Inquisition Updated

Hello readers and apologizes for the delay in postings. I have updated the chapters I’ve posted so far with chapter 6 becoming an entirely new chapter. I have also named them, a throwback to past versions the story and hopeful an clue to content of the chapters. Thanks for reading and following. Comments and criticism appreciated.

Update: it helps when I post a link lol.

Read “The+Inquisition”  http://www.wattpad.com/story/36896769-the-inquisition?utm_source=web&utm_medium=email4&utm_content=share_myworks&ref_id=18201582

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Inquisition Updated

Traveling Review: Newport Mansions update – Servant’s Tour

In my original review of the Newport, Rhode Island Mansions, I mentioned the Elms mansion had a separate servants tour to be had, which peeked my interest. So after some time exploring the New England area (and hurting for a local day off the long road) we returned to the Elms for said tour.

Unlike the main tour which was a self guided audio tour, the Servant’s tour was guided by a pretty sharp gentleman: if you ever go to the Elms and see a group meeting outside in front, chances are this is the servant tour about to begin. Our guide made the tour a little more personal, first splitting us into males and females as it would have been during the time period, and then assigning us each a job (yours truly was a valet/busboy). With jobs and tour badges on neck, we proceeded to the top floors of the Elms.

Inside were all sorts of cool little tidbits of gadgetry, knowledge and informational factiods which seem to complete the first tour if you’ve done it, though the first is not at all necessary for understanding this one. One example is a glass brick ceiling of the third (or so) floor serving as a portion of the actual servant quarter floor. Another is the call system used to manage dozens of workers in three different fields. The fix for who was being called was a system utilizing three distinct bells, one for each group. Pretty nifty for one of the first electrical callboxes.

Any one familiar with the Elms might recall that the owners of the Elms wanted the upkeep of the mansion to go about without guests actually witnessing the work being done. Servants were largely to be unseen, which meant operating in the lower levels, back compartments leading to rooms and living on the upper floors of the building. The house boasted an cul-de-sac-esque loading dock covered in the summer by vegetation, making deliveries virtually unseen. Along the same vein was the subroof, equipped with a tall wall all around and ample walkway for staff to hangout, enjoy the weather and relax.

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From here, the tour goes back down the stairs to the lower levels, familiar territory for people who’ve been on the normal tour. Yet the familiar sight stops at the kitchen as the servant’s tour progresses beyond into laundry, refrigeration, and the boiler room, complete with a lightbulb testing area and a receiving track for coal coming into the property. It’s interesting to note how the methods of running the house changed with the advent of technology (refrigeration technology, electricity, etc.) From here, like most other tours, it’s out the gift shop at the conclusion.

Logistically, the tour takes visitors in through the receiving dock and all the way up the stairs, four or five floors up. Rooms are pretty small, which in a good size group means everyone is crammed in as the guide drops history on us. Eventually it’s back down the stairs and down another stairway into the boiler room. On a  side note, there is an elevator for the main building. Cons, as I’m sure you might have figured out, is no photography inside.

Regardless, I enjoyed seeing how the other side of society lived amidst the socialites of the times. The servant’s tour was quite educational and very enjoyable. Thanks for reading.

Traveling Review: Newport Mansions update – Servant’s Tour

Traveling Review: Mark Twain House and Museum

The outside of the Mark Twain House & Museum, courtesy of ctpost.com

The Mark Twain House & Museum is the place to tour the home where Samuel Clemens, better known by the pen name Mark Twain wrote several of his books including the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, respectively. What I did not know is a later house belonging to Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is also on museum property.

Madeline Beecher Stowe's later home.
Madeline Beecher Stowe’s later home.

First we toured the Stowe house, which is not where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This house is actually where she moved later in her life, though the house itself is skillfully adorned with several items belonging to her, including the desk on which she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The museum also had copies of her original handwriting, which was pretty cool.

20150428_155948 20150428_155955The Mark Twain house was quite impressive in the respect that Twain actually wrote many of his masterpieces there in that house. The inside resembled the insides of some of the Newport Mansions such as the Breakers, but further therein were nooks and rooms I could definitely imagine myself hunkering down to write in. The home also boasted electricity, a sizable patio and an indoor garden. This home was truly an inspiring place. Unfortunately for Twain, he invested poorly at some point and was forced to sell the home.

20150428_173957Logistically, both houses were only available by tour, and there were pros and cons to both. Our guide at the Stowe home seemed young and inexperienced, growing somewhat uncomfortable in lapses of silence and lack of questions from our group, while our Twain house tour guide seemed quite knowledgeable in comparison. At the Stowe house, photography was allowed, while in Mark Twain’s: no photos please. Amazing works of fiction written in the Twain house. The Stowe house, more of a retirement home for her.

One thing I can’t say much about is the museum itself: we arrived at the Twain museum and hour and a half before closing, which was just enough time to tour the two houses and nothing else. However, the little bit I was able to glance off entering and exiting, there is much to see there and perhaps I have a reason to return.

All in all, I think any writer will get a kick out of visiting the homes of two masterful American authors. Thanks for reading.

Traveling Review: Mark Twain House and Museum

Traveling Review: Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea

In the town of Mystic (yes, the very same Mystic in Mystic Pizza starring Julia Roberts) Connecticut is the Museum of America and the Sea, or simply, the Mystic Seaport. Our original purpose of visiting this site was to see the Charles W. Morgan, the last surviving American wooden whaling ship. With that being said, there is a lot to be seen at this gem of a place.

The Mayflower II, replica of the original Mayflower
The Mayflower II, replica of the original Mayflower

First off, Mystic Seaport is a working restoration yard which routinely repairs and restores wooden vessels of all sorts, employing local men and women and versing them in the skills of a truly dying art. Docked at the seaport during our visit was the Mayflower II and the Sabino, a 1906 steamboat under restoration until 2016.

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Cutaway models of the Charles W. Morgan.
Cutaway models of the Charles W. Morgan.

On the gravel path to the shipyard is a long building holding the key components to the structure of a wooden ship, including the keel, ribs and frame as a lesson in how wooden ships are put together. Inside the shipyard itself is an a exhibit revisiting the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, and using that restoration as the vessel to educate visitors on the tools of the restoration trade, the materials and types of woods used in shipbuilding, and the hazards to wooden ships to include weather, reefs, and wood-boring marine worms. The back drop to the exhibit are the sounds of power tools as Mystic shipwrights work on restoring the Sabino.

The Sabino under repair.
The Sabino under repair.

The Charles W. Morgan was open for viewing and proved to be a pretty impressive vessel in it’s own right. Add to this an extremely knowledgeable volunteer eager to school us in the history of American whaling and it made for a very cool experience.

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As with the USS Constitution, we happened to luck out and stumble on the seaworthy replica of the slave ship La Amistad, subject of the movie Amistad, berthed at the Seaport for the winter and shipping out the very same day for New London.

The Amistad
The Amistad

There’s more to Mystic Seaport than the ships though: the Seaport also runs the traditional shops and buildings dedicated to 19th century seafaring, to include a smithy, shipping agent’s office, and nautical instrument shop, to name a few of many. Mystic Seaport is another one of those places where visitors should dedicate at least three hours to see everything there is to see there.

Traveling Review: Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea

Travel Review: the Norman Rockwell Museum

During the middle of our trip, my companions and I veered off the Revolutionary War path and stopped in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to partake in the Norman Rockwell Museum which bears works by the man it’s named after. If you don’t know who Norman Rockwell is, you may have seen his work on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post or at the very least, maybe this image in a history class:

“The Problem We All Live With,” a commentary on public school desegregation.

Norman Rockwell is an American artist defined by his works which have captured the state of the country for over half a century, a large portion of that work for the Post from 1916 to 1963. Originally, Mr. Rockwell worked with live models until photographs became available for him to use instead.

Rockwell’s take on Rosie the Riveter

The Museum itself is packed with artwork: canvases of works submitted for use as magazine covers, portraits, and a donated collection of the magazines themselves. Rockwell was inspired by J.C. Leyendecker, an amazing artist in his own right. We had the fortune of being at the museum while it hosts an exhibition of Leyendecker’s work as well.

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The museum is easily traversable, and unlike any other place we visited on our trip, had free wheelchairs and strollers for patron use. The lower floor had large photographs of Rockwell himself, as well as a viewing room for an informational video about his life.

20150427_150031It was not a bad place to visit, though I have to admit it was personally not one of my favorite parts of the trip. Still, the Rockwell Museum is an amazing collection of art and imagery and a testament to the creative skill of a great American artist.

Travel Review: the Norman Rockwell Museum

Inquisition Chapter Six

The battle is officially over but is not without consequences. Will Diane and company live to see another day? Read on, comments welcome and appreciated.

http://www.wattpad.com/127643680-the-inquisition-chapter-six?utm_source=web&utm_medium=email&utm_content=share_info&ref_id=5476388

Inquisition Chapter Six

Inquisition Chapter Five

Coming off the tail end of my trip and back to the normal day to day, I’m continuing the writing momentum I’ve maintained thus far by continuing to work on my sci-fi story, “The Inquisition.” Here is a link to Chapter Five on Wattpad: I would love comments and input. Thanks for reading!

http://www.wattpad.com/126736219-the-inquisition-chapter-five?utm_source=web&utm_medium=email&utm_content=share_info&ref_id=54763880

Inquisition Chapter Five