Very busy week, and a rough one, basketball-games-outcome-wise, so last night, I decided we’d book it and be gone today.
After all, as I say to myself all the time, “We’re not homeschooling so that we can stay home.”
So I went down my list. We’ve done a couple of things, a couple more are planned, and the weather just has not been cooperative regarding the outdoor activities. I thought, Tuskegee, but then I looked at the website and saw that the Carver museum has been closed for renovation and won’t be reopening until early April. So we’ll save that. Montgomery was at the top of the list, but in the end, I couldn’t resonate enough with getting up early enough to make it happen.
It was a decent, 5-hour triangle of a field trip in which we could brush against George Washington, ice cream, and marble.
First down to Columbiana (about 40 minutes south) to the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington.
It’s an extension of the public library, and quite a well-done, informative and intriguing museum. The collection is primarily derived from two descendants, one from Alabama, the other from Kentucky:
Founded in 1982 by Karl C. Harrison, a Columbiana banker and philanthropist, the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington has become an important forum for learning about America’s first First Family. Through the foresighted efforts and encouragement of Martha Washington’s granddaughter Eliza Parke Custis, family heirlooms have been lovingly passed down through generations. In the early 1980’s, Shelby County resident Charlotte Smith-Weaver, a sixth generation granddaughter of Martha, decided to share her legacy with the public, providing the basis of the museum.
The Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington collection focuses on art and artifacts from the colonial period through 1865. The collection contains paintings, letters, furniture, porcelain, glassware, silver, jewelry, busts and more. Martha Washington’s prayer book printed in New York in 1783, an original 1787 Samuel Vaughn sketch of Mt. Vernon grounds, writing instruments and tools from George Washington’ s survey case and an original tintype depicting Robert E. Lee in his uniform for the last time are just a few collection highlights.
The docent led us around the exhibits and was full of really interesting stories.
It’s a little bit off the beaten path – say, if you’re driving down I-65 or 280 it’s about 30 minutes from either highway. But if you have time to meander (or if you live in the area) it is most definitely worth a visit. No charge (a stipulation of the benefactor). Lovely, unique place.
The docent told me that the Shelby County Museum was also good, but we had to save that for another time because we had a 1:00 appointment….
I know. A Friday during Lent. You’re going to do an ice cream tour? Yeah, probably bad. But no one gave up sweets for Lent, and their “free” sample ended up being lunch, so….
Blue Bell was started in Texas, and has two other plants. There is a small charge for the tour (which is why “free” is in quotation marks), and to be honest, you can enter the area where the shop and ice cream parlor are and see down to the main production floor without paying a dime, and there wasn’t a whole lot more to the tour – they took you back to look down on the room where the milk is pasteurized (big tanks and pipes…) and explained a bit about the process, but really…if you want to be cheap you wouldn’t have to pay. But then you’d end up buying ice cream anyway, so you might as well…
I do like factory tours (we’ve done Golden Flake here, and the boys have done others in their past school lives). I had written earlier that area auto manufacturers don’t allow children under 12 on their tours. A correspondent wrote me to correct that – the Hyundai plant in Montgomery does allow children. Unfortunately, their tours are booked up through early summer at this point….
Then to the quarry.
You may have heard of “Sylacauga Marble.” It’s rather well-known. Here’s the story of it, if you would like to know more. We will be returning in April for Marble Festival events - included, I hope, a guided quarry tour – but this was good for today – an overlook of a now closed quarry, blue-green water shimmering under (finally) bright sunshine, everything slightly dusted, as if with snow.
Quick reviews of what marble is, of metamorphic stone and so on. Then, as per usual, climbing…..
…which actually has a bit of a Lenten aura about it….
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!