College Park, Maryland

Hey there! I'm back! Did you miss me? When last we spoke we were headed to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where we switched out our leaky toilet for a new non-leaking one. The kitties took advantage of Mike's lap in the morning...it's a rare day when they'll share a single lap. More accurately, it's rare for Smitty to share a lap with Sadie.

There were lots of barns along the way, but these next ones were the best of those pictures.

The toilet was such a quick fix, it was all said and done before lunch time. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to spend the rest of the afternoon in the Walmart parking lot, and so while Mike was fixing the toilet, I took a look at my Pennsylvania folder to see what I could find.

There were a couple of articles printed off at some point in time, one being the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. It offered up information about places to stay nearby, and practically right next door was French Creek State Park. Whoa! We were all over that. It was a lovely three nights of camping (no hook-ups, but that doesn't bother us), and very quiet. The kitties couldn't wait to get out on the catio. All those trees looked pretty good to them.

Also from there, we were driving distance of one other site in my Pennsylvania folder, Elfreth's Alley in downtown Philadelphia. And that's what we've been up to the last couple of days.

The next morning being Friday, it seemed like the best day to visit a national historic site and beat some of the crowds. Also, we figured traffic driving into Philadelphia would be better on a Saturday. (We thought wrong...or maybe we thought right, but just didn't know how bad it could really get.) Anyway...off we went to Hopewell Furnace.

Here's some information about it:

Here's what remains.

Our shadow selves decided they wanted to get into the act here too, and so they sat themselves down on this rock and took a selfie.

Beyond this furnace was some information about a fire pit where they burned wood covered in dirt and leaves to keep the fire from flaring up and ruining the charcoal. The workers at this site were nomadic and lived in these mud and wood huts. Not exactly a life of luxury.

From inside, they looked like this...nothing but dirt floors.

I learned about this place from an article that appeared in the Washington Post. You can read it too, if you like. It's interesting. From there, we walked over to these wagons used to haul materials.

This was the upper part of the furnace.

Here's a diagram of how it worked. We were standing at the top in the image above.

Down below, in the casting building, it looked like this:

This room was interesting. There was also an associated company store in an attached structure.

My grandmother used to say that she remembered when bacon was a nickel a pound, but that they didn't have a nickel.

This is the casting building. Look at the top of the roof, and you'll see a steeple-like structure. Initially, I thought this was a church.

During the Revolutionary War, this furnace supplied cannon and shot to the Continental Army. The article I linked to earlier informs us that, "A hundred years later, during the Civil War, it forged pig iron, and then stove plates when iron stoves became common in homes. In 1883, it stopped, doomed by a growing steel industry."

These are casts for skillets.

A working water wheel operated the bellows that kept the furnace hot.

This is the blacksmith's shop and a gathering place. (It was probably warm in there.) To the left, it looked like this. Notice the big hand-operated bellows in the lower left corner of the image below.

The next image shows how it looked off to the right.

The information and pictures that follow are fairly self-explanatory. It was very peaceful here.

There was a large draft horse in the pasture. I'd never seen a draft horse like this. It had short, stocky legs like a Clydesdale, but it wasn't as large. It was approximately the size of a horse one might ride.

He was enjoying munching on the grass.

These are some of the homes. That's an herb garden inside the fence there.

Back the other direction was a stable that could house 35 draft horses. There was a flock of sheep there.

I kind of liked this guy with the freckled face.

Here's a better picture of the stable. It was a beautiful day. Perfect temperatures.

And this was where the master ironworker lived.

This was the wallpaper just inside the front door.

Of course, I knew you'd want to see the quilts. This one was in the living room.

Here's a close-up.

Here's how the whole room looked.

These next quilts were in the parlor.

Here's the parlor.

Just inside and to the right was this quilt.

Here's the dining room. Looks like Thanksgiving.

Toward the rear of this room and to the right of the fireplace was this open door.

Look to the very back corner and there is a spinning wheel there.

But the furnace and iron works weren't the only thing at this site. There is an apple orchard, open to the public in September and October, where one can pick apples for $1 per pound. The trees are so old that many of the apples are no longer available elsewhere.

The apples were mostly up in the tops of the trees and fairly well picked over, so we didn't pick any on our trip. I would love to go back sometime when there are more apples.

Of course, a visit wouldn't be complete without the requisite refrigerator magnet. This is the one I chose.

But what I loved most about this site were the windows and walls. In fact, when I update you about our trip to Philadelphia tomorrow, I'm going to show you even more windows and walls. I'd like to make a quilt of windows and walls someday, and these next images are contenders for quilt blocks. In this first one, I was looking through the cooling shed through an open door below.

From there, we drove back to the state park and explored a little bit. We were looking for firewood, but found none. We did happen upon this information about the park itself.

Here's the lake. Very picturesque.

And that was pretty much our day. There was lots of time for stitching in the afternoon and the next morning, and I've finished two of the four flower clusters on this piece now.

Since taking that picture, I've started working on the dress to the left. I had to take out the beginnings of the clothesline because I'd worked it in the wrong color of floss. I was confused because I purchased a floss kit with the pattern, but the color I was supposed to use was missing from my kit. If I was at home, I'd ask them to send me the correct color, but I happen to have a suitable color with me. There will be time to worry about that when we get home...if I haven't forgotten about it by that time.

We're here in College Park, Maryland, this afternoon. It's a good place to explore Washington, D.C., and we'll be here for the next six nights. I still want to update you on our trip to Philadelphia, and I'll do that in a separate post. For now, I'll just say that tomorrow we'll be spending some time in Baltimore. Mike wants to see the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum there. We were also going to visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore until we saw the ticket price at nearly $40 each. That's way out of line price-wise, and so we're deciding against it out of protest. Instead, we'll go see the Historic Ships of Baltimore which is just down the street from the railroad museum. The next four days will be spent sight-seeing in Washington, D.C.

My family lived near here when I was a little girl, and we're also going to go see if we can find the house where we lived. There is plenty to see here, and so we'll be busy the next several days.