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How about waking up to this sunrise every day?  At least I got to wake up to it for a day.  Not only did I get to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, but also homemade cranberry scones, compliments of Katherine!  What a cook.  Just watching her, I learned a few tricks to try a year from now when I have an oven again.

After a warm pastry and hot cup of coffee, we headed to the barn to visit the horses and take a ride around the surrounding property.  I rode Lucca, Katherine’s eight year old show hunter while Katherine and Barb, the barn owner, rode fox hunters.  We squeezed between pine trees, trotted along the fence line, and cantered across the field next to the Shenandoah River.  The horses were feeling their oats in the cold weather which made for a few feisty moments, but this time I wasn’t unseated!

Once I enjoy a heated house, good company, a home cooked meal, and a little football while sprawled on the couch, it gets a little hard to leave.  The dogs and I moved on to the Maryland panhandle and made our first stop the Washington Monument State Park.  While the Washington Monument in this state park certainly doesn’t mimic the likes of the one in Washington D.C., it does hold the distinction of being the first memorial ever built to honor the nation’s first president.

Virtually every villager in Boonesboro participated in building the monument during a July 4th celebration in 1827, 51 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.    The 34 foot tower, once used as a signal station for the Union Army during the Civil War, offers spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and served as an afternoon resting spot for a few birders watching eagles and hawks that glided overhead.

After our visit to the Washington Monument (of Maryland), we stopped at Antietam National Battlefield.  What an extraordinary site…a must see!  This site consists of countless acres of fields, historic farmsteads, hiking trails through the battlefields and monuments honoring fallen Civil War soldiers.  The monuments mostly honor the Union States as the Confederate States were so battered that it was difficult to raise the money to pay for such tributes. Furthermore, fences and stone walls have been reconstructed to portray the battlefield site.  In addition, canons have been placed where artillery was used to defend each side’s lines.  The barrels of the canons were from the Civil War while the bases were added.  Six canon barrels submerged upside down in concrete have been placed where generals died during the bloodiest one-day battle in American History.

Of nearly 100,000 soldiers engaged in battle, around 23,000 were killed, wounded, or missing on September 17, 1862.  Hearing of the shortage of medical supplies reported in the news, Clara Barton, who later founded the American Red Cross, provided bandages and food on a neutral basis to the fallen soldiers.  A variety of different battles took place at the site…one at Lower Bridge (Burnside Bridge).  We arrived here in the late afternoon, so the dogs and I took the short one mile walk around this area and watched the sunset.  We are going to come back here tomorrow as this area is truly magnificent…an interest in history is not required to be amazed. ETB

websites:  www.nps.gov/anti/index.htm, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/washington.asp, http://www.notablenotecards.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

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