Friday, October 30, 2015
Every year, I look forward to purchasing mums and pumpkins for autumn decor. Sure, I realize mums may be a bit cliche when it comes to fall decorations, but I love them. When I was a little girl, planting flowers with my mom was one of my favorite things to do. We planted petunias and pansies in the warm months, mums in the cooler months. Hedges consisted of hydrangeas and knockout roses. It's just the way things were. So now, as an adult with a place of my own, I carry on the flower tradition: roses in the hedge, mums on the porch.
This year, I added this lovely burgundy coleus plant. Of course, on crisp fall nights when the temperature dips too low, I have to bring in the coleus to keep it from freezing. (Two weeks ago, I forgot the poor plant and had to coax it back to life in the front of the radiator. It was very sad.) The addition of a few white pumpkins completed the ensemble. Now, we have a bright, inviting front stoop--ready for all of Frederick's little trick or treaters. If you're in the downtown Frederick area, keep your eye out for us. We're the grey rowhouse with all the flower pots!
If you're new to the blog, check out our Renovation Diary to read more about the history of our little house and our many renovation projects.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
The sole purpose of today's post is to inundate your blog feed with photos of fall, fall, all things fall. We're talking pumpkins, leaves, berries, boots, big blue skies, and one cute pup.
Is it just me, or does Frederick do fall especially well? My first ever visit to Frederick was in late September, just a few weeks before my and Mar's October wedding. We walked around Baker Park, enjoying the crisp breeze and colorful leaves. Maybe it was the happy glow that being a newly-wed lends to everything, but I totally fell for the trickling creek, softball fields, and rows of maple trees.
Three years later, autumn is still my favorite season in Frederick. Our main street, Market Street, becomes coated with golden maple leaves while pedestrians bundled in coats and scarves scurry in and out of storefronts. Every porch and stoop boasts its fair share of pumpkins and mums, maybe even a token scarecrow or hooked-nosed witch. The blue sky overhead is just inviting enough to merit a came of catch in nearby Baker Park, but the cool breeze reminds you that winter approaches. The crisp weather makes everyone frisky and excited with thoughts of pumpkin carving, trick or treating, apple butter, and upcoming holidays. I truly just love this time of year, don't you?
Here's a few photos, so you can have a little taste of fall in Frederick too.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
Welcome to the Old Stone House. Rather perfunctorily named, don't you think?
Dating from 1765, the Old Stone House has the claim to fame of being the "oldest building on its original foundation in our nation's capitol." Like most old homes, the Stone House changed hands and looks several times over the course of its 250 year history. Originally owned by the Layman familiy, the Stone House consisted of just one room and had absurdly thick walls. In 1775, a rather wealthier lady (Mrs. Cassandra Chew) purchased the building and added the second and third floors-- giving the house its present appearance. Apparently, Mrs. Chew lived in the home with fifteen slaves at one point. Why one earth one lady needed fifteen slaves, I don't know!
Our National Park Service purchased the house in the 1950s due to the number of local Georgetown residents clamoring to protect the site. When I read that the NPS protected the house, I was surprised. Whenever I think of our park service, I picture the National Mall, Glacier National Park, or Yellowstone-- some sweeping natural vista. Not a little stone house in the middle of a busy city. Yet people recognized that this little house represented something unique and special.
Its simple beauty juxtaposes the domineering national monuments elsewhere in D.C. The house is not a monument to some heroic deed, national figure, or historical war. Instead, the Old Stone House stands as a monument to everyday life in colonial Washington. A monument to cooking, sleeping, dining, and working. A monument to the reality of life for some of our nation's very first citizens.
Overtime, the Old Stone House has gained some legends. According to the museum employees, most of the familial records about the property are limited. Things like property records, lists, deeds. The primary legend of the Old Stone House involves Washington's favorite hero: our first president, George Washington himself.
In 1810, the Old Stone House housed a clock shop run by a man named John Suter, Jr. In fact, the grandfather clock pictured above? One of Suter's clocks, built in the house in the 1800s and returned when it became a national monument. Coincidentally, the Suter family also operated an inn where President George Washington and Pierre Charles L'Enfant stayed while the designed the federal district. Somehow, the legend became tangled, and local folklore named the Old Stone House as the location of Washington's headquarters. We may never know for sure if Washington visited the house, but due to its history, it stands to reason that he may have visited and certainly at least saw it, maybe even strolled past its front door.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Maybe you read that title and thought "Wait, what?" What does Thomas Jefferson have to do with anything. Now you're racking your memory-- "I know her husband's from Virginia... she was a history major..." So what's the connection?
On October 9, 2011, Thomas Jefferson changed my life forever. Well, to be honest, he just presided over the event. Or rather, a very large statue of Thomas Jefferson presided over the event. The man who changed my life forever is pictured below. A handsome blue-eyed Virginian who strolled into my life with his "yes ma'ams" and meat-and-potatoes palate and avid obsession with all things outdoors. He strolled right in and made me fall right head-over-heels in love with him.
On that mild October day four years ago, Mark proposed to me at the Jefferson Memorial. But he didn't just propose. He orchestrated an entire romantic event that concluded at Thomas Jefferson's stone-clad feet.
I was halfway through my senior year at Piedmont College, a liberal arts college in Northeast Georgia, while Mark had just begun his first "real job" as a construction foreman for a framing company in Washington, D.C. He invited me to his new apartment for my fall break. Casually, he remarked that I should "pack a nice dress" since he wanted to celebrate. My mind immediately assumed he wanted to celebrate his new job and new life in D.C. Little did I know that he and my father had had a serious conversation just a few weeks prior. "A nice dress... like church nice or fancier?" I asked. "Fancier," was the reply.
That evening, Mark lead me into Charlie Palmer Steak DC, one of the nicest restaurants I had ever visited. A reserved table for two waited by the window with a breathtaking view of the National Mall and the US Capitol building. Steak, prawns, sweet potato soup, risotto, creme brulee, and then finally the check. I started to thank my boyfriend for such an amazing meal when he grinned and remarked that the evening wasn't over yet.
Taking my hand, he lead me a block away to the Hyatt. Perplexed, I laughingly asked why we were standing outside of a luxury hotel only to be interrupted by the jingle of bells. A white carriage drawn by a beautiful grey horse suddenly appeared. It pulled in front of us and its tophat wearing driver smiled and asked us to climb on. My heart beat instantly sped up; clearly this was more than a fancy date night.
After a tour of the National Mall by carriage, the driver took us to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, where Mark proposed on the bank of the Potomac. I was so excited that I just kissed him and for a moment utterly forgot to say yes. People cheered and whistled when they saw him get on one knee. I have to say-- I love our proposal story. If there was a day I could relive-- that day would be the one I pick.
For our anniversary weekend, we decided to take a moment and revisit the Jefferson Memorial. After all, last time we were there, I wasn't paying much attention to the fine architecture or to President Jefferson. We took a picture at our proposal spot and then enjoyed the memorial itself. Of course, countless tour busloads teemed around the site, but a somber air presided over the memorial itself. Yet I couldn't help but smile. Even though I know that the huge monument belongs to all American citizens and represents a huge piece of our national history, I can't help but feel like the place is somehow mine.
So, yes. I guess you could say that Thomas Jefferson changed my life.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Do: Walk the C&O Canal towpath
Sightsee: Visit Dumbarton Oaks and the Stone House
Eat: Tony & Jerry's Seafood Place
Drink: PAUL Bakery... delicious hot chocolate
Shop: countless boutiques... I loved Paper Source and Onward Reserve