Christmas 2017 in Upper Marlboro, MD

It’s always nice to go home. I’ve posted before about the lovely part of Maryland that I consider home. I always try to get out and take a long drive through the rural area around my mom’s house when I’m back. We had great weather this past Christmas, so Aleksi and I sneaked off to hang out on the landing for some alone time. We also took a walk around the graveyard at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Croom, which was built between 1742-1745 and is one of the oldest Episcopal churches Southern Maryland. There a number of historically significant folks buried around the tiny church.

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of Maryland, click here.]

Maryland: Villa VillaCrooma


I’ve finally shared all the photos from my May 2015 trip around Iceland’s Ring Road. Although I moved back to the States only a week or two after that trip, I still have some more pictures of Iceland to share from my August 2015 trip back from a seminar on editing manuscripts. I’m really excited to start sharing pictures of all the amazing stateside adventures I’ve had over the last half a year. I want to start with a few photos of the house I lived in from age 11-19, a beautiful historic house tucked into a rural finger of Maryland near Washington, D.C. (Scroll down a few paragraphs to skip my nostalgic life-reflections and learn more about the house).

In case you didn’t catch my “transition post,” I moved to Nashville, Tennessee in September 2015. But even before that, I was so blessed to have my Finn (my life’s partner and travel buddy extraordinary) stay with me at the family home in Upper Marlboro, MD while I worked for my mom’s granite counter business and applied to more history-related jobs. He studies philosophy and international relations and was offered an internship at the Hudson Institute, a prestigious think tank in DC.


I was homeschooled growing up, and my mom made the most of our free time with lots of trips to the many historical and cultural sites in the area. As a teen and young adult, I made my own excursions, but at the end of the day there are always those places you never make it or only go once because “I live here and can go anytime.”

When my fella was in Maryland, we took every opportunity to go exploring and site-seeing. I got to revisit favorite places, but I also discovered a lot of incredible places that I had never even heard of! Before he flew back to Scotland to write his dissertation, we took a week-long road trip up to Maine and back. I’m really excited to share those photos as well. (I’ll be honest, as much as I love Iceland and can’t wait to go back, I’m a little bored with posting pictures I took over half a year ago…but if you want to keep seeing Iceland pictures, my New Year’s blog resolution is to post a daily photo from my enormous archive on the blog’s Facebook page.)

Maryland13 Ok. About the house (and the post title). My family moved into this beautiful home in May 2002. The central two rooms of the house (the dining room and large bedroom above it) were built in 1809, and the rest of the 3,600 sq. ft. were added on in 1870. The railroad goes right past the front of the house. It’s used by CSX trains carrying coal now, but in the house’s heyday, it was a passenger line. One of the neat outbuildings on the property is an original carriage house with a loft above the bays for livery. There’s also a barn built into the hillside with horse stalls (that my dad’s converted to a cozy chicken house), a re-built milk cooling shed, a generator shed (from when the house first got electricity in the 20’s, and one of the oldest standing smoke houses in the county.

mdhome2 The house itself was likely the main property owner for what are now separate land plots. And yes, being built so early, the family living in the original part of the house were most certainly slave owners. My father has some original documents that list slaves among the other things attached to the property, which is a sobering history. Maryland12

And finally to the name (speaking of which, that’s my dear old kitty Pippin above). At the time we moved in, I was deeply in love with Pippi Longstocking, the famous red headed girl of literature who could lift a whole horse above her head. As a tom-boy and horse lover, I found her very inspirational. If you don’t know, Pippi lives in a house called Villa Villekulla. Well, when we moved to a neighborhood called Croom, it was only a matter of time before we realized how wonderfully Villa VillaCrooma rolled off the tongue. And the name stuck.


Maryland10  [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures of Maryland.]