Friday, December 18, 2015

Photos on Friday: Lee Fendall House in Alexandria

Earlier in the month we spent the day in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. We started the day wandering around the weekly farmer's market and revisiting some of the sights. After we watched the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend parade, we decided to head over to Lee-Fendall House on Oronoco St.
Built in the late 1700s, the house belonged to various members of the Lee family (as in "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Robert E. Lee) for over 100 years. Historic interpretation is of the house presents the home of how it existed in the pre and post Civil war period, 1850-70. 

Today's Photos on Friday post shows the house decorated for the holidays. (I'll be doing a more lengthy post about Lee-Fendall House in the future). 

Main entry of Lee-Fendall House

Dining room at Lee-Fendall House

Looking down towards the stairway to get back to the main hallway

One of the bedrooms at Lee-Fendall House as it would have been seen in the 19th century (minus the air conditioner of course :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Photos on Friday: Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria (2015)

Last weekend was the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend in Old Town Alexandria. It had been about three years since I last attended. It's a great parade! Here are some pics from last Saturday for today's Photos on Friday post.

Monday, December 7, 2015

12 interesting facts about Christ Church, Alexandria, Va.

Christ Church has a long history in Alexandria, Virginia. Dating back to the 18th century, the church is still very active today with more than 2,200 parishioners. 

Located in the section of Alexandria now referred to as “Old Town”, visitors are welcomed to pray, take a tour or just visit.  I like to stop by Christ Church when I’m in Old Town or visit its gift shop. I thought for today’s post I’d share some interesting facts about Christ Church.

12 interesting facts about Christ Church in Alexandria, Va.

1. Construction of Christ Church began in 1767 and was completed in 1773. The build was started under the direction of John Parsons, but the last year of construction was overseen by John Carlyle, a prominent presence and founder of Alexandria (Carlyle's history and home are very interesting).

2. The church’s bell tower was built in two phases, the addition was added around 1820.

Christ Church's bell tower in 2015

3. A wine-glass pulpit and Palladian chancel windows are still present to this day. The pulpit is a replica. According to Christ Church:
"No record remains of the exact location and design of the earliest pulpit, but the wineglass pulpit, installed during the 1890s restoration, is consistent with the design, location, and liturgical practices of the period when the church was built."
4. There are hand-lettered Tablets located on the altar. These Tablets are in amazing condition as these are the originals and have not been retouched. According to the church's website, they were once white, but have yellowed over time. The Apostle’s Creed, Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule are written on the Tablets. 

This photo was taken around 2009
5. George Washington was a member of Christ Church. His pew is marked with a plaque. On Apr. 12, 1804 George Washington Parke Custis (Washington's step-grandson and adopted son) presented one of Washington's bibles to Christ Church. 

Note/Update: In October 2017 Christ Church decided to remove the the plaques and markers honoring George Washington and Robert E. Lee from the pews. For more information about the reasoning and their plans for the plaques, see their letter [PDF].

6. The first Sunday School at Christ Church was established in 1818-19 and the first Parish Hall was built in 1822.

7. Robert E. Lee and his family were also parishioners. He was confirmed at Christ Church. 

8. Alexandria residents were buried in the graveyard at Christ Church until local laws changed in 1809. There were two exceptions made. The tombstones seen in modern day are originals, but may not be in the precise original spot. These were moved during the Civil War by Union soldiers and stacked against the Parish House until after the war.

9. The Union Army took charge of Christ Church during the Civil War and was used for services. During those years Christ Church's parishioners had to move to other churches to worship. Little change was made to the Church itself and the church was given back in 1866.

10. It is customary for Presidents of the United States to visit Christ Church at some point during their term (this tradition started sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century I seem to remember hearing – I will have to dig deeper or ask about this).

11. Christ Church was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

12. Tours of Christ Church are docent-led and the docents provide lots of interesting history.

Visitors can come visit daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are also welcomed to worship or pray, there are three services on Sunday. Christ Church is located on 118 North Washington St., Alexandria, Va. 22314.

Aug. 20, 2016 update - My original #7 was incorrect as Robert E. Lee and Mary Custis were married at Arlington House not at Christ Church. This is now omitted. A special thanks to Janet for clarifying some details and sharing helpful insight. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Photos on Friday: US Capitol interior repairs

Today's Photos on Friday takes us inside the U.S. Capitol Building. I'd only been on a tour once before, back in 2012. We went on another one in September 2015 and, while it's clear renovations were going on the outside of the Capitol's dome, I hadn't really given too much thought about the inside. 

[Related post and more photos: Fun facts about the U.S. Capitol ]

These are some photos I'd taken during our Sept. visit.
The inside of the dome looks different with the scaffold, but the other rooms visitors see on the tour were not under any construction during our visit.
  [To see photos without the scaffold, I have an earlier post that shows photos taken in 2012]
There are many beautiful historical paintings located in the Capitol's dome

The dome's ceiling was covered and visitors could only get a glimpse of it

This photo was taken earlier in 2015. This year a lot of unrelated construction on the National Mall was begun.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Family fun for the holidays: ICE! 2015 at the National Harbor

Photo credit: dbking on Flickr taken in 2010
In mid-November, the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center kicked off its annual ice extravanga at the Marriot hotel at the National Harbor. 

Every year the center has its ice show with a new theme.  This year's theme is "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the classic TV special of the same name.

There will be seven rooms depicting the story of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" along with five ice slides and a live carving zone where visitors can see the artisans at work in the "Frostbite Factory".  According to the official website this year's hand-carved sculptures, like 2014, is made up of more than two million pounds of ice.

This is a pretty popular event and one I've always wanted to go to. A couple of years ago a few of my family members took a trip down to the National Harbor, but we couldn't make it. They came back saying how beautiful it was and how they enjoyed their visit.  

It really sounds spectacular. It is looking doubtful, but if I do get down there, I'll be sure and post a review, along with some pics.

This year's prices vary depending on the day of your visit (peak vs. non-peak). Check the official website for more information. There are also some discounts available if you qualify.

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is located at 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Md. Just a hop, skip and a jump from downtown.

Photo credit: dbking on Flickr taken in 2010