Monday, September 27, 2010

A visit to Fort Ticonderoga

Adam's dad came for a visit last weekend. It was great for him to spend time with Gavin and to meet his newest granddaughter, Olivia. While he was here, we decided to take a day trip up to Fort Ticonderoga,  which is near the border of New York and Vermont. The fort sits up on the hillside overlooking the southern portion of Lake Champlain. The views are absolutely gorgeous. We visited on a perfect day, lots of sunshine and a nice September breeze. The leaves were right on the cusp of changing colors, almost ready to make the handoff to fall. Randy took some great photographs; here are some of my favorites. Enjoy.
Fort Ticonderoga, originally named Fort Carillon, was built by the French military during the French & Indian War between 1754 and 1757. The British gained control of the fort in 1759. The fort's location was strategically valuable because it controlled a river portage that connects Lake George and Lake Champlain via the La Chute river. This affected who controlled the trade routes, causing early colonial disputes. In May of 1775, the Americans had their first victory at Fort Ticonderoga, when Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, and the Green Mountain Boys crossed Lake Champlain and made a surprise attack on the British garrison.
 Breathtaking views of Lake Champlain.
When the fort was rebuilt and restored, well after the Revolution, the British government provided antique cannons. These were originally cast in England for use in the Revolutionary War, but the war ended before they were shipped.
These black cannons weigh over 1,800 lbs.
The original fort was recaptured by the British in 1777, which they abandoned once it was no longer of military value. The fort fell to ruins and people pillaged it for unused stone, metal, and other materials. The state of New York took ownership of the land in 1785 and later donated it to Columbia and Union colleges. In 1820, the colleges sold the property to William Ferris Pell, a businessman, horticulturalist, and preservationist. He built a summer home and estate, which he then opened as a hotel to serve tourists interested in seeing the ruins. A later generation of the Pell family rebuilt the fort, according to its original French design, and it opened to the public in 1909. The historic landmark is still run by the Pell family, who set up a foundation to operate it as a tourist attraction.
Gavin was in a grumpy mood while we were there. He really didn't want his picture taken, so Adam held his head up! Of course, maybe Gavin just didn't like the idea of being put inside a mortar cannon. It's a rare occasion when Adam is smiling in a photograph, so had to include this shot!
When the Pell family built their summer estate, they created a formal garden, called "King's Garden." It is stunning, with wrought iron gates and benches, a reflecting pool, bronze statues, and a gorgeous variety of flowers and perennials. Outside the formal garden, are the "discovery gardens." These include a vegetable garden, a greenhouse, and a really cute space for children. All of the gardens are impressive.
I absolutely love this picture. This was taken in the "sunflower house" of the children's garden and both kids were totally pissed off. Gavin has a look on his face that says, "get me the hell out of here!" Olivia is crying, "Mom, I'm too little to sit in a chair. Pick me up!" Oh well... it was a nice idea. At least this photo captures what was really going on!


Hillary said...

Looks like a fun day! Your family is just too precious -- love those shots of the kiddos. And may I saw how AMAZING you are looking these days?! Good inspiration for me. I have a great fear of being a huge whale after the baby comes and struggling with getting the weight off.

Eileen said...

great pictures--thanks for showing them, jenny! love adam smiling in one--don't know why he doesn't do it more often. love the posting you do

Michele said...

BEAUTIFUL photos and FAMILY!! It's always nice to read your posts and actually learn something. :-) Looks like a very cool place to check out. Olivia and Gavin will thank you later in life for making sure they bond with nature at an early age.

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures. The lake looks beautiful. Haha I love Gavin and Olivia's faces. Keep posting!


Missy said...

Oh yes, Gavin's face is priceless. haha! Your family outings are so cool!

Emily said...

Wow, gorgeous! I love the picture of Gavin sitting in the chair (next to Olivia), his body language reminds me so much of Adam! How special that Grandpa got to come visit!