The Great Blue 26 Aug 2016, 1:00 am
from Jennifer and Chris
We’ve had a great blue heron making its home along the edge of the pond this summer. The bird stands tall and reed-like in the shallows along the bank, fishing for its meals. It doesn’t come every day–dining, we assume, at some of the area’s other ponds–but we see the heron often enough to consider him a regular.
Karen’s Quinceanera 25 Aug 2016, 12:00 am
At Stevenson Ridge, we recently hosted our first quinceanera, a celebration in Hispanic culture that marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. It’s similar to a “Sweet Sixteen” party but on a much grander scale!
A local Spotsylvania girl, Karen, was excited to celebrate her birthday with family and friends. It felt very much like a mini-wedding!
Karen wowed her guests in the traditional pink gown, accompanied by a bridal party of sorts: her closest friends in tuxedos and light pink gowns.
Karen enjoyed a grand entrance with some dancing, but I thought the sweetest part of the evening was the gift exchange. She traded in her “childish” accessories for more woman-like accessories. A guest would present each gift to her, first removing the old pair of shoes, necklace, bracelet, etc and then assisting her with the new accessories. Afterwards, the party featured food and dance.
Oh, and I can’t forget the cake! This cake was amazingly made by Simply Sweet, with multiple tiers plus a fountain underneath for a fun effect. We enjoyed celebrating with Karen and her family: Happy Birthday!
Downtown Fredericksburg Welcomes New Italian Restaurant 22 Aug 2016, 12:00 am
Downtown Caroline Street has a tasty new spot for dinner, courtesy of Danilo & Alona Orofino: Orofino! Orofino’s grand opening was August 12-18.
Danilo, a native of Palemo, Sicily, has managed Basilico Italian Market & Deli for the last couple of years but is now ready to make his dream come true.
Orofino will offer a unique dining experience for guests. You’ll enjoy authentic Italian food made with ingredients from Italy. You’ll also get a glimpse of Italian culture with family, great food, and la dolce vita (the sweet life). Everything on the menu will have a uniqueness that shows the Italian regions, traditions, and cooking ethics. Also, you’ll find on the menu a number system that shows you where exactly each dishes comes from. Right when you walk in the courtyard, you’ll feel like you traveled to Italy and enjoy their lovely cuisines.
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The Fourth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge 19 Aug 2016, 8:43 am
The dust has finally settled following theThird Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge a couple weeks ago. It was such a successful event that we’ll be moving the event into the Lodge for the entire weekend next year to accommodate the crowd. (This year’s event sold out a month in advance and while a few people from the waiting list got squeezed in, some folks unfortunately had to be turned away–so we’ll be ready for them next year with a bigger space!)
Next year’s symposium will be Aug. 4-6, 2017, and will focus on Great Defenses of the War. Emerging Civil War has already announced its line-up. For anyone who wants to sign up now, there’s an early-bird special underway–and for people who attended this year’s symposium, there’s an even better deal available until Sept. 1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The ECW gang got together for a group photo in front of the Riddick House on Saturday–and this wasn’t even the whole gang. For IDs, check out Emerging Civil War.
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A Different Kind of Log Home 10 Aug 2016, 7:58 am
The Third Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge 5 Aug 2016, 8:19 am
We’re gearing up for the Third Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge this weekend. We have a capacity crowd coming this year–so many folks we had to move part of the event from the Riddick House to the Lodge.
Things kick off tonight at 5:00 with registration, and a talk at 5:30 by historian Dave Powell, who’ll offer an overview of infantry tactics. That’ll set the table for a full discussion over the weekend of “Great Attacks of the Civil War,” which is this year’s theme.
Keynote speaker Jim Ogden from Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park will speak this evening about one of the most famous attacks of that battle: James Longstreet’s assault that broke the Federal line. Following Jim, a panel of six historians will hold a roundtable discussion—a feature that has quickly become a favorite part of past symposia.
Tomorrow’s line-up includes eight speakers plus lunch, Sunday features a tour of the Second Fredericksburg battlefield.
Just in time for the event, hot off the presses, is Traces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge, Spotsylvania Court House by our historian-in-residence, Chris Mackowski. The 60-page booklet tells the story of Stevenson Ridge during the war and beyond. The booklets, part of the Emerging Civil War Series, are available for $10 (tax included) For ordering information, email us at email@example.com.
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Virginia’s Tax-Free Weekend Coming Up 2 Aug 2016, 1:00 am
The summer is flying away, but I won’t complain because we’ve been hitting record-high temperatures. With the end of summer approaching, orientations, open houses, and more fun school festivities are about to take over the Fredericksburg area. This also means the upcoming VA sales tax free weekend, August 5-7, for school supplies (and, believe it or not, hurricane preparedness supplies, too). Items that fall under the sales tax exemption include clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency items, Energy Star, and WaterSense. These qualified items can be purchased online, by mail, or over the phone.
For more details about this tax-free weekend, click here.
Traces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge 1 Aug 2016, 1:00 am
In my capacity as the historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, one of my projects this summer has been to compile some information about the property’s role during the Civil War. Many of our guests are interested in the Civil War, and they stay here because we’re smack-dab in the middle of central Virginia’s Civil War landscape, right on the Spotsylvania battlefield. The array of earthworks and fortifications on the property are amazing. One NPS historian called them the best-preserved earthworks in private hands.
Well, just in time for this weekend’s Third Annual Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, we’ll have a special limited-edition booklet available as part of our Emerging Civil War Series:Traces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge, Spotsylvania Court House.
At 60-pages, the booklet looks like a mini version of the usual books in our Emerging Civil War Series, complete with one of Ian Hughes’s fantastic covers and five original maps by cartographer Hal Jespersen. Instead of being perfect-bound—that is, instead of a flat spine—the booklet is saddle-stitched, which means it’s stapled in the middle.
From the back cover:
As the 1864 Overland Campaign shifted from the Wilderness toward Spotsylvania Court House, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee successfully bottlenecked the Federal army just outside the village. Undeterred, Union commander Ulysses S. Grant sent part of his forces on a wide flanking maneuver to attack Confederates from the east. Lee scrambled to block them.
Thus the Civil War came to the property now known as Stevenson Ridge.
Traces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge tells the story of Spotsylvania’s forgotten front: the fighting along the Fredericksburg Road. During the two-week battle, three-fourths of the Union army occupied and crossed over Stevenson Ridge as Grant looked for ways to break Lee’s defenses.
Today, Stevenson Ridge is one of the most historic properties in Spotsylvania County. Extensive earthworks crisscross the landscape. Traces of the struggle remain everywhere.
Inside are chapters on the May 9, 1864 “Battle of the Ny,” which opened the eastern front at Spotsylvania Court House; the May 10 death of Brig. Gen. Thomas Greeley Stevenson, whom the property is named after; the use of the property as a staging area for attacks against the Mule Shoe and Heth’s Salient; the occupation of the property by the V Corps; and the construction of Stevenson Ridge’s earthworks. Plus there’s a chapter that traces the history of a pair of doors once own by U. S. Grant and William T. Sherman that now hang in Stevenson Ridge’s events center, the Lodge.
In a cooperative effort with our friends at Savas Beatie, Traces of the Bloody Struggle will soon be available in a digital format, but hard copies will be available only through Stevenson Ridge and Emerging Civil War (and I’ll have copies with me when I go on the road). The booklet will be available beginning at the Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge beginning Aug. 5. For ordering information, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Light in the Lodge 30 Jul 2016, 11:18 am
Lots of natural light is spilling into the chapel today as we’re setting up for a wedding later today. It’s a gorgeous day!
The Third Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge—Just a Week Away 29 Jul 2016, 1:00 am
We are just a week away from welcoming the Third Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge back to the property. This year’s symposium will be held Aug. 5-7, 2016, and it features a line up of ten speakers, including legendary NPS historian James Ogden from Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
As a special treat in advance of the symposium, a number of ECW authors will be signing books at the Fredericksburg Barnes and Noble on Thursday, Aug. 4 from 4-8 p.m. That way, the local public will have the chance to meet the historians before the symposium kicks off the next day. Members of the 23rd United States Colored Troops will be on hand, as well.
Stevenson Ridge plans to have a special treat we’ll first make available at the symposium, as well, although all of our guests interested in the Civil War will find this of particular interest. Details are coming soon!
This year’s symposium sold out by the end of June, and the houses on the property are all booked up. Plans are already underway for next year’s symposium, though, and tickets will go on sale right after this year’s symposium wraps up!
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