Monthly Archives: June 2016

June 28, 2016 Springfield, MA & Hartford, CT

We left the campground in Accord, New York and drove to Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  The campground was full and crowded and we were thankful to be placed in one of the few satellite TV friendly sites.  We can tell the northeast is going to be a big challenge to find satellite TV friendly sites among all the beautiful trees.
20160628_131622Our stop in Sturbridge was related to Bill’s interest in guns and radios.  On Tuesday we made the drive to nearby Springfield, Massachusetts to tour the Springfield Armory.  For almost two centuries this place overlooking the Colorado River was an important place for the development and manufacture of arms for American soldiers.  It started as a place where skilled craftsmen built piece by piece one flintlock musket at a time into a center pioneering mass production techniques into finally an institute famous for weapon research and development.
In 1777 a major arsenal was established here after early Revolutionary War battles in the northern states showed the need for a place to store weapons and ammunition that was within reach of the American troops but out of British hands.  A smaller armory for the south was built at Harper’s Ferry but destroyed during the Civil War.   In 1795 the Springfield Armory began weapon production.
20160628_145612In 1891 The Experimental Department was established at the Springfield Armory with the job of examining and developing all subsequent U.S. rifle designs.  In 1936 the Armory began mass production of the first successful semi-automatic rifle to be put in military service, the M1 rifle designed by John Garand.  During WWI the Armory produced over 265,000 bolt-action Model 1903 rifles for American troops.  It is still considered one of the most accurate weapons ever made.  The installation of mass production machinery in the early 1930’s allows for the manufacture of 3.5 million M1 rifles through 1945.  20160628_145547 It was deemed by General George S. Patton to be “the greatest battle implement ever devised”.  In 1943 the workforce at the Armory totaled 13,500 employees, of which 43% were women.20160628_150038
In 1964 the Defense Department decided that private suppliers could provide necessary weapons and in 1968 the Armory was closed.  In 1960 this “Arsenal of Freedom” was designated a national historic landmark and in 1974 Congress named it the Springfield Armory National Historic Site.
20160630_110658On Thursday we drove into Windsor, Connecticut so Bill could tour the Vintage Radio and Communication Museum of Connecticut.  The museum showed the history of electric communication and how it has changed our lives over the years, including radios, records and television.20160630_11080520160630_11090320160630_11124720160630_11192120160630_11203320160630_12061120160630_11150720160630_11243920160630_11250320160630_11294520160630_11302920160630_113155
20160630_102414We were quite surprised to find a lobster roll on the McDonalds menu in Connecticut so Bill couldn’t resist having one for lunch.  He said it was quite good.
20160630_152536We then made the short drive to Hartford, passing the state capitol building, so Bill could tour the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) headquarters.  He enjoyed visiting with some fellow amateur radio enthusiasts.20160630_141231


June 26, 2016 Hyde Park, New York

Our 2016 summer plans were unexpectedly delayed for health reasons.  As some of you know, when we returned from Europe I had a biopsy done on two thyroid nodules.  We were shocked when the results came back showing possible cancer.  So we canceled our plans on the New Jersey coast and sightseeing in Philadelphia and I had my thyroid removed on June 10 at the Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia.  During this unexpected delay we were blessed to be able to stay at my dear friend Jamie’s house.  After a tense ten days of waiting, the pathology report came back with no cancer.  We were once again on our way!
After a short stay in Northern Virginia to have a minor repair done on the RV, we headed north to Pennsylvania.  We stayed two days in Lebanon not far from Hershey.  Since we both had been to Hershey and didn’t want to get in the summer tourist crowds and I was still technically recuperating from surgery, we were content to just relax at home.
20160625_193130Next stop was in Accord, New York. We arrived on a Saturday which happened to be the weekend of the ARRL (Amateur Radio) yearly Field Day.  I stayed home and rested in the air conditioning and Bill made a short drive to the location of the nearest Field Day and enjoyed a few hours with fellow amateur radio enthusiasts.20160625_193218
20160626_12290020160626_122927Sunday we drove to Hyde Park to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Birthplace and Presidential Library and Museum.  One of our goals in our travels is to visit as many presidential libraries as possible.  On the way we crossed the Hudson River on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge.  The Roosevelt Library opened in 1941 making it the first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president.  20160626_165256It was designed by FDR and is on the grounds of the Roosevelt estate and a short walk from his birthplace.  This year is the 75th anniversary of its opening.  20160626_170110When Roosevelt donated his papers to the Library, he set the precedent for public ownership of presidential papers.  The library has over 17 million pages of documents and over 150,000 photographs.  20160626_134506The Museum which is part of the library has many exhibits detailing the lives of Franklin and Eleanor, the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II.
First we took a guided tour of the home where FDR was born and lived throughout his life.  20160626_145916He deeded his home to the National Park Service in 1943. We learned he was a collector of stamps, coins, rare books, ship models, and birds.  As an only child, he led a very privileged childhood and details were given on the role his domineering mother played in his life and marriage.  20160626_153333His physical struggles due to paralysis from the waist down due to polio in 1921, and the great efforts to hide it from the public were discussed.
The Presidential Museum had many exhibits focusing heavily on the New Deal and World War II, including his unprecedented four terms as president.  It was from the museum he held some of his “Fireside Chats”.


FDR Oval Office Desk

Eleanor Roosevelt’s role as reformer, teacher, journalist, political activist, advocate for the underprivileged and delegate to the United Nations was detailed.  Today, she is known as “First Lady of the World”.
20160626_164445The Museum did not hold back as they described Eleanor’s difficult childhood with a critical mother, her struggles with a domineering mother-in-law, and her anguish over FDR’s long time relationship with Lucy Mercer, who was with FDR when he died in 1945 from a cerebral hemorrhage.
20160626_150149We also visited the gravesites of Franklin and Eleanor in the nearby Rose Garden.  At his request, the markers are plain white markers with only their names and dates.  FDR’s grave is the one with the flag.
While this was not our favorite presidential library, we certainly learned a lot about the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and came away with a greater knowledge of this time in American history.