One Among Many
One side of the United States offers a dramatically different view of American history than the other side. The entire east coast features colonies stacked upon English colonies, all of which share a collective similarity in the story of their statehood. Of course, if you ask someone from the Carolinas versus someone from Massachusetts, they will describe their respective histories as vastly different, but their pasts include some of the same chronological landmarks. Yes, they brought extremely distinct perspectives into the discussions of statehood and confederation in the early republic, but if you truncate the series of events, they share quite a few historical touch points, many of which center around a particular pivotal point in the latter half of the eighteenth century.
Former General and eventual first President, George Washington, spent a good deal of time throughout many of these early states in both of his capacities. I expect there are dozens of locations up and down the east coast that boast that “George Washington slept here,” making any place he might have laid his head hardly unique to just Mount Vernon. Much like Civil War battlefields, more than a few states boast of their colonial heritage beyond just Virginia. I expect I may have journeyed to more place where President George copped a squat for the night, but with so many places fitting the billet, there’s not a lot of certainty as to where our two paths may have crossed, albeit on slightly different timelines.
Resting Our Heads
I do know, however, that tonight I will sleep in close proximity to where President Washington may have spent a bit of time at the tail end of the 1700s, just to check on the nipping of that pesky little Whiskey Rebellion bud. I reserved a night at the guest facility at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and since it is summer, life is pretty quiet at the school. Son Number One and I arrive after a full day’s drive that starts in Canada, and takes us past a waterfall of note (see Niagara Rain Falls from May 2021). For a toddler, it’s a mostly uninteresting drive through the western side of the Empire State and across the Keystone State. Sure, we knock off another state capital on the ‘To See’ list, but he naps through as much of it as I wish I could. It’s lush, but not lively.
Tomorrow morning we’ll take our first journey to Gettysburg (see Crossing The Battlefield from June 2021), and then make our way to the District of Columbia (see George Washington from February 2012). I don’t expect the night to offer much in the way of excitement, and upon check-in, I am elated that it does not, and that we choose to just stay in our room for the evening. For a low-cost billet, the room is spectacular with stately furnishings and long draperies. The rooms are decorated as if they are prepared for the Revolutionary general himself, and yet a single mom and her kid rank a twenty-foot ceiling worthy of more stars than just the two of us. Even the bathroom is big enough to be an adjoining suite. I don’t know about the President’s head, but ours certainly appreciate this exquisite night’s rest.