Friday, February 27, 2015

Photos: Thomas Jefferson was all about the gardens

Today's post travels down to Charlottesville, Virginia. This is where Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is located. The property has been meticulously maintained and the grounds as well. 

Today's post goes down to Charlottesville, Virginia. This is where Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is located. The property has been meticulously maintained and the grounds as well.

That third flower I can't remember what it was called, but I did buy a packet of seeds to try and grow this year. I thought it such an interesting looking flower, I'd never seen anything like it. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Revisiting the (former) National Aquarium in Washington

In today's post I revisit the (former) National Aquarium facility in Washington D.C., our family had taken a trip there with some friends in April 2013, just before its September 2013 closure. The building it had been housed in was reportedly scheduled to go under some large renovations.

To my understanding, all of the sea life was transferred to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Here are a few photos from that 2013 visit.

Jellyfish are so amazing and delicate looking

Fans of "Finding Nemo" we traveled with loved the "Dory" fish.

I'm not sure what kind of ray this is, but I thought so pretty

Friday, February 20, 2015

Buzzing bees on flowers at Chatham Manor

Today's photos were taken during a trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia in 2011. I believe I took this series of flowers at Chatham Manor, which is a historical property now run by the National Park Service (NPS).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Visiting the beautiful Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg

This morning, once again, I've got spring on the brain. As I look out my window and see the remains of this week's snowstorm, it is hard to believe spring is right around the corner. Today I began thinking about how I should take another ride out to Leesburg this year and visit Oatlands Plantation. It's been a while - the house tour has an interesting history and is connected to many historical figures that had spent time on the property. 

Then there are the gardens, which have been restored and are beautiful. Here are a few photos I have taken in the past.

(For a much more in-depth history of the property - I invite you to visit my other blog which is dedicated to the Washington DC Metro area where I have a very detailed post with many additional photos of the rest of the property).

Front of the main house at Oatlands

I've always thought the rear of the main house to be attractive. That sitting area looks so cozy to me
One of the fountains found in the gardens

Busy bees at work in the garden

There are literally dozens and dozens of varieties of flowers in Oatlands' gardens. Here are some peonies.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tracking down squirrels on the National Mall (2007)

Today's photos are a few shots I took of a squirrel back in the spring of 2007. We were still relatively new to the D.C. region and had taken a trip downtown and to explore the memorials on the National Mall. 

I sort of vaguely remember taking these shots. This was early on in my interest of photographing nature. I like to sometimes go back and compare both my and my (then) camera's ability to spot and capture nature.

Is anyone looking???

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Caught in the act!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Snakes, spider webs and the Natural Bridge in Virginia

Today's photo heads down to the southwestern section of Virginia. Last July when making a trip, we took a side excursion to the Natural Bridge. I've always wanted to visit the Natural Bridge and we were so close I just *had* to do it.

It was really hot that day - but definitely worth it. We spent a couple of hours there. However, we quickly learned you have to be careful what walls you might decide to take a seat -

I don't know how clear this big web is...the smaller one to the right stands out, but this was a huge spider web I'd spotted while walking along the path behind the Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge itself. On top of the bridge is Route 11. Driving over it, you'd never know what was underneath you. And standing below, you really don't see the traffic either.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Railroad tracks are so much more than just metal and wood

For a long time I lived near railroad tracks and those overnight freighters chugging along used to drive me up the wall. However, I'm at a different point in life and when I see railroad tracks these days I no longer view them as an annoyance.

Railroad tracks are routes to different places, they open up possibilities. I try and think about what it must have been like for those who lived in the age when trains were first developed and how exciting that must have been.

Here are a couple of shots taken at Harper's Ferry, West Va.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flower photos taken around Washington D.C.

I love flowers of all colors, shapes and sizes! Today's post visits downtown Washington DC during the spring and summer months with a few captures I've taken over the years.

This one was taken at the Mary Ripley Livingston Garden (Smithsonian)

I can't remember where I took the photo of this peony, but it was definitely in the vicinity of the National Mall

Corpse flower bloomed at the U.S. Botanic Garden in July 2013
Cherry blossoms are my favorite time of the year to visit downtown

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ready to rumble at the Bronx Zoo?

Today's image was taken at the Bronx Zoo up in New York during a 2009 trip. For some reason I don't have any other photos from that day, which is unusual for me. However, I was happy to find the one photo I did take seemed to be an interesting capture.

Here these two seem ready to rumble with antlers locked.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Visiting the Smithsonian's Butterfly Pavilion

The Smithsonian Museums have a lot of neat things to see. One of my favorite places is the Butterfly Museum located in the National Museum of Natural History. If you can catch it on a day that isn't too busy, you can spend a lot of time getting up close and personal with the butterflies. It's an amazing experience. These were taken during a 2013 visit.

(If you'd like to see more photos and information on this exhibit, I've posted a more detailed article on my other DC region blog)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I spy with my eye . . . lots of flying critters

Today's post highlights a few of the many various flying critters I've encountered over the years throughout the region. Most of these I've tried to capture with my camera on purpose, with one exception. This first photo was totally unintentional, I didn't even realize I captured it until much later when I was going through some photos I'd taken.  

Thanks for visiting!
I zoomed in to this plant and got the additional bonus of this tiny insect - taken on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley

This one was taken at Chatham down in Fredericksburg, Virginia

I spotted this bird while approaching the Tidal Basin during the National Cherry Blossom Festival

This hummingbird moth was spotted outside Mount Vernon's gift shop in Northern Virginia

Also spotted in Fredericksburg - I believe this too was at Chatham, but am not 100 percent sure

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Exploring the critters of Long Beach Island (New Jersey)

In my first weeks of this blog, I shared my close encounter with a clam. Today I head back to the beach with photos of other various critters found in a bay located on Long Beach Island (in Barnegat Light). 

It truly is an amazing eco-system to observe. Here are some of the critters that came out to say hello (well except this first one, he was forced to stick around for a brief moment before scurrying off).




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What kind of memories do carousels bring back for you?

I've always loved carousels. As a child they evoked feelings of happiness and today it has turned into nostalgia. Anytime we're at any kind of park that has a carousel, I'll take a ride on one. Today's post shares some carousels I've either ridden or visited over the last 5 to 10 years.

This first carousel is located at Bear Mountain State Park in New York State. I grew up in this region and spent a lot of time at this park. However, this carousel was not added until 2001. It's a neat addition to the park since it is not your traditional carousel - it features regional animals.
Carousel at Bear Mountain State Park
In 2011, Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Va. added an antique carousel to their grounds. Built during the depression era, this has been a nice addition to the park.

Dutch Wonderland is a park in Pennsylvania. This was my first (and only) time to the park. The photo was taken from up above in one of those sky rides. Later on we went for a spin on the carousel. (Would love to ride the carousel again, but next time I'll be passing on the sky ride!)

Taken at Dutch Wonderland

Down on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. sits a historic carousel (more on this carousel can be found on my other blog dedicated to all things in the DC region).

Historic carousel located in Washington D.C.
Disney tends to bring out the "happy" in many people. One of the horses in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World.

Where are your favorite carousels located?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Male peacock struts his stuff!

Ever since I moved to Northern Virginia I had been waiting..and waiting...and waiting to catch Kidwell Farm's male peacock open his tail feathers. Finally, in 2013 all those visits and waiting paid off. And when he did decide to display his feathers, it was gorgeous.

Why hello there! Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous feathers

This was absolutely worth the wait!

I love the detail in peacock feathers

Mr. Peacock even showed off his rear

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Spending time on the farm with baby pigs

All baby farm animals are cute, but I have this particular affection for baby pigs. (Is it my love for Piglet in Winnie-the-Pooh or something else? I couldn't tell ya...I just love them). Every spring I love to drive out to Kidwell Farm in Frying Pan Farm Park out in Herndon, Virginia and pay the new babies a visit. 

(Towards the end is a video I took in 2013 when Mama pig didn't want to share with the piglets. She seemed to be one busy mama with all those babies).

I just love piglets!
Hungry babies

"Whew, I'm tired!"