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Last Independence Day

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. nearly 11 years now. Which means, I’ve had a decade of July 4ths here. However, most of my attempts to see the fireworks have been marred by rain showers, whether it was an day drizzle or a monsoon just hours before the spectacle.

Last year, I decided to do something different with my long weekend. Get out town, go somewhere I’d never been and see new things. I convinced my parents to drive down from NY and meet me at Harpers Ferry, WV. I’d never been there before, but I knew it had history, guided tours (thank you park rangers…), hiking opportunities and more. Aside from a soggy morning (what is it with July rain in the Mid-Atlantic?) it was a pretty great time. There were people in costume holding an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration, stores to poke around in, a neat old church you could climb up to and tour, as well as Jefferson Rock.

We stayed in nearby Shepherdstown, where we had a fantastic dinner at The Rathskeller of The Bavarian Inn — right next to a suit of armor. Dad stayed in while mom and I drove over to Antietam Battlefield to watch the fireworks. They were beautiful, and this was my first time photographing with all the proper equipment (tripod, shutter release). Although imperfect, I got the best fireworks images I’ve ever captured.

The next morning we wandered Shepherdstown, visited the farmers market and craft market as well as some galleries, a cycling shop and my dad bought me a lovely piece of art (that I still haven’t figured out where to hang up.)

Before returning to D.C., I hiked the Maryland Heights Trail (the shorter version) in some serious heat with full photo gear. but I was rewarded with a great view of the town.

 

Two Years Ago: Once in a Lifetime Memories

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Two years ago this weekHarpa Reflected, I hopped on a plane to visit two countries I’d never seen, for a historic anniversary (the 70th anniversary of D-Day). The trip was incredible, despite so much that went wrong.

I flew to Iceland first, desperate to see the strange and wild land on my way to France. I had an incredible first day there in spite of the cold rain that fell most of the day. I walked around Reykjavik, took shelter in Harpa, went horseback riding through lava fields (in the rain), intrigued a cat wandering the harbor and ate.

My second day in Reykjavik couldn’t have been more different, as I’ve explained before. A horrible sickness took hold ruining my day and keeping me in Iceland an extra 24 hours.

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One Year Ago: Paratrooper Camp

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A year ago I had a tremendous opportunity to join a friend and her colleague for a trip to Normandy, France during the week of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Re-enactors, veterans and active duty military were everywhere along with relatives and history buffs. There were activities across Normandy. Practically every town held festivities. It was incredible.

I don’t know exactly where I took this picture on my first day in France. It was a paratroop re-enactor camp between Caen and Cherbourg somewhere.

Remembering Memorial Day

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It’s easy to get caught up in simply enjoying a three-day weekend with friends. But this Memorial Day, take some time remember what’s it’s really all about. It’s about these men and countless like them who have died for freedom.

Time explains the origin of Memorial Day and The Washington Post found a veteran who’s upset by the holiday, because so many people have forgotten its meaning.

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A Look at the History of Santa Monica’s Promenade

If you haven’t seen it, KCET’s look at the history (with plenty of photographs) of Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade is pretty cool. Nathan Master’s who writes on Los Angeles history shares the story of how this went from a street, to a pedestrian mall during an urban renewal phase and more. The photographs from various stages of its history were my favorite part though.  Continue reading