Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Ninety Six National Historic Site

The Christmas season is always quite busy for us.  We have family in Asheville and in Connecticut, so we usually spend Christmas Eve in Asheville and catch an early flight on Christmas Day to Connecticut.  That way we get to see everyone, though usually we’re pretty tired by Christmas night!  This year the travel was compounded by the fact that I was sick.  It passed relatively quickly, but did inhibit us from doing a few things over the vacation.

We were able to spend a fair amount of time with friends and family, drive through a snowstorm, and visit a few pretty cool places.  We discovered a very tasty Tibetan Restaurant in Middletown Connecticut.  Tibetan Kitchen has not been open that long, and has a separate vegetarian menu.  I just had soup, and it was incredibly good.  Anthony really enjoyed his meal too.  We’ll have to return there the next time we are in Connecticut.  We also went to It’s Only Natural in Middletown – a restaurant I have been frequenting since I went vegetarian over 20 years ago.  It has changed somewhat over the years, but one thing that remains the same is the fresh bread and carrot spread they always bring to the table.  Anthony had mac and cheese, and Kate had pierogis, both dishes I would have ordered had I felt better.  My soup was good, but not the same!

Springfield Armory NHS

Springfield Armory NHS

The only National Park Site we were able to visit in New England was Springfield Armory National Historic Site.  Springfield Armory developed and engineered weapons for the US military from 1794 to 1968.  A long history encompassing the Civil War and Vietnam, with many conflicts in between, the Armory now displays a fraction of its collection for the public to see.  We were told that only 15% of the collection is shown in the museum.  The rest is preserved in other areas of the building.  There are also displays on the machinery and workers from different time periods.  I enjoyed that the most, while Anthony favored the history of the weapons.  The volunteers and park rangers were super friendly, and we spoke with them at length about various parks and our quest to visit all the National Park Sites.

Our next stop was completely different.  We visited the Pez Factory in Orange, Connecticut.  Both of us have always loved the taste of Pez and enjoyed the collectible toys included in their sale.  The factory is a really cool place to spend some time.  There are tons of displays of different dated dispensers, as well as posters detailing the history of the company.  Originally marketed as an alternative to smoking, Pez candies are now recognized all over the world.  You can watch the factory floor, but unfortunately it was not open when we visited.  We did help ourselves to plenty of Pez products while we were there though!

Ninety Six NHS

Ninety Six NHS

Once back in Asheville, we had a couple of days before we had to go back to work, so we took a day trip down to Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina.  An American Revolutionary site, Ninety Six had to defend itself twice before being deserted.  The first time is considered the first major battle in the South, loyalists attacking patriots.  Though it ended in a truce, a siege occurred on the same site in 1781.  The loyalists, who had built a fort next to the town, won the siege, but shortly after abandoned the settlement.  Now, visitors can walk out to the earthen fort, which still stands to some extent, and also see where the town was.  It was a beautiful day, especially for winter, and we took our time walking through the site, enjoying the sun.

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