My Virginia

Joseph J. O’Donnell’s My Virginia – Ticonderoga Farms

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

TiconderogaFarmsI recently accompanied my daughter and granddaughter to an Easter egg hunt at Ticonderoga Farms, in Chantilly, Virginia. I was truly amazed with this locally popular location and what it offers for kids and families.

Ticonderoga Farms  has about one-thousand acres of rolling fields and forest. The farm sells organic, antibiotic-free eggs from free range hens; jams, jellies, and honey; pick-your-own daffodils; bamboo (live and cut); pine cones; straw bales; fresh picked fruit (in season); firewood; and more. Kids will also enjoy hayrides, hillside slides, the panda puzzle live bamboo maze, tetherball and tire play areas, log cabins and hay forts, a tee pee village, Noah’s ark and swings, a wishing well with a real hand pump, petting animals, antique tractors and machinery on display, and a swinging bridge. (more…)

Joseph J. O’Donnell’s – My Virginia: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The beautiful part of living in the Commonwealth of Virginia is being able to take in the beauty of both mountains and the ocean. Just across the Chesapeake Bay, in St. Michaels, Maryland, one can find a museum that represents the rich history of the region.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has on display many artifacts showing the early days of fishing in the bay, as well as its place in the era proceeding, and after, the American Revolution. From its fleet of fishing vessels to this weeks visit by the replica of the Sultana, an English revenue vessel, one cannot help but fall in love with this place. (more…)

Joseph J. O’Donnell’s My Virginia: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, June 29th, 2012

   The Commonwealth of Virginia is truly a magical place to live in. There are many sites to visit for recreation, cultural, and leisurely endeavors. One of the crown jewels to visit is The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in nearby Washington, DC. I had recently asked John R. Dow and Amanda K. Ritchie, from the Center, for their input for this article. Both John and Amanda have forwarded the following historical background’s and picture’s of the Center for our publication, so that our readers can get a glimpse of its history and architectural splendor. They have also included the events taking place there during this month of July so that our readers can plan on attending them.

The Center was named after the late president John F. Kennedy, who had strived to make this country a better place for all Americans to live in. From his challenge to place a man on the moon, to the equalities that he sought for all our citizens, he has become the enlightenment for all of us. One of the most outstanding quotes of his was :

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”

Ÿ President John F. Kennedy

It was in this image that the Center honors his name. I do hope that the readers will enjoy the following information that I had been given to pass along.

JOD  (more…)

Joseph J. O’Donnell’s My Virginia – 12th Fairfax Civil War Days- Historic Blenheim

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The Commonwealth of Virginia is rich in history. From its earliest days as the destination of choice by the European settlers through the bloodiest days of this nation’s Civil War. More battles were fought on it’s soil, and more Americans who fought for their causes lost their lives in this state, then at any other time in this country’s history.

My photographer (and son) recently attended the 12th Fairfax Civil War Days event offered by the City of Fairfax. It dealt with Historic Blenheim in the site located within its borders. The Blenheim House was added to the National Register of Places in 2002, and Civil War Programs in 2009. It is famous for containing the largest and best preserved collection of Civil War soldier inscriptions in the nation. It is also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with special lectures and exhibitions.

These include cannon fire displays, Civil War balloons, soldiers drills, and many booths and display areas for the visitor’s interests. The center’s director, Chris Martin, and his assistant, Cami St. German, did a marvelous job in setting the event up. The 12 pound howitzer was fired under the excellent direction of C. Kyle Printz, who portrayed Captain’s John and Joseph Carpenter of the Confederate Artillery, who were both injured during the war. (more…)

Joseph J. O’Donnell’s- My Virginia- Aldie Mill

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

In this first segment of My Virginia, we have taken a side trip to the Aldie Mill Historic Park, in historic Aldie, Virginia. There we met Tracy J. Gillespie, the Historic Site Supervisor, who pointed out the way around the grounds to us. She also provided us with a lot of useful literature to guide us in our tour. My 92-year old father-in-law, Hugo Cardel, accompanied me and my photographer (Joe Jr.) around the site complex.

There we met Capt. John Moore, the director of the mill, who explained the history of the site and the significant part it played in ‘The Battle of Aldie’ during the Civil War. The mill is actually operational and is fed water to turn the dual mill water wheels from a damn about three-quarters of a mile away. The captain was dressed in a re-enactors costume of the day as was Miss Collette Carmouche, who was the tour guide on the third floor of the mill. Mike Devine (the miller) was also in period dress, and explained the way the mill work with an excellent working demonstration. (more…)