For the 3d Summer in a row I helped at the #NPS & @Projectwrite #writing workshop for young scholars. On July 15, I lead a morning of writing exercises and discussion in The Graff House —the museum & replica built on the site where I wrote the #DeclarationOfIndependence . At the moment this image was rendered, a student was reading to me from the draft of the written argument that she was crafting. We were in the museum’s small theater —thus the dim lighting. #ThomasJefferson #YourThomasJefferson (at Independence National Historical Park)


Meet 93 year-old Betty Reid Soskin – the oldest active national park ranger. Once a file clerk in a Jim Crow union hall during World War II, Soskin is now helping preserve WWII history at Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in California. Read Soskin’s amazing story: #WomensHistoryMonth

Antique Soda Pop by David Pulgar
Via Flickr:
The Smallwood Store is the only surviving structure from the original town of Chokoloskee, which started in 1874. I found this place on Ghost Towns dot com and decided to take a one-day trip to check it out. Inside there’s a lot of history, documenting not only the store’s story but that of the town of Chokoloskee as well as the Everglades themselves. Old soda bottles. :)

Cumberland Gap NHP

Last Thursday night after I got back from Atlanta (let’s not talk about the baseball game) I determined that the weather was too bleeping nice not to go camping, so I went camping. Alone.

I drove up to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, where Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia meet and where early settlers found an easy way through the mountains and into the bluegrass. I go there late, but being a Thursday night the campground was nowhere near full. I set up my tent, took some night sky photos, and then went to sleep in Virginia. There’s just something about camping, about sleeping in a tent in the woods that makes me happy. I can’t pin it down exactly. I’ll just have to camp more and figure it out.

Forgive me if this post is brief. The further I get away from the trip, the less inclined I am to write about it.

Friday morning I drove up to Pinnacle Overlook, which is barely in Virginia, to look down on the gap. The view is panoramic and pretty. The gap sits in a saddle in the line of mountains, the land rolling off to the sides as far as you can see. Two Tennessee towns are visible: Cumberland Gap and Harrogate. To the north you can see Middlesboro, Kentucky. It’s a good view, and very accessible. In a week or so it will be stunning as the leaves change.

After that, I drove back down to the Thomas Walker parking lot and hiked to Tri-State Peak so I could be in three states at once. Mission accomplished. The hike is short and easy, a little more than 2 miles and not too steep at all. At the top there’s a little shelter, signs for each state, and a USGS benchmark. There I talked to a guy from Cumberland Gap who told me the valley to the north was a meteor crater. This was confirmed later by a ranger at the visitor center. No meteors ruined the perfect Fall weather while I was there, though. I’ll definitely be returning to Cumberland Gap at some point. You should check it out, too.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, Gettysburg was the war’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. It was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address.”

Photo of General Gouverneur K. Warren on Little Round Top courtesy of the National Park Service.

On an island amid towering spruce and hemlock, Sitka National Historical Park preserves the site of a watershed battle between invading Russian traders and indigenous Kiks.ádi Tlingit; park visitors are awed by Tlingit and Haida totem poles standing along the park’s scenic coastal trail; and the restored Russian Bishop’s House speaks of Russia’s little known colonial legacy in North America.

Three cheers to Sitka NP annual photo contest first place winner Ernest Manewal and his photo titled “Sitka National Historic Park and Tide Pools at Sunset.” A great photo if you ask us!

The McLean House, located in the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, is the famed historical location of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the end of the Civil War. It is a national historic site and is an important landmark in the state of Virginia. Governed by the National Park Service, the McLean House is situated on 1,800 acres in South Central Virginia.