Friday, May 11, 2012

Capital Gains

Peaceful Landscape Just Outside Dover Delaware - May 8, 2012

From the living room of my bucolic, New England cottage, I sit reflecting over the past three days not believing how much we've seen and how far behind I already am with the journal.  I have to keep reminding myself that the trip is NOW - the journal will happen when I can.  

Bill arrived Tuesday morning right on time and ready to roll!  We left the Washington D.C. area immediately headed for a few hours in Annapolis, Maryland to visit state capital #1.  This plaque just outside the state house gives a bit of the history.  Here is more.

Our last two summer adventures have been out west and we are being reminded just how much of our early history is based on things that happened in these eastern capital cities and capitol buildings we are visiting on this trip.  In the past three days, we have stood in the halls of both the oldest (Maryland) and the second oldest (New Jersey) continuously used state houses.  

 The Maryland State House is in the middle of Annapolis, Maryland.  It is located on a hill with the narrow streets of town radiated out from the building as spokes on a wheel.  It is a very unique setting, but difficult to get a good picture of the building.  This was taken as we walked towards the waterfront looking back up the hill.
 We are enjoying spring for the second time.  This is in downtown Annapolis.  Azaleas and tulips (my favorite) are in full bloom.  In Connecticut (where I am now), dogwoods are just a tiny past peak, but still beautiful! 

Annapolis, Maryland - May 8, 2012

We bribed the volunteer in the Visitor's Center into giving us a recommendation for lunch as we were both more than ready for some fresh seafood.  We were guided to Carrol's Creek Restaurant and oh boy, was it ever good.  I couldn't wait to get some fresh Maryland Crab Cakes and Bill settled on a soft shell crab platter that he claimed, "the best ever."  

Since we had been to Annpolis previously and toured the Naval Academy, we didn't go there and following our delightful lunch, traveled the remaining miles to Dover, Delaware.  We were pretty excited as this was a city we'd never visited.

Unfortunately, we woke up to heavy rain on Wednesday morning, but with only one day to spend in Dover, you just go with it!  Thankfully, it wasn't cold or windy, so armed with a huge umbrella, off we went to Heritage Park in downtown Dover.  I'll have to say that Dover has done a terrific job in their efforts to make tourists welcome at their historic sites.  The buildings, including the current Legislative Hall and the Old State House are all centered around a traditional New England "green" and the Visitor Center has been constructed there as well.  A huge plus in our minds is FREE PARKING!!  We have now visited so many State Houses (we think this is #29) that they can't help but run together, but Delaware's became one of our favorites.   It is small, but beautifully done in federal style with gorgeous woodwork and some exquisite art located in the chambers.  

Looking at the Delaware State House from across the Green

 This artwork was displayed on three sides in both chambers.  It was beautiful!

This morning, we left Dover and traveled about a 100 miles northeast toward Trenton, New Jersey and a quick visit to the New Jersey State House.   Advanced reading had led me to believe that Trenton would not be a place we'd want to spend a great deal of time.  We made our way directly to the State House, but driving in from I-95 via highway 29, I'll have to say, the area was quite lovely.  Driving parallel to the Delaware River, the homes on our left were large and quite majestic.  The state capital complex was clean and the people were friendly.  

 New Jersey State Capitol - Trenton, NJ

The New Jersey State Capitol was, by far, the most ornate of the three we have visited.  This is looking up into the rotunda.  I thought it kind of looked like a poached egg, Bill suggested a navel orange.  Unfortunately, security was not amused when they heard us laughing.  Several school groups were present today and Congress was in session meaning lots of "suits" were around along with folks from several media outlets.  

This was the scene directly across the street from the Capitol building.   

We've been quite intrigued by the different levels of security among the three State Houses we have visited.  In Annapolis, we were given a guide sheet for a "self-guided" tour and told where we could and could not go.  In Dover, we had free reign of the entire building.  We were encouraged to visit every room.  We were able to take pictures of ourselves sitting in the speaker's seat holding the gavel!  It was lots of fun and also pretty neat to interact with several of the folks working there.  The tightest security was in New Jersey.  There, we were told we HAD to participate in a guided tour and could not even enter the rotunda unless part of a tour.   We aren't sure if that is the way it always is or was simply that way because they were actually in session.   We did not have time to take a full guided tour (it was an hour), so we started the tour in the rotunda area and gracefully exited once they moved forward.  

Lest you think all we've done is improve the depths of our historical knowledge, think again.  Dover, Delaware is home to the Monster Mile, Dover Downs, a huge casino and one of National Geograpic's Top Ten US National Wildlife Refuge's.  We visited them all plus the Biggs American Art Museum and the Johnson Victrola Museum.  

So lots more to write about and a busy day tomorrow with a visit to Yale University and time to explore New Haven.   So don't forget to come back!



  1. Thank you again for sharing your trip - I've never been there and love seeing the pictures and learning along with you! Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Crab cakes - yum. My "go to" food when I'm in the Northeast is lobster rolls. I've been to New Haven but only as a young child; my grandmother had family there.

  3. Beautiful pictures! Good job on getting out even though it rained :)

    And we have some hikes picked out at RMNP, but if you had any that you really loved and recommend, please let me know :) And thanks for the heads up on the grocery store! We will definitely check it out since we hope to go around Denver and not through it!

  4. Fantastic recap Sharon! I have never been there but I hope to make it there one day after hubby retires. It looks like a lot of fun.

  5. Looks like a fantastic trip! I love when I get to "come along" through people's blogs :)

  6. That looks a lot of fun.

  7. Great images. I loved the image of the dome from below...almost looked like an you see what I mean?
    Yale...I"ll stay posted. Everyone I know from Yale is a snoot though!

  8. I love crab cakes! When every I visit my cousins in MD we have them! Happy trails!

  9. Love reading about your doings w Mr. I'm down with a monster cold. Glad for the vicarious fun and adventure!

  10. What a fun trip - and we are neighbors now! Yay! I look forward to meeting up with you :D