Our son lives in Charlottesville Virginia, so we don’t get a chance to visit him often as it is a seven hour drive to see him. Not that we don’t like to travel, but it’s a long trip for a short visit. As he is 28, he has to work for a living. Who wants to take off vacation time to visit the ‘rents? That’s short for parents.
So, whenever we go to the Sherlock Holmes Dinner in Philadelphia we either try to drive on to Charlottesville or meet Elliott and his girlfriend, Kanna half way. Kanna is such a lovely name, her sister couldn’t say her given name Katherine Ann so she called her Kanna. It stuck.
Here is Steve perusing the buffet at the Union League at Philadelphia. There were lots of chafing dishes. No omelette station. That would have been nice to have had a made to order breakfast. Alas, you take what you gets. These are some of the pastry selections. Can you guess that J and C had the bagels with fixing? You would be right. Did I have scrambled eggs, bacon and grits? Yes I did! Steve skipped the grits.
We left J and C to go on their adventures and we proceeded south to Maryland. We were going to meet Elliott and Kanna in Hagerstown Maryland, and then explore Antietam Battlefield. Elliott and Kanna have started to explore Civil War Battle sites. They had gone to Gettysburg a few weeks before. As they live in Charlottesville, there are tons of battlefields to visit.
I am a real credit card junkie, and try to master the points game. I really failed it big time with this excellent adventure. As a Hilton Credit Card user I am entitled to one weekend stay per year. I thought, this would be a great time to use my certificate. I called up and made a reservation for the Homewood Suites in Hagerstown and asked if I could use my free certificate for a 2 bedroom suite. That way we could all stay in one suite, we wouldn’t have to hang out downstairs in the lobby, or in one of our rooms. Now, I kind of thought this might not fly as the rules and regulations stated that only a regular room could be used for the certificate. I played dumb on the phone and asked if I could use the certificate for this reservation. “Yes of course!”, the reservation agent from India said. “We just need to know your points number.”
“I don’t want to use my points”. I had looked on line and the two bedroom suite was going for 88,000 points, a ridiculous number. If I booked two rooms, it would be 30,000 points for each room. If I used my certificate it would be only 30,000 for the extra room. So I thought I was getting a great deal. HMMM.
This was the day of the Barbara Bush funeral. On our way to Hagerstown from Philadelphia we listened to it on the car radio. I asked the gang if we could delay lunch until after it was over. Thankfully all agreed to postpone lunch.
I looked on Yelp for a great restaurant near the hotel. Rik’s Cafe was the winner, it was in a strip mall, and didn’t look that appealing from the outside. We entered and it looked very popular, lots of locals and families. This was Steve’s lunch. It looks like a chicken sandwich with lots of glop on it, along with a side order of fries. I think the fries could use a touch more salt, don’t you? I thought that I had a crab cake with salad and fries. However, this does not look like a crab cake to me! All I can remember is that the fries were hot. No time for dessert we had places to go!
We found Antietam National Battlefield without any problems. It was a free National Park day, so the park was going to be a little bit more crowded than normal. The visitor center had a movie that we could see and also a small museum with a soldier’s kit and armaments. We tried to arrange for a private guide, but none were available on such short notice. After having private guides on many of our trips, we take every opportunity to hire a guide. It makes visiting new places so much easier. You can zero in on what’s most important and why. No willy nilly wandering. Well since we couldn’t get a guide we got the next best thing. An audio guide!All we had to do was to shove that sucker in the car CD player and we were good to go!
First stop was to view the battlefield map. It was a twelve hour battle on September 15, 1862. The Civil War began in March 1861 with the Confederate Attack on Fort Sumpter. Lee surrendered in April 1865. During the battle at Antietam 100,000 soldiers engaged in battle. At the end of the day 23,000 were killed, wounded or missing. Our first stop was Dunker Church. It was a house of worship for pacifist German Baptist Brethren. Let’s go inside, shall we? Here is Steve thinking throw happy he is, not to be spending all day Sunday sitting on those wooden pews. Elliott appears to be a little more interested. We just missed a musical performance of Civil War era music. There are a lot of plaques. Elliott was a bit disappointed that I didn’t want to stop and read every one. I had no time for that, there were many more stops on the CD! I would have skipped this, but Elliott and Kanna wanted to go up the path to see the Maryland monument up close. Here we are at our next stop. This is the monument in honor of Clara Barton. The Red Cross was made from bricks taken from the chimney of her house. Clara Barton founded the Red Cross in 1861. She provided assistance to all soldiers in the war, no matter what side they fought on. Here is a little more information about her. Next was Cornfield Trail. Upon this 24 acres field was a horrific battle. The Louisiana Brigade suffered over 60 percent casualties in 30 minutes. Here we have a visual of one of the skirmishes. The Union forces are in blue, the Confederacy is red. While we were at this site, we met a lovely gentleman who was studying to be one of the Antietam private guides. I think you could make this a great side gig if you liked history. He had a dog eared copy of a book about the battle. I wanted to ask him to join us and give us a private tour.
There were a number of upside down cannons. These were markers for Generals who had died during the battle. This is the Observation Tower. I hate heights and was wavering over climbing it or not. I did climb it, and there is our van below. I was pretty terrified during my climb up, while I was up there, and also on my way down. I muttered to myself the whole way, “Don’t jump, you are almost done, you will be outside soon.” Whew!Here is a description about the views. Here are Elliott and Kanna at the William McKinley Monument. Of course you know that he was our 25th President, and was the last President to serve in the Civil War. He was assassinated during his second term. This is Burnside Bridge over the Antietam Creek. Steve and Elliott are checking out where the fish are hiding. Kanna is checking out Elliott’s ears. She doesn’t look like she approves. My last picture of the battlefield. Here we see General Burnside. Now you can see where the term “side burns” comes from!
One thing I noticed when we are at the battlefield was that I didn’t have any feelings of overwhelming sadness or unease. When we were at the Coliseum in Rome I was really creeped out. I could not wait to leave the place. I have an empathetic personality and can feel a lot of people’s emotions. The Coliseum was filled with the souls of unhappy people, put to death for others’ amusement. At Antietam, the people were fighting for causes that they believed in. We found our way back to the Homewood Suites and checked in. This was the living room. Elliott and Kanna got the King size bed. Steve and I took the two queens. According to Yelp, the best restaurant for dinner was the Schmankerl Stube. I made reservations and we were off. My mother was born in Germany, as was Steve’s Great Grandparents. There wasn’t any room in the main room, so we were seated outside in the enclosed patio. Kanna is wearing the fleece from the company that Elliott works for. I was quite pleased that Elliott shaved off his beard. I think that he looks like a terrorist with it. Both Elliott and Kanna seem to have the head tilt down pat! Steve and I were pretty cold even with my snuggling. I don’t think I took off my puff jacket the whole time! Looks like no one gets between me and my man!The waitress promptly brought out our beers. I didn’t see any fruity martinis on the menu so I ordered a dark beer. When Elliott was just born I had problems producing enough milk. At his first check up when he was two weeks old, he had lost weight. The diagnosis was “failure to thrive”. I was prescribed Thorazine and a dark beer every day. My milk came in and all was well. However, Elliott never grew to be as tall as Steve. He topped out at 5 foot ten, which was the same height as my father. I sometimes wonder if it was the genes or the lack of breast milk those first two weeks. I ended up having plenty of milk, and nursed Elliott until I discovered I was pregnant with Sally. We were served a rye bread with a sweet butter and a cheesy butter. The breads was hearty and not soft. I prefer bread like this. This was from Avena, the restaurant I wrote about yesterday. I noticed I had forgotten to put it in my post, I was trying to figure out how I could include it. Well, I just did! Lucky, Lucky!
I didn’t see anything on the menu that really got me interested. I like Weiner Schnitzel, but thought it might be too heavy as we had a long car ride to Poughkeepsie on Sunday. I ordered the trout. Steve had the chicken. I don’t think he expected it to be chopped up, it looked like something you might serve an invalid. Kanna had the beef. It was chopped up also. The spaetzle was very good. You are supposed to type spaetzle with an a and an umlaut over it, and no e. I can’t figure out how to do that on my ipad. Did you know that there are somethings I fail at? Yes, amazing isn’t it? Elliott had the Wiener schnitzel. It was sehr gut! That means very good in German. For dessert I ordered the apple strudel. It was not as good as my mother’s. The German cake came along with four forks. It was fair. Next morning we had dinner at the buffet at the hotel. Nothing like greasy sausage to start your road trip! Here we are ready to say goodbye. It looks like there is a bird getting ready to drop some bird poop on my head! You can see that Elliott is a wee bit taller than I am. I am practicing my chest out, shoulders back, tummy in and butt tucked under. Steve needs to get that memo.
When we got back home I checked my point balance. Hilton deducted 88,000 points out of my account after all. I called them up, and they said that I couldn’t use my certificate on the room that I reserved. They didn’t care that the original representative said that I could. I was mad. I called the hotel a few days later and they said that they would check into the matter. No good results. I thought about canceling my card, but I had already paid the fee for the year in February. I also have 350,000 points that I don’t want to disappear. Not sure where I will spend the points, maybe Steve will take me back to the Maldives and I can use the points there!
Do you like German food?
Do you hate customer call reps from India?
Are you a credit card junky, trying to maximize your points?
Are you a complete klutz at maximizing your points?
Did you notice that today we have five questions, up from my normal three?