Thursday, July 24, 2014


On our way back home from Houston, we stopped in the Biloxi/Gulfport area for two nights.  We were excited to find out the Beauvoir was just down the street from where we were staying.  Now, unless you are a Civil War junkie or Jefferson Davis fanatic, you may have never heard of Beauvoir.  We only found out about last summer during our tour of the Confederate White House in Richmond, VA.

Beauvoir is a marvelous home.  A history that is diverse and rich.  It is a definite must if in the Biloxi/Gulfport, MS area.  The gate fee is modest for the experience.

We began our tour in the Beauvoir Theater.  We watched a movie about Beauvoir and the families that have occupied the residence.  This was extremely interesting.  Then a brief ten minute video on Jefferson Davis' Camel Project.  Next, we saw a video about Jefferson Davis.  All three held fascinating tid-bits of information.  Although the visitor does not have to watch the films first, I would strongly advise it.

After watching the films, we made our way along the grounds to Beauvoir.  It is stately house and sits amongst the grounds with dignity.  The view is just that, beautiful!  The ocean breeze, rocking chairs on the porch, the surf and dolphins in a distance, create the romanticized southern hospitality.  Only thing missing was a glass of sweet tea or cold lemonade. 

Our tour guide was dressed in authentic late 1800's breeches and long shirt.  He provided great detail of the home and answered all questions asked.  The home had suffered from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has been beautifully restored.  Porches, lattice work, railings, and roof damage occurred.  Many furnishings had to be restored or repaired.  Art work, tile flooring, fabrics, fresco ceilings were major undertakings.  The storm surge went a foot into the house.  However, the wood floors did not have to be replaced.  They did not warp or buckle.  All those years of tung oil being applied had waterproofed them! 

After the house tour, we walked the grounds of Beauvoir.  The cool morning was turning into a hot and humid southern June day.  With the approach of a thunderstorm, we made our way to the museum.

A young lady gave us a guided tour of the museum.  She was a volunteer and we found out a reenactor for civil war events.  The museum was small, but the exhibits were nice and not overwhelming.

The last stop on the tour was the one and only Confederate Presidential Library of Jefferson Davis.  Pictures of Beauvoir's damage from Hurricane Katrina were displayed on tables.  Various books were strewn on the tables for visitors to look through.  The library appeared to be a working library.

The only thing we did not do on our tour (do to weather) was walk to the cemetery.  Oh, well, I guess we will have to go back and revisit this beautiful place again.  It will be well worth it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Alamo

We decided to take the kids to San Antonio on our trip.  They both had seen the movie "The Alamo" with John Wayne and new about the battle that had occurred.  However, until you physically set foot on a site, you just don't always make a lasting connection.  I love taking the children to such things and leaving that lasting impression.  Both children were excited to see it up close and personal.

When we arrived in San Antonio at the Alamo, both were surprised how it was in the middle of everything!  Shops across the street and the Riverwalk just a block away.

The Mission of the Alamo is a sacred place.  I explained to the children that it is to be treated as a regular church building.  Men are to remove their hats and women that are wearing baseball caps or visors or hoods are required to remove them, as well.  It is just a matter of respect.

Once inside the Mission, we noted how small it actually was.  Two rooms to the left and two rooms to the right.  The main entry opens into a larger room at the rear.  At the time of battle, the roof was not in place on the main structure.  A large ramp had been built to roll the canyons up to the top.  The second room on the left was where the only survivors on the Texan side were found.  The women and children had take shelter in this room. It is so hard to fathom the fear they all must have had during the battle.  Knowing that their husbands and sons of age were out fighting and dying and what may become of them and their children in the room. 

One of the long barracks remained of the Alamo.  Inside is the museum.  Also, there is a showing of the history of the Alamo.  It was very informative and both children enjoyed it.

We finished out our visit with a stop in the gift shop.  Normally, I avoid this area, but MeeMee gravitates to them.  Of course, the children know if MeeMee is going into the gift shop, they may get something.  Once in the gift shop, I did see a nice model of the Alamo on display.  So, if you typically avoid gift shops, you may want to go in and take a look at the model.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Space Center Houston

We took a road trip to visit family in Houston.  On the itinerary was a visit to Space Center Houston.  We were excited to see the space center and parts of Johnson Space Center.

As we pulled into the center, we saw the space shuttle being assembled and the large transport plane.  It was a shame that Houston did not get one of the shuttles that actually went into orbit.  With the role that Houston plays in the NASA program, they should have received Enterprise.  Instead, politics played a role in where the shuttles went and New York received Enterprise.

We began our mission with a tour of Johnson Space Center.  The tram made its way along the streets of the center and recording being played through speakers told about the various buildings.  It was facinating to learn about the history within each structure.  The training and research that takes place.  Realizing that every astronaut has walked the grounds we were seeing was just awesome!

We went into the training building that holds a mock up of the International Space Station.  I would have loved to actually gone into the mock up.  Little Man was in awe of it, as well.  All astronauts that are going to work in the ISS are trained in that actual mock up.  We saw the mock up of the Russian craft that deploys the astronauts to ISS.  The space shuttle mock up was in the process of being removed from the building.  The Orion craft sat in the building and we were told that an unmanned flight is being planned.  Hopefully, it is a success and the U.S. will once again have another fleet of craft to be sent to space.

Also, in the building, we saw different robots, rovers, and space exploration vehicles.  We learned various things about them.  The Robonaut was Egee's favorite.  The dexterity and precision of the Robonaut's hands and fingers are amazing.  It can turn a single page of a book without tearing the page!

When we boarded the tram again, we went down a street that memorialized those astronauts and Space Center Employees that had given their lives and made significant contributions to the program.  A reminder that our mission to explore our universe is a dangerous one, but the brave take the risk for all mankind.

Our final tram stop was at Rocket Park.  Inside the huge building sits a Saturn V rocket.  Little Man was in pure awe of the size.  He wanted to know how it worked.  I explained the different stages of the rocket and the purpose of each.  He told me he may want to work for NASA one day.

We went back into Space Center Houston after our tram tour.  The children enjoyed all the different interactive exhibits.  I could barely pry Little Man from the Angry Birds Space area.  He loved trying to dock the shuttle and ISS.  Egee had fun experiencing what it would be like to walk on Mars.

This is great place for anyone that loves NASA and the thrill of space exploration.  We can't wait to go back again!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

As we celebrate, let us remember those that have given so much to keep us free!  Freedom isn't free and to keep Old Glory flying high many have given their all.  Let freedom ring!