Monday, June 30, 2008

George Washington's Farewell Address, Lower Manhattan

(All photos click to enlarge)

I wrote about Fraunces Tavern, once before on this link. Located at 54 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan, it is New York's oldest surviving building and has witnessed three centuries of American history.

George Washington and other American leaders gathered at this tavern to celebrate the evacuation of the British from New York on November 25, 1783. Washington visited again on December 4th for a farewell banquet with his officers. After Washington became president, the tavern's owner, Samuel Fraunces, served as his chief steward in New York.

Today Fraunces Tavern houses a museum as well as a restaurant.

I revisited it recently to explore the exhibits in the museum on its upper floors. I am a great admirer of George Washington, and if I am asked which historical figures I'd most like to meet I know he would be very high on my list.

The following two photos are of "The Long Room" on the second floor of the tavern where George Washington bid farewell to his officers upon retiring his command on December 4. 1783.

The only known eyewitness account of Washington's farewell to his officers is Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge's memoir, which is part of the museum collection.

From the original Tallmadge manuscript:

"The time now drew near when General Washington intended to leave this part of the country for his beloved retreat at Mt. Vernon. On Tuesday the 4th of December it was made known to the officers then in New York that General Washington intended to commence his journey on that day. At 12 o'clock the officers repaired to Fraunces Tavern in Pearl Street where General Washington had appointed to meet them and to take his final leave of them. We had been assembled but a few moments when his Excellency entered the room. His emotions were too strong to be concealed which seemed to be reciprocated by every officer present. After partaking of a slight refreshment in almost breathless silence the Gen. filled his glass with wine and turning to the officers said, 'With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.' After the officers had taken a glass of wine the Gen. said, 'I cannot come to each of you, but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.'
Gen. Knox being nearest to him turned to the Commander In Chief Who suffused in tears was incapable of utterance but grasped his hand when they embraced each other in silence. In the same affectionate manner, every officer in the room marched up, kissed, and parted with his general in chief. Such a scene of sorrow and weeping I had never before witnessed and fondly hope I may never be called to witness again."

The officers escorted Washington from the tavern to the Whitehall wharf, where he boarded a barge that took him to New Jersey. Washington continued to Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was meeting and resigned his commission

Reading that account in Tallmadge's journal brought tears to my eyes, for both the emotional eloquence of George Washington and for the love and respect showed for the man who was to become our nation's first president.
Unfortunately, I was not able to take any more photographs in the museum, as I was told it was not allowed. The exhibits were comprised of artifacts, paintings, drawings and documents related to the colonial, revolutionary, and early federal periods of American history, a George Washington Portrait Gallery, paintings of other Revolutionary war heroes such as Molly Pitcher, and John Ward Dunsmore paintings which illustrate important events of the Revolutionary War, including Valley Forge, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Surrender at Yorktown.

One interesting fact I was surprised to learn at the museum was that on 9/11, during the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, the original bible that George Washington used to swear the oath of President of the United States had been on loan for an exhibit in the Faunces Tavern Museum, just a few blocks from the horrific event. Two days later, while the city was still in great turmoil Brother Tom Savini, Director of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library and Museum was taken under special police escort to Faunces Tavern Museum where he was able to recover the Washington Bible for safekeeping.

The ground level of Fraunces Tavern is still an active and attractive restaurant. It is comprised of a few attractive rooms with colonial period decorations.

My husband and I had lunch, and you can see from the photos below it was of excellent gourmet quality. Dining here is a wonderful treat if you visit New York City. Be sure to offer a toast to George Washington!

My French Onion Soup, above.

My husband's crab cakes appetizer.

My husband had broiled game hen with roasted potatoes and spinach.

I had a medium rib steak with Yorkshire pudding and creamed spinach. We did not have dessert, but there were some nice selections available.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to Fraunces Tavern and a little look back into American history!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, The Dilemma!

I love to read magazines, and I subscribe to many that I can not find at my local library. After a year or two, I sometimes do not renew my subscription, as there are always so many to choose from, and I like to try something new. There are just so many magazines that one can read in a month, and as it is my pile of those partially unread is growing ever taller.

So, what do you think happened when the new July issues of a few magazines that I was ready to allow to lapse were delivered to my house today?

They were wonderful!

They were the best issues they released in a long time, full of the people, places, recipes and information I enjoy!

"Food and Wine," was almost 300 pages thick, and full of even more tempting recipes and articles about new chefs and wine basics.

"Ireland of The Welcomes," is under a new publishing group, and although it retained its wonderful array of photos and information about Ireland, it also added more features about current famous Irish people such as author Maeve Binchy and actor Colin Farrell.

"Yankee" magazine was chock full of seaside themes, such as hosting a clambake to gardening by the sea and an article about Thoreau's Walden Pond.

Oh, the dilemma! To renew, or not renew -- that is the question!

I'd love to know what your favorite magazines are, and why. Happy reading!

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Last Lines......

I often come upon a poem and I am suddenly excited to find a few lines in it that I am familiar with as a quote. I am wondering, how many of you are familiar with this poem and its last lines?


~ Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Surprise From Across The Pond!

As all bloggers do, I sometimes wander from blog to blog through a link on a sidebar or a name link in a comment box, and last week I visited Melanie's JellyBeanAngel's blog for the first time. I enjoyed looking at her beautiful handcrafted quilt and scarf , and told her so in a comment.
Later in the day she e-mailed me that she was having an unannounced first year blogaversary, and that I won a prize for being the third person to comment on her blog that day, and that she would be sending a parcel to me! What a surprise!

The parcel arrived yesterday, and after I admired her beautiful penmanship and the wonderful stamps on the envelope -- I love to collect unusual stamps -- I opened the envelope to find a postcard from Melanie which was a photo of her beautiful hometown in Southport, England, and a lovely large cotton tea towel of scenes from her town, a box of assorted toffees and fudge, and two absolutely gorgeous sachets filled with some of the most aromatic lavender I have ever smelled. Melanie told me she made the sachets out of antique silk and filled it with lavender she grew in her garden!

She called her give away "A Taste of Southport, England," and I am so very touched and grateful to have been it's recipient!

Thank you so much Melanie! Your kindness and generosity are exceptional! I am thrilled to have a new friend from "across the pond," and I will always think of you when I use the towel and smell the delicious lavender and feel the softness of those beautiful sachets.

“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Blueberry Tart

One of the treasures of summer is fresh berries -- raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, gooseberries, currents, and my personal favorite, blueberries!

I have fond memories of going blueberry picking with my parents in a hilly region of Pennsylvania, near the town where my grandmother lived. We'd bring along our little tin buckets to fill to the top with the bluest and biggest berries so we could bring them back to my grandmother's house so that she could make blueberry pies.
I think my method of picking the berries was one for my mouth, one for the bucket, enjoying them all until I was full of their sweet and slightly tart flavor.
Since then I am always happy when blueberries come into season, and I love to use them in baking.
The July 8 issue of Women's Day arrived in my mailbox yesterday with the most delicious recipe for a blueberry tart!
Here is how it looked when I made it today, and it was absolutely delicious!



Active Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut up
1 Tbsp white vinegar
5 cups blueberries
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp almond extract
Confectioners' sugar


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-in. square or round tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick spray.
2. Pulse 1 cup flour, 2 Tbsp sugar and the salt in food processor until blended. Add butter; pulse just until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle with vinegar; pulse just until blended. Turn out the dough and bring together with fingers.
3. Press dough into the bottom of tart pan. Top with 3 cups berries. Mix remaining 2 Tbsp flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Evenly sprinkle over berries; drizzle with almond extract.
4. Bake tart 50 to 60 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and top with remaining 2 cups blueberries. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tip: The tart can be made a day ahead. Once cooled, loosen it from the pan so it won't stick when you're ready to serve.
From Woman's Day July 8, 2008

The magazine called it "the quintessential summer dessert recipe" and that they "guarantee it will be a family favorite." I think they are right! Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And The Winner Is.....

It's time to pick the winner of my 100 post give away! Drum roll please....

All 49 names of those who commented on my "give away" post, and wished to participate, were written out by my husband and placed in one of his hats.

He folded the paper slips very small and tight, mixed them all up, and then picked out one slip!

Ta Dah! Here is the winning name! Susie Q of Rabbit Run Cottage !

Congratulations Sue! Please e-mail your address to me and I'll send my little package of treats from Ireland to you right away.

Thank you to everyone who entered! I wish I had something for each and every one of you!

I do enjoy ALL of your blogs so much. I learn new things from all of you, and I enjoy sharing a slice of your life.

Some of you live around the world, and Nihal's blog Cross Roads , had a beautiful and interesting post today about Cambodia that was a pleasure to read.
Nihal lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and I met her through M. Kate's blog LA VIE EST BELLE
M. Kate lives in Malaysia, and had sent post cards recently to Nihal, and myself, from her vacation in Cambodia. Thanks so much M. Kate! After visiting both of your blogs I feel as if I took a trip around the world!

I am always flattered when someone tells me that my blog takes them to a place they wish they could visit. It makes me appreciate my little life in Brooklyn, New York. It is not a rich and glamorous one, but I am very grateful for all of my life's blessings.

When I see so many of your beautiful homes and gardens on your blogs, and your beautiful locations, be it the West, the South, the South West, New England, the Mid West, Canada, Australia and South America; I am in awe of you, just as much as many of you are of my living in New York City!

When I see your crafts and recipes, hear about your community, read about your children and grand children's activities, and discover new and interesting information from your blog, I feel enriched.

Thanks so much, all of you, for being my blog friends!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, Brooklyn NY

Every summer, the first Saturday after the summer solstice, Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York welcomes the summer with a Mermaid Parade along Surf Avenue. This year was the 25 annual year of the event.

From the Coney Island web site:

"The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer, as well as the history and mythology of Coney Island, Coney Island pride, and artistic self-expression. The Parade is characterized by participants dressed in hand-made costumes as Mermaids, Neptunes, various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post card or amusement ride, as well as antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed. "

As you can see below even the New York City Police are geared for the parade riding their Segway to do crowd control.

The participants of the parade range in age from babies to seniors, but the mermaids are predominately the young and beautiful, and often very scantily dressed!

Mermaids and sea creatures of every shape and size are represented, and the audience, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands, is festive and appreciative.

Anyone can march in the parade, as long as they register in advance. It is a wild and raucous "free for all" art parade that will truly make you say: "Only in New York!"

It's fabulous, flamboyant, and anything goes!

People come from all over the world to participate in and watch the parade.

The parade is followed by the Mermaid Parade Ball, a post-parade gathering where costumed parade participants can get together with each other, and parade spectators, to listen to live music, purchase raffle tickets, and watch burlesque and sideshow acts. It's very Coney Island!

The parade begins in the afternoon and lasts around three hours, so many people spend the rest of the day walking along the boardwalk, or enjoying the beach and the Atlantic Ocean,

There is some concern over what will happen to the parade next year, as the area is expected to undergo a large new development, and many of the amusement rides will be closed, and Surf Avenue may have areas closed for construction.

Hopefully, this wonderfully fun Coney Island tradition will go on for many more years!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Summer!

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the joy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tasha Tudor 1915 - 2008

I was very sad to read in the New York Times this morning that child's book illustrator and author, Tasha Tudor died, at age 92, died at her home in Marlboro, Vermont.

Her first book, Pumpkin Moonshine was published in 1938. Her last book, Corgiville Christmas, which was published in 2002, brought the number of books written and/or illustrated by Tasha to nearly 100. A short biography of this very unique and fascinating woman can be read here.
A Memorial web site was set up by her family, many of whom are talented artisans themselves. There are plans to open a Tasha Tudor Museum to preserve and promote her works for future generations of children.
Tasha Tudor was one of my favorite children's illustrators. Her soft watercolors and delicate drawings were full of detail and childhood innocence. Some examples of her illustrations can be seen below:

She has received many awards and honors, including Caldecott Honors for Mother Goose in 1945 and 1 is One in 1957. She received the Regina Medal in 1971 for her contributions to children's literature.

This quote is from her website:

“Einstein said that time is like a river, it flows in bends. If we could only step back around the turns, we could travel in either direction. I’m sure it’s possible. When I die, I’m going right back to the 1830s. I’m not even afraid of dying. I think it must be quite exciting.” ~Tasha Tudor

I hope you are there, Tasha!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tag: 6 "Unimportant" Things About Me

I've been chosen by Gina, of the blog "Gingerbread," to participate in a tag called "6 Unimportant Things About Me"
Gina lives in Tasmania, Australia, and is the married mum of 2 gorgeous girls. She lives in a little country house and enjoys cooking, gardening, crafting, traveling and beachcombing -- plus she takes the most fantastic photographs! Please visit her blog and say hello!

OK, here goes:

1) I can't type! I'm one of those who squints at the computer and does the two finger "hunt and peck" clicky typing thing, all the while misspelling everything. That is why it takes me so long to reply to your comments.

2) I've been to many of this guy's concerts since he appeared on season 4 American Idol! Can you guess who he is? I think the hair might give it away.

3) I love lighthouses, and I have to take photos of them where ever I go! Seeing Maine's Portland Head Lighthouse once, in person, was a thrill beyond words for me!

4) I love love love sushi! Wasabi, soy sauce, ginger .....YUM!

5) I've lived in Brooklyn, New York, my entire life! The same block, in the same neighborhood, just in a different house. I think this actual road sign put up by our Brooklyn Borough President says it all about me:
6) My married last name is the same name as a town in Southern Italy! The photo below shows this town which overlooks the Ionian Sea. Just beautiful!

Thanks, Gina! This was fun!