Keyword Exclusive - More border fun
Supplement to "Border Crossings"
Kentuckians know the critical position the Bluegrass held in the War Between the States—it was, after all, the State between the War. Missouri also played a significant role: pro-slavery secessionists and those determined to preserve the Union divided the state. The Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Case, and the Missouri-Kansas border clashes reflected the conflicted ideology. Both the Union and the Confederate governments grappled for control of Missouri during the Civil War. And in the midst of all this: St. Louis and a garrison where future enemies would train side by side.
Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis served as the primary training and gathering place for the armies of the West before the Civil War. Almost every regiment in the Army was stationed here, including Civil War generals Robert E. Lee, William T. Sherman, and, from Kentucky, Simon Bolivar Buckner and Albert Sidney Johnston. Also serving at the Barracks: Jefferson Davis.
This summer, to mark the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Jefferson Barracks' 1905 Post Exchange Building will reopen as the Missouri Civil War Museum (MCWM) and will take its place as the nation's 10th largest Civil War museum and among the largest Civil War research libraries in Missouri. The building sits on ground where Civil War hospitals once stood, not far from the Memorial to Unknown Dead 1861-1865 Tomb in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, and holds myriad treasures of the Civil War.
"Two of our coolest artifacts are a pair of parlor chairs once owned by Mary Todd Lincoln," says Gary Stevens, director of marketing and public relations.
Besides the elegant green velvet chairs, artifacts with Civil War ties to Kentucky include a Studebaker horse wagon and a wooden trunk from a surgeon with the 5th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, CSA. Inside the trunk: Confederate currency as well as a copy of the surgeon's last letter home.
"He didn't survive the war," says Stevens. "Apparently he cut himself while performing an operation. He mentioned it to his wife and wrote that he didn't think it was very serious. The other letter we have is from a friend of his to the wife informing her of the surgeon's death—probably from infection of the cut."
Also in the collection are Civil War equipment, uniforms, and memorabilia; medical artifacts—surgical and amputation kits; period musical instruments, including an 1850 square grand piano, a fife, drum, and zither; and a carpenter's trunk with tools owned by a civilian contractor working for General Sherman.
A Civil War sojourn to Missouri should include a visit to the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis' Forest Park, which opens its The Civil War in Missouri exhibition this November. Pay a call on General Sherman, interred at Calvary Cemetery, visit the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site—home of the Civil War general and 18th U.S. president—then spend the night in luxury wrapped in a rustic log cabin motif at the Lodge at Grant's Trail.
Blue Ridge Mountains
Zip lines, bungee trampoline, climbing tower, miniature golf, horseshoes, croquet, lawn bowling, crafts workshops, 30 miles of hiking trails, 45 holes of championship golf, 15 outdoor mountaintop clay courts, and a destination spa with therapeutic massages, body wraps, hydrotherapy baths and more for Mom and Dad, and a youth spa and salon program.
There's more: Aquatics & Fitness Center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, water and beach activities at Lake Monocan, including boating and floating trampoline, organized children's activities program at The Treehouse, campfires with storytelling and s'mores, movies under the stars, and—new in 2010—summer tubing at a place called The Plunge. Oh, and did we mention inflatable playground and a climbing tower to an indoor play area with Xbox 362s, Wiis, pool table, foosball, air hockey, children's interactive games, and mechanical bull?
Wintergreen Resort, www.wintergreenresort.com, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is a drop-your-bags-and-get-to-the-vacation kind of resort, perfect for families that want to have it all in one resort and that includes sweeping mountain vistas compliments of Mother Nature. Set on 11,000 acres cooled by mountain air, Wintergreen Resort is a place where a family can stretch out, play together, and pursue individual interests.
There are villa-style condos and rental homes, several onsite restaurants, a general store packed with goodies for a sweet tooth, beverages including beer and wine, gifts, and apparel—even Starbucks. Also onsite: the Wintergreen Performing Arts orchestra, which presents the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Academy, this year taking place from July 6-August 7.
The drop-your-bags part is easy—the hard part is deciding what to do first.
To read the Kentucky Living June 2011 feature that goes along with this supplement, go to Border Crossings.