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The weekends have been our adventure spots lately. We have forgone grand escapes to far-away places, settling for close-by weekend road trips which have proven to be quite extraordinary. Our list is mostly comprised of historic spots which are generally surrounded by nature of one kind or another. 

This past weekend found us heading toward Western, PA, a direction I headed once a year, as a child, with my mom and my brother to visit my Grandma and cousins on the Mountaintop upon which they live(d) in Blairsville, PA. A place, my Pop always claimed that had two seasons: August and Winter. This certainly seemed true this October weekend as we drove through hail and snow and sunshine.

Our mission was to collect wood from a friend who called upon us rescue it. Our first stop was Gettysburg. Always fun, though we weren't prepared for 34 degree weather. Cloaked in hoodies and colds, we steered clear of the battlefields and toured the museum. (Which was fantastic!)

We left Gettysburg, a place that changed the course of American history and nearly immediately encountered a very strange and very strangely typical American tourist stop - Mister Ed's Elephant Museum. We couldn't resist. It was a candy shoppe, truly, surrounded by elephant tchotchkes and a mysterious collection of regular human things like hats and flip flops hanging in trees amongst pumpkins, neglected elephants and these Wildermenn:


We were quite fortunate, that evening, to find Horn O' Plenty in Bedford for dinner. Western PA was never, in my childhood anyway, a place for good food. More often, we stuffed ourselves with Blizzards from Dairy Queen and passed by Quick Marts &c). Next stop, and late, was a visit with Grandma, born in 1927 (that makes her 88!), full of pep and so excited for our unexpected visit. When we pulled into her driveway (past the olde shoppe that use to be my Grandpap's, the shoppe my mom painted robin's egg blue when she was 6 or so - she told me this one day when we were visiting and Søren was a baby, and I peeled a peeling layer from the brick and sure enough, robin's egg blue on the inside!) My grandma stood by the door, as I remember her always doing, when we arrived and as we left. We stayed up til midnight talking. I love gathering bits of stories and memories, and neglect this all too often. 

The next morning we awoke, played Mille Born, had breakfast and headed toward Indiana. The sun shone bright, though the chill, propelled by the wind, snaked through our hoodies and into our bones as Walter and Joseph cut and sorted slabs of Oak, the boys ran amongst the rows of felled trees as I often did in my Frogger dreams as a kid, and I documented what I could with camera clicks and pen scratches.

We are lucky to have our boys near so often. There is always something to explore, something to learn, and people to meet. Next trip, at the end of November, will find us on the road again, this time heading South for Renegade Austin, followed up by a week in Dallas to set up a Peg and Awl showroom at The Dallas Market along side Coral and Tusk and others we cannot wait to meet!

Søren drawing, Joseph sawing. 

Silas and Exxon

Silas draws whilst Exxon looks up for a snuggle.  



I loved Colonial Williamsburg, VA, of course. 

But I never got that feeling that sometimes takes over of actually travelling back in time. (There was a time long ago that I would go to the Philadelphia and walk around for hours with Ben Franklin's autobiography (and a random assortment of Philadelphia pasts) and read and imagine (easily) that I was there, nearly 300 years prior.) (This is something I kind of do(id) whenever I wander(ed), but mostly pre children). 

I enjoyed it more in a Twilight-Zone way. 

And learned a lot a lot - shoemaking, bookbinding, business &c. My most favourite was the brick house. Insanely fascinating and the numbers (10,000 brick fired each year - enough to make a chimney!) were beyond me. I am particularly good at small things.  

The one story I was most fascinated with was the Bowden-Armistead House. Or the woman in it who, it was told, sweeps her porch every Sunday. The mystery here is, that when she was approached by a Rockefeller who wished to purchase her home, she allegedly said, "I am not impressed with your money." This was in 1926, or the project began that year anyway. So Miss Bowden-Armistead (or Mary A. Stephenson) would be 86 years old if she was exactly 0 when she was approached. So perhaps it is a daughter who sweeps. The home was built in the 19th century and endured some modernity like telephone wires that cast wobbly lines on the not dirt road, but then all was sucked back. Buildings, wires, telephones, plumbing. Everything around her into the colonial era. And she remained. And she sweeps. Or her ghost sweeps. 

I really want to know and I kind of don't want to know.




you can see the house on the left... 

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