Observe life at its best, Listen to life’s songs, Embrace life’s bounties, Breathe the breath of life, Savor life to its fullest!

Awakenings: Virginia & New Hampshire

This Day in History: June 25, 1788

Virginia, “Old Dominion,” “Mother of Presidents,” “Mother of States,” the Birthplace of a Nation

Each of the state nicknames independently, as well as in combination, attribute to Virginia being declared the “Birthplace of a Nation”. Virginia is an American history icon! This is where our country began…the founding of Jamestown on the banks of the James River, our first permanent English colony, in Virginia in 1607 – 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts. So much American history, so many historical sites. No wonder it is said Virginia’s history IS America’s history!


Bit of Trivia: Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts have a state cat, Maryland also has a state dinosaur, West Virginia has a state rattlesnake and Virginia has a state BAT!



Also in June, 1788 is the establishment of New Hampshire as the 9th state to join the union. Did you know New Hampshire was first named North Virginia, and it was once under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts?

This Day in History: June 21, 1788

New Hampshire, the Granite State, the Mother of Rivers, the White Mountain State, Switzerland of America*

*This state is also called the Switzerland of America, on account of the salubrity of its climate; its wild and picturesque landscapes; its lakes and rapid streams. The celebrated White Mountains, in the northern part of the state, are of great elevation, and afford the grandest display of mountain scenery in our country. [From Hayward’s New England Gazetteer of 1839]



Awakenings: West Virginia: The Mountains are Callin’

This Day in History: June 20, 1863

West Virginia, the Mountain State


West Virginia’s karst topography contributes to its cool trout waters, diverse landscapes, whitewater rapids, historic caves and lost world caverns. The state motto of West Virginia Montani Semper Liberi or “Mountaineers Always Free” was adopted in 1863 reflecting the character and beliefs of the citizens of the state at the time of its adoption. Being known as the land of rugged mountains (the scenic Allegheny Mountains cross the state), it is most appropriate for West Virginia to be nicknamed The Mountain State.


On June 20, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, West Virginia became the 35th state to join the union. West Virginia is the only state in the Union to have acquired its sovereignty by proclamation by the President of the United States. Statehood was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln.


States at a Glance

catnipoflife‘s sister site Awakenings began a journey in January across the United States focusing each month on the state(s) that was admitted to the union during that month. Now six months into the year 23 states have been visited. Some of these have been Scooped onto catnip but not all. What is the idea behind this journey you might be wondering?


Could you place each state correctly as to location if given a blank map?

America. The United States. The United States of America. The USA. How much do you know about our nation’s states or better still, what do you know about the state in which you live? Do you know which state(s) have a State Cat? What about the one with a State Dinosaur along with a State Cat? Which state(s) claims the Spirit of the Ladybug as its state insect? Do you know which state is nicknamed after its Busy Buzzin’ Bees? This next one surely you know…the state famous for The Shag and Shad Roe?

The first state featured @Awakenings Georgia On My Mind leaves no room for questions as to which state hosted the first visit. Within that post is a special poem for Georgia, which set the stage for each state that follows. The challenge has been and continues to be not so much the research for each state but creating the special poetry attributable to the nature of each one. With that being said stay tuned for the next two Scoops of two states visited today…Kentucky and Tennessee.

Which of these boasts times when ‘Mountain Music harbored life in song’?


Awakenings: Wisconsin: Land of Dreams

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

This Day in History: May 29, 1848

Wisconsin, The Badger State, The Dairy State, The Cheese State

Miners earned Wisconsin the nickname Badger State because their act of digging homes out of hillsides near the mines was a little too similar to that of the badgers who also dug underground places of abode. Since Wisconsin is one of the top producers of milk, cheese and butter in the country, it is of no surprise that it has also been given the nickname ‘America’s Dairyland’, which is synonymous with the The Dairy State and The Cheese State. Wisconsin’s state quarter features the state motto, which is simply Forward. Other agricultural symbols of Wisconsin also appear on the quarter: a dairy cow (state domestic animal), a round of cheese (milk is the state beverage), and an ear of corn (state grain).

Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as the 30th state on May 29, 1848.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

When you hear someone mention Wisconsin, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Of course, it has to be CHEESE! Since Wisconsin is one of the top producers of milk, cheese and butter in the country, it is of no surprise that it has also been given the nickname ‘America’s Dairyland’, which is synonymous with the The Dairy State and The Cheese State.

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Awakenings: Rhode Island: Spectacular in the Fall

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

This Day in History: May 29, 1790

Rhode Island, the Ocean State, the Southern Gateway of New England

The Ocean State is the official nickname formulated to attract tourism to Rhode Island and appears on non-commercial license plates replacing “Discover” in 1972. With over 400 miles of coastline, all Rhode Islanders live within a 30-minute drive to the Atlantic Ocean or Narragansett Bay. The historical nickname, the Southern Gateway of New England, was bestowed because Rhode Island was the most southerly of the New England states with harbors suitable for ocean-going ships.

It was the last colony of the thirteen colonies to ratify the United States Constitution on May 29, 1790, once assurances were made that a Bill of Rights would become part of the Constitution, thereby making it the 13th state in the union.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

What Rhode Island lacks in size it makes up for in historical significance. Take the high-flying tour of the little state with big stories.

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sunset-newport-RISunset at Newport, Rhode Island – photo © G.E. Long on Flickr
noncommercial use permitted with attribution

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Awakenings: Saddle Up!

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

This Day in History: February 14, 1912

Saddle Up! This is America, this is Arizona!

Arizona’s state motto is Ditat Deus in Latin, translating as “God Enriches.” Its nickname is The Grand Canyon State named for its unmatched vistas riding along its rim. The grand canyon was formed by the uplifting of the Colorado plateau and erosion caused by the Colorado River over a period of 6 million years. Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s history can be observed in the layers of exposed rock. Prehistoric native Americans built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site and made pilgrimages to it.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

Watch National Geographic’s breathtaking video, Amazing Flight Over the Grand Canyon. Priceless!

See @Awakenings…

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Awakenings: Land of Many Changes

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

This Day in History: February 14, 1859

Two states joined the union on February 14 in different years, of course. First up today is Oregon, The Beaver State.

Oregon Flies With Her Own Wings and is a Land of Many Changes…

Sharla Shults‘s insight:
Land of Many Changes

From the rugged seacoast
Inland to high mountain passes
A swath of forest hills
Gather as though in masses

Continued @Awakenings

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Awakenings: Not just any fish story!

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

This Day in History: February 6, 1788

What do a codfish and chocolate chip cookies have in common?

Did you know the turkey was almost our national bird?

While many states have a designated state animal, which state(s) have a state cat?

Where does Arlo Guthrie fit into this picture?

Sharla Shults‘s insight:
Everybody loves
but how many know
where its first cookie was born?
All the butter, sugar and chips
point in one direction
t’ward the state of *-*-*-*
for cookie, folks, not corn
Do I have your curiosity? Visit Awakenings…

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Awakenings: We’re not in Kansas anymore or are we?

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

The nickname “Sunflower State” calls to mind the wild flowers of the plains of Kansas. Also, nicknamed the “World’s Bread Basket,” the great state of Kansas leads our nation in wheat production; has given us leaders in politics, aviation, and sports, and fuels our Hollywood image of the Wild West (Dodge City). The state motto of Kansas is Ad astra per aspera (To the stars through difficulties).

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

Do you know the state song of Kansas? Did you know the song has been used in countless movies and shows, being sung by everyone from Willie Nelson to Porky Pig?

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Awakenings: Busy Buzzin’ Bees

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

This Day in History: January 4, 1896

Utah, the Beehive State

Utah was Mexican territory when the first pioneers arrived in 1847. It became the 45th state admitted to the union on January 4, 1896. Great slideshow dedicated to the state of Utah.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

Visit Awakenings for the special poetry and great slideshow of the state of Utah.

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