Exploring Washington, DC

“Only those places that you have visited by foot have you really visited at all.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Almost every place you’ve ever heard of in Washington, DC, is within sight of or walking distance of the National Mall, including many Federal departments (FBI, IRS, EPA, VA, USPS, HUD, NASA, State, Justice, Treasury, Interior, Education, Labor, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Energy, Transportation), and other entities like the Senate Office Buildings, the House Office Buildings, the OAS, the Smithsonian, the Washington Post, the National Geographic, even the Canadian Embassy. Continue reading

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Fine Dining

“Anybody who believes that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach flunked geography.” ~Robert Byrne

We live in a country where food has assumed an importance beyond just keeping us alive. Now it is also entertainment and night life. For myself I seldom eat at fine dining (too pricey); never imbibe wine, cocktails, liquor, or beer; and, mostly, avoid any place that serves alcohol, including Applebee’s, O’Charley’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and steakhouses. The last thing I want is a drink menu. Continue reading

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Minnetaunka*

19th-Century Trip to Manitoba
Rail Travel
Guest Writer Mary FitzGibbon

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~Miriam Beard

On leaving Lichfield our road lay through some beautiful, slightly undulating country. Between lofty bluffs, the train emerged along the shores of a lovely lake, and before its beauties had disappeared, another and another followed in rapid succession. The first two, Smith and Howard, are much alike. Continue reading

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Pullman Sleeping Car*

19th-Century Trip to Manitoba
Rail Travel
Guest Writer Mary FitzGibbon

“Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine.” ~EM Forster

We came up the Red River in the Minnesota, the vessel in which I had gone down two and a half years before; the same, too, used by Lord and Lady Dufferin, with their party. Some Americans who were with us good-temperedly vied with each other in their efforts to get the staterooms occupied by the vice-regal party, and the steward was asked many questions. Continue reading

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The Railroad at Last*

19th-Century Trip to Manitoba
Overland
Guest Writer Mary FitzGibbon

“Life is made up of marble and mud.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

We reached Tilford about 6 o’clock. How we pitied the pretty, sad-looking woman, wife of the engineer! For having to live in a house stranded on a bank of mud, just high enough to keep out the water! And with mud and marsh on all sides for miles, making it impossible to go out! The couple had no society and only the bare necessaries of life; mail and telegraph were their only means of communication with the outside world. Continue reading

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The Last Portage*

19th-Century Trip to Manitoba
Portage Travel
Guest Writer Mary FitzGibbon

“You can’t live on amusement. It is the froth on water—an inch deep and then the mud.” ~George MacDonald

Next morning the sun rose bright and clear, but as there was still a good deal of wind, which was likely to increase as the day advanced, we started early; not, however, before Mr F— had sent the strange Indians to shoot some ducks we had heard on the lake. They returned with one old and five young birds, for which they were paid a nickel each and the remnants of our breakfast. We all set to work at once to pluck and clean the birds. Continue reading

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The Gypsy Picnic*

19th-Century Trip to Manitoba
Camping
Guest Writer Mary FitzGibbon

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

Half an hour after leaving the Indian village we reached Falcon River, a narrow winding stream running in a swamp between hills. About half a mile down we struck our camp for the night, at a spot where a rude wharf or landing of logs had been built by the contractors’ haymakers. Inside a rude “corelle [corral],” or paddock, where they had kept their cattle, we pitched our tent and made a fire. Continue reading

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