Posts Tagged ‘Travel’


Four Fantastic Places visited on my Vacation

18 December, 2017

On my most recent vacation, taken with my lovely wife, we headed up to the Washington DC area and then down to Williamsburg, VA, for a brief stay.  These are the places we went that were both new to me and a worthwhile visit for just about anyone.  In the order we visited them:

Unusual WeaponsThe National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.  An amazing collection of weaponry and organized to tell how the firearm intertwines with the history of the United States, primarily through wars but also hunting, exploration, law enforcement and sports.  There is even a room with weapons that have shown up in movies and other media.  If you have any interest in guns, you will find things to interest you here, from Gatling guns to flintlocks, six-shooters to automatics, they are all in the collection.  Usual and unusual weapons, common and unique ones, a brilliant and fascinating collection.  Full disclosure, this museum is located in the NRA HQ but it is free, so visiting it is not a political statement (unless you want it to be).

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall which is impressive and still, a year after its opening, amazingly popular requiring reserved passes to get in (so check before you go, we only got in because someone else in line had spare passes).  We only had time to make it through the extensive history section (3+ floors!) before it was time to go, so we will be back.  The history section starts with the transport of enslaved Africans to the Americas and that is not a cheerful journey.  Then through the slave-holding era and the vast cruelty of that system and its end in the fires of the Civil War.  One ascends through the Jim Crow years to the triumphs (if still incomplete) of the Civil Rights era.  As mentioned, we did not even really even get to explore the culture section at all but we will.  The Restaurant here is quite excellent as well.

Filipino WeaponsThe National Museum of the Marine Corps covers the history of the US Marines from their founding during the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War (later periods are in process).  A short movie introduces the Marines through the people who have served, we arrived at a quiet time, so it was just Laura and I in the theater  The earlier periods have lots of good historical artifacts and interesting history, naturally with a pro-American, pro-Marine basis, but that is expected.  Once you get to the Great War, they start really using technology to give you a feel of some of the major events; A mock clearing and a video loop of advancing across the field into German gunfire for the Great War.  The Korean War area has a literal cold room to step into when they are discussing the Chosin Reservoir and the retreat from there during the bitter winter.  In the Vietnam section, you get to exit from a “helicopter” into a fire base.  All very effective for helping to imagine what being there must have been like.  Their are a few pieces on display for the -in process- modern galleries for Iraq and Afghanistan and the number of fascinating artifacts from buttons to tanks, backpacks to aircraft is overwhelming.  The onsite restaurant (and bar) is the Tun Tavern, styled after the birthplace of the corps, and serves excellent food.

Old CapitalOur last stop was Colonial Williamsburg where we did not have nearly enough time but we still managed to visit quite a bit.  The idea behind Colonial Williamsburg is to recreate the past through restoring the historic building and having people, well, roleplay as people from the colonial period many of whom have mastered skills of the time: wig-maker, silversmith, weaver, tailor and in all cases are well versed in what role their persona would have played in the colonial period.  So much to learn and experience from Colonial-era hot chocolate to watching a cannon drill, meeting flocks of heritage sheep and seeing a wig being made, just fabulous.  The College of William and Mary works with Colonial Williamsburg to build and maintain the skills, history and physical structure of the place.  For anyone interested in history, well worth the journey but try to have more time than we did, two days is probably sufficient, one is not.

So, a wonderful history filled trip.  All photos by me unfortunately the ones I took in the Smithsonian did not come out well.

Have you visited any of the places above?  What were your impressions?


To Madison (WI) and Beyond!

19 September, 2011

So, this last week my wife and I traveled to Madison (WI) for ACD Distribution‘s Game Day, which is actually two days of seminars, meet and greet and companies showing off their new products.   The story of our trip follows for those interested:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Wanderer’s Talisman

13 September, 2011

“The old man who gathered windfall in the woods passed it to me and now I give it to you.  It is a small thing, but it will keep you safe and guard you on your path,” he said, folding my hands around the worn silver talisman.

“Thank you,” I said, the amulet still warm from his hand.  “I will keep it near to me always.” He smiled.

As I put it on, I felt more secure in some way I could not explain.

Wanderer’s Talisman

A simple silver talisman, often worn from handling.  Rarely found on a chain but more often tied to a cord or string.

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New Magic Item – Zardarian’s Doorways

31 January, 2011

“Come Aurea,” said Zardarian with a smile, “I have something to show you.”

“Yes?” she asked, following curiously.

“Here we go,” he said gesturing to a newly installed door as he produced a silver chased key.  With a soft ‘snick’ he unlocked the door and pushed it open.  On the other side was a well appointed study, soft light coming through the window.

“Is that not you study . . . in Taren Kost?”

He nodded and smiled. “Yes, a hundred miles away.”

Zardarian’s Doorways

These doorways are made together, with the frames are all made from a single section of wood cut for each frame.  Each is constructed to be as close too identical with each of the others as possible, down to matching the grain of the wood and the polish of the handle.

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Wandering the Web [6]

28 October, 2010

A variety of interesting articles I have stumbled across in my recent explorations:

An amazing eleven or so minutes of film called “A Trip Down Market Street“, shot from a street car in San Francisco just weeks before the great earthquake tore the city apart.  A fascinating look at a different time.

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To GenCon!

4 August, 2010

By the time this posts, I should be on my way to the Atlanta airport for my flight to GenCon.  Looking forward to arriving at the yearly gathering of our tribe.

My GenCon schedule is here for those that wish to find me.

Hope you all have a good time, even if you cannot make it to GenCon.  Go Play and have fun wherever you are.  Will have news, reports and (maybe) rumors when I return.


Amatha Lilly-of-the-Stars, Skyship Pilot and Explorer

28 May, 2010

Sorry this is late, I seem to have been suffering from a dearth of inspiration this week.

Amatha Lilly-of-the-Stars, Skyship Pilot and Explorer

Quote: There is no finer way to travel then in the sky.
Here we go!

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Tuesday Magic Item – Traveling Towel

25 May, 2010

In honor of Towel Day, an item for the galactic hitchhiker in us all:

Traveling Towel

These hard wearing pieces of cloth are useful in a thousand and one circumstance.  While usually just a simple solid color, sometime they are found with patterns or even with fringes.

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New Magic Item – Bed of Dreaming Travel

17 May, 2010

I saw a bed in the huge oak outside Wartington the other day.  No!  Really!  A big noble bed with a canopy and everything!  No, I don’t know how it got there but there were quite a few oddly dressed fellows clustered around the trunk.

Bed of Dreaming Travel

These items are rarely seen, which might surprise those who actually see them as they are quite massive.  The bed of dreaming travel is a huge ornately carved bed with a full canopy, often they are shaped as ships with the canopies styled as sails.  They are made from the highest quality materials and are extremely sturdy.

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Wandering the Web [3]

13 May, 2010

Time for another collection of interesting and unusual articles and places on the web for your enjoyment and edification.

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