Friday, September 23, 2011

Two Road Trips Down

I have not been intentionally neglecting this blog for the past three weeks; I've simply been too busy to find enough time to post. A lot has happened since the reenactment of the 1802 duel between John Stanly and Richard Dobbs Spaight, the topic of my last post.

I was in Pennsylvania for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As most of you know, Flight 93 went down very near to where my father's family home is. I was not in PA specifically for the commemorations, but it was an interesting coincidence. I didn't go anywhere near the crash site memorial, but instead watched many of the proceedings on television with my grandmother. My mother and I were there for the annual Mountain Craft Days festival at the Somerset County Historical Center, which this year seemed to be greatly overshadowed by the 9/11 activities. It didn't help that it had rained there all week long and the grounds were nothing but mud and muck. I also got a chance to go fishing with my brother, as he and his girlfriend went up for a visit too. I caught two largemouth bass, the first being pretty nice (about 2.5 pounds and 14-15 inches long), so I was pretty pleased. My brother and I also got a chance to talk to a fellow who is working on restoring an old farm up in the mountains (we were fishing in his pond) which includes a house built in 1870. Not only is the farm a wonderful, peaceful, and beautiful place, but Jim is a really interesting guy who has a passion for making that place the best it can be. I may post some photos later.

After a quick turnaround, I was back on the road last weekend. I was in Richmond, VA on Friday and Saturday for the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) where I was on the program as a session moderator. I put together a session titled "Aren't We Forgetting Something? The War of 1812 Bicentennial in the South." I had presenters from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia; each one did a great job and the panel was better attended and more well-received than we ever expected. I sat in on some other very good panel sessions, got to catch up with folks I hadn't seen in a year or two, and met some new folks as well. It was one of the best conferences I've been to in a long time even though I was only there for part of it. Before leaving Saturday I had a chance to catch up with a friend from college who lives in Richmond. We hadn't seen each other in 15 or 16 years and it was real nice to catch up. And that leads us to........

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