Coolspring, Summer 2018

Hi everyone, it’s Mimi again!  I’ve had an awesome summer and it’s not even over yet!  I got to go to Ireland at the end of the school year, and not long after we got back, mom asked me if I’d like to go to Coolspring to meet up with her friend Xyra.  I said yes of course!!

It takes about an hour and a half to get to Coolspring from home, but it seemed like it took forever.  I couldn’t wait to see who came along with Xyra, you just never know who it might be.  Mom knew, but she didn’t tell me.  So you can imagine how excited I was to meet the one and only Mel from Tea Time with Melody Q!

The grounds at Coolspring are really nice, and there are so many things to see.  This was one of the new buildings that mom hadn’t seen yet, it had so many engines in it!

There are benches all over the grounds that you can sit on and they are dedicated to different people who have been involved with Coolspring.  You can imagine how surprised mom was when she recognized the name of one of the bench honorees.  He passed away several years ago, but mom knew him from a camera club she used to belong to.

We also went to the “friends” building where they had more engines along with stuff to eat.  And this cool mini demonstration!  Mel and I were both kind of mesmerized by it, it was just our size.

Mom said it wouldn’t be a trip to the Coolspring Power Museum without ice cream for lunch!!!  It was soooo good, I can see why she suggested it.  She did inform me that I would have to eat a reasonable dinner later on though.

After our refreshing lunch, we went to the building that Xyra and her husband Franz run.  Mel knew all sorts of things about the engine there and she gave me the grand tour.

The engines at Coolspring were used for all sorts of different things–pumping water, natural gas, oil, you name it!  I’m thinking this might make for a very interesting report for history class, what do you think?

Mom spotted this two burner gas fired stove in the corner, she said that they had one at their old house.  It had belonged to her mom, it was hooked up in the basement and made a safe place for grandma when she was canning and wanted to use her pressure cooker.  Later mom told me they also used it once in a while when the weather was really hot and they didn’t want to heat up the kitchen just to cook.  And a few times when the regular stove wasn’t working.  It was pretty cool, kind of a camp stove.

Pretty soon it was time for us to head home since we had a long drive.  Mel and Xyra walked with us to our car.  I was sad to have to go, but Mel and I agreed we would keep in touch.  Melody is also good friends with my friend Louisa, maybe someday the three of us can get together, wouldn’t that be fun?!

The Coolspring Power Museum is a very interesting place.  If you’d like to read more about it, you can check out the posts over at Tea Time with Melody Q, do a search using “Coolspring” and you are sure to find it.  You can also check out the museum website:

Hope you enjoyed my post!



A field trip to Fort Necessity

When Evil Twin was here in September, we discussed the possibility of taking a little trip to Fort Necessity.  Rebecca was very interested because she is learning about it and the French and Indian War in history class.  Zoee really wanted to go because she is fascinated with George Washington and thinks he’s “pretty neat”.  After a bit of planning, Rebecca and I headed out one morning to meet up with Zoee and Evil Twin.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield is in southwestern Pennsylvania, along route 40, not too far from the Maryland border.  The battle fought at Fort Necessity was one of several skirmishes/battles that started the French and Indian war and where a young George Washington got the experience that eventually turned him into a great leader during the Revolutionary War, and later on, the first President of the United States.

We arrived just after lunch time, the weather was perfect.  The visitor center is relatively new, rebuilt in 2005 and has several interesting displays, a bookstore/gift shop and a theater which shows a short presentation explaining how the fort came in to being as well as other information about the battles that took place in the area.  Of course, the girls discovered the kids area…

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The girls thought this play area that looked like a Conestoga wagon was pretty cool.  (don’t you just love Zoee’s hat?!)

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Then they had to pretend they were other people!

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The walk from the visitor center to the fort is fairly long, but it’s paved, so it’s not too bad.  Rebecca and Zoee wanted their picture taken while they were walking out to the fort.


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It’s not very big, it’s hard to imagine very many soldiers staying here.  It was named Fort Necessity because it was built in a hurry because of advancing French troops.

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Unfortunately the door for the small building in the center of the fort was locked, but we told the girls that there isn’t much in it, usually just a desk and a chair.  Sometimes someone will be dressed in uniform to answer questions, but because it was so late in the year, no one was there.

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Uh, girls, I don’t think you are supposed to be sitting up there!!!

After walking around and checking out the fort, we headed back towards the visitors center.  We decided to watch the movie that tells about how the fort came to be and other information about the surrounding area.

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The girls waiting for the movie to start…

One of the things mentioned in the movie was the development of the National Road, now known as Route 40. The National Road was the first major highway built by the US Government and was considered to be a gateway to expansion and trade in the West. To continue funding repairs and maintenance, buildings called “toll houses” were put up so that money could be collected from those that used the road.  The girls thought that it was interesting and when we told them that an old toll house still existed along route 40, they wanted to see it. Off we went!

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Searight’s Toll House is one of only 3 remaining toll houses along the National Road. Unlike toll booths we are used to seeing now, it was a single structure and usually the toll taker lived there as well. This one is very well preserved and was turned into a historic landmark in 1964.
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Unfortunately the building was closed the day we were there, but the girls still wanted to get several pictures with it.

We headed back towards Evil Twin’s house after that, but not before we stopped at Dairy Queen!  We hung out with her for a while and after dinner, headed back towards home.

Rebecca wanted to be sure to show you the cool pin she picked up at Fort Necessity, it looks like a tri-corn hat!

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If you are interested in learning more about Fort Necessity, you can check out the National Park’s website here.  There is plenty of good literature and information available about it and the French and Indian War.  One of my favorites is the film “The War That Made America”.  It can be purchased through Amazon  or the PBS website store.  It not only documents the events in Western Pennsylvania, but also those that happened in the surrounding areas and states.  The French and Indian War is one of those things that unfortunately only gets a small blurb in most history books, but the events and battles are what shaped the nation we now know as the United States of America.

For more information about Searight’s Toll House, click here.  Additional info about the National Road can be found here.

Western Pennsylvania is full of history from our country’s beginnings to present day.  Explore PA History is a terrific website to start at to plan a trip to this historical region, as well as other areas in Pennsylvania. 

Another field trip to Coolspring!

Hi guys, Louisa here!  I’ve not had the opportunity to write a blog post, so when I asked Flo if I could write one this time, she said sure!  Some of you may remember that back in June, she and Shivan went to a place called the Coolspring Power Museum where they met up with Xyra and Kirsten from Tea Time With Melody Q.  If you haven’t read the post about that trip, you can check it out here.   Several weeks ago she got an e-mail from Xyra that said she was going to be heading back to Coolspring and hopefully they could meet up again.  She wasn’t sure who she was going to be bringing with her, Haley was supposed to go, but that was up in the air because she was feeling a bit under the weather.  Flo was having a hard figuring out who was going to come with her, we didn’t have school that day, but so many of the girls had other activities that were interfering.  Finally I just asked her if maybe I could go with her.  She said that if my mom said it was okay, I could go–mom said sure!  I was so excited the night before, I could hardly sleep, not knowing who I was going to get to meet from Xyra’s gang as well as getting to see all of the cool engines in the museum.

We headed out early in the morning, we had a very nice drive out and got there a little early.  We just hung out in the car until Flo noticed Xyra coming.  She had Melody with her!  Melody is super nice, we got along great all day.  Right after we got there, Xyra gave me a special sticker from the museum to put on my jacket.

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We wandered around the flea market first, that was interesting to see all the old things that people had for sale.  Xyra and Flo came across a doll that they didn’t recognize.  After debating, they finally just decided to text Nonna and send a picture to her.  It was very cute, she didn’t have any clothes though.  Xyra decided to go back and get her after we left, I’m anxious to see what she does with her.  It turned out that she was a Madeline doll, you know, like the little girl from the books.!

After walking around the flea market, it was on to the big event:  getting to see the largest engine called “The Snow” while it was running.  Flo was really looking forward to seeing it because it wasn’t running the last time she was here.

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The grounds were really pretty with all the leaves everywhere.  We had to climb a BIG set of steps to get to the Snow, so we took a quick picture break at the bench that is built in part of the way up.

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This photo is me with Melody in front of the giant flywheel for the Snow, its right behind us, can you see how fast it is moving?  It was creating a bit of a breeze, which wreaked havoc with my hair!  It was very interesting to see it run though and even though it was huge, it wasn’t all that noisy.  Flo said that surprised her a lot.

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After we were done there, it was time for some lunch, we were all hungry.  Do you have any ideas as to what we had for lunch?  If you guessed ice cream, you guessed right!  Flo said that it isn’t a good idea to do this all the time, but since it was a special occasion, it was okay.  They make it right on the grounds the old fashioned way and they use small engines to turn the cylinders.  Melody eats much slower than I do, I was done way before she was.  It was sooooooo good! I had chocolate, we just got a small but I was wishing I’d gotten a large.  Flo told me that there is a place not far from here that makes ice cream that tastes like this, I hope she takes some of us to get it sometime.

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After lunch, it was time to see some more of the engines throughout the museum grounds.  This one was pretty big, but not even close to as big as the Snow.  You can read more about this exhibit if you click here.  Flo took a picture with flash and a picture without flash so you can see how fast the flywheel is moving on this one.  It was nice and warm in this building because the lights were open flames, powered with natural gas.

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While Flo and Xyra were taking our picture, this guy came over with this very old chair so we could pose on it. Turns out that its the original chair that the engineer used to sit in whenever he ran this machine. I thought that was really cool! I don’t think I’ve ever got to sit in anything that old before.

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HEY NONNA!!! Look!!!! We both have our Nashville shirts on!!!

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These pictures were taken in front of the building called the Aaron Nagy Eclipse building.  The engine wasn’t running though, so we didn’t get to see much. 😦  Maybe next time.

After that, it was time for us to start our trip home.  We said our goodbyes and headed to the car.  We had a nice trip home, no construction or bad weather.  I had a great time checking out the Coolspring Museum and it was lots of fun getting to meet Xyra and Melody!

Xyra sent home a goodie bag with me to share with the other girls.

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Let’s see what is in here…

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Oh cool, some muffin pans for the bakery!

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Some yummies! (I claim dibs on the donut)

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Uh oh, better not let Cassandra see this! (just kidding)

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Hmmmm, I wonder what is in this pink tissue?

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Oh that’s right!  A cute pair of denim culottes, a pair of gloves and a hat.  Xyra said she thought since it was going to be cold, I might need the gloves and hat, but the weather turned out to be nicer than we thought it was going to be.  They will be nice to have when winter gets there though.  Flo had to explain to me about culottes, they are great she said when you want to wear a skirt, but they have built in shorts in case you need a little bit of extra coverage so your underwear isn’t out there for everyone to see!

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I had a great time getting to go to Coolspring with Flo, it was so fun meeting Xyra and Melody. I hope I get to go again sometime.  Thanks again Xyra and Melody for being such great hostesses!