Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tour of Old State House in Hartford, Connecticut-A Journey into 375 years of History!

Hello there,
Yesterday, we took a guided tour of the Connecticut Old State House  in Hartford, Connecticut (the state capitol)! This building and the land it is on is a hallowed space of where much American, State and City history has taken place! For example, preliminary hearings on different aspects of the Amistad trials were begun in this building before the case traveled to New Haven, CT.  
The front of the Old State House


 Lego model of  Old State House in  Lobby of the Museum entrance
In the early 1600s the Rev. Thomas Hooker delivered a sermon, on the site, that inspired "The Fundamental Orders", Connecticut's first Constitution, which became an inspiration and model for the U.S. Constitution.  There is much more in the history here!  George Washington didn't sleep here, but he actually planned some important Revolutionary War business here!
Click on the photo to read about George Washington's Revolutionary War Plans he made here!




 Besides other interesting and important things that took place in this room, some of the preliminary hearings in the Amistad trial were held in this room as well as the court room which I will show you a bit later. Different aspects of the trial were decided in separate hearings in separate rooms, before heading to New Haven, CT.  This part was not included in the Steven Spielberg movie, although he originally wanted to film here also. Besides the movie being very long and including the Hartford stuff which would've made the film longer, they couldn't film here because the building and rooms which would have been used were under extensive restoration.

 
Below is a view of the Senate chambers, where the first Connecticut State Senate would meet. Seventy-five percent of the furniture in this room is authentic and goes back to the 1700s ! Citizens were not allowed to sit and watch in the beginning, but later were allowed in such as in our modern day. The portrait of George Washington on the wall is an original done in his memory after he passed away.



 The portrait of our first president was also the same artist who painted the original and better President George W. on the U.S. one dollar bill!


At this Judge's seat/"bench" with the gavel and tobacco spittoon on the floor beside it, some of the decisions that were made in the Hartford part of the Amistad trial were made. 

To the right is a bigger view of the courtroom where the judge's bench is seen in the distance. Most of the furnishings, light fixtures, paint and architectural detail are original.

Below are two pictures of the statue of Justice that used to be on top of the building. There are some interesting stories they will tell you about the statue during the tour they give. The statue was made of a type of pine wood, originally painted white and much later given a gilded look paint.

Statue of Justice
Statue of Justice that used to be on top of building   



Mark Twain lived Hartford, CT for many years where he raised his family in Victorian mansion he had built. It is still standing today and is run as a museum.  It is very well known.  Below is his own first bicycle, which is something I certainly wouldn't want to be the one I learned on or actually ever want to ride! He always was falling off of it himself and didn't really have much luck with it.

This sign explains about Mark Twain's bicycle on display
Mark Twain's bicycle

 The Museum of Curiosities was also in the attic of the Old State House and was one of the first museums in the United States.  It kind of reminds me of stuff in the "Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not" museum. It is famous for it's two-headed calf (it's real and original from the museum!).  I think it's a place little boys would love!



There are many more things which I didn't touch on and many more pictures that I don't have the room to share! I highly recommend a visit there. The cost is extremely reasonable. The staff are extremely courteous,  knowledgeable and helpful. The guided tours are extremely informative and educational. There is something for everyone. They have many things and a room geared toward children as well as the adults. There are displays on not just the state and building's history, but also about city of Hartford.  I can't tell you enough. It is also very convenient to many other attractions in the area and within walking distance of many restaurants, hotels and other things you may need or be interested in.
The building stands out surrounded by the modern busy city that has grown up around it. The very modern skyscrapers and heavily trafficked streets, surround and tower above this wonderful historical storytelling building and it's plot of land.
Enjoy the time you spend there. If you have been there or have questions or comments, please feel free to comment in the comments section!

Here is the official link for the most up-to-date information:          http://www.ctosh.org/

Hope you enjoyed this visit!  Thanks for joining me!
Have a wonderful day!
Mary Ellen

Some of our Bunnies!

Butterscotch
I thought you might like to meet some of bunnies! Definitely will be sharing more in the future!Thanks for visiting us!!
Woody, Domino and Sally

Goldilocks

Woody

Little Grumble

Baby Grumble

Trixie
Here is a link to my website with information on rabbits: The Rabbit Hop Stop
And a link to my Bunny Shop: Rabbit Hop Shoppe

Planning Out our Second Honeymoon at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Vermont

Hello there,

In just over a week, my husband is taking me away to the Rabbit Hill Inn in Vermont.  It is supposed to be a very romantic place with all rabbit-themed decor.  Their website (website link)states that they don't have television or telephones in their rooms so there is less distraction from the environment. They do have televisions in some community rooms. They do have wi-fi. I look forward to not  being near a television, especially on  a trip to celebrate ten years of marriage.

The original building was built in the 1700s on land that was named Rabbit Hill. The inn has had many incarnations through the years and is located in a historical area in a town located not far from the New Hampshire border.  There is supposed to be many things to do in the area for anyone!

Our interactions with the owners, who run the place, have all been very accommodating and beyond generously helpful.  We have interacted over the phone, on the internet and face book. The place has excellent ratings in several publications and on-line. So far from our own experience and from other people's ratings of the place, it looks like they go above and beyond.

They also offer many amenities that appear to accommodate and help encourage spending wonderful time with a loved one.  I am not talking about about the cheesy champagne glass bath tubs for two or heart shaped beds and baths like I've seen advertised over the years in other romantic getaway "resorts"such as in the Poconos.  They offer massages, candle-lit dinner packages that they set up in your room to surprise your significant other, ect. They also offer a dining room with special dinners and packages created by their gourmet kitchen staff!

There is so much to look forward to experiencing and telling you about once we've gone there! I can't wait to share the time with my husband & then share the best and the worst with you about this inn.

If you have been there, please feel free to comment or share your thoughts! I would love to know what you think!

Thank you for spending your time here! I appreciate you sharing your time with me!

Hope your day is going great!
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creating your own Memorial/ Prayer Photo Card -high quality, low cost!

Hello there,
I wanted to share something that I did when planning the memorial service for my father last month. We weren't going through a regular funeral home because of the expense and because his cremated remains were being brought back from out of state by my brother. My father wanted things to be simple and inexpensive.

When it came to the memorial prayer cards, I looked on-line and wasn't completely happy with what I saw, or if I did do see something, the cost was astronomical. I wanted something with his picture on it, and a bit more personalized. After several days of searching and looking at Cafe.press and Zazzle on line, I didn't see any products offered that fit the bill for me.  There were some of the prayer cards on  Zazzle, but they were too lacy and flowery looking for my dad. It did start me thinking that I could create my own.



After trying to figure things out, I used a business card template turned on its side. Zazzle offers a "chubby size" card which made the card a bit bigger than the average business card template and made it about the average size of a regular prayer card.  I was able to put his photo on it and personalize it the way I wanted it.
It cost about $30.00 (US Dollars) plus a little more for shipping for 100 cards.  It was printed on both sides and came out very pleasing to this finicky customer.  This was about fifty dollars less than what I found somewhat similar on-line with photos of the person, etc.

Zazzle also offers several different types of paper, grades of paper, color, and the like. I found something that they call "indestructible" which is waterproof, creaseproof, ect.  I tested all this myself when I received the order.  Their shipping was fast also!  They have different types of shipping. I was a bit nervous about getting them on time for the service. My worry was for nothing.

If you are thinking of creating you own, you try it on Zazzle yourself or you can try my template at this link... memorial prayer card .  You can change the photos, the poem, prayer, text, etc.  I felt wonderful doing something of my own for my father.  He was the type that appreciated something that I did myself for him rather than something commercial. I liked this because it was something I was able to create, but it came out professional looking. It is also one of a kind in design, not someone else's work.  Even if this were someone else's work, I would have still had a major part in the design that I wanted to achieve.

I hope this information is helpful to you. It actually gave me a warm feeling to think that my dad may have been looking at me from above trying to do something a little extra special and personal in his memory.

Thanks for reading this and pass on the info if you know someone who is planning a service. It is difficult enough to find the strength and time to go through planning and getting a service together. It is draining.  I thought that by sharing this that it might help someone else going through this.

Blessings to you,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dealing with Grief...

Hello,
It has been a very long time since I've posted on here and I've been wanting to do it for a while now. A long while.
I make no excuses. I don't offer any. I'm sorry for not posting.
I wanted to share that I lost my father in May this year. My brothers and I had to make the very difficult decision of taking him off of life support. I have so many mixed feelings.
My father had something called vascular dementia which impaired his judgment and made him difficult to deal with. He moved several states away, about 10 years ago, after my mother died. I think it may have been more difficult to deal with because I didn't get to see him too often because of the distance.
Although my brother who lived near him would tell me much of what was going on, it was still hard to accept these gradual changes and decline within him. I love my dad, always did and always will.
I guess it is something that's kind of like the winter holidays when people get together and want things to be happy like on TV, in the movies or our own idealized version of what family get-togethers "should" be. Then when the actual event happens. reality happens. There are tensions between relatives or things just don't seem to be the way we wanted them or fantasized about.
It was like that visiting my dad. Due to a stroke he had almost 20 years before, his own stubborn personality/independence streak, lack of judgement and whatever else due to his vascular dementia; he became unpredictable, more cantankerous, less patient and less in control of a temper he didn't have when he was younger. It created some tension and made visits difficult. I wanted time that we spent together to be special, but it didn't happen too much. I would always end up feeling disappointed. In hindsight, at times anyways, at this point, I can look back and know that this was just the way things were and he was "sick".
When my grandmother got seriously ill and actually had to be revived and in the ICU, she actually had another 8 years of a happy life. I felt it was a gift from God because she didn't have a great life for several years before she had become ill. I guess I also wished for that for my dad. I think he was sad, depressed and lonely dealing with his deficits and losses. I wished he had that special time.
When I was away from him I would miss him despite his crankiness. I hope that he is at peace and happy now. The good thing is that he is with my mom.
I don't know how to end this. I don't have anything creative to say or end this with. Grieving has many facets and is an ongoing process. We can't speed it up or slow it down. It is something that has to be done though. It helps keep our lives from stopping.
I will share more about this in the future as this goes on. Thanks for reading this. I hope that life is going well for you.
Thanks for reading!
Mary Ellen