The Virginia African American Historic Sites Trail

dreamstime_s_11278984African American TrailThe Commonwealth of Virginia has an official tourism website. There’s a resource on the site for people interested in travel with an African American theme. It’s the African American Historic Sites Trail. A map and information on 51 museums, culture centers, and points of interest around the state. If you’re in the Richmond area, there’s a list of black-owned restaurants for the foodies among us. There’s even a comprehensive list of historical markers if you feel like exploring. Happy trails!

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Virginia Museums Preserving African-American History & Culture II

Highly detailed map of Virginia for your design and products

I found the website for The Association of African American Museums (AAAM). The organization has a directory of African American museums, cultural centers, and historical societies. The list has 113 entries across the United States. Many of the entries have no location information (city & state) next to the name or in the description. A few entries have no descriptions at all. I did a quick scan and found five more VA museums to add to my list. Welcome to the list:

  1. Gum Springs Historical Society Museum
  2. Hampton University Museum
  3. John Jasper Museum / Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
  4. Laurel Grove School Museum
  5. The Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center

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Virginia Museums Preserving African-American History & Culture

Highly detailed map of Virginia for your design and productsI was curious about how many African-American museums are in the state of Virginia. I did some searching online and found seven (so far). I’m a metro ride from DC, so I included the two museums I found there as well. Here’s my starting list:

National Museum of African American History and Culture (DC)
African American Civil War Memorial & Museum (DC)
Legacy Museum-African American (Lynchburg, VA)
Harrison Museum Of African-American Culture (Roanoke, VA)
The Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia (Richmond VA)
Alexandria Black History Museum (Alexandria, VA)
African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach, VA)
The Black Heritage Museum (Arlington, VA)
The African American Experience (Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center)

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Adventure Walking: Walking for Fun and as a Sport

dreamstime_xs_33529235-walking-woodsImagine walking through dense woods. You’re surrounded by trees as far as the eye can see. You’re walking on a path perfectly carved in front of you. You’ve never been in these woods before, but you know where you’re going. Someone has marked the trail to guide you along the way. You breathe fresh, clean air as you make your way and you’re in the company of other walkers. You’re taking a walking adventure through the woods.

Imagine walking through a picturesque small town. You pass small shops and restaurants along the main street. Any minute, you expect to see a sign welcoming you to Mayberry or a similar town from a TV show. You take a turn at the barbershop, and there stands the Town Hall. A building built over a hundred years ago and still being used. You have all the details because you have directions with points of interest and fun facts. Someone gave it to you at the start of your walking adventure through a small town.

You enjoy walking? How about a walk through a Civil War battlefield or along the shoreline in a state park. You can explore an antique row or view historic architecture. A world of adventure (and exercise) awaits you in volkssporting (or volksmarching).

What is volkssporting? There are clubs around the United States that plan walking, hiking and bicycling events. These events take place nearly every weekend. Find your local walking club for a list of events near you (or check here). There’s a small fee (usually $3.00 per person) to receive the map, directions, and information for the event. Each event has a 3.1 mile (5 km) or 6.2 mile (10 km) option. It’s non-competitive, so you walk, run, hike or bike at your own pace. It’s family friendly so bring the kids.

Each event has a startpoint and an endpoint. Your local club will list the event and its startpoint. Drive to the startpoint. Pay the fee for the package of information and start walking. The instructions will guide you along the way. Long-time walkers are happy to answer questions at the startpoint and along the event.

I live in the state of Virginia (USA). There are 13 walking clubs around the state and over 75 walking events planned in the next 7 days. Find a club. Enjoy the adventure. Get the exercise!

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Meeting Living History at the Ridgeley Rosenwald School in Capitol Heights MD

As a blogger, anywhere I go and anyone I meet can end up in a post …

20180422_184007078_iosI visited the Ridgeley Rosenwald School in Capitol Heights, MD a few months ago. The school is an African-American heritage site in Prince George’s County. The school is managed by the Black History Program at Abraham Hall and the Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

I had a wonderful time at the school! Mae Williams (a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority) gave a small group of us a tour of the school. Her enthusiasm was equally matched by her extensive knowledge of the school’s history and renovation.

I also met a woman who actually attended the school as a child. She could point to herself in one of the old photos mounted on the school’s wall. It was a pleasure meeting you Shirley Taylor (Spriggs)!

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A Blogger’s Journey: The Question of Getting More Readers

blogI’m trying to grow as a blogger. I listen to blogging podcasts. I also joined a few blogger groups on Facebook so I could network and learn from other bloggers. I’m glad I did it because I am networking and learning.

A member of a group I joined posted a question. She had just started her blog a few days before. She said she felt her blog would not succeed because of the number of readers. She then asked how does a blog get more readers? I was one of several bloggers that replied to the question. My response was:

“I’m told the average blogger can expect to spend 2 years building up a good following and engagement. Writing talent can speed up the process. Excellent social media skills can speed up the process. Networking and exposure can speed up the process. Guest posting on other blogs can speed up the process. Pay attention to the posts that get you the best response and do more of those posts. Always ask for feedback from successful bloggers on how you can improve your blog. POST CONSISTENTLY!!!

One last thing – focus more on building engagement and not building readers. 200 highly engaged readers are better than 2,000 readers that never like or comment.”

Now I’m no expert. I have 43 followers as of this post. That’s huge for me but still small in the ocean of blogs out there. I come to this advice from podcasts, my study of blogging, and the network of bloggers I’m slowly building. To my fellow bloggers, this is my answer to the question. How would you answer?

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Rest Stop Bathrooms and the Curse of the Low Power Hand Dryer

dreamstime_xs_48754288-public-bathroomI’ve been on several road trips in the last year including an 18 hour trip to Florida. I enjoy road trips. I listen to audiobooks during the drive, and the view on scenic roads can be relaxing.

One side effect of a long drive is occasionally, you feel the call of nature. Suddenly, those information signs along the road become essential to read. You begin the search for a rest stop, truck stop or some other place to grab a snack and use the facilities. This is a familiar ritual on a road trip.

My problem is this. I’ve noticed more, and more of the public bathrooms don’t have paper towels. All you get are hand dryers. Most of the time, it’s a low power hand dryer. I can honestly say that low power hand dryer is good for nothing but building frustration.

Now I get it. Paper towels add to landfills. Plus, businesses can save money by not supplying them. My complaint is this. You can’t blow your nose or wipe something off your shirt with a hand dryer. There are times when you need a paper towel in a bathroom.

These low power hand dryers are not working for me. I decided I need a solution for my road trips. Kleenex hand towels to the rescue! I buy a box at the start of the trip. I grab a couple of towels before getting out of the car and put them in a pocket. If the bathroom is out of paper or has a hand dryer, I’m covered. I just reach into my pocket.

I know some of you will think this is no big deal or even silly. My view, it’s a less stressful road trip!

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Road Trip Time But Will Your Car Make it? When Should You Sell Your Old Car?

dreamstime_xs_24238838-car-balanceI spend a lot of time in my car on road trips. As a result, I put a lot of miles on my car. With all those miles, when should I sell my car and upgrade to a newer one? After all, I don’t want my car to die on me when I’m 300 miles away … on a road trip.

The best solution to this predicament is the Maintenance Cost vs. Car Value Rule. Here’s how it works. At the end of the year (or on an anniversary you choose), add up all the maintenance costs you spent on the car for the past year. This would include any deductibles for warranty work. If the total amount spent on maintenance in one year is greater than half the value of the car, sell the car.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you did the following things to your car last year; oil changes, fluid changes, a new battery and new tires. You also paid a $100 deductible to replace a broken windshield wiper motor. (The warranty paid for the rest.) Add it all up and the total cost for last year was $1,100. You then go to Kelly Blue Book (or some other car value site), and you find out your car is worth $2,000. The $1,100 spent on maintenance is more than half your car’s value. Time to sell. The car is costing too much for its value.

Share if you know another rule for selling a car.

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