Are We All Equal And Even?

Are We All Equal And Even?

 

Good evening folks, as you can see I have decided to write to you on the subject matter of if we are all of equal value both in our own human eyes and in the eyes of our Creator. Let’s break the two words down separately for a moment, define them and see if they come back together in the end. I looked the words up in the Webster Dictionary and this is what it had to say. Equal: same in number, style, merit, fit or qualified, evenly balanced, one equal to another. Then for the word Even: uniform in quality, equal in amount, impartial, invites comparison.

 

I do hope that with age that we all do learn from the life that we have lived, good, bad and the ugliness of our societies we survive within. I know that our Lord said for us to “not put those of gray hair away, for in the gray hair on man lies the wisdom of the world.” I used to wonder for years how any of us humans could possibly think of ourselves as being superior or as subordinate to other people then at the age of 22 I had an eye opening reality slap me in the face and I was given the answer. At the age of 22 I left northern Illinois where I had lived for 12 years and moved back to the town I was born in which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. From the ages of 10-17 I attended our local Church of Christ but from 17-22 I have to admit that I didn’t attend very often. So, when I moved back to the home of my family roots I decided that I would start going back to Church at their local Church of Christ.

 

I attended this Church for three weeks when on one Sunday evening the Preacher turned in his 30 day notice of his quitting. He and his family were not local folks, in fact they were “Yankees”, they were from the state of Pennsylvania so quite honestly I was a bit surprised that he had even even been hired there as some of the folks in that region are still fighting the Civil War within their own minds. That Sunday evening after the Preacher had given his notice I met him at the door and told him that I had been thinking about making this the Church the place I was going to be a regular at so could he tell me what was troubling him so much that he decided to quit and leave the area. What the man told be both shocked me and woke me up at the same time. What he said was that it is the Church Leadership’s opinion here that the only people who have Souls, are white people. Seriously, that is what he said, I never ever stepped foot in that building again.

 

For years I had wondered how it was possible that some people throughout history to treat each other as horribly as we have. How was it possible for the atrocities of the slave trade of years ago and to this current date? How was it possible that the government of our Nation (USA) to have ever worked to eliminate a whole race of people like they did all throughout the 1800’s with the Native Americans. How could a government or a major ruling race say to another that “you are less than I am because you don’t have the same skin color as me or because your religion is somewhat different than what we believe.” How phony can a person or persons be? One of the thoughts that I have pondered throughout the years is just how does a person think they will be able to justify their ego’s and their hatreds when they step in front of the Judgement Seat of our Creator? How could it be possible for me to believe that it is okay with our Creator for me to treat people of a different skin color or from another country than I am as if they are less important than I am?

 

Friends, it took me a long time before I finally understood this reality, it took me a long time to “get it.” People treat other people as ‘sub-humans’ because that is what they believe inside themselves. This ‘truth’ is both sad and scary at the same time. This reality does also extend to financial class hatred of each other. Things like I hate you because you are richer than me or, I hate you because you have less than me. So many do try to puff their own selves up by squashing and demeaning all others. Truly, Demons do walk this Earth among us and they are as starving Lions looking for whom they may devour. The truth is that many people actually do believe that all other people are ‘less’ than they are. That at best, only a few other people are Equal to themselves. Many people of this egotistical world do not believe that others should be considered or treated as “Even” or allowed onto the playing field of life with themselves.

 

Jesus tells us plainly over and over again that God IS NOT a respecter of persons. He is telling us that one person is not better than another. Whether we are a King, a President or a person who cleans toilets for a living and lives under a bridge, we are all of equal importance to God our Creator. Salvation is given by God to all people of the Earth, to all Nations, to all Languages. Why is it that some of us humans seem to think that we can slander God’s human creations and demean them? How is it possible that we can think we will not be held accountable by our own Creator of these sins? Friends, it is all of us who are not “Equal, Even” or sufficient, not of our own abilities. It is only by the Mercy, Grace and Power of our Creator that any of us have ever drawn a single breath. Folks it is by our ‘works, our actions’ that we are known. If we hate our brother without a cause, we at our own Judgement will be looked upon by the Hosts of Heaven, God’s Angels and our Creator Himself as nothing more than a murderer.

 

Just think of this, if we humans would do this one thing, to love one another as Jesus has loved us, then most of the worlds ills would go away. Love, kindness, goodness, charity, and mercy, what an abstract thought in our society today. When a child comes forth out of the womb it is Equal, it is Even, it is the humans around the child that teaches them both truth and errors, love and hate.

Tuesday’s Elections Show Impeachment Might Not Boost GOP As Much As It Hoped

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Tuesday’s Elections Show Impeachment Might Not Boost GOP As Much As It Hoped

President Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Lexington, Ky., Monday. His efforts don’t appear to have been enough to carry incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin over the finish line.

Susan Walsh/AP

Tuesday’s statewide elections in Kentucky and Virginia were a big night for Democrats. And the results tell us a few things about national politics, consequential issues and President Trump.

In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, claimed victory Tuesday night and narrowly leads incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin by about 5,000 votes. Bevin has not yet conceded the race.

In Virginia, Democrats took over both chambers of the state legislature and now have full control of the state’s political apparatus, a sweeping change from a decade ago when Virginia was considered the nation’s bellwether.

Republicans kept hold of the governorship in Mississippi, but the margin — 5 percentage points — was far smaller than Trump’s 18 points in 2016.

Here are seven lessons from Tuesday night’s results:

1. Impeachment did not help Republicans fire up conservatives in rural areas

Republicans have been saying that impeachment would backfire on Democrats and enthuse Trump’s rural base. But that didn’t pan out Tuesday in Kentucky and Virginia. Democratic voters in urban areas, on the other hand, are clearly fired up.

They showed up, especially in Kentucky, in higher-than-usual numbers, while voters in rural areas didn’t. Trump, who only won 46% of the national popular vote in 2016, needs every last one of the people who voted for him then to come out again, especially as he has done almost nothing to try to win over persuadable voters this time around. Kentucky and Virginia could be warning signs that impeachment, even though the Trump campaign has raised lots of money off it, simply isn’t the issue Republicans hoped it would be with voters.

2. Trump won’t like this

“You can’t let that happen to me!” Trump said at his Kentucky rally Monday night, imploring Kentucky voters to go to the polls for Bevin. He did not want the the narrative to be: “Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.”

Well, it wasn’t the greatest defeat in the history of the world. But it is bad news for Trump, despite his campaign dismissing the loss as the result of problems with Bevin’s campaign. So what will the results mean for his mood and state of mind, as congressional investigators keep asking questions in their impeachment inquiry?

3. The suburbs remain a warning sign for Republicans

Republicans want to dismiss the results in Kentucky as Bevin being unpopular and acerbic, and that is a point to consider, especially considering that Republican candidates swept all of the other statewide races, mostly by double-digit margins. But Bevin’s unpopularity does not explain the results in Virginia.

The fact is what we’ve seen in election after election since Trump has been in office is Democrats outperforming prior performances — and that strength has been rooted in the suburbs. Remember, Republicans lost the House in 2018 because suburban voters turned on Trump and the GOP — and Republicans haven’t fixed that problem.

4. Governing still matters

Kentucky is a state Trump won by 30 points. So this should have been a layup for any generic Republican candidate. But Bevin is no generic Republican. He picked fights with all kinds of constituencies in the state.

We’ve seen it time and again — take Kansas, for example — that when a governor governs ideologically, they wind up in political trouble. And the opposite is true, too. The three most popular governors in the country are Republicans in liberal states: Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan in Maryland and Phil Scott in Vermont. That should be a lesson that the GOP pays attention to.

5. Kentucky likely does not mean much for Mitch McConnell’s and Trump’s chances in the state in 2020

Sure, Bevin was unpopular, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unpopular in his home state, too. And, yes, Trump was not quite able to drag Bevin across the finish line Tuesday night.

But that does not mean either Trump or McConnell is in trouble in Kentucky next year. Over the past decade, McConnell has often been among the least popular senators with his constituents and yet has comfortably won reelection each time. He and Bevin have different brands in the state, and a McConnell protégé won handily for attorney general.

What’s more, having Trump on the ballot will help McConnell. It’s important to remember that while turnout was up substantially from the last governor’s race in 2015, it was still down about 35% from the presidential election. Expect those numbers to shoot back up in 2020.

6. Virginia is now officially a blue state

My, how times change and can change quickly. The results Tuesday night in Virginia mean Democrats in the state now control the legislature and every statewide elected office — governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Virginia has outpaced the rest of the country, is no longer a swing state and is moving to being reliably Democratic. And that shift came in a year when the top trio of elected Democrats in the state faced a variety of scandals that hobbled their ability to campaign for down-ballot candidates.

7. The politics of health care and guns may be moving left

Before Bevin came into office, Kentucky had one of the best-run Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) exchanges in the country. It also expanded Medicaid under Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat.

Bevin took a very different approach. He tried to institute work requirements for Medicaid, which would have resulted in tens of thousands of Kentuckians losing health insurance. That was hotly divisive, and his loss Tuesday proves that once you give people the benefit, it is very difficult to take it away.

That has long been the argument Democrats have made in favor of the Affordable Care Act even when it was unpopular. And guess what? As predicted, it has grown more popular, and without an alternative, Republicans have struggled to figure out what to do about it.

In Virginia, guns were a top issue after a raft of mass shootings nationally and in the state. Gun-control groups outspent the National Rifle Association by about $500,000, and Tuesday’s Virginia results showed that with a concerted effort, lots of money and focused activism, the tide could be turning on gun policy.

(Humor/Poem) Moonshine Nights And Satin Sheets

Moonshine Nights And Satin Sheets

 

I’m a hillbilly by birth and I am proud to say it and every day I live it

Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin County, South West Virginia, Southern pride

Iron Ridge, Galax are the deep roots of our un-branching ancestral trees

Overalls, chewing tabackee, furniture factories, our sweat, blood and tears

Every day life is always the same for us poor folk living here in the bottom

 

 

Not much excitement can a person afford with these wages that starve ya

Find a pretty girl who likes to skinny dip after drinking your corn liquor

Hillbilly Juice, Mountain Dew, Shine, it’s got a lot of names of grandeur

Don’t matter what you call it, drink it when it’s cloudy, and it will kill ya

Drink it, you be real soon seeing all your ancestors of the years gone by

 

 

Poor man’s life is working your back and fingers to their bloody bones

Always breaking your neck for a check that is already gone before you get it

If you got the guts drive by the big boss men’s mansions on Country Club Lane

Fine houses, fine ladies, but just like some Preachers daughters kids rebel anyway

Some rich kids go wild and slumming, after drinking the shine, were all just the same

 

 

Crooked Creek, skinny dipping, is it her or the Shine that has got my heart a pumping

Another quart of Granny’s Elixir and we both got that light of lust shining in our eyes

Off to her home on Country Club Lane after swimming, in the back door we’re creeping

Never been in a Mansion, right now I don’t care cause on her satin sheets we’re a sliding

Sweet Corn Liquor and a pretty girl makes a poor boy feel alive and forget his Caste place

Two in the morning her Daddy walks in, now from a barn rafter this Hillbilly is swinging

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

There’s nothing like a camping trip to disconnect from everyday life and get out into nature. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous camping trip or just a leisurely long weekend to unplug and unwind, you’ll want to take a look at these five U.S. camping destinations that have the best views.

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

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They don’t call Maine the Pine Tree State (yes, that’s a real thing) for nothing. Step into any park inside the state and you’ll find yourself surrounded by gorgeous pine trees. Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine is no exception. Located on the Atlantic coast, you can get views of not just trees, but the Atlantic shoreline.

What’s really stunning is the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. If you hike there at sunrise, you can enjoy the thrill of being the very first person in the country to see the sunrise, since that’s the easternmost point of land in the United States. This fact alone makes the trek worth it.

There are three campgrounds inside the park. Blackwoods is closer to the town center and is better for those of us who prefer to camp in a secluded area but enjoy knowing there’s civilization just a short drive away. If you want a more rustic camping experience, you’ll want to stay at Seawall. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy views of the water from your campsite, then you’ll want to check out Schoodic Woods. Know that you can hike anywhere you want in the park, but these are the only three designated areas where you’re allowed to set up camp.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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When you’re standing in the middle of Washington, D.C., on a busy day, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that just 75 miles away lies an oasis that’s as serene as the D.C. metro is crowded. Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails. Many of them take you through several miles of quiet and peaceful wilderness, leaving you alone with your thoughts. Others take you to beautiful waterfalls or stunning viewpoints overlooking the trees and Appalachian Mountains in the distance.

The park sits on 200,000 acres of protected land. It allows backcountry camping for the truly adventurous who want to get off the beaten path and away from everyone. If you’re up for a challenge, take the eight-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain. This is the most popular route because of the stunning views at the peak. You can camp in one of four campgrounds during every season except winter. If you want to backcountry camp, you’ll need to get a permit (it’s free).

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

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As one of the few places in the country where you can still see glaciers, Glacier National Park in Montana is open year-round to visitors. It features a shocking 1,009 campsites within 13 separate campgrounds, but they’re spread out enough that the park can be full and you’ll still feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere (which, for the record, you are). There are over 700 miles of trails, making it the perfect destination for avid hikers. You’ll traverse through forests, meadows, and mountains while seeing spectacular views of lakes and, of course, glaciers.

If you’re up for a drive through the mountains, the 50-mile stretch known as Going-to-the-Sun Road runs through the middle of the park and connects the east side to the west side. While it’s a good way to get from one end of the park to the other in a relatively short amount of time (one way takes about two hours), the view from the highest point is the real highlight. Logan Pass is the highest point on the road, and it sits at 6,646 feet. From this point, you get a panoramic view of the majesty around you, including the glaciers below. You’ll probably also run into some animals, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Note that portions of the road can close at any time for weather, particularly for snow in the winter.

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Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

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Deep in the heart of red rock country lies Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. While we’ve talked before about how desert vacations can be relaxing, this trip is more adventurous. The really cool thing about this park is the Waterpocket Fold, which is a geological wrinkle (officially termed a geologic monocline) on the surface of the Earth that was formed somewhere between 50 million and 70  million years ago. Capital Reef happens to sit at the most scenic part of the fold. The park extends nearly 100 miles and includes canyons, bridges, domes, and cliffs for hikers and adventurers to explore.

Backcountry camping is available with a permit. If you prefer traditional campsites, you can stay at the Fruita campground, which is a developed campground that holds 71 sites. More remote campgrounds are also available if you prefer roughing it. Cedar Mesa and Cathedral Valley don’t have water but they do have pit toilets.

The national park sits on a historic site that has been inhabited since at least 500 B.C. You can even see petroglyphs etched into stone along with some painted pictographs. These remnants of the people who used to live on the land have been preserved as much as possible.

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

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Michigan’s Upper Penninsula (or simply “up north” to Michigan natives) is an often overlooked place of natural beauty. Little Beaver Lake Campground is particularly noteworthy for its views of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You’ll enjoy unbelievable lake views and can take your boat around to see the famed pictured rocks. If you’re more of a hiker, you’ll enjoy hiking through the forests surrounding the campground. Backcountry camping is available with a permit, or you can stay at one of three rustic campgrounds.

This campground is open year-round. While summer brings tourists who like to kayak, boat, or do other water sports, wintertime allows for snowmobiling, ice climbing, winter camping, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. If you’ve never seen a frozen waterfall before, consider making a trip to Little Beaver Lake Campground in the winter. Bring your climbing gear and make sure to pack your warmest clothes, and be prepared for snow. Lots of it. The area can get up to 200 inches of snow during the winter.

10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

With quality of life, recreation and active lifestyles on everyone’s radar in terms of where to live, work and play, we often wonder where are these pockets of health — and what factors make them so healthy? As with many best and most lists, varying criteria create different outcomes. So depending on what source you choose, different cities may pop up. The most complete and stringent set of factors are employed for the annual American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index.

The Fitness Index uses strong community fitness — which is easier to gauge — as a proxy for the individual, personal fitness of residents. The top-ranked index cities have more resources that support health and fewer challenges to a healthy lifestyle. Based on the Index outcomes, following are the 10 healthiest U.S. cities.

Boise, Idaho

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Hiking, mountain biking and outdoor adventure pursuits in general keep busy Boise residents in shape — enough so for the population to comprise the country’s tenth-healthiest city. No wonder. The capital city of Idaho is home to the Boise River Greenbelt, a series of tree-shaded trails and parks hugging the banks of the Boise River. With a section of river rolling directly through downtown, the greenbelt trail is prime terrain for urban workouts. Serious trail running is also a serious pursuit in and around Boise. Picturesque, punishing runs await at the forebodingly named routes Harrison Hollow, Five-Mile Gulch and Military Reserve, all highlighted expertly on the Boise section of Rootsrated.com.

San Jose, California

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San Jose is a major Bay Area technology hub, and it happens to have the ninth-fittest population in the nation. So when they aren’t behind computer screens, residents spend quality time outdoors exercising in beautiful natural surroundings. The Visit San Jose webpage for outdoor recreation  provides great tips on the best sites, such as Alum Rock Park in town or nearby at Castle Rock State Park in neighboring Los Gatos, California. Active San Jose citizens can add Zen meditation or a calming jog to their health routine at the city’s Kelly Park Japanese Garden.

Saint Paul, Minnesota

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The state capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul is the other half of the “Twin Cities” along with neighboring Minneapolis. Both cities share a penchant for healthy living, and you’ll find Minneapolis elsewhere on this list. For its part, Saint Paul’s fit crowd enjoys utilizing the Gateway State Trail for biking, running or simply strolling in nature. The 18-mile trail takes advantage of a former rail line between Stillwater and Saint Paul, now a paved path. Generally level thanks to its railway roots, the Gateway route winds northeast through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Oakdale, then continues through Washington County before ending at Pine Point Regional Park.

Denver, Colorado

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As a base for nearby Rocky Mountain skiing, mountain biking and hiking adventures, Denver is a mecca for active lifestyle seekers. As such, it’s no surprise to find Colorado’s capital at number seven for fitness. With the Mile High city indeed sitting at 5280 feet, residents don’t have to head for the mountains for high-altitude exertion. Just consider the bike trail descriptions at Denver.org. These are no short jaunts. Instead there are miles and miles of rides on paved bikeways that let you roll from Denver to outlying towns. For example, the Cherry Creek Regional Trail starts in Confluence Park and continues beside Cherry Creek for more than 40 miles before terminating near Franktown. Similarly, the Greenway Trail is nearly 30 miles of paved bike path along the banks of the South Platte River, connecting a series of pristine parks. As a bonus, the river played such a big role in local history that the Colorado Historical Society has placed along the route some 20 signs with photos and illustrations detailing important places and events.

Seattle, Washington

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With Mt. Rainier National Park in its backyard and the waters of Puget Sound on its front porch, Seattle is a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts, earning it the number six ranking among healthy metros. While the city is surrounded by water, mountains and towering conifer forests, within its limits it contains thousands of acres of parkland. Among the best and most picturesque are 530-acre Discovery Park and the 230-acre grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum. As home to REI, of course hiking, camping, backpacking and climbing are everyday pursuits here, rain or shine. But biking is also a big deal. To that end, The Burke-Gilman Trail wends its way some 27 miles through the city’s northern neighborhoods. Seattle Cycling Tours, meanwhile, offers a 2.5-hour guided bike trek through central city landmarks and neighborhoods including Pioneer Square, South Lake Union and the Seattle Center.

Portland, Oregon

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Spread out in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, Portland is known for its parks, bridges and bike lanes — and for its generally green attitude. It’s no surprise then, that the number five fittest city has myriad recreational pursuits for Portlanders. Surrounding mountains and forests offering hiking, mountain biking and climbing at every emerald-green turn of the trail. Oregon’s largest city sits directly on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, so paddling is a prime pursuit for fitness within the urban core. Another in-city outdoor highlight, Washington Park features both the city’s Japanese Garden and the Oregon Zoo.

Madison, Wisconsin

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Consider the winters in Wisconsin when noting the ingenious nature of the Sett Recreation Center at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Part of the three-story student union building, with the Sett Pub located conveniently on the lower level, perfect cold-weather activities occupy the rest of the space with live music, dancing, bowling, billiards and indoor rock-climbing. It’s not all about the indoors, of course. Madison, which lies just east of Milwaukee, is the Wisconsin state capital, and the city’s Capital City State Trail is a favorite urban exercise outlet. The picturesque paved path winds past Monona Terrace, a lakefront convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, providing an architectural treat along with exercise options.

Washington, D.C.

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Hemmed in by the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia and known for its imposing neoclassical monuments and government buildings, our nation’s capital at first glance doesn’t scream fitness. Yet the population of Washington, D.C., is serious about staying in shape, it seems, ranking at number three among healthy metros. The city actually helps with that, providing myriad free outdoor activities, many of which can be found at Washington.org. D.C.’s favorite outdoor exercise space is no doubt Rock Creek Park. It’s 4.4 square miles encompass multiple hiking and biking trails, plus riding stables and tennis courts. Hikers, bikers and runners also enjoy long stretches of the C&O Canal Towpath, with 180-plus miles of accessible trail along the scenic Potomac River between Georgetown and Cumberland, Maryland.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Minneapolis, the major Minnesota metro that forms the “Twin Cities” with the neighboring state capital of Saint Paul, consistently ranks among the nation’s best read cities. It’s per capita bookstores, libraries and degreed denizens help earn that title. Smarts and staying in shape apparently go hand in hand, with Minneapolis sitting at number two for healthiest cities. Bisected by the Mississippi River, the city is full of serene parks and lakes, all of which make for great outdoor recreation. For example, within city limits more than 10 miles of trails traverse famed Minnehaha Park and its environs. One popular recreation route starts beneath 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, from where hikers, bikers and runners can follow the tree-shaded trail through dense woods to bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, then loop back to the falls.

Arlington, Virginia

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Aerobics, aquatics, seated exercise classes, strength training, core strength, boxing, tai chi, yoga, pilates, walking clubs, tennis and biking are among the programs offered by Arlington Parks and Recreation. And those are just the senior activities. There’s a reason Arlington landed at number one in the nation for fit populations. Active pursuits are provided for every age and fitness level through the municipal recreation department, which also makes it easy to get involved with accomodations for income level and disabilities. At least a part of the population is getting their blood pumping with more extreme pursuits. The adrenaline crowd here is serious about mountain biking, and the Arlington Single Track Tour is an exciting, two-county ride to get in some exercise.

5 Colonial-Era U.S. Landmarks That Are Still Standing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Colonial-Era U.S. Landmarks That Are Still Standing

How much do you remember about colonial-era America? For many of us, it’s been a while since we studied U.S. history, and specifically the American Revolution. If you live outside of the original 13 colonies, you might not be exposed to constant reminders like historic landmarks that serve as living memories of this volatile time. But if you’re thinking of creating a historic road trip through the original states this summer, you’re going to want to include these five landmarks on your list.

Fraunces Tavern – New York City

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New York City is full of locations where our Founding Fathers met, the nation’s first president was sworn into office, and which was an occupied territory under British rule. If your travels take you to lower Manhattan, you can see all of those places and get a history lesson at Fraunces Tavern. Fraunces Tavern is a real working pub that was originally intended to be the private home of the De Lancey family after the land was first acquired in 1719.

Eventually, the three-story building was transferred to Samuel Fraunces in 1762 and was named Sign of Queen Charlotte (The Queen’s Tavern). The property served as an inn for weary travelers, a place for hungry locals, and—at times—a safe haven for loyalists during the Revolution. As the war progressed, patronage shifted to Continentals and even housed George Washington when he was in the city. Since 1762, Fraunces Tavern has served as a bar and occasional boarding house. Today, you can visit the museum on the upper floors and enjoy a drink downstairs in the bar or grab a bite in one of the historically named rooms.

Old Tennent Presbyterian Church – Manalapan, New Jersey

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Everyone knows that historic battles occurred in fields all across the original colonies. But did you know that one church in a sleepy New Jersey town served as a field hospital after the Battle of Monmouth? In June 1778, the British and Continental armies faced off in a part of Monmouth county known today as Freehold. While the battle wasn’t a deciding point militarily, a historic landmark was made when the Old Tennent Presbyterian Church in present Manalapan became a triage center for the Continental Army.

Army doctors cared for wounded soldiers while the battle raged on around them. And to this day, you can find bullet holes and cannonballs in the church’s walls as well as see marks and blood stains on several church pews where wounded soldiers were treated.

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson – Winnabow, North Carolina

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Often when we focus on the Colonial Era in the U.S., we think about the Northeast almost exclusively. But the southern colonies were just as active throughout this period of history. Brunswick Town is a port town on Cape Fear River in North Carolina that was once central during the 18th and 19th centuries for sea merchants and businessmen who relied on exporting their goods. The settlement was established in 1729 and helped to drive economic growth in the region thanks to an infusion of wealthy landowners from South Carolina.

But the town is best known as an early site of Colonial rebellion during the Stamp Act of 1765—a law that required any legal documents or commercial publications to feature a stamp that had to be purchased from the Crown. Angry citizens formed an armed mob and prevented a British ship from unloading the stamps. While this temporarily halted trade in the region, the colonists’ persistent protest in Brunswick Town led to the eventual repeal of the Stamp Act.

Nathan Hale Homestead – Coventry, Connecticut

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Who is Nathan Hale? If you’re not an American Revolution buff or a Connecticut resident, you might not know. But for the Constitution State, this young man is a local hero who was born in Coventry. Nathan Hale is considered by many to be an integral member of the Continental spy ring that provided vital information about British activities to the Continental Army and General George Washington specifically. However, the spy ring wasn’t well managed, and Hale wasn’t the best spy.

After infiltrating New York City and gathering critical information in 1776, he was discovered by British forces with drawings and detailed notes—outing him as a spy and condemning him to death. Nathan Hale is best known for his famous final words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” But these days you can visit the Nathan Hale Homestead, which has been expertly preserved from its humble origins when it was built in 1776.

George Washington’s Estate – Mount Vernon, Virginia

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And finally, if you’re going to create a trip focused on U.S. colonial history, you simply can’t skip Mount Vernon. This Virginia locale is the home of our nation’s first president, George Washington. Step back in time and see how Washington lived as you walk through the plantation’s palatial grounds. Mount Vernon serves as an immersive experience with guided tours and history lessons that help you understand more about the man who would lead a cluster of colonies to independence and what led him into this role. The estate was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

5 U.S. States You Didn’t Know Produce Amazing Wine

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. States You Didn’t Know Produce Amazing Wine

When you’re in the mood for a good glass of wine, which country comes to mind? Maybe you prefer a glass of Champagne from France or a great Chianti from Italy. However, there are numerous award-winning wineries right here in the United States. Of course, most people are familiar with California wine country and places like Napa or Sonoma. But you might be surprised to find that wine is produced across the country. The next time you decide to plan a wine tour while you’re out seeing America, keep these states in mind for a delicious glass of American wine.

New York

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New York often gets overlooked because people only associate the entire Empire State with the city that’s home to the Empire State Building, New York City. And while you can certainly do some wine tasting in the five boroughs, if you’re up for a scenic five hour drive north of Manhattan, you’ll find yourself in the Finger Lakes Wine Country. The region is aptly named as there are 11 long, thin lakes that run north to south below the counties bounding Lake Ontario.

Geography aside, the Finger Lakes Wine Country is known for its award-winning wineries and emphasis on white varietals such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer. There are over 100 wineries in this area, so there’s something for everyone. In addition to producing spectacular wines, this area is a major tourist destination and is especially popular for weddings.

Colorado

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Everyone knows that Colorado is the place to go for world-class skiing and other outdoor sports. But the Centennial State has also garnered a reputation over the years for its wineries. Colorado is home to nine distinct wine regions that are scattered throughout the state. Some of the most notable wineries are in regions like the Four Corners, which is a popular tourist attraction for outdoor enthusiasts and a great excursion if you get tired of hiking through the intense terrain of the national parks in this area.

Growers credit the 300 days of sunshine, moderate climate and freshwater sources as the basis for their celebrated wines. Whether you stick to the Four Corners or venture to any of the other wine regions, you’ll have over 100 commercial wineries to choose from. Create your own itinerary or select one of the popular wine trails created by Colorado Wine, the official tourism organization for growers and wineries in the state.

Pennsylvania

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You might think that Pennsylvania’s biggest claim to fame is Hershey’s and cheesesteaks, but the Keystone State is also home to so many wineries that they promise you’re never more than an hour’s drive from a premiere glass of wine. Pennsylvania has more than 200 wineries within their borders, crafts over 1 million gallons of wine per year, and is the fifth largest grower in the nation for grapes.

These impressive stats are underscored by the depth of wine portfolios you can find here. The state’s temperate climate is more in line with Europe, and as a result, there are more French-American blends being produced every year. Winemaking in Pennsylvania began in 1683 by William Penn. Since then the tradition has continued, with most of the state’s wineries still being family-owned-and-operated to this day.

Virginia

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Virginia may be for lovers, but they also make a serious bottle of wine. The Old Dominion State’s wineries proudly tell visitors that they’re equidistant between Europe and California, with a small step into the American South. That translates to unique wines that borrow on the heritage of traditional wineries but also give it a new twist as a nod to its young American roots.

Virginia wineries pride themselves on cultivating lesser-known European grapes like Cabernet Franc, Petit Manseng, Viognier, and Petit Verdot. Virginia is focused on elevating wines crafted from these grapes to the national stage and staking a claim in the wine world around these particular varieties. However, the state is best known for its red blends in the Bordeaux style.

New Jersey

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Not to be outdone, the Garden State wants to remind visitors that their New York adjacent industrial regions don’t define the entire state. New Jersey earned its Garden State nickname for a reason. Its wineries have been racking up awards since 200 years ago, when London’s Royal Society of the Arts tapped two local vintners for creating the first quality wine in the colonies from locally grown grapes.

New Jersey has 50 wineries and even offers tours and wine trails to help you create an immersive experience. You can choose from regional wine trails or try to tackle the statewide trail—although you might want to break that one up over a few days.

So, the next time you decide to plan a wine crawl or book a tasting and you want to focus on American wineries, don’t feel like you need to be limited to California. While it has a well-deserved reputation, there are plenty of premier wineries in other U.S. states that would make the perfect backdrop for your vacation.

They Wanted To Explore A Cave In Virginia, Now They Are Trapped

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Five men exploring a cave in southwest Virginia were trapped inside, and authorities are working to get them out safely, according to Billy Chrimes, search and rescue coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Six men entered the cave in Cleveland, Virginia, on Friday around 7 p.m. and planned to spend an extended amount of time exploring it, he said.
One of those men emerged from the cave, known as Cyclops Cave, on Sunday morning around 2 a.m. and told authorities the others were having difficulty getting out, Chrimes said Sunday.
That man, who is 22, said the other men were exhausted and were starting to have problems with hypothermia, according to Chrimes. The men are not lost and aren’t too far into the cave.
The five trapped men are between the ages of 34 and 59, according to Emergency Management Coordinator for Russell County Jess Powers. Powers said the group was planning to camp in the cave until Sunday, but a heavy downpour Saturday night made conditions muddy and wet and likely contributed to their difficulties.
One of the men was rescued on Sunday afternoon and is being assessed by a local volunteer rescue squad, Powers said. The rescue took much longer than anticipated, Powers said, and the rescue teams have gone back inside to help the other four men.
The cave explorers did not have a lot of extra food or water, and Chrimes said the temperature underground is in the 50s. While that is comfortable under normal circumstances, it can cause problems with hypothermia when you’re not active and moving.

Rescue will take hours

Chrimes said the rescue effort will likely take a considerable amount of time because of the small size of the cave. In addition, rescue teams will have to get inside, assess the situation and report back because cell phones and radios don’t work inside the cave.
An extensive network of cave rescue teams have responded, with additional teams across the East Coast that have been put on standby in case additional assistance is required, Chrimes said.
“With cave rescue incidents, this has the potential to extend to eight, to 12 hours, depending on what all is involved with getting the subjects out, and it may even extend beyond that just depending on the circumstances,” Chrimes said.
“Certainly we’re hoping for the best and that we can get them warmed up, get them moving, get them some energy back and get them out under their own power, but we’re still waiting to see what that situation will entail.”
Tony Smith, who owns a cattle ranch next to the caves, told CNN affiliate WJHL there are five big caves stretching for around nine miles below ground.
The cave where the men are trapped is known as Cyclops Cave and is popular with explorers, though it is on private property. The cave has a “bubble-like formation” inside known as the “eye” of the Cyclops, in which the group was planning to camp, Powers said.

Woman finds two-headed viper in her flower bed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

Woman finds two-headed viper in her flower bed, state hopes to display it in a zoo

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A state agency has arranged for the care of a rare two-headed Copperhead snake found at a residence in Northern Virginia on Sunday night.

The venomous snake, a member of the viper family, is an “extremely rare” find in the wild, state herpetologist J.D. Kleopfer told USA TODAY. Kleopfer is a reptiles and amphibians specialist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

He said the snake is currently being cared for by an experienced viper keeper, with the hope that it will one day be put on display at a zoo.

Snakes with such a mutation find it difficult to survive in the wild, Kleopfer said. That’s in part because the two heads often want to do “two different things.”

This particular snake was young – about two weeks old, and small – about 6 inches long, according to Kleopfer.

Imaging provided some insight on the physical makeup of the snake: “Thanks to the Wildlife Center of Virginia we were able to determine that the left head has the dominant esophagus and the right head has the more developed throat for eating,” Kleopfer wrote in a Facebook post.

Copperheads often grow to 18-36 inches in length, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While they are not known for being aggressive, they do sometimes attack humans when disturbed.

Kleopfer said the “little guy” probably wasn’t much of a danger. At its age, he said the viper was mainly attacking insects.

The snake shouldn’t alarm anyone, Kleopfer said. It’s his goal to help the snake stay alive.

Stephanie Myers shared photos of the viper on Sunday evening. She said that the snake was found at her neighbor’s flowerbed in Woodbridge, Virginia.

“I wanted to look away but couldn’t stop looking at it. Plays trick on the eyes,” she told USA TODAY in a written message.

Among the hashtags in her Facebook post: #sohardnottolookatit, #nobodyhastimeforthat and #justlookingatthismakesmeswear.

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Jamestown Unearthed: Cellar under church catches experts by surprise

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WYDAILY NEWSPAPER (WILLIAMSBURG/YORKTOWN VIRGINIA))

 

Home  Local News  Jamestown Unearthed: Cellar under church catches experts by surprise

Jamestown Unearthed: Cellar under church catches experts by surprise

The archaeologists have seen remnants of cellars in the fort before, but they did not expect to find one under the church

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Archaeologists uncovered a dagger hilt in the cellar in the Jamestown church. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Mary Anna Hartley, Jamestown Rediscovery)
Archaeologists uncovered a dagger hilt in the cellar in the Jamestown church. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Mary Anna Hartley, Jamestown Rediscovery)

As archaeologists at Jamestown Rediscovery continue to dig into the Historic Jamestowne church that has stood at the site of the James Fort since 1906, they’ve uncovered something they weren’t expecting.

An abandoned cellar lies underneath the holiest place in the church, and it may contain details about life within the first permanent English colony — but archaeologists will have to dig to the bottom of the cellar before they can get to the bottom of the mystery.

Two previous brick churches have stood where the Memorial Church now stands in Historic Jamestowne. Historical records show the second was built by colonists in the 1640s and was in use for more than a century. The first brick church was built in 1617, meaning the cellar and the structure above it must have been built prior to the church’s construction.

“This [cellar] we assume has to be pretty darn early, because it’s already been abandoned and back-filled prior to 1617,” Jamestown Rediscovery Senior Staff Archaeologist Danny Schmidt said. “It’s safe to say we have another James Fort-period building likely dating to 1608 that doesn’t last beyond 1617, and it was a surprise for us.”

Capt. John Smith wrote that the fort’s walls were expanded to encompass more territory in 1608. Smith never mentioned the cellar, but because it was built outside of the fort’s original walls, the team is assuming it was likely built during the expansion effort.

Now that they have an idea when the basement was in use, they can begin to determine what it was used for.

Digging through history

Jamestown Rediscovery’s archaeologists have been excavating the chancel, or sacred altar, of the church since spring 2017, and came across the cellar last fall. Most of the subsoil in Jamestown is orange clay, but as they dug they came across a patch that didn’t match the dirt around it — and was filled with relics from a bygone era.

“We would see a hard line or edge where it wasn’t subsoil but disturbed fill, very typical of cellars,” Schmidt said.

Questions immediately arose as to the cellar’s purpose.

Some cellars in the James Fort were used for metallurgy or blacksmithing. Another was used as a kitchen, and all were likely used for storage, Schmidt said.

Related coverage: The team finished exploring another cellar outside the fort’s original walls in 2016.

One way to determine the cellar’s use is to study the artifacts found within it.

Preservation Virginia has recovered many items from the cellar that document colonial life, including scrap copper, a dagger hilt, oyster shells, gun parts, egg shells, glass beads, pipe fragments and small copper coin known as a Harington Farthing.

The Harington Farthing archaeologists discovered in the cellar under the Memorial Church. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Mary Anna Hartley, Jamestown Rediscovery)
The Harington Farthing archaeologists discovered in the cellar under the Memorial Church. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Mary Anna Hartley, Jamestown Rediscovery)

When basements were no longer needed, they are often filled in with the colony’s trash — a treasure trove of artifacts, but containing remnants from all over the colony.

“The trash layers we’re seeing just teaches us when that cellar was abandoned and filled in,” Schmidt said. “It’s not teaching us the function of the space while it was in use.”

One of the difficulties the archaeologists are facing is sorting through centuries of artifacts from all over the fort that have been scrambled into one layer of sediment.

Archaeologist Bob Chartrand digs into the cellar. “When we’re seeing stratigraphy like this that’s not from a single depository action, that’s definitely from multiple periods of deposition," he said. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Danny Schmidt, Preservation Virginia)
Archaeologist Bob Chartrand digs into the cellar. “When we’re seeing stratigraphy like this that’s not from a single depository action, that’s definitely from multiple periods of deposition,” he said. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Danny Schmidt, Preservation Virginia)

“The cellar was disturbed during the construction of the church,” in 1906, Curator of Collections Merry Outlaw said. “Then, during the construction of the church, features belonging to the earlier structure were disturbed, and also subsequent burials cut into the cellar.”

Colonists had a habit of burying their dead under the church floor, further obscuring the cellar’s remnants.

Preservation Virginia’s current team is also not the first group to dig through the church site.

The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities excavated the church in the early 1900s and then put the dirt back. The APVA were the forerunners to the Preservation Virginia, which oversees Jamestown Rediscovery, and the APVA also left notes regarding their activities on site.

“One of the questions answered for us once we figured out we had a cellar was why [the APVA] were finding so many artifacts in the graves they were excavating,” Staff Archaeologist and Site Suervisor Mary Anna Hartley said. “What they were describing was like what we find in trash layers.”

The artifacts that Jamestown Rediscovery team are now digging up have gone on quite a journey since they were left in the cellar by the fort’s colonists.

“All these thing were getting churned up,” Outlaw said.

Making sense of their findings

The team will continue to dig through the summer, and Schmidt said that more clues might be buried at the bottom of the cellar. Any objects left on the basement floor before it was filled in by the colonists would likely be at the very bottom, potentially allowing the archaeologists to tell what exactly the cellar was used for.

“Sometimes we luck out,” Schmidt said. “We don’t know until we dig the cellar if we’ll learn more how this space was used.”

“It’s hard to say at this point.”

A team of archaeologists from Preservation Virginia has been at work since 1994 uncovering the buried secrets of Jamestown.

When the Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project started, the hope was to find the site of the original 1607 James Fort, which had been written off for more than 200 years as lost to shoreline erosion.

Since then, the team has discovered the fort and more than a million artifacts in the ground.

“Jamestown Unearthed” is a regular feature in WYDaily exploring the latest discoveries in and around James Fort. Click here to read past articles.

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