Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

National Herb Garden, National Arboretum

The National Herb Garden is wonderful! Of all the gardens we visited at the National Arboretum, this one is my favorite. I loved the medicinal herb gardens, especially the Native American Herb Garden. We learned how different tribes used plants we are very familiar with, such as cardinal flower, large-flowered trillium and purple cone flower.

National Herb Garden

This is an example of the signs found in the Native American herb garden. The signs tell how the herbs were used by differen tribes.

This is an example of the signs found in the Native American herb garden. The signs tell how the herbs were used by different tribes.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

There were also gardens featuring plants for dying, brewing and perfuming. Colonial gardens featured herbs and vegetables. I took pictures of lots of peppers. The park’s website says it has 50 varieties!


More peppers!

And more peppers!


U.S. National Arboretum

On our first full day in D.C., we started out with a visit to the U.S. National Arboretum, which is in the NE quadrant of D.C. There is plenty of parking or you can ride the Metro. The grounds are open Friday-Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and pups are allowed.

We walked around the majority of the 446 acre park. It was pretty cool. I really liked how many of the gardens weren’t overly formal and many areas were allowed to grow naturally.┬áThe sky looked like rain most of the morning, but the drops held off until the very last leg of our trip. The overcast morning was a welcome change from our hot, muggy day at Harpers Ferry.

There are several gardens throughout the park, but we chose to only visit a few. We made it to the National Capital Columns, Fern Valley Native Plant Collection, Washington Youth Garden, the Asian Collections, the Gotelli Collection of Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifers and the Conifer Collection and the National Herb Garden. We also walked by the Dogwood Collection, the Holly Magnolia Collection and some research gardens. There are more gardens, including the State Tree Collection and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum (dogs aren’t allowed in the bonsai garden and museum), so there is tons more to see.

Besides education, the park also participates in research. The research gardens were comparing native and non-native plants’ susceptibility to pest damage. The hypothesis is that native plants would attract more native insect predators to help control pest damage. It would be interesting to learn the results! Other research plants included crepe myrtles.

One of two research gardens comparing native to non-native plants.

One of two research gardens comparing native to non-native plants.

Though the whole park was amazing, the herb and youth gardens were my favorites! I’ll share more about each of the gardens and pics in upcoming posts.

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Upcoming D.C. posts

We spent a long weekend in Washington, D.C. recently so in the coming weeks I’ll share posts from the places we visited, including the National Arboretum, restaurants and, of course, the National Mall.

I’ll schedule the first post for later today or tomorrow morning. See you then!

(Don’t forget you can follow along any of my posts by clicking the RSS feed buttons on either the Home Page (for all posts), Beth’s Crafty Things, or Small Travels and Musings. You can also sign up to receive emails.)

Fort Moultrie, S.C.

Fort Moultrie is part of the National Park Service and is an amazing relic of our history.

I loved walking around the fort, imagining what it must have been like to work as a soldier there during the years.

The current fort was built in the 1800s. Two other forts sat on the same site prior to the current structure. Interpretive signs point to the former fort locations and tell when they were built, how they were made and how they served us during that part of our history.

The site’s history spans from a log fort built in 1776 to WWII.

I’m not big on military-related historic sites, but this is definitely a must see.

Here’s some photos from our visit:

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Exchange and Provost, Charleston, S.C.

Our last stop on Charleston’s Museum Mile was the Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

To the right is our tour guide. An animontronic figurine is to the left.

The tour provides a lot of historic info about the city, pirates, George Washington’s visit and the city’s part in the American Revolution.

Down in the dungeon, you’ll find animontronic figurines that’ll tell stories about the prison and building. On the way to Charleston, we met a couple who used to volunteer as pirates and other characters at the Exchange. Now that the museum uses mechanical storytellers, there’s no need for real people, except for the lone tour guide.

This is a well with water and fake rats located in the dungeon.
It’s supposed to show the horrid conditions prisoners had to stay in.

I think that is unfortunate because it would be neat to talk with various people about the building and its history. I’m sure providing more than one volunteer would offer a greater depth of knowledge about the building than one tour guide and prerecorded machines could provide (though our guide was very knowledgeable).

Still, this is a good stop along the Museum Mile.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Museum Mile, Charleston, S.C.

A good way to see the historic area of Charleston, S.C., is to walk along the Museum Mile.

This historic walking tour (self-guided) is a great way to squeeze in as many museums and historic sites as possible. A majority of the sites are located up and down a mile-stretch of Meeting Street. But the Museum Mile’s map will also take you to homes and buildings down some side streets, all within walking distance.

For many of the sites admission to one historic home or building will get you a discount into another property. So plan you tours wisely!

We only had one, rainy day to visit so we decided on visiting Aiken-Rhett House, Nathaniel Russell House and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. Admission to the Aiken-Rhett House and Nathaniel Russell House are $10 each or $16 to visit both.

If we’d had more time, I would have loved to visit the Edmonston-Alston House and the Gibbes Museum of Art.

I’ll share photos and info about the homes we did visit in future posts, so stop back by to check ’em out!

Where to Eat: Tommy Condon’s, Charleston, S.C.

While in Charleston we relied on coupons to help scope out and select places to eat.

During our rainy walk around the historic district of Charleston we stopped in at Tommy Condon’s, an Irish pub at 160 Church St. Since we ate there for lunch we got $3 off an entree. If we’d ate there for supper, it would have been $5 off.

Right now, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has a coupon to the restaurant for buy one entree, get another free.

For lunch, Chris got fish and chips and I got shrimp and grits, a dish you should try anytime you’re in or near the Low Country (or here). We also shared a cup of She-Crab soup, another Low Country dish that I wanted to eat before leaving the coast.

Mmmm … she-crap soup with some sherry! A perfect way to begin the meal.
Shrimp and Grits, which included tomatoes, ham and green onions. I’ve never had shrimp and grits with tomatoes before, so that was a welcome surprise.
Chris’ delicious lunch of fish ‘n chips. It wasn’t even greasy. Not in the slightest!
Fun Fact: This is the only type of seafood Chris will eat.

Tommy Condon’s should be your go-to place for a quick bite if you’re walking the Museum Mile or exploring historic Charleston. There are other restaurants in the area, most within walking distance, so be sure to check them out, too.