Got me a skin drum

Fantastic weekend at the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Midlothian.  Got to hear and play along with many of the guests and other luminary attendees, all day long and into the wee hours.  Bought a cool bodhran from Albert Alphonso, a local who makes some of the best Irish drums in the world.  Now I just have to practice.

Honeymoon, Day 10

The USS Constitution is America’s oldest commissioned Naval ship, and as such follows protocols like raising the flag each morning and lowering it each evening.  This ritual is accompanied by a cannon shot.  We discovered they do this at 8 am.  It sounds (and feels) just like a lightning strike hitting close—the kind that rattles the windows.  We were very excited to hear it though.  I remember from our last visit, they only use a quarter charge of gunpowder.

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Honeymoon, Day 9

After a leisurely breakfast at the Pilgrim House, we stopped by the Trinity Church graveyard for a few minutes to view more headstones.  We stumbled onto another Keith headstone, from Aberdeen (David thinks it might be his immigrant ancestor); some immigrants from Ireland and England of course, and one sad story about a man who arrived in Rhode Island from North Carolina for his health, but died just a few days after arrival.

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Honeymoon, Day 8

(by Grace) We left Branford and headed North on Route 1 to travel along the seashore.  We stopped at a little cemetery (of course) along the way in Guilford or Madison and checked out a few headstones.  We found the first grave, laid in 1688, a young boy of six.  We know it was the first because we read it on the stone.  There are many, many old graveyards in these towns.  We’ve not stopped for every one, but it has been tempting.

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Honeymoon, Day 7

Today was mostly a driving day, through the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts and down to the southern coast of Connecticut – but what a beautiful drive!  It’s no surprise why rich New Yorkers like Martha Stewart want to live up here.We started the day in Bennington, VT with a visit to the huge monument commemorating the Revolution’s Battle of Bennington.  Turns out the battle was actually fought a bit west of here in New York, but they were fighting over storage houses actually in Bennington.  It was a decisive battle that eventually led to the defeat of Gen. Burgoyne.  We also popped our heads into the Covered Bridge Museum and the Old Bennington Cemetery, where poet Robert Frost is buried.  His epitaph says “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world”.  His poem, “Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening” has always been one of my favorites.

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Honeymoon, Day 6

(by Grace) We slept in this morning and took our time packing up.  At 9:00 David phoned Kristi Mattingly, his genealogy buddy.  We haven’t looked it up to make certain the connection, but we believe she is his fourth cousin once removed.  Her father descended from George Washington Lovrien as well.  She’s the one who pointed us to his gravesite and old homestead site.  We enjoyed a nice long visit with her and her husband Kevin in their home on top of the world near Washington Vermont.  The view from their front lawn is stunning.  It’s a summer/weekend house—they teach at a boarding school in New Jersey I believe she said.  I was charmed by their retriever, Grady.  She is such a friendly dog!

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Honeymoon, Day 5

“Gravehunting on Friday the 13th”  Today was David’s big genealogy day, spent in eastern Vermont.  The first stop was East Topsham, where my 3rd-great-grandfather George Washington Lovrien is buried in a small family plot that was not as easy to find as we thought.  It is right off the highway but it is only visible for just a second as you drive past.  There are only about 15 gravestones here: George W. and several members of the Bixby family (George’s in-laws).  After George died at age 32, his widow Sophia and most of her children moved out to Iowa.  We also stopped by the farm that was once George and Sophia’s.

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Honeymoon, Day 4

It rained all night last night and cooled down into the upper 40’s.  After a huge, wonderful, cooked-to-order breakfast at the Woodstock Inn (included with the room), we spent the entire day exploring the White Mountains.

Be sure and click on the small photos on the left at the beginning of each Honeymoon entry to view the daily slideshows… especially this one: spectacular!

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