On this 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, today is the day that we as Americans show our respect and honor all veterans who have given their lives to preserve, protect and defend our freedoms. Memorial Day is a time to truly appreciate and reflect on the sacrifices of war.

The Washington D.C. area is home to a majority of the USA’s top war memorials. No land in America is more sacred than Arlington National Cemetery. Our family had the chance to visit our Nation’s burial grounds during our motorhome journey around the United States. The 150 year old cemetery, across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.  ”Service to country” is the common thread that binds all who are honored and remembered here.

Arlington Cemetary

Did you know that…

  • Arlington is the only national cemetery to hold the remains of those who fought in every war in U.S. History.
  • Americans everywhere are encouraged to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance. Take one minute to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.
  • Nearly 4,000 former slaves are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • There are only two U.S. presidents who have been laid to rest here- John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft.
JFK

The eternal flame denotes President Kennedy and wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ gravesites, about halfway up the hill on which Arlington House stands. The grave was placed so that it had a view of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, and was aligned with them. (You can see that view in the last photo in this post.)

  • Arlington House, at the top of the hill, is currently a memorial for Robert E. Lee and run by the National Park Service. Junior Ranger booklets are available for children.
  • The partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttler Challenger are buried here as well.
  • Soldiers plant flags in front of every tombstone in Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend. The tradition is known as “Flags-In.”
  • Nearly 5,000 unknown soldiers are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days per year by The Old Guard. There is an elaborate ritual to change the guard every 1/2 hour (every hour beginning Oct. 1).

tombofUS

Arlington National Cemetery is a beautiful, yet solemn place to visit. If you are taking the kids, remember that there are sections of the cemetery where they will need to be completely silent out of respect.  The cemetery is very large and the main sites are not right next to one another. Wear comfortable shoes and plan to spend a few hours walking along paved roads and sometimes up hills. You may purchase bus tour tickets at the welcome center if you’d rather get around that way. Before your visit get the ANC Explorer App for a self guided tour or to locate gravesides and places of interest.

ArlingtonCem

At Arlington National Cemetery, we Americans are reminded of the service and sacrifice of those who have defended and protected our freedoms. Happy Memorial Day to all of you!

It’s hard to believe that yet another school year concludes for our family on Friday.  I’m not sure where the time goes, but I do know that it certainly seems to be moving at rapid speed.

I was waiting on my passport photos to be developed at Costco last week, when I noticed the lady next to me looking over her son’s high school graduation announcement. I could feel pain tugging at her heart so I said, “Oh, is that your handsome son? How great!” And she turned to me and said “Yes. No one tells you that one day they are going to leave you though.” And I replied, “yes they do, but we just don’t want to believe it.”

I don’t know this woman’s story and that literally was the extent of our friendly exchange, but I definitely felt regret in her words. All parents know under normal circumstances that we have approximately 18 years with our kids at home under our roof. What we choose to do with those years is up to us. That being said I am already 2/3 of the way through my major parenting journey.

I want to have no regret when it comes time for my four children to leave this nest. And most likely I will lose all of them to the real world within a year. My goal in raising them has never been about doing it perfectly but by all means raising them intentionally.

One friend was telling me her desires to go on a family vacation to Washington DC, but that All-Star baseball and other kid activities once again weren’t going to allow the time. Let me ask you something. If you knew you only had a month left with your kids, would you change your priorities? Would you choose to take that crazy vacation you’ve always wanted to instead of signing up for yet another activity? I would have to think so.

MASK

I wrote an article in the new issue of MASK (Mothers Awareness on School-Aged Kids) about our six month family sabbatical by motorhome around the United States of America. The issue is all about time and the importance of taking it while we have it.

Taking a family time out and removing yourselves from all the sports, school and even your jobs, definitely takes a lot of courage and determination. But, if we don’t take the time now to stop and enjoy one another, when our kids are young, we may just end up full of remorse when they head out the door into adulthood.

I don’t want to look at my son’s graduation announcement with any regret. Of course there will be natural sadness but that hopefully will be overshadowed with pride and excitement because we’ve all done our best. I’m here to tell you that your children will leave you one day, so you won’t be able to use the excuse that no one told you so!

Time is ticking and the time is now. Enjoy it while you’ve got it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where can you take a well-traveled girlfriend to celebrate a milestone birthday? Charleston, South Carolina proved to be the perfect place! Spring in “Chucktown” is fabulous as the weather is gorgeous and the city is bustling.

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Charleston is simply charming with it’s cobblestone streets, carriage lanterns and colorful, centuries-old homes. Loads of shopping, visiting historic houses of worship and eating fresh seafood along the harbor are also perks to coming to the Low country. Charleston is an amazingly walkable city too.

Here are 6 must-do’s when you visit this city of southern sophistication!

carriageride

1. TAKE A CARRIAGE RIDE - Begin your visit to Charleston by taking a horse drawn carriage tour of the city. Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of companies to chose from as they seem to be on every corner. We were very happy with our tour with Charleston Carriage Works. A one hour tour will cost $25 a person but you can always search for deals and coupons online.

2. BROWSE THE CHARLESTON CITY MARKET- Walk through this historic market as it is the cultural heart of the city. As one of the nation’s oldest public markets, you will find everything from local produce to antiques. It’s fun to hear the dialect of the Gullah ladies as they weave and sell handmade sweetgrass baskets here. We enjoyed sampling different treats and loved our time wandering around the Charleston City Market! The Market is open every day of the week  from 9:30-5:30 and it’s also open on special evenings as well.

  middletonplace

3. TAKE A HISTORIC PLANTATION TOUR - History buffs will relish all the choices of historical plantations to visit in Charleston. We chose to tour Middleton Place which is a preserved 18th century rice plantation on the Ashley River and is also home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America.

Ticket prices are $28 for adults which includes admission to the National Historic Landmark as well as self guided tours of the Gardens and Plantation Stableyards, a guided Garden Overview, “Meet the Breeds” and “Beyond The Fields” walking tours.

From experience, we recommend renting a car for the day you want to visit the Plantation. We took a cab to Middleton Place and it was very difficult to get one to come back out and pick us up. We had to wait awhile plus we spent more in cab fare than it would’ve cost to rent the car. Renting a vehicle for the day is easy at the Enterprise not too far up the street from the Visitors Center. You can head over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to explore Mt. Pleasant and fit in beach time if you rent your own wheels for the day!

charlestonbridge

4. BOOK A COOKING CLASS - Our Taste of the LowCountry lunch class at Charleston Cooks was a highlight to our time in Charleston. Neither of us are gourmet chefs but we had a lot of fun watching, learning and especially tasting the meal of shrimp and grits followed by banana cream pie. Tickets for this are $29 and can be booked online.

charlestonrooftop

5. STAY AT THE HARBOURVIEW INN- I will be honest the HarbourView Inn was not my first or even second choice for our lodging while in Charleston. We happened to have planned our girlfriend getaway on a very busy weekend and lots of places were already booked. My friend and I couldn’t have been happier with the HarbourView Inn, even though it was a little more costly than where we originally had planned to stay. It was worth it as our room was spacious and the beds were extremely comfy. We started every morning off on this rooftop deck where our breakfast, which was included with our stay, was delivered to us. We also enjoyed the complimentary happy hour each afternoon as well. The location was perfect and we were able to walk to everything that we wanted to from here.

glazed

6. SHOP and EAT ‘TIL YOU DROP- OK, so maybe eating and shopping should be number one on the list because it is a big reason of why we came here to Charleston. King Street, in historic downtown, has been named one of the 10 Best Shopping Streets in the Country and I have to agree. There are so many unique boutiques as well as some of the mainstream favorites to enjoy. If you need a sugary pick me up stop in Glazed Gourmet donuts on north King. I had the most amazing Salted Carmel Apple donut here and I’m still dreaming about it!

Love everything about Charleston and can’t wait for an excuse to head back there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Carney

 

Amy Carney is a freelance writer and model living in the beautiful desert in Arizona. She is a lover of all travel that connects her with her husband, four children or girlfriends. The Carneys’ just returned from a 6 month family sabbatical around the USA by motorhome!

 

Catch up with Amy online on her blog www.amycarney.com, Twitter or Facebook.