Travel to Virginia (Battle of Bull Run, Jamestown, and Virginia Beach)

Recently, I decided to leave with my husband on his business trip to Manassas, Virginia. A lot has happened these last 5 months, with mom’s stroke, then my surgeries, just life issues always coming at us, and even though I was fighting pain and trying to walk, I was so over this cold weather and really needed a change of scenery, so we decided to go for it. We hesitated whether to drive or fly but ended up having to drive. (At least I could get out to stretch and could wear a tens unit without TSA thinking I was packing a bomb. 😁)

In my husband’s 30 yrs, he hadn’t been to this particular city and was meeting with a new company. So, we decided that it might be nice to also drive a little further to Virginia Beach, after his meetings, just to check out the area.

We have been part of a ministry, for many years, called Operation Blessing that gives to those in need here and overseas, and had watched some beautiful testimonies through the years on the Christian Network CBN. So, we also thought it’d be interesting to visit the studios as well as see Regent University there. The campus was beautiful with it’s colonial style buildings and brick paved pathways.

Video of the campus here: https://youtu.be/dlHcI_kGA2k

We knew the weather wouldn’t be as warm as we would like but the two full days we had there (in Virginia Beach) still were warmer than at home.

There happened to be a St. Patrick’s Day marathon run (along the boardwalk) that we could view from our balcony, and we also enjoyed some great seafood while there. We even visited our first Trader Joe’s where we picked up a few things. The employees were so helpful there!

The wind was pretty fierce when we first arrived, and we were pelted with sand as we tried walking along the boardwalk. I noticed horses along the beach and felt sorry for them.

When we first arrived, we heard, then felt, the thunderous jets flying overhead from the nearby Oceana Naval Air Station.

This is where fighter jet pilots are trained and boy what a rush it was hearing them fly overhead, one right after another. Since my husband works for the Navy, later on, we decided to go on the base to view some of those jet fighters.

We also viewed many a ship using the ocean like a highway.

Each day there were large cargo ships lined up along the horizon; more than we’ve ever seen on any coast.

On the last night, I managed to catch some magnificent sunsets with the sky continually changing by the minute.

Since the trip came up rather suddenly, we hadn’t realized that major Civil War battle sites were literally 7 minutes from our first hotel in Manassas, VA. Both the first and second battles of Bull Run took place here.

The grounds provided some beautiful views stretching out to the horizon and it was sobering to think how many lives were lost on the very land we were walking. There was a free museum there as well as a self guided driving tour. We got out at one point and walked a few miles down a trail noticing points of interest.

I thought it was interesting that the northerners had a different name for the battle than the southerners.

Wiki: The First Battle of Bull Run (the name used by Union forces), also known as the First Battle of Manassas[1] (the name used by Confederate forces), was fought on July 21, 1861 in Prince William County, Virginia, just north of the city of Manassas and about 25 miles west-southwest of Washington, D.C. It was the first major battle of the American Civil War.”


And it was just sad to think that this war cost some 3,000 Union casualties, as well as 1,750 Confederate deaths.


Later, as we drove away from Manassas, I mentioned to my husband I thought Jamestown might be near. I looked down at the map and realized we were then only 20 minutes away, so we took a slight detour and at last minute, toured the Jamestown settlement. Again, I learned many facts I had not realized before.

Check out our Jamestown video link here:

https://youtu.be/IPCVR6xrSqI

So, we saw a lot for the short time we were there and our 12.5 looong drive home took us more southerly through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and Smokies. Then, we came home to find our refrigerator had gone out, again, like it had 7 years ago. What a welcome home. 😞

*For more travel videos and pics across the country, check out our YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCB07TgWeL-brVsLv–C7yYA

or see Instagram highlight video “Midwest to VA” : @Thentherestwo

Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another Young Soldier (Repost 5/26/17)

uncle-terry-recent

After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.

Another son had died.

In a foreign, far away place.

He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.

And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.

VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!

The article describing the incident here.  

I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!

I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.

What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?

What has happened to our America?

I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…

My heart was heavy for them.

But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?


My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.

We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.

Terry3

He was escorted home, finally.

It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)


It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.

Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.

We always wondered what the full story was.

Terry5

Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.

Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.

Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However,  the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.

A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.

Not just one lesson, but many:

That war was cruel.

Kids were still dying to this day.

That we should be there to support families, help where needed, and invite a military family over for the holidays.

(You know, just be a good human.)

That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.

And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom with many picking up rifles to enter war as children.

Most importantly,

that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.

A HUGE price.


So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.

He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.

Terry1

His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

Terry4

People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.

It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.

The news crews were there to capture it all.

The flag-draped coffin.

The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.

The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.

COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.

Tragically, for this other family on the plane…

that didn’t happen.

There wasn’t much, if any, shown.


My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.

Terry 2

And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.

What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?

Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?

He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.

(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)

No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.

He wanted to show his loyalty.

He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.

Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…

I could NOT have sat there silently!

I KNOW, that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.

AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!


Find a military family to reach out to.

Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…the lonely and under appreciated in your community.

Compliment your local worker.

Invite someone over for the holidays.

Say a prayer for others.

Just show some kindness, some thankfulness.

Bridge the gap(s).

Teach your kids.

Show some honor and respect.

I know my Uncle Terry would have,

if he could.


* For Terry’s documented military story two accounts are listed below:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸

http://www.hmm-262combatvets.org/hoffmann_memorial.htm


Link to:The United States Marine Corps

Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 Feb. 4th.💗

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgivingposter.

Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another, Young Soldier

uncle-terry-recent

After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.

Another son had died.

In a foreign, far away place.

He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.

And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.

VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!

The article describing the incident here.  

I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!

I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.

What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?

What has happened to our America?

I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…

My heart was heavy for them.

But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?


My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.

We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.

vietnam-wall

He was escorted home, finally.

It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)


It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.

Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.

We always wondered what the full story was.

terry

Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.

Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.

Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However,  the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.

A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.

Teach about the cost of freedom flag poster.

Not just one lesson, but many:

That war was cruel.

Kids were still dying to this day.

That we should be there to support families, help where needed, invite a military family over for the holidays.

(You know, just be a good human.)

That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.

And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom.  Many picking up rifles to enter war as children.

Most importantly,

that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.

A HUGE price.


So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.

He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.

terry-in-high-school

His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

hoffman-kids

People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.

It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.

The news crews were there to capture it all.

The flag-draped coffin.

The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.

The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.

COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.

Tragically, for this other family on the plane…

that didn’t happen.

There wasn’t much, if any, shown.


My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.

hoffman-kids-older

And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.

What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?

Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?

He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.

(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)

No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.

He wanted to show his loyalty.

He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.

Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…

I could NOT have sat there silently!

I KNOW that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.

I KNOW I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.

AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America, that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!


Find a military family to reach out to.

Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…your community.

Invite someone over for the holidays. Say a prayer for others.

Show some thankfulness.

Bridge the gap(s).

Teach your kids.

Show honor and respect.

I know my Uncle Terry would have,

if he could.

Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 on Feb. 4th.

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgiving poster.



For Terry’s military documented story:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

United States Marine Corps

 

 

Mission BBQ Restaurant Speaks Patriotism

Mission BBQ Restaurant Speaks Patriotism

We seem to eat a lot of BBQ where we live.

We. love. it.

AND, we are very picky about our BBQ, so I was both curious, and a little apprehensive about it.

We hadn’t heard of this particular restaurant; then again, we hadn’t been to the Patuxent River, MD, area in years.

Outside the restaurant, there was a nice patio area with picnic bench style seating.

Mission BBQ Restaurant

I really wasn’t expecting the interior to look the way it did, but Mission BBQ screamed absolute patriotism from the minute we walked in!

Mission BBQ Restaurant

I guess that’s to be expected being right across the street from the Patuxent Naval Air Station, not sure about the other locations.

NEVER have I seen so much, military paraphernalia, under one roof, aside from military museums.

I had a hard time eating as I didn’t know where to look first..it was all so interesting.

img_5969

I wanted to take it all in and look at everything.

Every square inch had something interesting to read or look at.

Mission BBQ

This was at our booth.

Missions BBQ plaque in honor of Sgt. Paul Fisher KIA

There were interesting articles, captivating pictures, even clever ways of displaying items; including, recognizing our community heroes like police, firemen, etc.

Missions BBQ honoring community

I love ANY PLACE that pays tribute to our great men and women of the military as well as those who support our community. [Hence my previous article  referring to my military family.]


You can choose a variety of smoked meats placed on or off the bun, lean or fatter cuts.

You then have a seat and wait for it to come out.

I chose the leaner beef brisket, (just the meat) while

the hubs had the brisket sandwich with fries as his side.

My side was the mac-n-cheese…IT WAS DELISH!

Probably the best/creamiest/cheesiest macaroni I’ve EVER had at a restaurant, for real.

(And I’m very picky about my mac-n-cheese!) 🙂

My meal also came with a piece of cornbread. I guess I missed that part when ordering.

The brisket had that Texas, oak, smoked flavor like you cooked it around the campfire.

Mission BBQ menu is here: http://mission-bbq.com/menu

They even have a gluten-free menu.

How did I miss getting a picture of our food, though! 😦

So, here’s some images for you: FOOD and SAUCES


Our history was on the walls, the tables and booths.

And of course, I had to find the Marine Corps emblem imbedded among several branches on our table.

Marine Corps insignia in the table at Mission BBQ

Even the cardboard caddy holding the six, different, choices of sauce, recognized the MIA and POWs.

Some of my favs were the KC Classic, and the more vinegar based Carolina.

Mission BBQ Sauces

They had a blend of spices and speciality sauces, up by the drink station, too, that I found to be so yummy.

Mission BBQ and recognizing POW MIA

Did you know National POW/MIA  is recognized on the third Friday of every September?

I guess I had forgotten when that was. My own Uncle Terry had been MIA for decades. (I hope to share that story, soon.)

Terry A. Hoffman MIA 1968 USMC


Coming back from the men’s restroom, my husband said, “You should see what’s in the guys’ room.”. He told me the walls were plastered with 1940 pin-up girls

not surprised there,

but then mentioned that the Farrah Fawcett’s poster was hanging above the men’s urinal.

Once again, NOT surprised.

For you young kids…it’s ICONIC.

That poster probably hung in just about every, young, teenage boy’s room across America!

Including my husband’s. (It was the only poster he ever had.) 🙂

So, naturally I wanted to see what was in us gals’ restroom.

I was trying to guess,

I thought, TOP GUN images FOR SURE!

As I rounded the corner looking for my restroom, guess whose face was peering down at me?

Tom Cruise in Top Gun fighter plane

Yep, Tom Cruise in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

We actually had jets flying overhead as we walked into the restaurant. I just love the sound of those things.

Later on, I noticed a few pilots had walked in.

They’re unmistakable aren’t they?

Once inside my restroom…

But of course…I should’ve guessed.

Lots women sending their lovers off to war with a kiss. Also infamous poses.

women sending their men off to war with kisses

 I was trying to imagine what they must’ve been feeling when those pictures were snapped.


The manager at Mission BBQ was going around visiting with people, and I noticed how he greeted patrons like they were family. I overheard him sharing about the restaurants and other cities where they have locations.

So, I’d recommend it. It’s a fun and interesting place with great food to boot.

Mission BBQ Restaurant

I was glad to see homage paid to all our military, and community service workers,

for once,

so for that fact alone, I would eat there.

Do you have a Mission BBQ near you or a favorite BBQ restaurant you like to visit?

Exploring St. George Island & Piney Point, Maryland

Exploring St. George Island & Piney Point, Maryland

So, I thought I’d give you an idea of the surrounding area where we’re staying in case you’re looking for a hotel with water views, in this area.

To see how we got here, I went back and added a map of our route to my previous post  here: map/post

Our hotel is the Island Inn & Suites on Piney Point, Maryland. It’s on St. George Island.

We hadn’t heard of this hotel before, but my husband was glad he found it.

It wasn’t here, years ago, when we explored this area, on previous business trips with our kids. (We like using our Choice points, so we were glad to find it.)

It’s been years since we’ve been here and the entire area has really grown.

^ Click on each picture to enlarge

Knowing I like the outdoors, and after nearly a decade of battling health issues (with rarely time to get outdoors) my hubby thought I’d really enjoy this view…

and BOY DO I!

Wasn’t that sweet of him?

So, I have beautiful scenery to look at as I type, and take pictures.

Sunset at Piney Point, Maryland

He’s the best!

OK, I’ve NEVER been this close to the water before!

Literally yards.

View of St. Mary's River

IMG_5694.JPG

 

Here is the map of where we are, so you get an idea of how the water surrounds us.

Map of St. George Island, MD

One side (the west) is the Potomac River, and the other is the St. Mary’s River.

Both look like you’re viewing the ocean or bay. We chose the St. Mary side to be able to hear the lapping of the waves as well as not view the parking lot.

Don’t get me wrong, both views are spectacular, and I LOVE sunsets, as I’m never up for sunrise, but I knew we could view the sunset, at any time, as we left for dinner.

St. Mary's River pier.

A stork overlooking St. Mary's River on Piney Point, Maryland.

Here are a few pictures of the sunset our first night; it did not disappoint.

Sunset on the Potomac River.

St. George Island, MD.JPG

As the sun began to set, we drove down to the end of St. George Island and took some of these photos. We had to turn around as the drive led to private homes.

St. George Island

It has been super quiet here; I hear nothing.

Oh, an occasional guest next door, some jets here and there, flying overhead, and a few seagulls, landing on the pier as they fly in, but nothing significant to speak of.

Like I said, I never, hardly EVER see the sunrise, but for some odd reason I was up the other day just in time to grab my camera and catch a glimpse.

And right on cue, @8:00 AM sharp, I heard a familiar melody float across the river.

The National Anthem.

St. Mary's River, Maryland

Balcony view over St. Mary's River.

I’m sure it was coming from a nearby base, or from some “old salty” who lived on a nearby island, and was probably raising the flag and blasting out his favorite tune. 🙂 HA

I kind of got goosebumps as the sun was rising, and the notes were falling.

Can you tell I’m a VERY patriotic person?

It may have something to do with being raised by an ex-Marine.

There were four in the family…one, who was MIA, for decades. My little brother, who is presently a Lt. Col, is serving overseas. (You may have seen this on my “About Me” page.)

dc12

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

Yeah, that song kind of gets to me.

Later, when my husband arrived back, through tons of traffic I might add, (all leaving from the Patuxent base, we headed out for dinner.

There is a restaurant, next door, which we plan to try later. However, we drove back the way hubby had come.

We found an amazing, unique place for barbecue right across from the base. They are a fairly new chain, but growing rapidly.

I’ll share that, as well as some info about the Patuxent Naval Air Station and the nearby

area, tomorrow!

  • Check out my YouTube link for video of the area.

Thanks for coming along on my travels!

Do you have military family?

Do you have a favorite place, by the water, you always love to go?

Here’s a video I took from our balcony…enjoy the view!

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0BXyVVGeIE