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'A Chance Encounter' Debuts at Oak Hill Cemetery

October 8, 2017

George Hill introduces Joe Krakora (Photo by: Judith Beermann) George Hill introduces Joe Krakora

Retired National Gallery of Art executive-turned-filmmaker, Joseph J. Krakora premiered A Chance Encounter, the first of 20 short films about the history of Georgetown's Oak Hill Cemetery on Sunday, October 8, 2017.

Not yet released and, in fact, voice-over by the great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis is still in progress.  But for the the VIPs invited to preview the 18-minute film, it was a moving introduction to a few of the 20,000 souls buried on a hill overlooking Rock Creek Park.

"The names here tell the story of the history of the city and of the nation," explained Krakora, as he outlined plans for "The Oak Hill Story Project," to turn it into a TV series and a documentary book.

In A Chance Encounter, an imaginary conversation between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis walking through the cemetery centers on slavery and saving the Union while they each mourn the death of their young sons Willie and Samuel. Many Civil War soldiers and their families are buried at Oak Hill.

Watching (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Watching "A Chance Encounter"
Guests listened to music by John Philip Souza as they enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres before the film. In 1858, Corcoran bought 158 acres and hired James Renwick, Jr. to design a small chapel for the new cemetery. Souza's band once played for William Corcoran on the cemetery grounds.

Oak Hill Cemetery Superintendent David Jackson (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Oak Hill Cemetery Superintendent David Jackson

Superintendent David Jackson thanked his predecessor Ella Pozell and other Oak Hill Cemetery staff for their service, singling out members of the grounds crew who have been there more than 25 years. 

While space is becoming scarce for new burials, President George Hill assured the audience that transitioning to a muesum was decades away.

In the meantime, there was plenty of work for the Oak Hill Cemetery Historic Preservation Foundation including repairing the tall iron fence along R Street and ongoing monument restoration work.

Pies from Copperthite Bakery (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Pies from Copperthite Bakery

Following the program, guests enjoyed pie from Connecticut Copperthite, a company that began baking in 1886 Georgetown.

Oak Hill Cemetery VP David de Vicq chats with Sally Quinn (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Oak Hill Cemetery VP David de Vicq chats with Sally Quinn

For more information, visit Oak Hill Cemetery.


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What I Learned In The Galápagos: Part II

September 14, 2017

If you missed Part I, here it is.

 

11. You might get a free weekend in Quito if you try to get home during a hurricane.

View from Hilton Hotel Colon Quito (Photo by: Judith Beermann) View from Hilton Hotel Colon Quito

12. AKA most underpublicized tourist attraction, TelefériQo (aerial gondola lift) on Pinchincha Volcano to Cruz Loma lookout, one of the world’s highest at 12,943 feet.

TelefériQo (aerial gondola lift) on Pinchincha Volcano (Photo by: Judith Beermann) TelefériQo (aerial gondola lift) on Pinchincha Volcano

13. If you're scared of heights, share your gondola with kids.

On the gondola lift (Photo by: Judith Beermann) On the gondola lift

14. Panama hats are made in Ecuador.

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ciudad Mitad del Mundo

15. At the middle of the world (Ciudad Mitad del Mundo) you can balance an egg but not walk a straight line. Water flows both counter-clockwise and clockwise (straight) down a drain due to Coriolis effect.

Staying connected at a Quito market (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Staying connected at a Quito market

16. iPhones are popular here too.

Old Town in Quito September 12, 2017 (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Old Town in Quito September 12, 2017

17. You say you want a revolution? Public protest erupted in Old Town Quito on September 12, 2017 over former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa’s government amendments. 

Entrance ceiling of La Compañía (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Entrance ceiling of La Compañía

18. Sometimes way too much gold works. The spectacularly ornate Jesuit church, nicknamed La Compañía, is one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America. There's gold leaf and gilded plaster everywhere (no photos allowed inside).

Domes of La Compañía (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Domes of La Compañía

Orcas up close (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Orcas up close

19. Not even the crew is jaded. When orcas dance around the ship at dinnertime, get up close.

Zodiac ride with guide to view birds (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Zodiac ride with guide to view birds

20. Everyone connected with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic is passionate about preserving, reveling in, and telling the world about the unique and breathtaking life in the Galapagos. 


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What I Learned In The Galápagos: Part I

September 13, 2017

1. Expect to be sprayed with disinfectant before you land. Airport security screening is for plants and animals, not weapons. In 1971 the National Park Service successfully eradicated goats from Rábida. This introduced species upset the natural environment and led to the extinction of several native creatures including geckos, land iguanas, and rice rats. 

Fernandina Island Volcano erupting 12:30 pm on September 4, 2017 (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fernandina Island Volcano erupting 12:30 pm on September 4, 2017

2. Best time to visit is when a volcano erupts, preferably after you've hiked around the island. And if you go with Lindlad Expeditions, you know they'll circle back the next evening to check on the volcano.

Lava from erupting volcano on Fernandina Island September 5, 2017 (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Lava from erupting volcano on Fernandina Island September 5, 2017

3. The darker the feet on a male blue-footed booby, the more attractive they are to the females. Lighter colored feet mean they've had too much sex already.

Blue-footed boobies (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Blue-footed boobies

4. The spectacular red sand and rock on Rábida is the result of oxidation the moment the island was formed. Unpopulated except for flamingos, and sea lions, it’s the only Galápagos site where Darwin’s nine finches are found.

Rabid Island sea lions (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Rabid Island sea lions

5. Zodiac boats hold 12 adult humans plus all their luggage, and dry landings are a lot like wet landings. GORE-TEX hiking boots get wet either way.

Rábida Island (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Rábida Island

6. If you skip the two-hour morning mountain hike and kayaking, you can sunbathe on the deck of  National Geographic Endeavor II and have the entire ship to yourself.

On deck of Lindblad/National Geographic Endeavor II (Photo by: Judith Beermann) On deck of Lindblad/National Geographic Endeavor II

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

7. Frigatebirds put on quite a show to get laid, iguanas loll around in monochrome, and cormorants don't mind that they can't fly. They're all living in paradise.

Frigatebird looking for love (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Frigatebird looking for love

Galapagos iguanas (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Galapagos iguanas

Flightless cormorant (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Flightless cormorant

8. Darwin’s giant tortoises are treated better than local islanders. Lonesome George, sent to the world’s finest taxidermist, has a climate controlled designer shrine. 

Lonesome George (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Lonesome George

9. The archipelago looks a lot like the Amalfi Coast but without tourists or great outdoor dining … unless you're a bird.

Galápagos Islands (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Galápagos Islands

Galapagos pelican (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Galapagos pelican

10. Don’t expect results from Darwin Research Station and Tortoise Breeding Center on Santa Cruz Island this century. Giant tortoises don't start mating till they're a hundred.

2017 Santa Cruz tortoise hatchlings (Photo by: Judith Beermann) 2017 Santa Cruz tortoise hatchlings


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