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 It is July the 4th.  For Americans it is a day filled with BBQ's, parades, 5k runs, family gatherings, and in the culmination of the day, fireworks will  streak the sky in possibly every city across the nation.
I often wonder how many of all those millions of Americans caught up in the revelry ever stop to think  of  those brave young men, who grabbed there muskets and ran when called upon. 
The average militiaman for the American Revolution were farmers, they had fields to tend, livestock  to feed most probably raising a family so that they would eventually have extra hands to help them with these chores. 
 Many of them lived on the edge of the wilderness, which in 1775 meant that there were large active communities of Native Americans nearby.  The relationships were not always friendly and leaving a mother and several children alone on a farm in the wilderness was not a safe thing to do.  
But they came, they came with the clothes on their backs and a musket in their hands, they organized from town to town, lists were made, Captains and Colonels were chosen and together this rag tag, mish mash of farmers, and craftsman, and business men fought and defeated  one the greatest Empires in the world.  

I am so pleased to speak these names and write them here:

Abel Bagley  My 6th Great Grandfather  Born July 4th!!    in Amesbury Massachusetts was among the number that fought at Lexington and Concord, he fought with Capt Joseph Pages Co for 19 1/2 day before returning home.  Abel would  give three more years to  the Continental Army.

Thomas Pearson  My 5th Great Grandfather  born in Newbury Massachusetts and living in Durham Maine by 1770, he enlisted on June 25th 1778 and was stationed in Rhode Island for six months.  Looking at my records he left his wife in the frontier of Durham Maine with 5 children under the age of 18.  

Benjamin Cilley  My 4th Great Grandfather born in Gorham Maine 1761 and enlisted at the age of 18. He served three years under Capt Abner Wade of Colonel M. Jacksons regiment. 

William Cilley  My 5th Great Grandfather born in Kingston New Hampshire 1734.
He served as a seaman on the brig "Freedom" under Capt John Clouston Massachusetts sea service.

I have only recently met you all, and wish so deeply that I could meet you in the flesh.  My outlook on myself, who I am, what I am, has changed so much since learning about your lives.  How does a family of 8 move all they own from Newbury Massachusetts over 100 miles to Durham Maine threw the wilderness ?  Did you know what was about to spring from your brave acts?   The birth of an entirely  new government, a new nation ?  
Thank you all for your bravery and belief in a grand idea that took hold and is thriving still almost 250 years later. 

I promise to find you, where you are laying at rest, where you may have once lived, possibly even one of your ancestors so I can thank  them personally.  I will never forget you, I will share you with each following generation so that your names will be a beacon to hold up on this glorious holiday when we celebrate the birth of our nation.

With Love,
 Your distant grand daughter 
Anna Gretta

The Crown Inn

If I had to create the perfect English country inn it would manifest as the Crown Inn in Bishops Waltham England.   Our home away from home during our stay in Hampshire England was  located at the head of the High St. in Bishops Waltham.  The location was convenient to all the shops lining High St. which included, an upscale coffee shop for morning lattes and locals watching, to a grocer selling produce and products from the nearby farms.   Also directly behind the inn were the ruins to the famous Bishops Waltham Palace, a medieval monastery that was, pre Henry VIII, one of the largest in Europe.

The Crown Inn was comfortable in every possible way, the bed was heaven and the bathroom facilities were excellent including the standard British towel warmer.

We enjoyed a full breakfast each morning in the wonderful pub on the main floor, antiques abound in each and every room.  The tables were set with the most wonderful Staffordshire calico plates in every single color !

Jane Austen House

Ever since my  childhood I have been a fan of Miss Jane Austen.  Her works of romantic fiction have taken  me again and again to a time of gentleman and ladies, and the practise of "polite society".  During our recent trip to England we were very lucky to be within a thirty minute drive to her childhood home.  Jane wrote some of her greatest works in this very house in Alton in the county of Hampshire.  Those  included,  Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, North Anger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park.

1st Edition

In 1945 the Jane Austen Society managed to have the house purchased and turned into a museum.   The rooms on show include the drawing room, and parlor where Jane wrote on the small round table. Upstairs is her bedroom with the patchwork quilt she made with her mother and sister Cassandra.  There is even a shawl on display with Jane's own needle work trimming the edges.

Foscari Palace Hotel Venice

My trip to Venice was truly life changing.  Yes many people say that, but mine really was.  Traveling alone for the first time placed something permanent in my soul and in my brain.  It seems that now when I think of destinations the sky is the limit. I did learn that finding the right hotel also helps with logistics when traveling alone.

If you are looking for a mid range price on the Grand Canal this hotel has all the amenities and amazing views.  Foscari Palace is located in the Canneragio neighborhood of Venice on the Grand Canal, just across from the Rialto market.

This gem of a boutique hotel is just off the  Strada Nova, a thoroughfare that spans from Canneragio neighborhood to the Jewish Ghetto.  The Strada Nova has many cafe's, restaurants, local shops, and a passagiata (evening stroll) will find you rubbing elbows with local Venetians.

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