in Bellevue, Ohio. In 1891 he bought Walnut Hall Farm, here in Kentucky, and began a successful breeding stable. The farm became one of the best-known Standardbred farms in the world. Heirs ran the farm until 1972 when they sold it to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to become the Kentucky Horse Park on September 7, 1978.

     The purpose of the Kentucky Horse Park was to educate the public on Kentucky Horses and a place for retired champion horses to live. We visited the park, where we got the red carpet

     We saw various breeds of horses in a demonstration of their characteristics.horses

     Learned about draft horses,draft

     and took a ride through the park.mirror

     The park has their own Mounted Police.cop

     Barbara has tea in a Bedouin camp with their Arabian horse.bedouin

     It appears I am 17 1/4 hands high.hands

     Barbara gets standing ovation with her horse, beauty.Bd on horse

     Their are numerous retired racing champions at the park. We saw a few, including Funny Cide who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2003, and the Breeder’s Cup in 2004.cide

     Funny Cide has something to say to you:tounge

     See you on the shoe


Buffalo Trace Distillery, Lexington, Ky

Day 784

     For you fine liquor fans, what is the oldest continuously-operating distillery in the United States? Since I am in Kentucky, you can surmise it is here.  They also claim that within the last decade they have won more awards than any other distillery IN THE WORLD. 1sign

     Long before there was a Frankfort, or a Lexington, this particular area was part of a major path of migration for buffalo. It was here that their trail (or “trace”) crossed a shallow part of the Kentucky River. This was a good location for settlement, which is what Hancock McAfee and Willis Lee established in 1775, where they began distillation. 

     The first distillery was constructed in 1812 by Harrison Blanton. In 1870 the distillery was purchased by Edmund H. Taylor and given its first name, the Old Fire Copper (O.F.C.) Distillery, which you can see on various buildings.1ofc

     The distillery had been sold and resold numerous times. During Prohibition, the distillery was allowed to remain operational, in order to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes”. In June 1999, under new owners, the distillery changed it’s name to Buffalo Trace to rebrand it’s products and expand it’s marketing. 1window

     Warehouse C was built in 1885 and has 5 floors. The taste of the whisky is altered by which floor it is on. The lower floors are cooler than the upper. This warehouse holds 24,000 barrels. 1barrels

    Another building housed the site for the bottling of their premium small batch bourbons and whiskies. Today, they were bottling Blanton’s single barrel bourbon. Each step of the bottling process is carried out by hand. 1bottling

     Barbara bent her elbow at the tasting bar. She gets double, since I don’t drink. They did have Rebecca-Ruth Bourbon Balls, which I did eat (we also visited her factory earlier, but they did not allow pictures).1tasting

Frankfort, Kentucky

Day 783seal

     Originally a part of Virginia, Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union on June 1, 1792 . Officially, it is the Commonwealth of Kentucky. There are 3 other commonwealths: Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. The term has no particular significance in its meaning and was chosen to emphasize the State is governed by the populace. Kentucky is known as the “Bluegrass State,” although I did not see any. Capitol

     We visited Frankfort, the Capital of Kentucky. The Capitol Building, appears ordinary on the outside, but the inside was impressive. Inside capital

     The law library had a coffin formed from law books. law library

     The Great Room had infinity mirrors:infinity mirror

     Of note were the murals of Francis Davis Millet born November 3, 1848 in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. Davis was a classmate of Kentucky’s governor and agreed to design and paint the mural pendentive areas. He drew sketches and then went on a cruise on a luxury liner. The Titanic did not bring him back to Kentucky. 100 years later, EverGreene Architectural Arts was commissioned to paint the murals from his sketches. I could not find the actual artist. titanic

     Jefferson Davis, who was born in Kentucky, had his statute in the building. Look at it, before the do gooders take it down.Jeff Davis

     Tidbit of Information: Kentucky declared itself neutral at the beginning of the Civil War. Nevertheless, delegates from 68 of Kentucky’s 110 counties met, passed an ordinance of secession, and adopted a new state constitution and seal. Though President Davis had some reservation about the circumvention of the elected General Assembly in forming the Confederate government, Kentucky was admitted to the Confederacy on December 10, 1861. Kentucky was represented by the central star on the Confederate battle flag. The government existed primarily on paper, and dissolved following the war.

     We went to Frankfort Cemetery to view the gravesite of Daniel Boone. It was not very impressive (in fact, more than likely, this is not the gravesite of Daniel, who is probably buried in, Marthasville Mo.). This gravesite does overlook the river and Capitol Building.Graveyard

     More impressive was the monument and gravesite for William Justus Goebel, born January 4, 1856 in Albany, Pennsylvania. He moved to Kentucky at age 7. Upon graduating from law school, he got involved with politics. Goebel was a controversial politician, almost bringing the State of Kentucky to civil war. Through, what might have been political corruption, he was elected Governor of Kentucky, and shot shortly thereafter. The day after being shot, the dying Goebel was sworn in as governor. Goebel is the only governor of a U.S. state to have been assassinated while in office. (Food for thought: Is it really an assassination if you are shot before you take office, but die in office?)Goeble

Technical Stuff:

Argillite, Kentucky to Frankford, Kentucky: 139.6 miles

3 hours 12 minutes

9.5 MPG

Diesel: $3.05

Argillite, Kentucky

Day 780

     On our way to Lexington, Kentucky, we stoped at a KOA campground, located in Argillite, Kentucky, along the way. The name refers to argillite, a type of stone, related to shale. Again, we just hung around the campground. It was an interesting trek through the mountains to get here. 

Technical Stuff:

Greenbrier River, West Virginia to Argillite, Kentucky 191.2 miles

3 hours 53 minutes

9.6 MPG

Diesel $3.20

Lewisburg, West Virginia

Day 779

     Andrew Lewis, born October 9, 1720, was an Irish-born American pioneer, surveyor, and military officer. In 1751 he established a camp here which attracted pioneer settlements. However, the Shawnee Indians wiped out these early settlements, killing all the men and carrying off the women and children. In 1774, Colonel Lewis was tasked with removing the Shawnee’s, which he did. The town of Lewisburg, named after him, was formally laid out in

     The Lewisburg Presbyterian Church was built in 1796 of local limestone. Now known as the Old Stone Presbyterian Church, this building is the oldest church still in continuous use west of the Allegheny Mountains. The church escaped damage during the Civil War, when it was used as a hospital and for billeting troops. Following the Battle of Lewisburg, May 23, 1862, Confederate dead lay in the sanctuary. The Union commander refused to allow services, in retaliation for sniper fire that killed one of his wounded soldiers. The Confederates were unceremoniously buried in a trench along the south wall of the church. After the war, 95 soldiers were reburied in a common grave mounded in the form of a cross, on a hill just beyond the Church. grave.jpg

     The State of West Virginia came into existence on June 20, 1863.

      Went to the Old Stone Presbyterian Church were I gave my sermon to an unpacked congregation. sermon

     In 1902 Andrew Carnegie donated $26,750 dollars to the Lewisburg Female Institute to build a performance hall. Of course, they named it Carnegie Hall. carneige

     I can now say, I sang at Carnegie Hall.singing

     On April 21, 1821, John North, Clerk of the Greenbrier District Court, purchased a 2 acre plot in Lewisburg and constructed this house. Today, this house is the Greenbrier Museum.  north house

     We traveled all over this country to view this item located in the museum:saddle

     It is the training saddle of Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveller. Not the saddle Lee used, but the saddle to get the young colt use to a saddle on his back.

Agecroft Hall, Richmond, Virginia

Day 775


     In 1292, that is 200 years before Columbus discover the Americas, Adam de Prestwich built himself a manor house in Lancashire, England. Around 1376 the manor house was named Agecroft Hall (a combination of words standing for  “wild celery” & “a fenced in area”. The significance of this name has been lost for over 600 years). The house went though many families, by marriage and inheritance. By 1925 it was in such disrepair, it was scheduled to be torn down. 

     Thomas C. Williams, Jr., a wealthy entrepreneur, who owned property on the James River, on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, wished to build a true English manor house on his 23-acre estate. He purchased the Manson in 1925. The manor house was dismantled, piece by piece, crated, transported across the Atlantic, and reconstructed on the Williams’ family farm site. The intention was not to replicate Agecroft as it had stood in Lancashire, but rather to create a functional and comfortable mansion reminiscent of its English predecessor. The floor plan was changed, and all the modern conveniences of the day were added. 

     The project was completed during the spring of 1928, after 2 years of re-construction. The following year Thomas Williams died. Agecroft Hall is now a museum, which we visited. 

     In addition to the house, which we have now seen quite a few, they had extensive gardens. garden

     Because of the recent rains, the James River is just under cresting. James River

     Is this an alien crop circle?crop circle

     Oh, I see it is time to go. sundial

Hooray! We Are On The Road Again

Day 774

     We have returned to Americamps RV Resort, in Ashland, VA. This is a good jumping off point to our next direction of travel, in this case to West Virginia and Kentucky. 

     We like this resort because it is quiet, has nice spots for the RV’s, and they serve breakfast every morning. We will go into Richmond tomorrow, or the next day, but our plan is just to lay-around and do nothing.

     Just unwind from the last 2 months of getting our rental property repaired, repainted, and on the market. Please let me know if you know of anyone in the market for a nice townhouse in Parkville, Md.   

     This was my first house. A great bachelor house. I lived by myself. Bought a VCR when they first came out (VHS rather than Beta). It cost $800.00, had a remote hard wired, which meant the cord went across the room to my chair. It had play, forward, pause and rewind. I would sit in my lazy-boy, remote in hand, replay shows and movies I recorded over cable, eating cold spaghetti from the night before out of a pot. Life did not get any better than this. 

     Of course, got married, lived happily ever after, being shown the error of my ways. 

Technical Stuff:

Harford County to Ashland, Va: 172.5 miles

5 hours 5 minutes 

10.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.99