Spring is the time for one of Washington D.C.’s largest and most spectacular events; Cherry Blossom Festival (defined when 70% of the trees have opened their buds). In 1910, the city of Tokyo donated two thousand cherry trees to the District to demonstrate “...the growing friendship between the United States and Japan.” However, the original idea of planting cherry trees along the Potomac began with Eliza Scidmore (who became the first female member of the Board of the National Geographic Society) in 1885 following a trip to Japan. It took 25 years for this idea to fully take hold. In 1910, the chemist who discovered adrenaline, Jokichi Takamine, and the Japanese Consul to New York City, Modzuno, proposed the 2000 tree donation to Helen Taft, wife of newly elected U.S. President, Howard Taft. Unfortunately, these were discovered to be infected with insects and disease, which resulted in their being burned. Two years later, Takamine donated 3000 more trees that were successfully planted along the Tidal Basin. The first two of these trees, planted by Mrs. Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, still stand at the terminus of 17th Street Southwest. The first Cherry Blossom Festival (now an annual event) took place in 1934. Thirty-eight hundred more cherry trees were donated in 1965, many of which were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Representatives of business, civic, and government organizations came together to form the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc. which oversees this annual event and hosts the annual ten block Cherry Blossom Festival Parade down Constitution Avenue. With giant balloons, floats, marching bands, and other performers, this parade and festival attracts an average of 700,000 visitors to D.C. each year. It is truly a spectacle.I
The Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin is one of Washington’s premier Springtime events.
What beautiful views!
Postcards could be made from some of the scenes we saw.
When 70% of the buds open, the Cherry Blossom Festival is at its peak.
We have our daughter, Madonna, and her husband, Josh, for alerting us as to when to experience this event.
Of course, the other big part of this festival is the ten block parade down Constitution Ave.
There were more bands than we could count...
...with an equal number of floats...
...and performing groups.
The requisite festival Queen and her Court were also in attendance.
After we wrapped up our Spring doctor check-ups, we flew down to Washington, D.C. in order to visit our daughter, Madonna, and her husband, Josh. As the U.S. Capital, it is officially known as the “District of Columbia.” Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, various tribes of the Algonquin Nation had inhabited this area. Founded after the American Revolution, the District was created by the Residence Act of 1790 and given the name “Washington” as a tribute to our first president. It falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress and is not part of any state. When the District was created, it did include the existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. As the home for all thee of our federal government branches, Washington plays host to 177 foreign embassies. While the supreme authority rests with Congress, the District is governed by an elected mayor and a thirteen member council. Washington has always been a fun place for us to visit.
While the White House image personified the Executive Branch of our government...
...the Capital building is Congress’ most basic image...
...while the Supreme Court building embodies the judiciary.
But there are other images that make us think of the U.S. Capital city...i.e. The Washington Monument...
...the Lincoln Memorial...
...the Jefferson Memorial...
...the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary ...and many more.
Throughout the course of our travels, we’ve often remarked that we feel one of the best ways to understand a community is to explore its churches. With that as our goal, we decided to visit the Neo-Gothic St. Stephen’s Church that dominates the Cohasset skyline. Sitting atop “Bourne’s Rock,” this Episcopal Church overlooks both the village center and its historic Common. Twenty-one summer residents founded the initial congregation in 1896 and began plans for a new church. It’s cornerstone, carved out of granite from a Weymouth quarry, was laid in 1899 and the structure was completed in 1901. The early years of the building saw it function mostly as a summer church for those who were trying to escape the heat of Boston. It became a year-round permanent church as the community grew and became more stable. By 1907, a Bell Tower was added, in which 51 bells were eventually installed over the years, until 1928 (making this the largest carillon in New England). With a seating capacity of 208, the interior is highlighted by ten exquisite stained-glass windows. The original carriage house (built over 100 years ago) was eventually converted into a four-bedroom rectory. One of the notable programs developed by the first congregation was the establishment of the “Bonnie Bairns” summer camp for sick children from Boston, which lasted until 1946 when it was absorbed into other outreach services. This was a fun and informative visit.
St.Stephen’s church sits on top of “Bourne’s Rock” overlooking the village of Cohasset.
Since the original 21 parishioners built St.Stephen’s in 1901, it has serviced the needs of the local Episcopal community, as well as reaching out to larger Cohasset general community.
St.Stephen, patron saint of this church, was considered the first martyr of Christianity. He was accused of blasphemy by the authorities of various synagogues in Jerusalem and then stoned to death.
Dedicated to thirteen year old Robert P. Williams who suffered an accidental death in 1907, this triple panel stained glass window is of “Christ Blessing Children and Children’s Crusade with Attendant Angels” and is attributed to Walter Ball of the Harry Goodhue studio.
Also attributed to the Goodhue studio, this triptych stained glass window depicts St. John the Baptist, St. John in Patmos , and St. John the Evangelist.
Like in many other villages and towns, Cohasset’s Historical Society strives to preserve the rich history of its past. Founded in 1928 from the original Committee on Town History, the society owns and operates four historic buildings in order to display its nearly thirty thousand objects - including its two prized antique firefighting hand tub pumpers.
PAUL PRATT MEMORIAL LIBRARY; built in 1903 from private donations to house the 7500-volume collection of the town’s Free Public Library and the private Paul Pratt Memorial Library, it now serves as the headquarters for the Cohasset Historical Society. Over the years, the original building was expanded twice before moving to its current location in a former elementary school.
CAPTAIN JOHN WILSON HOUSE; located in the downtown village, this 2 1/2 story Federal style building was built in 1810. Soon after construction was completed, Capt. John Wilson bought it and used part of the first floor to run his shipping business along with a chandlery (a shop for wax and candles). The Wilson family lived here until 1912, at which time it was converted into commercial uses. The building was given to the Historical Society in 1936.
BATES SHIP CHANDLERY; built in 1752, this company was originally located opposite Bates Wharf on the Cohasset waterfront. Considered to be the best preserved remnant of the town’s early maritime history, the building was moved to its present location on the same property as the Wilson House in 1957.
BEECHWOOD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH; the newest acquisition of the Society is this 152 year old (1866) structure that served as a centerpiece for the neighborhood for many years. Because of declining membership, it closed in 2016. The Cohasset Historical Society saved it from being purchased by developers who wanted to build condominiums. Instead, the Society plans on using it to house its most priced possessions; two historic fire fighting handpumpers. Renaming the building as “The Beechwood Meeting House,” the former church will als serve as a venue for community lectures, meetings, performances, and other events.
Founded in 1928 to preserve the history of Cohasset, the Historical Society is headquartered in the Paul Pratt Memorial Library building.
Along the walls of the lobby rotundra are murals depicting the earliest history of this area (beginning with this one showing Captain John Smith’s 1614 exploration).
Among the thirty thousand objects in its collection are these police and fire headgear.
Because so much of Cohssset is water, it has strong ties with the sea. This 1852 watercolor of the “Barque Vesta of Cohasset J.P.T. Pervival Commander” captures a bit of the tall ship era.
Even more modern history is on display, such as this costume worn by actor Carel Struycken in the 1987 Warner Bros. Film “The Witches of Eastwick” which was filmed in part at the Roy Mansion on the edge of Cohasset harbor.
Sea Captain John Wilson bought this home in the center of the village soon after it was built in 1810. The Wilson family owned this home until 1912. The Historical Society acquired it in 1936.
It is a fine example of early 19th century Federal style architecture.
Next door to the Wilson home (on the right in this photo) is the Bates Ship Chandlery..,
...built in 1754, this is considered to be “...the best preserved remnant of Cohasset’s maritime history.”
The newest acquisition of the Historical Society is the 1866 Beechwood Congreational Church. It is being renovated to house two historic firefighting handpumpers as well as space for lectures, meetings, performances, and other events.
As soon as plans developed for the settlement of Cohasset (circa 1670)- then known as Hingham’s Second Parish - folks began building homes, mostly along Lilly Pond because of its source of fresh water. Parcels of vacant land in this area were given to “qualified” Hingham property owners. Previously, uninhabited lands went to second generation Hingham families for homesteads and farms. None of those early homes remain today. Following the separation of Cohasset from Hingham in 1770, most of the homes we think of as historic today, were constructed around the Common Historic District in central Cohasset. Built in the Georgian or Federal style, these homes reflected the dates of construction and the relative conservatism of the period. As time past, later homes were built in the Colonial Revival, Gothic, Greek, or Queen Anne styles. Because this location was close to the harbor, most residents were fishing fleet owners, merchants, or ship builders. A number of these historic homes remain within the families that first lived here. What follows, is sampling of the homes situated around Cohasset’s Common Historic District.
Built in 1793, this Federal style home belonged to Captain Adam Stowell (blacksmith and soldier in the American Revolution). Just steps away from the village center, this ten room home has been a two-family house since the early days.
Captain Joseph H. Smith, who, in his youth served on the Queen’s yacht, rose through the ranks to command the schooner Triton and the brig Almatia (among others). He was one of Cohasset’s foremost “Deep Sea Captains” when he built this house in 1860.
Built in 1793, Captain Samuel Bates,Jr. not only owned this house along the Common, but also the Bates Wharf and the Bates family fishing business. Bates died when his ship wrecked on Brush Island, Cohasset in 1803.
Major Jonathan Bates, a soldier during the American Revolution, built this house in 1789. Originally a Cape Cod Cottage, it was enlarged a number of times over the years.
Darius Weed Gilbert, a veterinarian, served as a Town Selectman for a number of years. He lived in this house since it’s construction in 1890.
Every six months, our doctors insist on our returning to Massachusetts for regular checkups. For this Spring’s visit, we were able to rent a very nice cottage in the town of Cohasset, 20 miles south of Boston. Cohasset was first seen by Europeans in 1614 when Captain John Smith explored the coast. Prior to Smith’s exploration, this area had been inhabited for decades by the Wompanoag peoples of the Algonquin Nation. The first official European settlement here was founded in 1670 as the second parish of Hingham. One hundred years later, this parish separated from Hingham, taking its name from “Conahasset”, Algonquin meaning “Long Rocky Place.” Originally part of Suffolk County, it was set off as a part of Norfolk County in 1793. Of its 31.5 square miles, only 9.9 square miles is land (meaning the rest is water), of which a large portion is contained within Wompatuck State Park. Formerly known as the Hingham Naval Ammunition Deport, the State Park served as the main ammunition supplier for Naval forces during World War II. With a permanent population today of a bit over 7500, Cohasset is a small, upper income community along the south east coast of Massachusetts. Notables who have called Cohasset home include the actress Kate Bosworth, NASA astronaut Steve Bowen, former professional football player Larry Eisenhouer, and Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy.
Situated along one side of the town common, Cohasset’s historic Town Hall (built in 1857) sits on land that was formerly used by a semi-private school known as the Cohasset Acadamy. In the early days, the Town Hall not only housed the town offices, but also the high school and an assembly hall.
Opposite the Town Hall, at one end of the Common, is the 1747 Georgian styled First Parish Meeting House. This was the first meeting house for not only the parish but also the town government.
Cohasset has long historical ties with the Wompanoag peoples of the Algonquin Nation.
One of the highlight features around town is located at the head of the inner harbor: “The Oaks”, a 45 Room Georgian Revival styled mansion owned by Peter Roy. The house was featured in the film “The Witches of Eastwick.”
While Cohasset is listed as totaling 31.5 square miles, 2/3 of that is water...
...and one of the water’s most notable features is the Minot’s Ledge Light one mile offshore. The first lighthouse was built in 1843 but was destroyed during a storm just a few months after completion. This replica is along the inner harbor.
Archival photo of Minot’s Ledge Light during a storm.
Nearly four years ago (October of 2014), we began this journey to see as much of the world as our health would allow. We know, that at some point, we’ll have to stop and look back at our memories. That is the main purpose of this blog; i.e. to easily review our experiences. When we return to the U.S. from our travels, in addition to seeing our doctors for regular check-ups, we spend time with our children and their families. Because they reside all across the country, and with the way we are traveling, we only get to visit family at most twice, per year. That makes these visits all the more important. If returning from Asia, Australia, and/or New Zealand,our first stop will be San Diego, where our son, David, and his family live. Since David’s family has recently moved into a new home, helping them settle in, along with doing some construction projects around the property, we are always busy. The following pictures chronicle our most recent west coast visit.
Our son David, his wife, Jessica, and their children, Devin and Gabriella. This patio, out in their back yard overlooking the mountains leading into Mexico, is one of the construction projects we completed.
Looking out their back door towards the mountains that descend into Mexico (off to the distant right of the picture).
Breakfast by the pool.
Scientists in the making.
One of the attractions of this property is the half-dozen or so very plentiful fruit trees...
...along with some interesting wildlife.
Throughout our nearly four years of traveling, we’ve returned to Columbus, Ohio - where our son Carl and his family live - a number of times. During each of those visits, we are constantly impressed by the family-friendly atmosphere here. Part of what makes this community so attractive is its system of 19 parks in and around the city. Organized in 1945 and overseen by a Board of Park Commissioners (three citizens appointed for three year terms), these parks encompass more than 27,000 acres, extending through seven counties in Central Ohio (plus the Hocking Hills area). One of these green spaces is the Overbrook Road Ravine Park in the Clintonville neighborhood, one of the most topographically diverse areas in Columbus. This 10.8 acre park is literally in Carl’s backyard, making it quite easy for us to explore. According to one pundit, this park looks like something out of the Amazon Jungle. While that may or may not be an accurate description, we’ve always enjoyed walking through the Overbrook Ravine, watching its wildlife, and just relaxing.
Once a summer home retreat for professors at nearby Ohio State University, Clintonville is a North-Central Columbus, Ohio neighborhood. Considered to be one of the most topographically diverse areas, it is home to one of our favorite green spaces.
Running alongside the Adena Brook (named for the Adena Culture that inhabited this area between 800 B.C. To 100 A.D.), the 10.8 acre Overbrook Road Ravine Park is a nature preserve that backs up to our son Carl and his family’s home.
This is a very relaxing spot.
You almost forget that you are in an urban environment.
When the flowers are in full bloom, they carpet the
ground around throughout the ravine...
...making the area look spectacular!
Even the fallen trees contribute to the beauty of this area.
Equally impressive is the wildlife that inhabit this area...
...where practically everyday you can see something different..
...even in the backyards of the homes that border the park.
Mother Nature has the tendency of providing surprises when you least expect it.
While walking “Charlie”, the family dog, we saw this swing hanging from a tree along the side of the ravine and just had to try it out.
During our visit with our son Carl’s family to Columbus, Ohio, our daughter-in-law, Valerie asked if we would be interested in helping out at “BizTown” where she works. Administered by Junior Achievement, and sponsored by several Columbus area corporations, BizTown has been part of this community since 1950. This highly successful nationwide educational program is geared primarily towards fifth and sixth grade students. It’s mission is to expose these children to the real world of business. Prior to actually experiencing a simulated work day, students go through a several weeks curriculum during which they “...learn to manage their personal and business finances, develop and sell a product, and hold business meetings.” The classroom part of the curriculum is designed to teach the students how their school work applies to the real world. By the time they get to the five-hour simulated work day in BizTown, they should be capable of managing a store, operating a bank, writing checks, and handling finances. Lori and I spent two days interacting with students from a number of Columbus area schools and were fascinated watching the students traverse from uncertainty to confident entrepreneurs. Thank you Valerie and the leadership of BizTown for providing us with this unique experience!
Located within the Second Avenue Elementary School, BizTown has been Part of the Columbus, Ohio community for 68 years.
Looking down “Main Street” is supposed to simulate the central business district of “Anytown, USA”...
...where typical businesses would be located, such as a florist...
...as well as a supermarket and perhaps a university, or a construction company...
...and, of course, City Hall ...
...including the mayor’s office.
Naturally, BizTown has to have its own radio station...
...as well as a drug store and its very own charity.
Corporate sponsors provide BizTown with a lot of support...
...including logos and simulated commercial products.
Part of the learning process of the curriculum is how to manage your own personal finances which includes spending “monies” earned in their “jobs” on products the various stores provide.
Situated in the heart of Columbus, Ohio’s Town Street Historic District, the Greek revival and Italianate styled Kelton House was originally built in 1852 by Fernando Cortez Kelton. A prosperous dry goods wholesaler from Vermont, Kelton quickly rose to prominence in this central Ohio community. Kelton and his wife, Sophia, were active supporters of the abolitionist movement, to the point of making their home a stop on the “Underground Railroad.” In 1864, the Keltons took in a young runaway slave named Martha Hartway, making her a member of their family for ten years, until her marriage to the Kelton’s carpenter, Thomas Lawrence. Kelton had become so respected in Columbus’ society that he was selected to be a pallbearer in the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln as it passed through the city on the way to Illinois for burial. Following Kelton’s death, the home passed to his son, Frank, who eventually traded houses with his brother, Edwin. Edwin’s daughter, Grace, one of the first interior designers in the U.S. ( she consulted with Jacqueline Kennedy during the 1960’s redecoration of the White House), was the last to reside in this home (dying here in 1975). The Kelton House was then left to the Columbus Foundation, which leased it to the Junior Leaque of Columbus for the purpose of turning it into a museum, in order “...to promote understanding of the daily life, customs, and decorative arts in 19th century Columbus.” This is exactly the type of historic site we love to visit.
Fernando Cortez Kelton and his wife, Sophia, built this house in 1852. It remained a family residence for more than 120 years.
Kelton rose to prominence in Columbus’ society as a dry goods wholesaler...
...but to many, Fernando and his wife Sophia’s greater legacy was their strong support of the abolitionist movement.
Like many 19th century well-to-do homes, Kelton House had four rooms on the first floor, beginning with a sitting room...
...dining room ...
...(with its elegant tableware for formal occasions)...
...front parlor for entertaining guests...
...and the back parlor for family, and more intimate gatherings.
Of course, the upstairs rooms were devoted to the family’s private spaces...
...which included bedrooms...
...play areas for the children...
...and a study.
One of the unique features of this House was found in the basement. Because of the Kelton’s strong support of the abolitionist movement, they transformed storage rooms into living quarters for runaway slaves traveling the Underground Railroad.
It was in these rooms that runway slave Martha Hartway lived for ten years as a member of the Kelton’s family..
Out behind the carriage house (which is now used for wedding receptions and small events) is this elegant garden in which the Keltons enjoyed some quiet,relaxing, warm evenings.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.