Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts

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As a journalist, one of the first tricks I learned was to listen closely when people start to whisper.

This served me well at the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low yesterday.

Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low died childless and unmarried of breast cancer.

But what they don’t tell you is WHY she died alone and childless. That she was practically divorced.

I overheard the tour guide telling another couple… Well let me tell you the official story first. The family friendly version.

Juliette was a talented artist… she made sculptures and paintings and ceramics. Her parents didn’t approve of her suitor. Took them three years to believe he could take proper care of her.

She married, moved to England to be with her husband, and several years later her husband started having an affair. Eventually he filed for divorce.

But while the divorce was being arranged, he died. He had written Juliette out of his will in favor of his mistress.

She returned to the States with nothing. Lived in her parents’ house as her brothers helped her fight for her share of her husband’s estate. She ended up with her father-in-law’s house in Savannah, the Andrew Low house.

She died there. And founded Girl Scouts there.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Girl

Since we were staying so close to Petersburg Battlefield, we thought we’d run over and experience some Civil War history before we left town.

If I remember tonight, I will upload a photo gallery. Very. Cool. Place.

The visitors center wasn’t open. We arrived too early in the morning. But the National Park is gorgeous. Sadly, we found a gazillion mosquitoes. So by 9 am I was already providing a hardy breakfast for my insect companions.

The Battlefield has been meticulously groomed to not only preserve the history, but uses tall grass to indicate where various forces stood during battles.

Video of tall grass

The teens fell in love with the cannons. And we had fun wandering around. Then we saw the ranger raise the flag so we went into the visitors center and watched the movie.

OH MY.

The American Civil War is such a sad period in American history. The aggression among own our people. The race issue. The slavery issue. Our own people tearing our nation apart, destroying ourselves and our resources.

The battles in Petersburg were pivotal to the end of the Civil War, and some of the strategy involved were amazing. During the Battle of the Crater, the Northern Forces dug a tunnel under the Southern camp and filled it with something like 8000 pounds of gunpowder.

The resulting explosion was the 19th century version of a nuclear mushroom cloud.

And the men ran into the deep fiery crater to fight. Might be worth googling. Amazing story.

And then my daughter found a bugle in the gift shop.

She’s wanted a bugle for years.

A real brass Calvary bugle.

So she used her birthday money to buy it.

Gettysburg Road Trip

I work retail. This means I rarely get predictable patterns in my schedule, several days off in a row or a regular weekend off with my family. My husband works at a local college. He never has an easy time with vacations in the summer or January because there’s always a new semester around the corner.

My daughter has reached her preteen years and we only have a certain amount of time before she won’t want to spend time with her parents.

After our very successfully trip to Barnegat solo Monday, I thought a family road trip could be a great way to spend this weekend as it may be the only weekend left in the summer where no one in the family has commitments.

We ended up in Gettysburg, using TripAdvisor to book our hotel at more or less the last minute.

The drive went smoothly. We arrived at the Gettysburg YWCA around 1 pm and (after using the restroom) retrieved the directions for the local Volkssport walks. Gettysburg has 3. We took directions for all three. Even signed up for one of the award patches since daughter has decided she would like to collect them.

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We immediately embarked upon Walk 1. We knew we needed to find lunch. We walked to the armory, through a residential neighborhood and into town. Gettysburg was having a town wide yard sale today so that made the initial walk very colorful.

My friend Gayle had recommended eating at the blue building in the center of town. We departed from the 5k directions to view our dining options (especially since “the blue building” had a twenty minute wait at 2 in the afternoon). We had narrowed it down to Eddie’s Texas Lunch or Thai. The family agreed on Thai, Thai Classic IV to be precise.

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Very tasty food. Child had cashew chicken. I had panang curry. Darrell had something with noodles and broccoli. And very delicious shrimp cakes and dumplings to share.

We also picked through the merchandise at the army goods store. We followed a military convoy on the way down and enjoyed seeing the various trucks and equipment in various camo patterns. At one point, child said, “there are a lot of hot guys in those trucks.”

Yup. That’s my girl.

By the end of our meal, child was very anxious to see the hotel. She’d only every stayed in a hotel once before with her girl scout troop. So, armed with cupcakes from Jimmy Cuomo’s we finished our first 5k of the weekend.

My husband and I decided to share our cupcakes, one caramel latte and one Boston creme pie. Similar to the people walking around in Civil War costume, we had our own reenactment. We repeated a scene from our wedding. But I look so much more “badass” now.

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My daughter can’t believe the luxury here at our two-star America’s Best Value Inn. A hairdryer. A bathtub. A closet. Extra pillows. An ice machine. A pool. She thinks this is the best place ever.

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As soon as I can extract her from the pool, we have a candlelight ghost tour scheduled for tonight.