24 July 2008

Raglan Castle, located in Monmothshire Wales is one of my favorite places in the world! But then again, I am obviously biased. This is my majestic palace and after many years, I finally had the opportunity to go inside. It was very overwhelming & I actually cried a bit when I walked through the large gate doors near the main Tower. After many years of researching my Ragland roots, someone told my father about this castle and for many years I wanted to see it in person. Originally spelled “Rhaglan” this Welsh aristocratic home was the last medieval castle built in Great Britain and was destroyed during the English Civil War during the mid-1600s. Driving through Monmouthshire, it was very exciting to see signs for Rhaglan/Raglan-even the GPS system showed Raglan! Across from the castle is Raglan Village, which has a church, pub, restaurant, petrol station, golf course, Farm Shop and more. The townspeople certainly made me feel like a celebrity once they knew my last name is Ragland. At a local restaurant, a councilman took a photo with me because he had only met one other Raglan/Ragland/Rhaglan in his life and that person actually lived in Wales. What a thrill to sit in the restaurant eating fish & chips with mashed peas while people approached my table to say hello to the “Ragland”. It was one of the best experiences of my life & I cannot wait to go back to my other home and visit my “little house” in the Welsh countryside. <

15 July 2008

The Sun Never Sets on the Junior League

I should know that the sun never sets on the Junior League because I have been in six different Leagues! As a TV personality I moved a lot and the one thing I could rely on was finding a Junior League nearby. This past weekend was a treat because I traveled back to Florida where I originally joined the League & I must say that there is nothing like your first League. My trip was a fun girl’s weekend retreat. I went to visit my incredibly amazing friend Amanda, who will be League president soon and the ultra fabulous Beth who first invited & proposed me to the League more than a decade ago. We had a great time catching up on the past as well as hearing future JL plans. Amanda is also responsible for bringing me into Phi Mu and we had a wonderful time outside of our Phi Mu Fraternity house. Amanda is definitely a southern belle and my favorite monogram Queen! My goodness, even her car is monogrammed and if you check out one of her photos above you can see that her shirt and her car are both elegantly stitched with her initials. The day after my arrival, Amanda & I took a road trip all the way to the Peach state of Georgia so we could take a tour of my favorite house, Pebble Hill Plantation. This piece of land dates back to 1827, though the current home was built in 1936. It reminds me very much of my first home at the National Park Seminary in the DC area, which was built in the 1880s. At the end of my trip, getting home was truly an adventure in itself. Almost all of the flights were cancelled in the southeast and I was trapped at the airport! Hours later and a change in airlines (twice) I was flown to Charlotte where I spent the night & headed home the first thing the next morning. Another problem is that my hometown has two airports and the airlines had to fly me to one while my car was parked at the other- OY VEY! I ended up retrieving my car on the other side of town at the end of the day when all of the rush hour traffic was gone. I have decided that all of my domestic trips will now be seen from the ground on the railways of AMTRAK.

07 July 2008

Weekend in New England

During the 4th of July weekend I finally made it to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard-at least to the front door, anyway! After college graduation (many moons ago), I began studying for the GRE with the ambition of going to KSG for a Master’s in Public Policy. That summer while on holiday in Maine, a chance meeting with Senator Kennedy changed all of that when he gave me an opportunity to work in his office. Afterwards, I became a political news reporter & remained in TV & public relations without continuing to grad school. Although I’ve been to Harvard & Cambridge before, I never walked down JFK Street to the KSG. It was also nice to waltz through the same courtyard & across the same campus my uncle walked through nearly 60 years ago as he attended classes, as well as my cousin in more recent years. I need to return for the Head of the Charles in October. I became hooked on crew when my brother rowed for Wharton. Go figure-a group of preppy business school guys racing against some of the most competitive teams in the country. It was quite a sight!

04 July 2008