Monday, December 19, 2016

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

After stopping by the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, we continued west.  We spent the night on the Illinois side of the Mississippi outside of St Louis and headed into the city the next morning.  First up was the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.  We also visited Union Station and the Transportation Museum ( I like trains )

As a civil war history nerd, I'm always up for anything related to the war.  Plus, Grant was from Ohio.  Ohioans stick together!  There's a visitors center, very helpful rangers, the tour of White Haven and a museum to explore.  There's also Grant's Farm next door if you are so inclined to explore there. 

White Haven front view
White Haven back view
I found it interesting that it was a slave plantation

Construction details of the house
And of course his war horse was named Cincinnati!
Union Station:

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

In September of 2015, my mom and I headed to Missouri and Arkansas.  She really wanted to visit Hot Springs NP and bribed me with Civil War battlefields (I'm easy lol).  Plus, it gave me new states that I hadn't visited before!

First up was a stop at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial on our way from Ohio to Missouri.

Cabin Memorial site

Cemetery where Lincoln's mother is buried

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ohio - William Howard Taft NHS and Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP

On a random weekend in June 2015, my mother and I decided to hit a couple close national park sites (my parents live a little north of Cincinnati, OH).  First up, was a trip down into Cincinnati to visit William Howard Taft National Historic Site.  There's a small visitor's center next to the house (with a super tiny parking lot which is bad on busy days) with a few exhibits and a small bookstore.  Then there's a movie and a house tour. 

William Howard Taft NHS is located on Auburn Ave in Cincinnati, OH

Ohio Historical sign about Robert A Taft, William Howard Taft's son.

William Howard Taft NHS

The next day, we drove up to Dayton to visit several Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP sites (there's still a couple we haven't been to).

The main visitors center

The original Wright Cycle Co., next to the main visitors center
Next was Carillon Historical Park, which is super interesting and full of all sorts of fun things (trains, a canal lock, old buildings, etc).  It also houses the reconstructed original Wright Flyer III.

After a little while here, we headed out to Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, where they have some exhibits and a small bookstore, then it was over to Huffman Prairie itself.  Aka the first airport.  It was amazing to be in the same place where the Wright Brothers made their actual first flight and not just a glider.  (I'm an Ohioan, our state was first, not North Carolina!)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

After leaving Chattanooga, we headed over to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

I played in the stream.  I like water, it's hard for me to resist!
We went to the Sugarlands VC, drove through the park, including a drive back through Cade's Cove.  It was so pretty!  I'd love to go back and do some hiking.

On the way home, we found some more Civil War related sites while driving through Kentucky:

And my first national park trip was done.

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Next up on our 2014 trip through Tennessee was Chattanooga, including Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.  The park is made up of several sites: Chickamauga Battlefield, Lookout Mountain Battlefield, Missionary Ridge, Signal Point, Orchard Knob and Moccasin Bend National Archeological District.  We visited both battlefields, drove Missionary Ridge and stopped by Orchard Knob. Before we headed to the battlefield, we went to Chattanooga National Cemetery.  We also stayed in the coolest hotel -- it was an old train station and our room was in a converted train car!!

Ohio's Tribute to Andrews Raiders at Chattanooga National Cemetery.
 We also visited the downtown area and walked around some.  These are some signs we found:

These signs were at our hotel:

 On to the battlefields!  Our first stop was Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.  Point Park is actually one of my favorite places that I've visited and I'm planning to go back next year.  I want to go hiking on the mountain!

The entrance gate into Point Park is so amazing.

There's a reason they called it the "Battle Above the Clouds"

Next, was Chickamauga, which is the largest area of the park:

Brotherton House

Wilder's Brigade Monument.  There's a LOT of steps up that thing!  It overlooks the area where Wilder's "Lightning Brigade" fought.

My great great great grandfather was in the 17th Indiana, but according to his military records he was sick and not at the battle.  If I remember correctly, he had diphtheria.

Driving Missionary Ridge:  This was a twisty road along the top of a mountain but I thought it was fun (as a passenger lol).  It's a residential area so it's definitely park only in designated areas and stay off of private property while you're up here.

And visiting Orchard Knob:  After the Union took the Knob from the Confederates, it became Grant's forward observation post as the Union assaulted Missionary Ridge.  This is also in a neighborhood, a not very nice one if I remember correctly.

 Our last stop was the Tennessee Valley Railroad and Museum: