Thursday, June 28, 2012

Horses, Houses & Taverns

Forgot to tell you about the horseback riding lesson the other day.  Just the perfect day to be outside . . . cool and breezy.  My BFF's grandaughter is 6 1/2 (can't forget that 1/2) and this was her first time on a horse.  The woman who owns the horse couldn't have been a better teacher for a first timer.  She showed her how to groom the horse, get him ready to ride and explained all commands to get the horse to do what you want.  This woman practices "natural horsemanship" which focuses on knowing your horse and how to communicate with it as close to how horses communicate with each other as possible.  I must say that I learned more about horses and riding than I ever did when I actually took lessons . . . she was amazing!  Our little rider did a fabulous job catching on and communicating to the horse what she wanted it to do . . . no fear whatsoever!  I think it was a day she'll remember always!

Today . . . supposed to be in the mid 90's . . . was not the perfect day to be outside.  I decided I would do a few things before it got too hot and see how it went.  It wasn't too bad.  I headed into Old Town and found a 2 hour free parking space only a few blocks from the Carlyle House.  This house was built by the English merchant John Carlyle for his young bride Sarah Fairfax in 1753.  It's significant for several reasons:  one of the earliest buildings in Alexandria, architecturally unique in Alexandria as the only stone 18th century Palladian-style house, and British General Braddock made the mansion his headquarters in 1755 when he summoned five colonial governors to meet there (the Congress of Alexandria) to plan the early campaigns of the French and Indian War.  Braddock was killed during the battle of his plans at Fort Duquesne . . . the best laid plans, no doubt.  In a correspondence of John Carlyle's he complains of what a poor house guest Braddock was, abusing his home and furnishings.

This would be John himself.  He actually sent the portrait back to the artist asking him to make him look older . . . he added the 5 o'clock shadow . . . I guess to show he was old enough to shave?

The dress to the right is supposed to be a replica of Sarah's wedding dress.  She would have worn her best dress for that occasion.  Some 30 years later her daughter used some of that material to fashion a dress for herself (on the left).

There is a sampler that might have been something similar to what Sarah would have stitched at the time. 

The hand carved moldings in the dining room were stunning!  Hand carved . . . can you imagine!

I walked a block more to have lunch at Gadsby's Tavern.  I haven't done the Museum tour yet . . . had to get back to my car . . . I was already a half hour beyond my 2 free hours.  The Tavern has entertained the likes of Cousin George and Mrs. Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, the Marquis de Lafayette, John Quincy Adams and me!  The Peanut Soop (that's how they spelled it) was delicious as was the bread . . . the crab cake was good, but not as good as the Union Street Oyster Bar the other day . . . I do like me some crab!

It's 95 degrees out and that calls for an indoor afernoon of stitching . . . think I'll start the Mt. Vernon piece!      ~*

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