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What is happening at LivingHistorySites this summer?

Several new and exciting things! We are looking forward to exploring history on our summer 2014 trip to South Carolina where we will be reviewing various sites in Columbia, the capital of South Carolina and coastal Charleston.....

We are also switching LivingHistorySites.com to a WordPress site that will allow you to search our content easier. Recategorizing information for historical sites, great dining locations and all the cool things to do in a particular location. We will have lists by city and by state, with suggested "things to do" and "things to see" packed with interesting tidbits and a realistic timeline!

Saving Money on Vacation Lodgings

Come “Home” to Fabulous Vacation Digs

How would you like to enjoy all of the comforts of home, when you are away on your next family vacation? A comfortable living room with sofas, a nice dining room, a big kitchen filled with everything you need to make and serve meals, if you choose. Now imagine a private bedroom and master bath for mom and dad, just like home! No more getting everyone dressed, to go OUT to breakfast, or figuring out one more place to eat out after a long day of sight seeing.

If this sounds good, it is as easy to rent a condo as it is a hotel, only you will have the best family vacation ever!  Condo rentals are available from private owners and leasing companies and range from simple to luxurious, with all price ranges. They are clean, safe, wonderful slices of home away from home.

And you don’t have to go to a timeshare presentation!

With money tight in this new economy, renting a condo makes great sense.  You can choose to cook as many meals as you want in the unit, saving time and money. It allows you more time to get out and DO things! Have breakfast and dinner in the unit, then get lunch when you are out and about. With lunch generally being the most inexpensive meal, it is easy to save a ton of money. If you bring a cooler, you can pack lunch for your adventures out on the road.

Consider searching for a condo or private home for your family on your next vacation.

Recipes from the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon for President Obama

President-elect Obama has decided on Lincoln themed inaugural, from the Bible that President Lincoln took the oath on, to inaugural luncheon dishes based on Lincoln's favorites, and even the painting of Yosemite below.


Mr. Obama has chosen to pay tribute to Mr. Lincoln in many ways according to the NY Post.The backdrop for the luncheon will be Lincoln-esque as well - the painting "View of the Yosemite Valley" by Thomas Hill, borrowed from the New-York Historical Society.The painting, which will hang behind Obama, is a landscape of Yosemite Valley at dawn - representing Lincoln's signing of the 1864 Yosemite Grant that set aside the land as a public reserve.

Part of the meal will even be served on replicas of the china picked out by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband's first term in office in 1861.The appetizer will feature a seafood stew in puff pastry - including scallops, shrimp and lobster - in honor of Lincoln's love of seafood.The main course of a "Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck)" with sour-cherry chutney will be served with molasses sweet potatoes - a nod to the root vegetables and wild game that Honest Abe ate as a child in Indiana.

According to the NY Post, President Lincoln chose much simpler fare than President-elect Obama. Taking office on the eve of Civil War, Abe Lincoln kept things simple after being sworn in as the 16th president: He lunched on mock turtle soup, corned beef and cabbage and blackberry pie.

Take a ride through history and make a few of these recipes for your kids on Inauguration Day 2009, which is coming up on January 20! Food photos can be viewed here!

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

Recipes from the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon

First Course

Seafood Stew

Yield: 10 servings

 6 (1 Lb) Maine lobsters
 20 medium size Sea scallops
 36 Large shrimp, peel, cleaned and tail removed, aprox. 2 lbs.
 10 (1 oz) pieces of black cod
 ½ cup small dice carrots
 ½ cup small dice celery
 ½ cup small dice leek
 ½ cup small dice Idaho potato
 1 teaspoon kosher salt
 1 teaspoon ground white pepper or black pepper
 ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1 quart heavy cream
 1 cup dry vermouth (can be made without)
 10 (5 inch) puff pastry rounds

10 (3 ½ inch) terrines/ramekins or serving dish of your choice
1. Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil; poach lobsters, then shrimp, then black cod and last scallops. After
seafood is cooked, remove from water; reserve water and bring to boil.
2. Cook all vegetables in liquid that was used for the seafood, remove vegetables when tender. Allow
the liquid to continue to boil until only 1qt of liquid remains. This will be the base for the sauce.
3. Bring seafood liquid back to a boil and add the vermouth and heavy cream and reduce by half,
season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste. You have reached your desired thickness when
the sauce will cover the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool.
4. Cut Maine lobster, shrimp and scallops into bite size pieces.
5. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees.
6. Fold seafood and vegetables into cool sauce, being careful not to mix too much as this will break up
the seafood. Scoop mixture into terrines or oven proof baking dish of your choice.
7. Cover terrines with puff pastry rounds, brush them with egg wash and bake them until golden
brown about 8-10 minutes, allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. You can cook this 2-3 hours
ahead of time and keep warm at 150 F degrees.
*All seafood can be substituted with other favorite options of your choice and availability.

Second Course

Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney

Yield: 10 servings

 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
 ½ cup chopped onion (1 small)
 3 garlic cloves, crushed
 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
 ½ teaspoon black pepper
 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
 Scant ¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
 ¾ teaspoon salt
 ½ cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper (½ medium)
1 plum tomato, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dry red wine
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 can (3 cups) Bing cherries, quartered *Oregon brand
½ cup Golden Raisins
10 (6 oz.) boneless duck breasts with skin
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or chives
Method for chutney and glaze

Heat oil in a 2 to 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, garlic, and shallot, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add tomato paste, black pepper, cumin, hot pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine, vinegar (to taste), and sugar and simmer approx 5 minutes. Stir in mustard, 1 1/2 cups cherries, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer 1 minute. Allow to cool slightly and reserve all but ¼ cup of the mix to the side. Place1/4 cup mix in a blender and puree until very smooth, about 1 minute (use caution when blending hot liquids). Reserve for glazing duck. To finish the chutney, add the remaining 1 ½ cups of cherries, tarragon, chives and all the golden raisins. Can be prepared one day ahead.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Score duck skin in a crosshatch pattern with a small sharp knife and season duck all over with salt and pepper.
Heat water in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over low heat until hot, then add duck, skin side down. Cook duck, uncovered, over low heat, without turning, until most of fat is rendered(melted) and skin is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Transfer duck to a plate and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Brush duck all over with cherry glaze and return to skillet, skin side up.
Roast duck in oven until thermometer registers 135°F, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Holding a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, cut duck into slices. Serve with cherry chutney and molasses whipped sweet potato.

Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing

Yield: 10 portions

10 Pheasant breast, boneless, remove tenders and reserve for stuffing, cut small pocket in side of breast for stuffing
½ cup Olive oil with chopped rosemary, thyme and sage
1 lb. Wild rice, long grain
2 quarts Chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 Carrots, diced
½ Onion, diced
½ cup Dried apricot, small diced
1 Tablespoon Salt and pepper mix
2 Tablespoons Garlic, roasted
1. Boil the rice with the chicken stock, cook until soft and most of the liquid is gone.
2. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and apricot. Cook until the vegetables are soft and all liquid has been absorbed. Refrigerate rice mixture until cold.
3. In a food processor, puree pheasant tenders to a paste consistency to use as a binder for rice mix.
4. When rice is cool, add the pheasant puree to the rice until well mixed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and return to refrigerator until ready to stuff.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Make 10 small football shaped patties of the rice mix, stuff inside the pheasant, being careful not to overstuff the pheasant. Rub herb/oil mixture on top and bottom of the pheasant, season with salt and pepper. Place the pheasant on a heavy gauge roasting pan and then in a preheated oven for approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with lid or foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve over sauté of spinach.
*Pheasant can be substituted with chicken.

Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 2 quarts
3 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup orange juice
½ tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of molasses
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
3. Peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes while still hot.By hand or mixer, smash potatoes until all large chunks are gone. Combine the potatoes, butter, salt, orange juice, brown sugar, ground cumin, molasses and maple syrup in a large bowl. Continue to mix all together until all lumps are gone. Adjust any of the seasonings to your specific tastes. Can be made the day before.

Winter Vegetables

Yield: 10 servings

2 bunches Asparagus, green, bottom 1/3 of stem removed
2 lbs. Carrots, peeled, cut oblong or large dice
1 lb. Baby Brussel Sprouts, fresh,cleaned or frozen can be used
1 lb. Wax Beans, ends snipped
2 oz Butter
1 each Zest from orange
4 oz. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Asparagus: preheat grill or large heavy bottom sauté pan. Rub 2 oz of olive oil on asparagus and season with pinch of salt and pepper. Lay flat on grill or sauté pan until lightly browned. Using long fork or tongs, rotate the asparagus to brown other sides. Usually 2 or 3 minutes per side. The asparagus is done when you can use a fork to cut through. Do not overcook, this will cause asparagus to become stringy. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Carrots: bring 3 qt salted water to a boil, add carrots to water and cook until fork tender, meaning a fork will easily pass through the carrot. Drain the water from the pot and toss 1 oz butter and zest of orange and mix until carrots are coated. Season with pinch of salt and enjoy. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Brussel Sprouts: For Fresh: Bring 3 qt salted water to a boil, cut into the stem of the sprout with a pairing knife to create an X on the bottom, this will allow the stem to cook more evenly. Place sprout in boiling water and allow to cook until bottom of sprout is tender and easily cut with a knife. Preheat a heavy bottom sauté while the sprouts are cooking. Remove sprouts from water and allow all water to drain completely. Add 2 oz oil to sauté pan and add the sprouts, season with salt and pepper while tossing the sprouts around to evenly brown in the pan. If sprouts are too big, you can cut them in half, keep warm until ready to serve.
For Frozen: Bring 3 qt salted water to a boil and drop frozen brussel sprouts into water, these are precooked so you are only thawing them out. Remove from water and sauté as above.
Yellow Wax beans: bring 3 qt salted water to boil, add snipped wax beans to water and allow to cook until fork tender or to your liking of doneness. Remove from water and toss with 1 oz butter and season with salt and pepper.

Third Course

Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake

Yield: 10 servings

Apple Filling
4 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup apple sauce
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extractBread Crust
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melt 10 of tablespoons
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
34 slices brioche bread (or white bread)
10 Ceramic baking ramekins or metal molds (3” diameter)
2 cups caramel sauce(store bought)
2 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored, diced small
Pinch sugar
Pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Ice Cream
1 quart vanilla ice cream

1. Melt butter in 6-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples and caramelize, add water, cook, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are completely soft. Remove cover and add sugar, nutmeg and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring apples frequently, until liquid has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, apple sauce and vanilla. Set aside to cool while making crust. The filling can be made one day ahead
Making crust and assembly
1. Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease 8 ceramic dishes with 1
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
2009 Inaugural Luncheon Recipes 8
tablespoon butter. Sprinkle sugar in dish and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Tap out excess sugar and set aside.
2. Using a bread knife, remove crusts from bread. Center the bottom of mold over one of the bread squares. Cut around mold to form circle to use as the top. Make a total of 20 of these round pieces. Ten will be for the bottom and 10 will be used for the top. Dip each one in melted butter and place at the bottom of mold.
3. Cut each of the 15 remaining slices of bread into four rectangular pieces. Dip one side of each strip in the melted butter and arrange strips, upright, around the inside of molds, buttered-sides against mold and overlapping by about 1/2” to completely line mold. Use 6 rectangles to line the mold.
4. Spoon the apple filling into bread-lined molds, mounding it slightly in center.
5. Take the remaining ten rounds of bread and dip pieces of bread into the melted butter and place on top of filling, buttered-sides up. Press down lightly.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover top loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top is deep golden brown and side slices are golden brown (slide a thin-bladed knife between bread and pan to check). Remove from oven, uncover, and let rest for 15 minutes on wire rack. Run thin-bladed knife around edges of molds to be able to flip the mold out onto serving plates.
7. For the apple cinnamon caramel sauce, sauté 1 cup of peeled and diced Granny Smith apples in butter, add a pinch of sugar and cinnamon. Allow to cook until apples are lightly browned and all sugars have dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 cups caramel sauce to the apples and stir to coat apples.
To Assemble
Pour caramel apple sauce over warmed apple cakes and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Much thanks goes to the NY Post for giving us these recipes!

Read the rest of the NY Post Article here....




Last updated: 8:59 am
January 13, 2009
Posted: 2:55 am
January 13, 2009


They're going to party like it's 1861!

In what will be a Lincoln-themed inauguration from top to bottom, Obama won't only follow in the footsteps of the former president - he'll also eat like him, it was announced yesterday.




Obama's jampacked Abe-apalooza moved into high gear with an announcement from the Congressional Inaugural Committee that it will hold a luncheon next Tuesday following the swearing-in ceremony that's modeled after foods Lincoln enjoyed.

The lunch menu is only the latest in a slew of references and tributes to Lincoln that will be folded into Obama's big day.

Part of the meal will even be served on replicas of the china picked out by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband's first term in office in 1861.

The appetizer will feature a seafood stew in puff pastry - including scallops, shrimp and lobster - in honor of Lincoln's love of seafood.

The main course of a "Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck)" with sour-cherry chutney will be served with molasses sweet potatoes - a nod to the root vegetables and wild game that Honest Abe ate as a child in Indiana.

The Lincoln-fest luncheon at Statuary Hall, a chamber of the Capitol building, will serve some 200 guests, including members of the Supreme Court, the incoming Cabinet and congressional leaders.

"It's always good to model yourself after a great president," said Eric Foner, a professor of American history at Columbia University. "The proof will be in the pudding."

The guests will enjoy an apple cinnamon sponge cake for dessert, which recalls Lincoln's love of apples.

Guests will wash it down with several California wines, since Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is the chairwoman of the planning committee.

Design Cuisine, a Virginia-based caterer, has been hired to make the meal.

The backdrop for the luncheon will be Lincoln-esque as well - the painting "View of the Yosemite Valley" by Thomas Hill, borrowed from the New-York Historical Society.

The painting, which will hang behind Obama, is a landscape of Yosemite Valley at dawn - representing Lincoln's signing of the 1864 Yosemite Grant that set aside the land as a public reserve.

Just to make sure everyone gets it, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which handles much of the inaugural planning, has deemed that "A New Birth of Freedom" will be the official inaugural theme.

The phrase, from the Gettysburg Address, expresses Lincoln's hope that the sacrifice of those who died to preserve the nation would lead to "a new birth of freedom" for our nation.

And at his swearing-in ceremony, Obama will place his hand on the same Bible that Lincoln used at his first inauguration.

On Saturday, Obama will travel by train from Philadelphia to Washington, DC - part of the route taken by Lincoln during an 1861 trip.

Obama also has said his essential reading in the Oval Office would include "Team of Rivals," Doris Kearns Goodwin's 2005 best seller, which recounts how Lincoln surrounded himself with advisers who were better educated and more experienced than he was and who could be rivals for his job.


Historians battle Wal-Mart over key Civil War site

Jan 2, 3:06 PM (ET) By STEVE SZKOTAK p {margin:12px 0px 0px 0px;}

LOCUST GROVE, Va. (AP) - Wal-Mart wants to build a Supercenter within a cannonshot of where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant first fought, a proposal that has preservationists rallying to protect the key Civil War site.

A who's who of historians including filmmaker Ken Burns and Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough sent a letter last month to H. Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), urging the company to build somewhere farther from the Wilderness Battlefield.

"The Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved," said the letter from 253 scholars and others.

Wal-Mart and its supporters point out that the 138,000-square-foot store would be right behind a bank and a small strip mall, a full mile from entrance to the site of the 1864 clash that left thousands dead and hastened the war's end.

Local leaders also want the $500,000 in tax revenue they estimate the big box store will generate for rural Orange County, a gradually growing area about 60 miles southwest of Washington.

"In these economic times, the fact that Wal-Mart wants to come into the county is an economic plus," said R. Mark Johnson, a tire shop owner and chairman of the county's board of supervisors. "This is hardly pristine wilderness we're talking about."

Grant's Union troops were headed to Richmond on May 4, 1864, when they confronted Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The Battle of the Wilderness involved more than 100,000 Union troops and 61,000 Confederates. The fighting, according to National Park Service estimates, left more than 4,000 dead and 20,000 wounded.

Some 2,700 acres of the Wilderness Battlefield are protected as part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Preservationists regularly square off against developers in Virginia, where much of the Civil War was fought.

This dispute, however, has stirred an outcry similar to the one in 1994 over The Walt Disney Co.'s plans to build a $650 million theme park within miles of the Manassas Battlefield. The entertainment giant bowed to public pressure and abandoned the project.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, which opened nearly 200 stores in the U.S. in 2007, said it studied a lengthy list of sites in Orange County before settling on the spot near the battlefield and its gentle hills dissected by neat footpaths.

"We recognize the significance of the Wilderness Battlefield, but we are not building on the battlefield," said Keith Morris, a spokesman for the world's largest retailer.

Preservationists argue the store site is still significant because it was used as a staging area by Union troops.

"Is it blood-soaked ground? No, but it is a part of the battlefield," said Jim Campi, a spokesman for the Civil War Preservation Trust, which lists the Wilderness Battlefield as endangered.

Supervisors will have the final say, after county planners decide if the retailer should be granted a zoning variance. Hearings likely will be scheduled in February and March.

Supervisor Teri Pace said there are "more appropriate places" in the county for Wal-Mart to build. She envisions an economic development plan that taps the county's history - including President James Madison's restored home, Montpelier - and its agricultural heritage, which now includes several popular wineries.

"If we define ourselves and promote ourselves as something different, with tourism and agriculture, we really have huge opportunities here," Pace said.


On the Net:

Civil War Preservation Trust: http://www.civilwar.org/walmart08/

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.: http://www.walmart.com/

Orange County: http://orangecountyva.gov/



Settling in for a Long Winter of Writing History Reviews!

Settling in for a "Long Winter's Nap" may work for the rest of the world, but at LivingHistorySites.com, we will finally have a moment to get REVIEWS UP!!! Yeah!

2008 ended up being a blur - we traveled all over the Eastern side of the US, visiting sites from Massachusetts to South Carolina, to Kansas. We came home to finally be able to move after having our home on the market for 11 months, while moving was in a car accident, then Dave changed jobs! All this to say, we have been unable to get our articles up on the LivingHistorySites.com website as hoped, within a month of visiting. Lisa is the main writer, and the residual pain from the accident has taken away several months of her writing life! 2008 was a GREAT year, but it has been a year of transition, in the midst of all of this crazy travel we have done!

So as the days grow colder, the trees in the beautiful Appalachian mountains around us are barren, and life slows to that winter quiet and solitude, expect to see LivingHistorySites.com grow fat with articles on the best living history sites around the nation, the best restaurants to visit, ice cream and custard shops, and where to stay. We also hope to get to the timelines and eras, and really revamp this site in a user friendly way for the Spring 2009 travel season!

Thank you for your patience from all of us at LivingHistorySites.com! We thank you for your tremendous support, our generous patrons who have donated nights, meals, and entrance into sites all over America! We hope you had a Merry Christmas, and may the Lord bless you in 2009!

LivingHistorySites.com joins the social networking revolution!

Today I joined UrbanSpoon, a site with restaurant reviews. You can read our LivingHistorySites.com reviews at UrbanSpoon when they happen to have the same cities we have reviewed!

Beyond that, LivingHistorySites.com joined Twitter. If you want to know the latest Tweet, sign up for HistoryReviews

All of this Social Networking stuff is kindn of a hassle to sign up with - but it turns out being quite fun! 

Best of all -it adds value to everyone who allows us the privilige to review their Living History Site, restaurant or lodging! It is all about creating a wonderful historical vacation for families!

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