Saturday, June 21, 2014

Manassas Battleground National Park: Eloise "Ricketts" Cotey faces Eloise "Stonewall" Cotey on a fine summer day.

We are really enjoying living in the DC metro area.  The opportunities for exploration are truly infinite.  Last Saturday was a prime example of where we end up when plans go awry.  We had planned to catch the tail end of the strawberries in Northern Virginia, but forgot the cardinal rule of naps...never get in the car immediately after the baby takes a monster one!

Isabel was NOT HAPPY about being in the car.  As we merged onto Route 66 we were debating just turning right around.  Then I said, we could always do a pit stop at Manassas or Bull Run.  Seriously.  How fortunate are we that our stops along the way are beautiful national memorial parks that carry the weight of our history and the creation of a true and abiding nation.

Eloise enjoyed the Union cannons...their wooden supports made them easier to scale.
By the time we arrived Eloise had just fallen asleep.  Isabel and I jumped out and did a quick diaper change while Phil took Eloise out to examine the cannons.

Assessing Ricketts line.
Receiving battlefield instructions from her NCO.
Hiking out of a draw while discussing strategy.
We decided that we could all use a bit of a run in the grass and did a mile loop that went along the tactical highlights of the First Battle of Manassas.  It was really interesting to listen to Phil assess the battlefield.  I have always been fascinated by the nuts and bolts of the impact of war - life on the home front, the personal psychological and physical impact of warfare, the way that technology advances and wartime shifts movements forward in policy - but alongside my husband I felt the battlefields come alive in a way that I had never felt.

Isabel managed to remain cantankerous on the walk about.
The day was gorgeous.  There was a light breeze that kept us from being too hot and the sky was brilliant.

Looking back across the draw from Stonewall Jackson's line.
It was amazing to let the girls work their wiggles out in such a historic place.  We walked up quite an appetite and decided to head to IHOP and have breakfast for lunch.  Isabel proceeded to charm the pants off of all the waitresses.  Eloise and I throughly enjoyed a tall stack of strawberry banana pancakes and Isabel and Phil went straight for the eggs!

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