Mountains, Beaches, Koala’s & Kangaroos – Sydney!

Australia was never a place I thought much about visiting. Recently I had an opportunity to travel to Sydney for business and I was lucky to be able to squeeze in a couple of extra days. The city is fantastic and there is always something going on, it’s full of art and character and culture. The Blue Mountains were beautiful and the beaches felt like something out of a movie.

Sydney offers a little bit of everything. My colleagues and I took a day trip out to the Blue Mountains and then to Featherdale Wildlife Park where Kangaroo’s just hop around wanting to be fed and petted! I even got to pet a Koala; I also learned they don’t like to be called bears, who knew! My favorite part was trying to keep up with my young co-worker as we hiked the Cliff Walk. We started in Coogee and walked to Bondi. I will admit the walk was a lot longer than I expected but it offered an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. We passed several small beach along our way crowded with boats and fisherman and surfers.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House


Huntley Meadows

Growing up I have fond memories of my parents taking us to Huntley Meadows Park. It’s a local nature preserve and wetland. Located in the southern end of Fairfax County, just south of Alexandria City, it’s a great location to head to for a few hours to get away from the busy life of the surrounding area. It had been years since I had visited and one spring weekend before the weather got too hot, I ventured out with my family. There is walking trails, boardwalk trails, a historical home, an observation tower, and plenty of wildlife. If you’re in town and enjoy nature, or live locally looking for a place to get away, or enjoy nature photography, I highly recommend a visit.

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

All of the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Interesting Links

Fairfax County Parks, Huntley Meadows

Friends of Huntley Meadows Park

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The Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum opening to the public in 2002 as a place “the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on an all-but-invisible profession that has shaped history”. The museum is small, but if you like a lot of reading, it contains a lot of fun facts and information. The Spy Museum is full of tidbits about international spying and the equipment used throughout history to spy on our neighbors and them to spy on us. The museum offer’s many interactive screens to get you involved and also a large vent, big enough to crawl through, so individuals can do a bit of spying on their family observing the displays below! My favorite exhibit is the Bond car, including a model of the decked out car! And the most interesting thing I learned, would have been that Washington, DC is home to more spies than any other city in the world. Gives you something to think about!

If you are in DC, and aren’t too tired out of museums, consider stopping by. However, I do want to mention that unlike our Smithsonian’s, The Spy Museum isn’t free. So make sure this is a subject you are into, before making the commitment. The Spy Museum also offers lectures & seminars and is available for hosting events… these options, I would highly consider taking advantage of!

The quote about is from their website. All though I was visiting as a guest of the museum, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Interesting Links

The International Spy Museum

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Mallow Bay, The Ships Graveyard…

Growing up on the Potomac River, I never knew about this beautiful and historic spot. This beautiful park is located along the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland is the final resting place of many abandoned ships. Many of them were built during WWI for the US military, however the order was finished way to late and many were poorly built. So they were laid to rest. Today the bay is a popular fishing spot. The park contains a walking trail along the river and through the surrounding wooded area as well as a small boat launch. Majority of the graveyard is best viewed via kayak or canoe, but enough can be seen from the water’s edge for a fun and relaxing afternoon taking pictures.

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

Mallow Bay, Charles County, Maryland

All of the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Interesting Links

Charles County Parks, Mallow Bay Park

The sordid story of the ghost fleet of Mallows Bay. John Kelly, Washington Post, December 11, 2010.

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Lee-Fendall House

Lee-Fendall House, Alexandria, Virginia

For as historic as Old Town Alexandria, Virginia is, they only have two historic homes open to the public year round. Although in many ways, that doesn’t bother me, I like the idea that history lives on and new memories are filling the halls of the ghostly past.

Lee-Fendall House, Alexandria, Virginia

One of these two homes is the Lee-Fendall House. What makes this home historic aside from being family owned through many generations, is that the “Lee” in Lee-Fendall is Robert E. Lee’s family. From the time the home was built-in 1785 until 1903 when the house was sold to the Downham family, it was family owned. Eventually in 1937 John L. Lewis purchased the house and lived there until his death in 1969.

Lee-Fendall House, Alexandria, Virginia

This Victorian home was built-in a country side style, something unique for Alexandria City. Homes as large as this in a city were “urban plantations”. The garden would have been full of stables, laundries, a rabbit house, a pigeon-house. No space spared. Throughout time however, the garden turned into something peaceful and serene, for those who had leisure time. Today the half-acre lot is an award-winning garden maintained partially by the Alexandria Council of Garden Clubs. The council established an endowment fund which continues to support a portion of the garden’s ongoing maintenance and restoration costs since 1974.

Lee-Fendall House, Alexandria, Virginia

During the Civil War, the house, as many grand houses were, was turned into a medical hospital for union soldiers. It is believed this hospital was for the terminally ill men as a morgue had been built-in the garden at this time. This house is probably most historically known for the simple knowledge that the first, successful, blood transfusion in the US was performed here. Now, that is not to say it could be immediately repeated, however, it was finally understood that it could be done.

Lee-Fendall House, Alexandria, Virginia

All of the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Interesting Links

Lee-Fendall House Museum

Visit Alexandria

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