Arlington National Cemetery

In the United States it is easy—much too easy—to take freedom for granted. In part it is because we have a long tradition of freedom; for most Americans  the idea of being without it is almost inconceivable.  But that can be a dangerous thing if it leads to letting down our guard. 

In that respect, a trip to Arlington National Cemetery is a sobering reminder that freedom has to be zealously defended; that freedom is not free, as the saying goes.  The endless rows of headstones that quietly mark the final resting places of over 400,000 people is a monument to the price of freedom. 

We visited Arlington Cemetery today; it is a place that belongs on everyone’s list of places to go and things to see. A few photos from the cemetery are below. 

JFB

Arlington, VA, USA — October 14, 2019. Photo of a sea of headstones in Arlington National Cemetery on a clear Autumn day.
Arlington, VA, USA — October 14, 2019. Soldiers begin the changing of the guard in Arlington National Cemetery.
Arlington, VA, USA — October 14, 2019. Wide angle photo of an amphitheatre outside the entrance to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier.
Arlington, VA, USA — October 14, 2019. Photo of the Eternal Flame over JFK’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery; Arlington House is in the background.

Great Falls National Park in Autumn

We had some visitors from the wilds of New Jersey the other day. Mary Anne’s sister Ellen and her husband Steve came by our neck of the woods for a visit. The four of us took a walk around town and then made our way to Great Falls National Park in McLean Virginia. Among other things, the park is known for its stunning views of the Great Falls of the Potomac. Here (below) are a couple of shots taken in the park, along with one photo taken on a hiking trail by Lake Anne in Reston. 

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Wide angle shot of the Great Falls waterfall in Fairfax, Virginia
Great Falls Park on an Autumn afternoon.
A close-up photo of tree leaves that have turned from green to burnt orange.
Hiking path by Lake Anne in Reston, VA.

Colonial Williamsburg

We took a short trip down to the historic triangle which encompasses colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. This is not a trip to be missed. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the new land and the place where the mighty British Empire established its first presence. Not surprisingly, Jamestown served as the first capitol of the Colony of Virginia, from 1618 until 1699. It was also the home of the county’s courthouse.

 

Williamsburg, VA, USA — January 9, 2019. Actors in period costume, surrounded by tourists, put on a mock trial in colonial Williamsburg.

It is difficult in the modern age for us to even imagine the dangers and hardships the settlers endured. For instance, from 1609 to 1610 over 80% of the settlers perished from disease and starvation, in what came to be known as the “Starving Time”. During this time the the settlers dug graves for the fallen, but hid the site so the Indians wouldn’t realize how weakened their position had become. 

A simple gravesight, recently discovered, secretly established by early settlers of Jamestown VA.

It was also in Jamestown that the first Africans arrived—aboard a Portuguese slave ship. Thus began America’s long history with slavery, which was not to end until the civil war (1861—1865).  But some effects linger to this day. 

Yorktown, VA, USA — January 10, 2019. Photo of a small reconstructed wooden building that served as slave quarters on a Yorktown farm during the colonial era. Four to six people would have been housed here.

Virginia is a living museum to the American experiment in self government, and the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown tells an important part of the story. 

Williamsburg, VA, USA — January 9, 2019. Photo of horses, carriage and drivers in period dress by a hitching post by shops on the streets of colonial Williamsburg.

 

Williamsburg, VA, USA — January 9, 2019. Photo of shops, pubs and Inns in colonial Williamsburg, VA on a cold and cloudy winter day.

 

JFB

Autumn Arrives

Fairfax County Virginia has an extraordinary system of public parks. There are lakes and nature trails everywhere you turn. In addition, Great Falls National Park in McLean Virginia features a spectacular series of waterfalls in addition to picnic grounds and hiking trails. Now that the end of October has arrived, the trees are bursting with fall colors; kayakers are braving the rapids of the Great Falls and fishermen are casting for perch and bass in the lakes. Have a look below at recent photos taken in the parks. 

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Gone Fishing

Royal Lake in Fairfax County

Tree Leaves Turning Color by Royal Lake

Man in a Maelstrom

Long Exposure Shot of the Falls

Picnic Area in Lake Fairfax Park