Monday, August 31, 2009

Elmira, NY (Vacation blog continued)

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The next day we drove to Elmira, NY. We had seen pictures on the Internet and it intrigued us as a beautiful place to visit. Truth be told, we were a little disappointed. Being a Civil War buff, George was interested in its part in history.
When we got there, we took a trolley bus ride. It is a perfect tour of all the highlights of Elmira.
We got to get off at Mark Twain's study. Although we pride ourselves in having his house in Hartford, he spent over 20 summers in Elmira with his wife's family. They built him this wonderful study--not necessarily to inspire his great works they now say, but perhaps because he smoked 40 cigars a day. Whatever the reason, he wrote many of his great writings there including Huckleberry Finn. It is located on the beautiful campus of Elmira College. I'm sure if I had a study like that, that I could write great novels (yeah, that's all it takes).
The trolley also took us by the cemetery where over 2900 Confederate soldiers are buried. They were buried by a runaway slave named John Jones, who was paid $2. per burial. It is said, which would seem contrary to what you would think, that he did so reverently and they are in the process of making a museum to the memory of this remarkable man. I wish it were ready when we were there.
In a different section of the cemetery, we saw where Mark Twain was buried and Hal Roach--I remember watching "Hal Roach studios present Laurel & Hardy". I am a big Laurel & Hardy fan.
Near the cemetery we also got to visit a one room museum that has been created as a tribute to veterans of the Vietnam war. It was small and didn't have a lot of things, but they did have quite a resource of books if you needed to look up something.
So, that was our day in Elmira, along with a stroll down the walkway along the river. It is interesting to note that a place so far north had a Civil War prison camp. I find it curious that they had to know that this was part of history yet no one tried to save any of it. It was turned into housing developments. I know it was not a happy part if history, but it was history just the same.

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