Last month, I got to visit some parts of Western NY – not your typical vacation destination, perhaps, but there were some beautiful hikes and sites!

On our way back, we visited Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome (in New York, not Italy, unfortunately). Plopped squarely in the middle of the city, Fort Stanwix is most famous for being the site of a Revolutionary War Continental Army stronghold against a 21 day British siege in August 1777.

The present day structure was constructed about 40 years ago following an archaeological dig, but was built to mimic the structure as it would have looked in the 1700s, including all of the artifacts found inside. Take a look!

Monument entrance – you can see part of the structure in the background

A model of what the structure would have looked like from an aerial view

The view from on top of one of the four rampart towers. You might notice the small wooden structure in the top right corner. These were found all throughout the fort – I thought at first that it was some sort of makeshift prison for misbehaving soldiers, since it latches from the outside. Turns out it’s just where the soldiers were stationed to stay dry if they were on watch and it was raining out!

Inside one of the barracks – a room like this would likely have housed slightly higher ranking officials; the foot soldiers slept on cramped long straw bunks, 40 to a room!

We didn’t have too much time here, but it’s definitely a cool glimpse at history! Be sure to stop by the visitor center as well to learn about the history of the region, including many stories of trade and battles done with and against the Oneida Indian tribes native to the area.

Thanks for reading,


[good reads] 1984

June 25, 2017

Have you ever gone back and read books that you know are book but in the end don’t really remember that well? I recently decided to go back and Read George Orwell’s 1984. The last time I read this book I was in high school and I remember reading it during sophomore English class. It’s a fairly dense book and considering the monologue that it essentially is, it can be a bit difficult to follow if you’re not reading the book wholeheartedly (for example, for class assignments).

The entire book is a bit scary to read especially when you think about the fact that Orwell wrote this book in the 1940s describing the 1980s and even though it’s true that the world in 1984 didn’t look, sound, or smell like Orwell’s “negative utopia”, there are times in society today when it seems that Orwell’s 1984 world perhaps isn’t all that far away. One of the most interesting concepts that the book talks about is that with Newspeak (the language that eventually everyone in Oceania will speak), one of the goals is to limit vocabulary and language. The Party is convinced that if people no longer have the words to describe certain concepts and ideas, then those concepts and ideas essentially disappear. It’s a scary thought!

{sacramento} crocker art

June 12, 2017

The Crocker Art Museum was on my list of “must see” places in Sacramento. OK, let’s be honest, there weren’t that many places on my list of “must sees” in this city, but the Crocker Art Museum is actually quite famous especially since it’s the longest continuously-operating art museum in the West! Since it’s Sacramento’s big art museum and Sacramento is the capital of California, the Crocker Museum is also home to a large collection of California art. I had fairly low expectations coming into this museum because I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard that much about it before (even though it had made my list of “must see” places). I was genuinely surprised though because this museum was huge and included an older portion as well as a more modern half. Take a look!

A artsy crocker photo adventure:

Happy Birthday Mamie!

Located on the west end of Old San Juan, El Morro is a huge fort that essentially goes right out into the Atlantic Ocean. The walls on this massive fort are 140-feet high and up to 15-feet thick. Dating back to 1539, this is said to be the oldest Spanish fort in the New World. El Morro’s lighthouse is the oldest light station on the island that’s still in use and with it’s help, it’s kept many countries and their conquerors from attacking the island by surprise. While walking around inside the fort, you kind of forget where you are because the stone walls and floors are just so thick. Then you walk near the edge and look out either onto the ocean or just the massive green field on the one side of the fort and realize, wow you are really high up and there are just so many levels to explore on this giant fort!

Read about our other Puerto Rican adventures here: fajardovieques beginningsvieques beachesvieques eatsvieques goodbyesan juan sightingssan juan san cristobalsan juan bacardisan juan la fortaleza • san juan yellowsan juan coastal roadsan jaun escambronsan juan palomas

A San Juan photo adventure:

La Fortaleza, also known as El Palacio de Santa Catalina, may have a name that makes it sound like a military fort and considering how popular forts are in San Juan you’d think La Fortaleza were just another one, but it’s not. Well, at least it’s not anymore. La Fortaleza was in fact Puerto Rico’s original fortress, but became home to the colony’s governors for much time after that. Now, its El Palacio name is more accurate since this 1533 mansion is an imposing iron gated building with Moorish gardens, a chapel, and even a dungeon.

While free to enter, you have to go in with a tour. These tour times I’ve heard change regularly so it’s important to go to the tour office early in the day to find out when they will be touring (and in what languages: English or Spanish) at what times.

Read about our other Puerto Rican adventures here: fajardovieques beginningsvieques beachesvieques eatsvieques goodbyesan juan sightingssan juan san cristobalsan juan bacardi

A San Juan photo adventure: