The Queen's Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

The Queen’s Hamlet

The Queen’s Hamlet.

Place d’Armes, 78000, Versailles, France.

Also known as Hameau de la Reine, the Queen’s Hamlet was the place I most wanted to see when we toured the Palace of Versailles.

We purchased the Passport ticket which included admission to the entire estate at the Palace of Versailles. While the gardens are free to visit (except on days with there are musical fountain shows or musical gardens), the Passport ticket allows you to visit the Palace, the gardens on musical days, and the estate of Trianon (which includes the Queen’s Hamlet).

One thing that I appreciated while traveling in Europe is that many museums and places of interest (such as the Palace of Versailles) have free entry for visitors under 18 (under 26 if you reside in the EU). This saved us quite a bit as we were traveling with three teenagers. I would recommend that if your teenage looks questionable as to whether they are under 18, that you make sure they have I.D. This only happened at the Louvre in Paris. My seventeen year old is 6’6″ and at one checkpoint they asked his age and at another they asked for proof. I did assume that we’d come upon this at some point. I used to carry his birth certificate in case we were ever questioned when we’d travel to Disney World (we never were).

I’ve shared some of my photos of the exterior of Versailles and from the inside of the Palace. In yesterday’s post, I shared a serene view across the lake found in the hamlet

Today, I thought we’d walk around some of the cottages found at the Queen’s Hamlet.

The estates of Trianon and hamlet are a somewhat lengthy walk from the gardens at Versailles. There are trains available for a fee that leave near the Palace and bikes available to rent farther into the gardens.

Things tend to add up quickly for a family of 5, so we decided to walk.

When we visited Versailles in April, the Queen’s home was under restoration. They cover the buildings while work is in progress (something I witnessed throughout my European travels). The restoration is being sponsored by the fashion house Dior, hence the covering. According to the website, restoration will be complete in 2018.

The Queen’s Hamlet was built for Marie-Antionette between 1783 and 1787. It was a model village built around an artificial lake.



The cottages are set in a crescent formation along the eastern side of the lake.

Contrary to popular belief, Marie-Antoinette did not “play at being farmer”. The model village was a working farm at her insistence and served as an educational place for the royal children.



She hosted small gatherings of her friends at the village.

She took relaxing walks through the gardens.

Marie-Antoinette used the village to escape from the rigors of court life.

The Hamlet was designed by the French architect, Richard Mique. The cottages combine Norman, Flemish, and French styles.

Marlborough Tower stands overlooking the lake and adding to the fairytale ambience of the Hamlet.


The Moulin was a watermill. The wheel was driven by a stream from the Grand Lake, but was used for decorative purposes only.


Not only was the architecture intriguing, but cottages meant a plethora of doors.

To see more doors around the world be sure to check out Norm’s blog where he hosts Thursday Doors.


It was easy to feel at peace while strolling along.

The area is spread out and there were not throngs of crowds (unlike the Palace and Gardens) as we walked at a leisurely pace.

While I don’t live in the stressful world of being scrutinized for being royalty, I do live in a world that rushes along at a frantic pace.

It’s nice to slow down sometimes.

I can see why the Queen loved it so much.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau

Let your light shine!



Houseboats of Amsterdam

Houseboats of Amsterdam

What do you think of when you hear about Amsterdam?

No, not that…


Did you know that Amsterdam has more than 100 km of canals, about 90 islands, and 1500 bridges?

Located along some of these canals are houseboats. In fact, there are around 2,500 legally  moored houseboats in Amsterdam, and it is unlikely that any more spaces will be added. Originally they were used as a way to deal with the housing shortage. In today’s world, they are in great demand.

After our trip to Amsterdam, the hubby thinks that it would be amazing to live on a houseboat in Amsterdam, even if it were for a brief amount of time. Since we are still raising teens, that possibility has be set somewhere in a distant future.

In the meantime, today is his birthday, so I thought I’d give him a visual of his dream and share a photo tour of some of the houseboats of Amsterdam.

If you’d like to see more doors, be sure to check out Thursday Doors… more windows, check out the weekly photo challenge.

I hope that you enjoy coming along on this canal tour of Amsterdam.

The home should be the treasure chest of the living. |Le Corbusier

May your walls know joy, may each room hold laughter, and may every window open to great possibility. |Mary Ann Radmacher-Hershey


Home is any four walls that enclose the right person. |Helen Rowland

Home is the nicest word there is. |Laura Ingalls Wilder

Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring of all earthly establishments. |Channing Pollack


I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. |Maya Angelou


One of my future dreams is to be able to spend long enough in a new place to become immersed in its culture.

Amsterdam is one those cities in which I think I’d enjoy spending an extended amount of time living. However, I’m a little apprehensive about a houseboat. I’m concerned about the movement and if I’d adapt. An apartment in the city…absolutely. Houseboat…?

What about you? Would you live in a houseboat?

We all are a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone with weirdness whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love. Robert Fulghum quote

Let your light shine!


Doors of Amsterdam

Doors of Amsterdam


Keepers of mysteries.

Releasers into the great unknown.

As I walked along the streets of Amsterdam, some doors would catch my eye. Whether it was the door itself or the architecture surrounding.

I am a village boy, and Amsterdam for me was always the big town.

| Anton Corbijn

A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.

| Vincent Van Gogh

It is better to fail with your own vision than to fail with another man’s vision.

| Johan Cruijff

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

| Corrie Ten Boom

A work is finished when the artist realizes his intentions.

| Rembrandt


For more doors from around the world be sure to check out Thursday Doors with the surprise guest host this week.

Quotes this week are from the Dutch who spoke them.

….except Winnie the Pooh

…but… the photo is Amsterdam…and c’mon, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet are beacons of wisdom.

I didn’t write down the street names as I captured these doors, but if you know where they are feel free to shout it out in the comments!

Life is a journey to be experience, not a problem to be solved. -Winnie the Pooh

Let your light shine!


Behind the Lens - This is 40

Behind the Lens – This is 40

September 12, 1977.

2:41 p.m.

Naples Community Hospital, Naples, Florida, USA.

That would be the moment when I would make my grand entrance into this world.


I am 40.

This age that felt so ancient in the days of my youth. This age that feels so young now that I am standing here.

Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc on my hometown. I shared my thoughts from the other side of the storm in yesterday’s post. For as long as I can remember my mother has sang me “Happy Birthday” today. When I became a young woman and left the folds of her nest, she would call and begin singing as soon as I said “Hello?”. I wondered about today…would this day…this milestone in my life…be the one exception?

It was not.

She found a signal on her drive into the city and sang to me on this special day of mine.


I am a fan of being behind my lens.

Time has tried to steal my comfort with the aging process.

So today, I am sharing a series of photos taken of me behind the lens. Photos taken by my mother and my husband. Photos that I’m often not aware of until a later time. Photos of me feeling confident and strong as I learn to share what my eyes see through the lens of my camera. Photos taken by people who love me and believe in me even when I do not believe in myself. Photos of me as I press outside of my comfort zone…as I grow…as I learn who I am outside of wife…mother…daughter…sister…friend. Photos taken over this past year or so as I marched toward this day…this milestone…this moment of 40.


One of my happy places. River Palm Cottages | Jensen Beach, Florida.

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this older post of mine.

On an excursion off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Niagara Dam | Roanoke, Virginia.

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

A successful hiking day. Dragon’s Tooth | Catawba, Virginia

Hiking Dragon’s Tooth. | Catawba, Virginia

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Every step…every decision…has brought me to this point…today I step into my 40's…stronger…more confident…and more resilient than I have ever been . .This is one of my favorite photos of me in front of a camera. It was taken, unbeknownst to me, by my husband during a visit to the Taubman on an outing in downtown Roanoke to celebrate our anniversary in April 2016 . . .#thisis40 #seekthesimplicity #theglobewanderer #roamtheplanet #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #LoveVA #virginiacities #blueridgeday #darlingescapes #abmlifeiscolorful #ihavethisthingwithcolor #lifeofadventure #liveauthentic #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #travelstoke #traveldiaries #thehappynow #fromwhereistand #exploretocreate #visualsoflife #welivetoexplore #exploremore #lifestyleblogger #letsgosomewhere #ipulledoverforthis #itsamazingoutthere #ladiesgoneglobal #suitcasetravels

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A brief foray into Notre Dame. | Paris, France.

Miss Sunshine was very ill this day. Our visit brief. I haven’t shared the photos from the other of side of the lens as of yet. If you’d like to see a few of my photos from Paris you can check out this post.


Another beautiful place to see.  Palace of Versailles | Versailles, France.

To see the palace from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


One of my favorite places at the Palace of Versailles was the Hamlet of Marie Antionette. | Versailles, France.

So far, I’ve only shared photos of the Hamlet on Instagram, but if you’d like to see more of the Palace from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Taking photos of the Eiffel Tower. | Paris, France

This was a walk-by opportunity only, for a shot from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Walking amongst Scotland’s history. Stirling Castle. | Stirling, Scotland.

To see the castle from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Atop the roof of Princes Street Suites. | Edinburgh, Scotland

I’ve not shared about the actual hotel, but I’ve shared numerous photos from the other side of the lens about my travels to Scotland. To see some of Edinburgh from the other side of the lens, check out this post and this post

To see more from Scotland, use the search tool on the home page. Hint: there’s quite a few from Glasgow as well.


My last outing. End of summer. | Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

To see a few shots from the other side of the lens, check out this post. If you’re looking for the sunset, you can find of those in this post or on Instagram.

If hope that you’ve enjoyed a little walk behind this lens with me.

I’m off to see what 40 has in store for me.


Let your light shine!


Street Corners of Amsterdam

Street Corners of Amsterdam

One thing that I’ve noticed about traveling to new places is that around every corner there are exciting things…unfamiliar and yet, exhilarating.

So today, I thought we’d take a stroll around the street corners of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam was the first place that my feet trod on foreign soil (outside of the German airport layover…but we’re talking “literal” soil).

If you’ve been reading my blog for sometime then you know that I traveled to Amsterdam this past April… a mere 4 1/2 months ago.

If you’d like to read some of my other posts from Amsterdam, you can find a few here, here, and here.

One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to just stroll along the streets.

I love to see the architecture.

Europe has much older architecture than in the United States so it was a treat to see the historical buildings as I walked along in Amsterdam.

While I admire architecture, I am not well versed in recognizing the period in which the styles came into construction. History, as well as geography, were never my strong subjects. I was a math and science girl with a little creative writing thrown in to round me out. It wasn’t until I became interested in traveling that I began to take interest in history and geography. Given that I’m still new to foreign travel, I have quite a bit to learn.

Amsterdam’s history dates back to the 13th Century.

At the time of my visit, I did not realize that I too have a history that winds its way through the streets of Amsterdam.

My 10th great-grandfather was Jan Frans Van Husum (Van Hoesen, Van Huss, Vanhooser). He was from Husum in Schleswig, which was part of Denmark at the time. He married Volkje Jurrians from the island of Nordstrand. Little is known about them prior to their marriage, but there was a great flood in 1634 that was devastating to Nordstrand and the coast of Denmark, including the city of Husum.

They were married in 1639 in Amsterdam and were living on Tuinstraat.  Little did I know while I was visiting the Anne Frank House, that across the canal and up a bit, once had lived my 10th great-grandparents. I do not know how long they lived in Amsterdam prior to their marriage, but a few months later they would set sail for America.

They sailed for New Amsterdam, which was the southern tip of Manhattan.

In 1662, he would purchase hundreds of acres around Claverack from the Mohicans.

He was the first of his name to come to America. All variations of his last name eventually make his way back to him and Volkje.

My line would make it’s way down to North Carolina and eventually Kentucky. I once read that the family name change from Van Hooser to Van Hoose was a disagreement between brothers over sides during the Revolutionary War. There are those much more knowledgeable than me into the genealogical history of the name that would know the details.  My 6th Great- Grandfather was John B. Van Hoose who was married to Mary Bryan. There is great debate and mystery over her heritage as the Van Hoose’s did travel to Kentucky with the likes of the Boone’s and Bryan’s.

But, nonetheless, that heritage that would travel to my maternal grandmother, Reva Van Hoose, would start with a marriage that took place in Amsterdam.

I wonder what the street corners looked like as they strolled along them?

Did they wave hello to Rembrandt as they made their way across town?

Did they stop and admire tulips or were they not in Amsterdam prior to the Tulip Bubble burst of 1637?

Street corners hold thousands of daily tales.

Do yours have any to tell?

Let your light shine!



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