Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Remembering the Forgotten Front

Our historian-in-residence, Chris Mackowski, woke up to some good news a few days ago. A book he co-authored has been selected as a finalist for a pair of awards!

Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, which Chris co-wrote with his longtime collaborator Kristopher D. White, has been chosen as a finalist for both the Library of Virginia's Literary Award and the Army Historical Foundation's Award.

Aside from his work here at Stevenson Ridge, Chris is a writing professor at St. Bonaventure University and the managing editor of Emerging Civil War. Among his other publications, he and Kris have written a book about the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, A Season of Slaughter, that includes a little background about Stevenson Ridge’s Civil War history.

Congratulations, Chris and Kris!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yard Sale at Stevenson Ridge this Saturday!

We have a different sort of event coming up at Stevenson Ridge this weekend: a big yard sale!

Over 5 families are participating—including not only those of us who work here but some of our family members and close friends, too. We have all been cleaning out our closets and digging through our basements and emptying out our garages.

That means LOTS of good stuff, cheap!

We’ll be set up in the Lodge on Saturday, March 22 . Doors open at 8am, and the yard sale will run through noon.

Stop by and see what goodies we have, spend some time checking out the property, and take a minute to say hello. We’d love to see you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Baby Shower at the Riddick House

Our of our event coordinators, Erin Terapane, hosted her baby shower here at the Riddick House Saturday, March 8th. Most of the Ridge ladies were invited (Elizabeth, Debbie and myself), so we got to enjoy the fruits of our hard work first hand!

Erin's very creative and organized family, including her mother and two beautiful sisters, transformed the banquet room of the Riddick House into the perfect hideaway for a girls' day out. With a "milkoholic" theme, the tables were decorated with miniature milk bottles, pink cow bells, and milk chocolate bars in cow-print wrappers. Lots of games and picture taking with milk-trimmed mustache props made for a fun-filled day.

Erin received enough gifts to fill TWO nurseries! I joked to my mom that I need to get the email list of these attendees and invite them to MY baby shower (whenever that day comes).

The guests raved about the food prepared by our executive chef, David Knapp. A menu of baby BLTs, Mediterranean pasta salad, homemade sweet-and-sour meatballs, broccoli quiche, and miniature fruit salad cups kept the guests coming back for seconds. This wasn't a dry shower, so the hearty food helped keep our tummies full as we sipped on chilled wine (don't worry—the mom-to-be enjoyed sweet tea as everyone celebrated her growing family).

Spring was peeking its head around the corner, with temps reaching the mid-60s. What a beautiful day with good food, great company and lots of laughter!

Left: Water-breaking game; Center: Mini Fruit Salad Cups; Right: Milkoholic tablescape

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stevenson Ridge in The Washington Post

Stevenson Ridge got a nice surprise over the weekend: Washington Post reporter Andrea Sachs stayed "undercover" at the Ridge last week and then wrote up a wonderful piece about her stay for Sunday's Travel section. The Post devoted almost a full page to us!

Andrea's piece, "At Stevenson Ridge in Virginia, historic buildings come back from oblivion," chronicles her stay in the Servants Quarters, her explorations of our other cabins, and her hike along our trail. Chris and I both make cameo appearances, in her piece, too!

Most gratifying, though, was the attention she lavished on all the hard work Dan has put into restoring our cabins. It's been a lifelong labor of love, and it was so exciting to see him get recognized for it.

"Thanks for much for a special experience," Andrea told us today via e-mail. "Hope to see you again soon (next time, I want to try out the Post Office or the Log Cabin)."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Keeping time at the Ridge

We had an interesting question come our way the other day: Do you have any unique or interesting timepieces at Stevenson Ridge?

In fact, we do!

Our favorite timepiece is a clock that has been passed down through our family to my mother, Debbie. It’s an old electric clock manufactured by the Revere Clock Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, which my great-grandfather, Olaf Peterson, purchased as an anniversary present for my great-grandmother, Margarete.

“Revere chimes are Telechron motored insuring absolutely accurate time always without the irksome winding each week,” says a little sales card still tucked inside the back of the clock. “Chimes are beautifully resonant, of true pitch and notes of the famous Westminster Abbey.”

The card outlines many of the clock’s other features, including the “rare woods” used to make the casings and the durability of the clock that means it “need not sit level and can be moved around for dusting, etc.”

“Revere clocks are made in a factory that specializes on chime clocks alone and are made of the finest materials and by skilled mechanics and should not be confused with the unreliable clocks that have been put on the market the last few years,” the card concludes. “Revere chime clocks are as serviceable as they are beautiful and a friend and companion through the years to come.”

Olaf bought the clock for $64.80 from Harry O. Einsohn’s store in Huntington, N.Y. The sales slip, also tucked in the back, lists a purchase date of Dec. 7, 1950. “This clock is guaranteed to give perfect satisfaction,” the salesperson wrote on the slip.

Olaf’s anniversary present now sits on a fireplace mantel in The Civil War House, one of our historic homes original to the property. The clock has been a “friend and companion,” indeed—to four generations of our family.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Spring is Winging Our Way

Chris, who’s from up north, says robins are welcome early sign of spring. We’ve seen a lot of robins around the Ridge lately, so hopefully that means spring is winging its way in our direction.

Just last week, I noticed one of the bluest bluebirds I’d ever seen. It was flitting about near the front gate as Chris and I pulled into work. Bluebirds represent happiness, or so I’ve always been told—a pretty good symbol for a place that specializes in weddings!

Yesterday as Chris and I pulled in, we had a flock of Canadian geese waddle across Meeting Street on the way to our pond. We stopped to let them cross. They craned their necks self-importantly, strutting a little as they walked. Chris and I laughed. We had a lot of geese here into January, then even they seemed to fly south—although, for them, this IS south—so it was nice to see that they’ve returned.

We have birds all around us, of course, and even on the coldest days of this unusually cold winter, we’ve watched blue jays and black birds. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I just know the cedars and evergreens are always a-chirp. I’ve recently learned to slow down and appreciate the sounds and songs I hear from the bare trees and bushes and hedges.

But with the leading edge of spring on its way—heralded by the robins—we’ll have even more to enjoy.