A Travellerspoint blog


The Underground Railroad Condensed Version

Making a very short tour of the Underground Railroad

DSCN0182.jpgAs we didn’t make it to the Dorchester Visitor’s Center on Sunday we got there by noon yesterday. I was already armed with a list of places I’d found on-line of Underground Railroad sites, needless to say, a very condensed list. I’d been to the place in Africa where kidnapped people were put onto the slave ships so now was the day to come full circle, where they ran for their freedom.

The Visitor’s Center is a great place to start; the docent’s will direct you to the closest sites, just blocks away. They also have a nice interpretive section downstairs. This is the place to start.

The docent directed us to the court house where people were sold into slavery on the courthouse steps, just up the street from the docks. The original courthouse was destroyed and then destroyed a 2nd time, but the front of the 2nd rebuild is still in the front. It was here that Ms. Tubman’s niece and 2 children were to be sold; Ms. Tubman helped with this rescue in which the niece’s husband, a free black, bought his wife and 2 children. But before he paid anything he left with them, sailing up the Chesapeake Bay to freedom. I love this story!!!!

Across the street from the courthouse you will find a very old, wonderful church with graves from the 1700’s. Some graves are above ground and some below with the very old ones right next to the church.

Next stop I’d found just poking around online was the Old Trinity Church, built in 1750. The exterior is original but the interior has been remodeled as per the info. The church was locked so we couldn’t peak inside but we enjoyed the quiet of the outside. The church is not visible at all from the road, but the road is marked by a sign. As with most churches here, graves surround the church, with one important grave belonging to Anna Ella Carroll, a successful war strategist for President Lincoln.

We had the brilliant idea that we’d go have a quick and very late lunch at Old Salty’s only to find the restaurant closed on Monday’s. We had to settle for nutrition bars as we went on to our next stop, the canal built by hand. This is a 7 mile canal built by slaves and free people. You take a little road that drives along the canal but it is not marked.

From the canal it is an easy drive, or it should be, to the Bucktown Store. Our problem was that we didn’t read the maps, (yes maps) properly since GPS doesn’t work in those parts. So if you are going to do this I suggest you MapQuest first and have a good idea of your route or you will end up like we did; driving in circles for a couple of hours.

The waste of driving time, however, turned out to be in our favor. But 1st a very brief statement on the Bucktown Store: this store is where Ms. Tudjman was hit on the head by an overseer when she attempted to stop that overseer from hurting a slave. She was 13 years old.

We found the store, having read that if you are lucky you will get to go inside the store so I had only hoped to get inside. So we arrived but were unsure that this was the place; 1st the guide called the store the Blacktown Village Store and this Blacktown Store looks all spiffy plus has a sign “Blackwater Paddle and Pedal”. We started to drive on but then stopped just to make sure.

I went to the door and looked thru the glass to find the most amazing sight; what appeared to be original store, right from Ms. Tubman’s time. I noted that the floor had dips in it, thinking about the women who must have shopped at this store so many years ago. I called Dale to come look.

Dale was looking in the window when a van up pulled up with kayaks on a trailer; a sign that maybe this was associated with the store. A woman was driving then she pulled around to the back of the store and was unhitching her trailer. I asked if she was by chance someone who could let us see the inside of the store and she said “yes”.

As it turns out we had just met Susan Meredith, co-owner of the store; her husband is several generations from the original owner. Wow! Susan let us in and gave us lots of history, more than we could have imagined.

I’d love to go back and do some major photos shoots; I missed a major opportunity to shoot Susan in her environment and could kick myself. I’d also love to just spend a bunch of time taping her stories in the store, but since I’m not a professional that probably won’t happen. But still I’d love to just get some of this down. www.blackwaterpaddleandpedal.com

We’d hoped to make it to the Mason-Dixon line but it got dark as we were driving.
We didn’t make it to the Mason-Dixon line but the visit in that little store was so amazing that we didn’t care. And really it is the people that make the area.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:32 Archived in Japan Tagged landscape travel outdoors maryland bucktown underground_railroad harriet_tubman Comments (0)

Tokyo and new adventures

Tokyo, the palace and the Japanese Octoberfest

overcast 77 °F

After a ride back to Tokyo on the bullet train we found our way to the hotel using the map book. We are becoming quite proficient in getting around, but of course with addresses in Chinese or Japanese we find people can help much easier.
I was very disappointed when I found that neither Kubiki nor the Noh were playing this week as I`d wanted for Mike to see one. We also missed the Beijing Opera which is fun.
Instead we walked thru the extensive Imperial gardens at the Imperial Palace. Here we were disappointed that the Emperor did not receive us but we were well received with the common people. Nevertheless we were impressed with the massive walls around the palace, some stones were chest high to me. I though of Justin and Jenavieve and how they would appreciate that rock work but they would not be anxious to work on that wall in the 1600`s. The walls stand several stories high but there are gaps between rocks so it is difficult to see how intruders would be kept out.
We walked from the gardens to the Ginza district. It has changed since I was there in 1970 but as it was still light out I suggested that we sit down with coffee and wait for the sun to go down. We ducked into a little british pub and drank a beer instead.
After it was darker we started walking all over the Ginza, looking into shops and restaurants. The area under the train tracks is full of tiny restaurants so it was fun to peek into them, looking at the plastic food or photos of food.
After walking for quite awhile we ended up near a park and heard music and shouting so of course we went to investigate. We found Octoberfest going complete with German beers, sausages and actual German bands. The normally reserved Japanese were singing along and waving little German flags. As the evening went on some of the German band members, complete with laderhosen, went thru the crowds singing and yelling and some of the visitors who had been drinking for some time started dancing on the tables. It was absolutely wild and quite funny to see the Japanse version of Octoberfest in May.
I shot some video so will post it on U-Tube when I return.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:31 Archived in Japan Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)


A beautiful day in Kyoto

sunny 82 °F

Wow, we just got to spend the entire day with my friend Yayoi and at one of my favorite places in the world, the Temple of the Golden Pavillion.
Yayoi got here by 8a.m. and we went to breakfast nearby. Yayoi knows that I love to eat and we always laugh about our visits and how they are about eating. She had checked for a restaurant that would serve a Japanese breakfast so she knew just where to take us. We had grilled salmon, miso soup an egg and some veges.
With a full stomach we were able to get on with the business at hand, getting to the Golden Pavillion. Rain was forecast but the skies were full of puffy clouds and sun, a perfect day for Kyoto.
We saw the Golden Pavillion and walked the gardens. I wanted for Mike to have tea in the tea house, something Yayoi and I have done. Then after buying the mask that I`d waited 8 years to buy we went our our way.
We`d decided to have some lunch before going to a shrine and I found that I`d left my cell phone at the Pavillion when I was trying to get coins out of my money carrier. I was lucky as the phone was at the booth still and the women there were so happy when I showed up. I was very happy too.
It was back to lunch then off to the shrine. I`d read about the shrine, where they put on a Noh play on June 1 & 2. We were going to miss it but they were setting up for the play in one of the courtyards. Apparently they have a bonfire also. I really want to come back for that some year.
We were walking in the gardens where they shape pine trees using the same techniques as those used for bonsai trees. Mike stepped back to get a photo but stepped off of the walkway, stepping down into the little lake. He went crashing down and we about died laughing. Fortunately he had his camera in his left hand so it did not get wet. Another visitor was behind us with his camera and I really think that he video taped it. He followed us the remainder of our walk always just behind enough with his camera in his hand.
We headed over to the Goin Corner located in the old part of Kyoto where we saw a 1 hour performance of Japanese dance, puppet show, music and things typical to Japan. Then it was off to dinner of sachimi, and lots of good stuff. We picked up more street food then brought it back to the hotel where we made tea and ate again.
All of us are fat and happy and Yayoi rolled off into the taxi to go home. I`ll be back again someday.

Posted by Miss Chris 06:47 Archived in Japan Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Beijing to Kyoto

Left Beijing and after riding the trains we are in Kyoto

rain 75 °F

We had a early morning flight so didn't even get breakfast. The line was long for the international flight but a ANA official told us to come with her, which we did. She tried to do a quick check in but when it didn't work she took us over to the premier line and checked us in there. This gave us better seats with lots of leg room. We sat smug as the poor saps filed on to the back of the plane.
We were a little concerned about catching the bullet train to Kyoto out of Tokyo because we'd heard that the train station is very busy with multilevels of tracks and over 3000 trains per day going thru. I asked the guy next to me on the plane and he gave some directions to the JP desk. Then the JP person gave us great directions and had us actually go one stop past Tokyo to catch the bullet train. Thus we avoided the hassles associated with Tokyo.
We checked into our microscopic rooms and went across the street to a local's restaurant where we ordered a dish each. We were still hungry after that so ordered more and more. We have the excuse that we are bulking up for the trip home when we will do without because of the small quantites of airplane food.
For those of you who know me well know that I love to eat. Well never fear, I've eaten my way thru China and am now working on Japan. I have HELL to pay next week as I roll into the gym.

Posted by Miss Chris 06:47 Archived in Japan Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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