Posts Tagged ‘American History’

Ok I’m skewing the truth a bit here with this blog title because … this site really ISN’T the home of Harriet Tubman.  But it was a place of historic significance and damn!  Harriet Tubman is so fascinating!  Did you know she not only escaped slavery but then returned to help many other slaves get to freedom?  I think most of us know that but… did you know she ALSO fought in the civil war, and married a man 20+ years her junior?  While I was away for a work retreat, our team took a little field trip to this gorgeous architectural homage to Harriet Tubman.  Even the grounds are peaceful and introspective, and the modern exhibits indoors are a fully immersive experience where the songs/prayers/sounds of slavery and civil war surround you as you walk through the visitor center.  If you get to the Chesapeake Maryland area, you should check it out:



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It’s been an ideal time of year to see historic houses, and we stumbled on this one just as we were driving to one of Ezra’s band gigs.  Who knew this little historic gem would be nestled amidst the factories of an industrial neighborhood between Queens and Brooklyn (Ridgewood) ?

Vander Ende–Onderdonk House is a historic house at 1820 Flushing Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens It is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City.  The original house on the site was built in 1661 by Hendrick Barents Smidt, from land that was granted to him by Peter Stuyvesant.  Another part of the structure, expanding from the original house, was built in 1709 by Paulus Vander Ende.

Clearly it’s got us thinking about adding a ‘dutch door’ to our house!


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We finally made it out to the newly renovated ‘Theodore Roosevelt House’ or Sagamore Hill .  It was a perfect day for running around the natural surroundings quickly, and getting a tour inside. The man received so many interesting gifts from kings and leaders and diplomats all around the world, that this summer home is more like an interesting art museum than anything else!


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Last weekend our synagogue took part in a ‘place of worship crawl’ of sorts… where we walked around the neighborhood and explored a number of different churches and temples all in a 10 block radius.  Rumor has it that Flushing Queens boasts up to 200 different places of worship – synagogues, Catholic and Methodist churches and Buddhist temples, Shinto temples.  At the end of our trip we got to go to the Flushing Quaker Meeting House – built in 1694!  Of course it’s chalk full of ghost stories and best of all, it seems to be the first site of religious freedom in America.  Its first members created a remonstrance to be accepted in Peter Stuyvesant‘s rigid idea of what New York/America should worship.  See the actual remonstrance here!

(to add: this is called the ‘Interfaith Unity Walk‘ and it happens twice a year in Queens.  I should also add that I did something like this with my mom when I was about 11 years old and it was really moving then, as it is now – how much we all have in common despite differing religions)



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I had no idea that my husband was such a Lincoln enthusiast…so there was no leaving DC in the week of April 15th without seeing Ford’s Theater first. There’s a house across the street (Petersen House) where Lincoln officially passed away, and we were able to tour it before finally heading back to our host’s house. The line moved quickly but Zoe still hammed it up by using the yellow rope to make ‘princess hair’. You’ll notice her mouth was still stained from ice cream. We loved the huge tower of Abraham Lincoln books ..
Have a great weekend (end of Passover, Easter, etc) !










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We went to check out Manhattan’s oldest house and George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Who knew it was right uptown? En route we passed what seems to be the corner diner that Seinfeld and friends hang out at .. and then entered a neighborhood that took us back in time to 1765. The kids got to take a little ‘test’ of sorts – that was more like a scavenger hunt through the house for historic items. And the nice lady at the gift shop told us of some free jazz across the street on Sundays that we hope to see some weekend soon.

Wouldn’t you love a fireplace and blue wallpaper like this? I would..












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My husband has an interest in Theodore Roosevelt (check out our previous Theodore encounter here) and was hankering for a trip to the Theodore Roosevelt house at Sagamore Hill. Unfortunately the house is under construction but there’s still Sagamore Hill itself. Sagamore Hill is a pleasant site to hike around – and it has an information center at Old Orchard Home where we could see some movies and old artifacts on the subject of Theodore’s life and presidency. The kids were pretty excited to get Junior Park Ranger badges – which were earned by completing a little test of finding various things around the center. Now that we are chalk full of Teddy knowledge can’t wait to get back to tour his home when the renovation is finished.










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On the basement level of the New York Historical Society is the Dimenna Children’s History Museum – which invites ‘young detectives’ to explore a hands-on exhibit about history. We went on a quiet day when the curator there could answer all our questions and took out blocks for us to play with in the library. Ezra got a kick out of posing as a president and playing the interactive ‘Newsie‘ game that gave kids a chance to see what underage child labor had to deal with in a day on the streets of New York. And the staff got a big kick out of Zoe – who just so happened to wear her favorite frock that fit in with the overall Americana theme!

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