Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gettysburg & Washington DC

I spent the last week and a half on the East coast, mainly to visit my mom and step-dad at their new home in Gettysburg, PA. Both of them are civil war enthusiasts, and we got quite the tour from them around the battlefields. My step-dad is the kind of guy who will drag us through the forest to show us where someone was really killed, proving that the monument 200 yards away was placed in the wrong spot.

The weather was crisp, and there was still a lot of color in the trees. You really miss out on Fall when you live in California (here you get green leaves, brown, or nothing at all).

HDR photo of the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA.
Canons lined up along the Confederate line.
my mom.
Not only Civil War buffs, my mom and step-dad are also big into genealogy. Because of their research, I now know that my great, great, great (etc.) grandfather fought in the Civil War at Gettysburg in a regiment from North Carolina. Here is the monument honoring those N. Carolinians:

monument to the North Carolinians that fought at Gettysburg

We took a little side trip to Maryland to browse around, as well as visit "Spook Hill" (a road where if you put your car in neutral it will roll itself uphill). Among our findings was this old stone church:

The awesome thing about this church is that I had a Legend of Zelda moment when I went around the back of it. There's a stone opening in the ground with a steep staircase that leads to an old stone room underneath the church:

It reminded me of some sort of secret passageway in "A Link to the Past" (the Zelda game on Super Nintendo). Like this one:

My parents' house is nestled in the woods, about a 2 minute drive from the battlefields of Gettysburg. In fact, the Confederate troops would have marched straight through their property on their way into town. Waking up to a foggy morning in those trees was worth a photo:

foggy morning in the Gettysburg woods

After spending a cozy 5 days with them, we left my parents and ventured in to Washington DC. My grandparents lived right near the Pentagon when I was growing up, so I've been there many times. Unfortunately, the last two trips I made to DC (2003, and last September) were both for their funerals. I thought it would be nice to hang out in DC for a happier occasion finally.

Nevertheless, our first stop was Arlington Cemetery:

Arlington Cemetery near Washington DC. Photo by Clay Lancaster
It's a short stop off the metro, and thanks to my brother I was able to use the GPS location he sent me to find Grandpa and Grandma so I could say hello to them:

Grandpa & Grandma (Capt. & Mrs. Norman Lancaster USN)
Grandpa was only buried there 2 months ago, so there's still is temporary marker for him while Grandma's name is on the stone. If you didn't see my earlier post, Grandpa retired from the Navy at the rank of Captain, and served in WWII (a Pearl Harbor survivor).

It was an extremely relaxing trip (despite all the walking), and was a bit disappointing to come home to California and be thrown back into the hustle and bustle of regular life. Thanks to my mom and Chip for having us stay with them!

Oh, and I stopped by to say hi to Obama on my way out of town:

The White House. 2011. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
As always, all photos by Clay Lancaster. Except the Zelda one.

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