Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beginning The Slow Trail Home

(Another catch up post)

We spend a few final days with the kids in Connecticut.  Knowing that the departure date was approaching and I felt the sense of dread building.  It doesn't matter how long we are able to stay for a visit, saying good bye is always difficult when you are separated by 3,000 miles and don't know when you will see each other again.

 Melissa and Karen


We take our final pictures to mark the visit and the passage of time and then we will be off to begin the long trip home.
 Leaving our little home among the trees at my daughters house in Connecticut. 

We are now six weeks into our  trip and needing begin our trek back to the Northwest.  It will not be a direct route as we intend to hit more wonderful areas and I have no intention of simply backtracking to where we have already been.  There is just to much world out there to see and experience to repeat where we have already gone.

Before leaving Connecticut, we continue on in our quest to connect with the strong women who helped form our Nation.  I didn't start this trip with that as a goal but it seemed to develop as we traveled along.  Now I find myself looking for opportunities to find the women who have shaped our past.  Along with Paul Revere a band of other colonists watched for the movement of the British and warned the colonists of coming danger. 

Sybil Ludington a 16 year old girl was sent by her father to sound the alarm to rally the colonists soldiers to defend Danbury, CT.  She road through the night for 40 miles on horseback.  The soldiers arrived to late to save Danbury, but they were later able to push, General William Tryon, and his men to Long Island Sound.   A number of statues though out the NorthEast marking the importance of her contribution.

               A statue of Sybil Ludington, in Danbury, CT.

Our last stop in Connecticut was in Hartford at the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe.



 In 1832, Harriet moved to Cincinnati with her father when he became President of Lane Seminary.  While there she saw slavery in nearby Kentucky, heard abolitionists and began writing.  She also met and married her husband, Calvin Stowe and gave birth to 6 of her 7 children.   She was horified by what she learned.

" a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustice I saw..."

                                       " a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity..."

 Deeply religious, she believed that ministers should speak out condemning slavery, but few did.
She felt her faith was dishonored. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, the most widely known of all her work,  (1852), changed forever how Americans viewed slavery, the system that treated people as property. It demanded that the United States deliver on the promise of freedom and equality, galvanized the abolition movement and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. The book still calls on us to confront the legacy of race relations in the U.S. 

Not only did we have an opportunity to view her lovely home, we were invited to view papers and pamphlets of that time and discuss them with the others on the tour.  It was informational, exposing, and insightful.  Clearly one of the best museum experiences of our trip.

The strength of Uncle Tom's Cabin today, as in 1851, is its ability to inspire readers to reach toward social justice.   After all this time and all these years there is still much work to be done.  
We were inspired.

The exclusive neighborhood the the Stowe's lived in called the Nook Farm was a community of reformers activists, politicians, journalists, feminists, painters and writers.  All of them worked in their own ways to make a difference in the world. 

On adjoining property is the elegant Mark Twain House.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. 


The exclusive neighborhood the the Stowes lived in called the Nook Farm was a community of reformers activists, politicians, journalists, feminists, painters and writers.  All of them worked in their own ways to make a difference in the world.

 Pictures from the web show the opulence of his home

The 'man cave' where he did extensive writing.

 His most famous work was written while he lived in Hartford. 
His early writings captured his Missouri memories and depicted the American scene.  Others explores class relations and the explosion of new technologies.  In his most famous work, The adventures of Huckleberry Fin in 1884 he attacked the institution of slavery and the continued poor treatment of African Americans in his own time.  Although Sam enjoyed financial success during his Hartford years‚ he continually made bad investments in new inventions‚ which eventually brought him to bankruptcy.  From 1891 until 1900‚ Sam and his family traveled throughout the world writing and doing public speaking. 
A Mark Twain Quote- I have given it much thought this trip.

In these later years‚ Sam’s writings turned dark. They began to focus on human greed‚ cruelty and questioned the humanity of the human race. His public appearances followed suit and included a harshly sarcastic public introduction of Winston Churchill in 1900. Even though Sam’s lecture tour had managed to get him out of debt‚ his anti-government writings and speeches threatened his livelihood once again. Labeled by some as a traitor‚ several of Sam’s works were never published during his lifetime either because magazines would not accept them or because of a personal fear that his marketable reputation would be ruined.

After the tours of the Twain and Stowe homes and the big city environment of Hartford, we left for the serenity of Pennsylvania Amish Country. 

We arrived into Amish Country on Saturday afternoon and spent the afternoon driving through the countryside viewing the huge farming operations and enjoying the quiet pace of life.

Because we were here on Sunday, the day of rest, we did not have the opportunity to watch the farming operation, as they worked the fields with the horses. 

Instead we saw the parade of buggies.  Sunday is often a day of visiting and there were many buggies on the roads as families traveled from one farm to another.  Often we would see large gatherings of people in the yards enjoying picnics and playing games.

We also saw may buggies with young people out for buggy rides enjoying the hot day.  Some of the buggies were decorated with modern signs, lights and banners.  We also saw a few buggies with teens hanging out the sides and tops as if they were cruising in cars like modern day youth.  BELIEVE ME Hailey certainly caught the eyes of they Amish youth.    It was quite humorous to see the boys hanging out the door or window to get a better look at Hailey!  I later learned that these young men were likely experiencing the Rumspringa period of life.

The Amish use the word “Rumspringa” to describe the years between the passage into adulthood (age 16) and baptism into the church (usually age 18-22). During this period, the young adult is relatively free from parental control and not yet pledged submission to church rule. 

In the more liberal congregations, such indulgences as buying a car or having a radio in your buggy are sometimes written off as youthful exuberance. After all, Amish Rumspringa is just a passing stage that you will outgro.

We finished up our day with a buggy ride at the Amish Acres where we traveled in a 'buggy wagon' lead by a local young person who shared stories of growing up locally.


We finished up our day with a buggy ride at the Amish Acres where we traveled in a 'buggy wagon' lead by a local young person who shared stories of growing up locally. 

A replica of an old Amish Homestead 


 The end of the day's trail



  1. what a wonderful post so full of information and educational importance. Love all the pictures and the
    Amish farms. Safe travels home and will be looking for more posts as you head down the road

  2. I loved this post - so interesting and informative. I'd love to see all the things here. The Amish seem so simple and down to earth. I'm sure it's a lot of hard work, and they are missing a lot of things we have, but it sure looks peaceful, doesn't it? :)

  3. Really lovely family your daughter has. You two look so much alike. What a super campsite there at her house.

    I love your theme of Strong Women. You are such a wonderful grandmother and role model for Hailey and your other grandchildren. I can’t believe I visited my daughter years ago when she lived in Hartford and she didn’t tell me Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house was there Or Mark Twain’s. Thanks so much for showing them to me.

    The Stowe sounds like a really excellent museum experience. Much more collaborative than most. I wonder if most of us don’t become pretty cynical and jaded after decades of living in this society where Capitalism and the bottom line are king. I’ve never read his later books, perhaps I should.