Posts Tagged With: VA

Solo Traveling: Surprising Moments with Nature

The wharf at Mount Vernon with nesting osprey on the front piling.

Sometimes nature offers up the best surprises!

Like it did on my visit to Mount Vernon, the home of our first president, George Washington. Among the pristine gardens, the stately riverfront home, the history, and the visitors, was a rough-hewn home and feathered family who captured my heart.

Osprey nest on piling at Mount Vernon wharf – home of President George Washington

Though they’re common place among east coast dwellers, to those of us living in “fly-over” states, the magnificent osprey are a rare treat, indeed.

So often in life, as the saying goes, things come in threes. That’s what happened with my osprey adventure.

  1. Early one morning I awoke and found myself enthralled with a PBS television nature show. More specifically, their piece about osprey, which described their nesting habits, their family patterns, and showed some wonderful demonstrations of their amazing deep-dive fishing abilities.
  2. Little did I realize that just a few short hours later, I would come face-to-face with a real-life osprey family living atop a piling along the banks of the Potomac River at the Mount Vernon wharf. According to an article on the osprey family, the pair have nested on the estate in prior years in the top of a sycamore tree. In the summer of 2010, their nest was destroyed when the top of the tree was lost during a storm. Undaunted, the pair returned this spring and built a new home on the top of the wharf piling – just inches from where the tour boat, Spirit of Mount Vernon, boards passengers six days a week.  That’s how I met them.

    My up-close and personal meeting with the osprey of Mount Vernon wharf – a bit blurry from my excitement:(

  3. A couple of days after my visit to Mount Vernon, some friends took me on a boat ride out into the Chesapeake Bay. To my delight every channel marker seemed to be the home of an osprey family. As little chicks poked their heads out of the nests, parents sat guard or flew off in search of the family’s next meal. My only disappointment was not seeing any of them deep-dive fishing. But nature watching does take patience, I suppose. Thanks to these great videos, however, we can all enjoy the amazing abilities of the osprey to “fish.”

You can watch a brief video I took of the osprey here, and see the parent take flight as the Spirit of Mount Vernon pulls closer. Mount Vernon Osprey nest

A live webcam of an osprey nest can be found here if you’re interested in watching them in action.

Ponder & Chat: Have a favorite nature story you can share with us? Where are you favorite spots for dates with nature?

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Categories: Date Ideas, Nature, Reflections, Solo traveling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solo Traveling: Would George Washington Own an iPad?

“No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this….” ~George Washington on his Mount Vernon home

George Washington’s Mount Vernon home as seen from the Potomac River

For nearly half a century George Washington preened and prospered his Mount Vernon estate to 8,000 acres along the beautiful banks of the Potomac River. An 18th century entrepreneurial farmer, he developed and utilized a number of innovative technologies. We’d probably label them “cutting-edge” today.

The 16-sided barn invented by George Washington to more efficiently thrash grain.

For example, he invented a 16-sided barn to more effectively thrash wheat and collect its berries. He purchased the third patent on a water-powered gristmill that allowed him to more efficiently grind his wheat, corn and other grains. Just a couple of years before his death, he built a whiskey distillery that ultimately supplied nearly 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year to the Alexandria, Virginia, marketplace. Washington experimented with gardening and fertilization techniques and utilized the Potomac to develop a fish export business.

Of course, during this time he also led a Revolutionary Army, served as the first president of the United States, and offered his obvious talents in many other ways to his new nation. You know, simple things!

As I walked the beautiful gardens and sat on the front lawn overlooking the river, I couldn’t help but think George would have owned one of the first iPhones and iPads. He’d have had a website to sell products online. He’d have blogged to promote ideas and  conversation, and his KindleFire would be loaded with books and ideas.

Ponder & Chat: Which of the Founding Fathers have inspired you and why?

Categories: Date Ideas, Reflections, Solo traveling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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