Sunday, April 17, 2016

Atlanta 2016

My posts are a little out of order right now, unfortunately. And I haven't finished a research post in...forever! I promise to get back on track with those in the next week or two. I just can't miss the chance to share our experiences down in Georgia, the land of peaches and sweet tea.

First we stopped in Richmond Kentucky. The long, 10-hour drive needs an overnight stop! To my surprise, I found a battlefield nearby. The Battle of Richmond took place in late August, 1862, and was considered a Confederate victory. The museum featured a number of lovely exhibits, including a topographic map with a projector showing the battle. I highly recommend a visit, as they are just off of I-75 on the way down to Florida (a trip many Michiganders know well!).

We drove into town fairly tired of the road. While my fiance studied medical stuff, I took off to explore the area. Fayetteville is a gorgeous town heading south out of Atlanta, with so many little adventures along the way. Antique shops are my absolute favorite! I didn't take many pictures, but I found this one shop that I just HAD to share. Their Facebook page is everything I want in my life. 

My fiance tagged along for the next stop: the CDC. The Center for Disease Control headquarters is in Atlanta, and I was so excited to visit! We were a little surprised by the security; they thoroughly searched our car before entering. Upon reflection though, the number of biological hazards in one building requires careful selection of visitors. I'm personally very interested in various medical topics, such as hemorrhagic fevers (ebola) or the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many of the books I've read reference the CDC building in which we stood. It was a sort of medical fangirl moment for me!


Next we made a stop at the Smith Plantation. We learned a bit more about the daily, working life of a southern plantation. As a northerner, I do not have nearly as much exposure to such a different perspective of the 19th century. I particularly liked how the presenter of the house showed pictures of each family member, so we could visualize him/her throughout the tour. The presenter also noted how the Smith family was known for its "hoarding," and that they are still digging out treasures today. This includes the trunk of their eldest son Willie, who died at the end of the war. In 1987 researchers discovered his trunk in the attic, which held his (untouched for over 100 years) personal items from the campaign. It was a fascinating tour, and I highly recommend it if you're in the area!

 Our last and final stop during our tour of Atlanta: The Atlanta History Center! We both arrived quite famished, and decided to stop at The Swan Coach House for a quick bite. Let me make a few observations about our lunch...

#1 Everyone orders sweet tea down here
#2 Sunday brunch is a slow, comfortable affair
#3 My fiance and I are incredibly impatient people
#4 The food is excellent!
#5 Like seriously, what was that fruit salad thing?

We moved next to the elegant The Swan House. Extravagant doesn't come close to describing this palace of sorts. We glided around the rooms most gracefully. We clomped through like tourists, taking in every gilded lampshade and pressed sofa ruffle. While I do love to see the "fancy" from different time periods, I feel more at home with the simpler stuff. On a side note, they had an entire room dedicated to the "nursery," set up with children's toys/games for visiting children. It's nice to see museums adding an interactive portion to make history come alive for young people!
 

Perhaps my favorite spot at the history center was the Tullie Smith Farm, perhaps because it reminds me so much of Greenfield Village back home. (We just missed you Lindsey Foster!). However, there were no ropes in this building; one could walk freely into the rooms without barriers. I even found a cat, that I totally thought was a prop and then petted it. In my defense the cat was very still, and looked too perfect. I forgot the little guy's name, but he was too cute! Also, a man cuddled with turkeys and I petted a sheep. Altogether the perfect afternoon!

In the space of about a week, we traveled hundreds of miles, visited many history places, and ate oysters again (sorry no pics-I still love 'em!). While not my first choice for a spring break vacation (ahem, Colonial Williamsburg), Atlanta has so many treasures to explore. The people are nice, the food is good, and the history is bumpin'. If you're heading down south...stop by!

As I bring this (too long) post to a close, I came to a funny realization. Since late 2015, I have traveled out of Michigan at least once a month. There was Florida in December, Chickamauga in January, Ohio in February, Harrisburg/Gettysburg in March, and Atlanta in April. No wonder I've had trouble writing/updating my shop/organizing my life. May will busy here in Michigan, with a craft show, my sister's graduation, and the Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village. Busy little bee!
I'm oh so lucky to have the opportunities to do all of these things.

And as my Grandma would clearly point out...

She's a mover and a shaker!

~Kristen

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Regency Exhibition Ball 2016

Let me just say, I've been trying for years to get to this ball. Last year we had Becky's wedding, and the year before that Cythnia came into the world. I have a growing collection of Regency dress, but I can't seem to stitch the time together to make it to the ball. Until this year!

Two flights, a snowstorm, and five million bobby pins later, I found myself at the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing, Michigan. Glen Morningstar's gentle instruction flowed through the air. A harp, the titter of nervous laughter from a gathering of young ladies in the corner. The swish of silk. And dear god, the food.
Sue came along with me. We definitely DID NOT gossip!

At the Kalamazoo Living History show a few week prior, I found a lovely bit of fabric. The blue, block print inspired a sewing frenzy that can only be described as...no wait, frenzy works. Luckily Regency dresses are quick compared to other time periods. And luckily Alyssa Lynch wasn't afraid to make the first few snips. In all honesty, I wouldn't have been able to finish has she not done the deed. The terrifying, cutting deed. But it is done and it turned out well!
The sunshine was free
And Katherine/Meeka enjoyed it too!

I have to mention that I did not dance! My beloved fiance could not attend, but even so I would have skittered around taking pictures/video. I'm more for the socialization! I chatted away for nearly the entirety of the ball. I imagine that Jane Austin and I would have gossiped in the corner of any gathering. I'm so ladylike myself!

I'm planning for next year already! And I think I'll use this dress for the JASNA birthday party in December. It is ridiculously comfortable, and complemented me well. 
 SO I PUT MY HANDS UP THEY'RE PLAYIN MY SONG!

I strongly recommend attending this ball. Between the food, dancing, and company, one can pass a pleasant afternoon! And at the very least, there are the hilarious pictures...

~Kristen

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