Lotus NPS Lily Fest DC

2015 Lotus and Water Lily Festival

Tucked in North East D.C, lies acres of beauty known as Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. On July 11th, National Park Service hosted it’s annual lotus and water-lily festival to show of their water-loving plants in full bloom. This festival brings the community together for cultural and educational experience to remember. All pictures below were taken by my Samsung Galaxy S5.

Bee in Flower NPS Lily Fest DC Lotus field NPS Lily FestWho knew there could be such a whimsical setting in the middle of urban terrain? I am so glad our family had a chance to check it out. – I could not put my phone down.Lotus Leaf NPS Lily FestGuests were free to roam around and enjoy an itinerary jam-packed with kid-friendly activities, vendors, performances, history and wildlife exhibits.

Animal Exhibit NPS Lily Fest Insect Exhibit NPS Lily Fest Coyaba Dance Theater NPS Lily FestHave you been? Maybe I will see you next year…

Flowers Over House

A Family Estate: Then & Now

I remember my father taking me to my great-grandmother’s house in Virginia. It was left by one of her aunts named “Ealy” (pictured below).

 

1950s Black Woman

 

My nana kept a lot of pride in this home. It was always spotless and surrounded in blooms. So when she passed, I watched my grandfather put just as much blood, sweat, and tears to keep her little old house going. As a child I have only been here a couple of times. It wasn’t until my husband and I moved to the DMV area that we started to visit more. But each time I had a few more questions. I am still trying to piece together the story but from what I understand, my ancestors inherited a bit of land in the mid 1900s. From what I am told, the house we stay in today started from an old slave quarters that was transported out of this very plantation… across the road.

 

2015-Glouster-Virginia-Plantation-White-Fence

 

Those quarters were then expanded into a 3 bedroom home which now lies on 4.5 acres of farm land. I hear that there is proof of this behind the walls. Here it is today. Still running on well water…

 

2015-Glouster-VA-Family-Estate-House

 

But this isn’t the only house on the estate… There is also what the kids called the spooky house because nature has since reclaimed what my great-great-(great?) grandfather built on his own. Although none of us would step foot into it today, my grandfather actually grew up in the other house.

 

2015-Glouster-Virginia-House-Covered-In-Trees

 

This is partly owned by some family I have never met. Who knows when anything will be done about it but the house is hard to see from the road. As an adult, I am intrigued by what could be in it. My grandfather says there isn’t anything left to be salvaged but I still want to see. However the caved flooring and poison ivy wont let me be great.

Here is the house when it was first built in the 1950’s:

 

1950s-Glouster-Virginia-Black-Family-House

 

And here it is in the late 1980’s – This was probably the last time anyone in the family used this home.

 

1980s-Glouster-Virginia-Family-House

 

Here is my grandfather as a young boy on the property.

 

1960s-Glouster-Virginia-Black-Boy

 

Today I am standing in almost the same spot. Those were old smoke houses and coops. I learned that there is a parlor in the house that was used to embalm deceased relatives before they were buried. Okay, now THAT IS SPOOKY!

 

2015-Old-House

 

I think we can do something with the chairs on the back porch. Hmmm…

 

2015-Glouster-Virginia-House-Old-Chairs

Unfortunately I couldn’t get too close to the window that was open. But here is what I could see… Crazy that there is furniture in there almost the way they left it.

 

2015-Glouster-Virginia-Old-House

 

I am determined to see what its going on over there. LOL Maybe I will have an update one day.

 

2015-Glouster-Virginia-Field-Sunlight

 

Thanks to my grandparents, this is now a place that my son enjoys. He has already built more memories than I have ever had here. Lucky for him, we are only 2 hours away. This is our family now.

 

OffThePotomac_Family-Estate-Now - 1

 

I am grateful to enjoy a piece of history on land that is filled with my own ancestors blood, sweat and tears. Staying here makes me think about building a family tree. Even if we never acquire much, I can have a story to leave behind. I don’t recall my mother’s side having this kind of tangible history but I plan to take a trip to Trinidad and retrace my roots there and see.

How far have you been able to go back in your family’s history?