Friday, April 15, 2016

First Leg of Our Journey North

This turned out to be quite a trip, and thankfully we used our little car to travel north- for reasons you will figure out after reading our next few postings.  We covered over a thousand miles and saw the beginning of spring, spring at its peak and at its ending.  We also drove through about 10 states, due to the fact that we wanted to see Falling Waters in western Pennsylvania.  Most importantly we visited with family, many of whom we had not seen for at least a year, some longer than that!
Shortly into our journey, after we had driven from Florida into Georgia, a roadside marker directed us to the museum of Laurel and Hardy.  We decided to drive off from our planned route to check that out.  Unfortunately the museum was closed.  However, there was information posted outside the building regarding Oliver Norvell Hardy.  The historic marker noted that the town was the birthplace of the "rotund member of one of Hollywood's greatest comedy team".   His mom worked at a hotel which often had visiting troupes of performers.  Her son soon got the acting bug and at the age of 26 years left for Hollywood.  He was accidentally teamed with a young Englishman by the name of Stan Laurel.  They were partners and friends until Hardy's death in 1957.
 We drove through just a corner of Virginia.  Of course you know that "Virginia is for lovers".
The second day of our journey brought us into West Virginia, which is touted as being "Wild and Wonderful".  I must add that for us at this time of the year it was wintry and cold. We woke up to find our car dusted with snow.  In the lower elevations we did see red bud and dogwood trees beginning to bloom.
Falling Waters, a home designed by Frank Loyd Wright, is near the Pennsylvania state park of Ohiopyle.  The road into the park is called the Laurel Highlands, a "scenic by-way".  Probably any other time of the year it would be beautiful; it is known for its rolling hills of farmland, as well as its mountains, valleys, streams and waterfalls.  Pictured above is Cucumber Falls, located on the Youghiogheny River.  It was one of the first stops we made after we entered the park.  This area is where Fort Necessity was located in 1754.  We did not have time to visit the reconstructed fort.  General Washington was commander of 400 British troops at the fort.  Not far down the road from the fort is the grave of Major General Braddock, a British officer killed in 1755.  His memorial is located in Braddock Park.
 In 1755 Braddock led 1,400 troops to expel the French from Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh).  He was thwarted in his attempts there, and a month later was defeated at the battle of Monongahela.  He was mortally wounded in that battle and died as the British retreated.  After that brief United States history lesson, I will move on to the point of our questionable meanderings in western Pennsylvania- which is Falling Water.  That is for my next posting.

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