Virginia and the Carolinas Branch
Jim Van Blarcom
Posted November 6, 2015
2015 Branch Meeting of the Virginia/Carolinas Branch
The Holland Society of New York
On the weekend of October 30 through November 1, thirteen members and their significant others spent the weekend in the lovely coastal city of Wilmington, NC. On Friday, after exploring the beach areas, our group met at the beautiful home of member Jerry Van Schaick overlooking the Intra-Coastal Waterway, for a wine, beer and cheese party hosted by Jerry and his wife, Patty. It was a great time as old friendships were renewed and new ones made.
Saturday morning we ventured into the City of Wilmington and began our day with a trolley tour of the city and were impressed by the historic buildings that date to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression to us Southerners). After our tour, some of us ferried across the Cape Fear River to visit the battleship North Carolina, while others went on the visit historic homes and also conduct some efforts to support the commercial businesses of Wilmington (they shopped). The battleship, the most decorated in WWII, was an amazing mix of steel, guns, cramped spaces both in engineering and living, and an overall feeling of power. We could just imagine her 16 inch guns firing a broadside. Late afternoon saw the group re-uniting on a relaxing river tour up and down the Cape Fear River.
Saturday night, we had a tasty dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Intrar-Coastal Waterway and there are a few less crabs and fish in the area as we ate our share. After dinner, we adjourned to a room provided by our hotel and listened to an interesting talk on the Huguenots given by Society member Ken Zeliff. The Huguenots were in Holland due to religious persecution and many immigrated to the Dutch New Amsterdam for a better life in the 1600s. Society President Doctor Bob Schenck also spoke and showed slides of his recent trip to Leiden for the October 3rd festival celebrating the lifting of the siege of Leiden in 1574. This is somewhat like our Thanksgiving with parades and lots of good food.
Sunday, we held our annual meeting to decide where to meet next year. The decision was somewhere in South Carolina, location to be determined. Hopefully, it will be as much fun as our meeting in 2015!
Posted November 12, 2014
2014 Branch Meeting of the Virginia/Carolinas Branch
The Holland Society of New York
On the weekend of November 7th through the 9th, 2014, 10 members and their significant
others gathered in the college town of Lexington, VA to acknowledge our heritage, friendship and good times. Arriving Friday afternoon, our initial foray was a walk around this historic town. Founded during the American Revolution on what then was then western frontier of the country,
the town was named after the first battle of the Revolution at Lexington, MA. In the late 1700’s, George Washington endowed a school in Lexington with stock from one of the canal companies and the school named itself, Washington College. In 1839, locals complained about an armory located in the town and asked the state of Virginia to make it a school and thus Virginia Military Institute was founded. After the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee came to Lexington as the head of Washington College and he put it on track to become a very successful school. The school realized his contribution and included his name in the school as Washington and Lee College. The two schools actually border on each other and during our tour we saw Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s grave as
he taught at VMI, along with Lee’s, and then watched the Corps of Keydets (VMI spelling) parade right in front of us. After our walking tour, we quenched our thirsts at a wine, Dutch beer and cheese cocktail hour put on by David and Helen Van Blarcom. Thirsts slaked, we all ventured out into Lexington for dinner.
Saturday brought another sunny, though a little chilly day and more touring of Lexington. VMI has a complete museum dedicated to George C. Marshall, VMI 1901, which outlined his stellar career as Chief of Staff of the Army during WWII, Secretary of State during the implementation of the Marshall Plan to reconstruct Europe after the War, and as Secretary of Defense during the Korean Conflict. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. VMI is justly proud of him.
In the afternoon, we journeyed to one of the wonders of the Western World, The Natural Bridge of Virginia. This is a stone archway 210 feet above the ground, 90 feet wide with a highway running across the top. Our group also ventured into the Natural Bridge Cavern which is the deepest cavern open to the public, and while we were impressed on the way down, we were very tired from the climb back up from 300 or so feet under the earth.
We held our annual dinner at the Southern Inn that evening and David Van Blarcom gave the traditional toast to the King of the Netherlands, Bob Banta gave the toast to the President of the United States and Society President, Bob Schenck gave the toast to the Holland Society of New
York. Fellow toasters were David Riker, Jan Van Etten, Tom Wessells, Jim Gulick, Jim Van Blarcom, Charlie and Philip Zabriskie and their deserving spouses and special friends. After an excellent dinner, the group headed back to our Hospitality room and Marcia Whitney-Schenck gave a presentation on 17th Century Dutch still-life art and how the Dutch lifestyle influenced the art
around the time that our ancestors came to this country. It was a fascinating and enlightening talk, inspiring many questions and comments. Our Society President, Bob Schenck then filled us in on the happenings going on within the Society.
Sunday we had our annual Branch Meeting and then bid a fond farewell to our friends and fellow Society Members, committing to getting together next year for another weekend of fun, friendship and history.
Jim Van Blarcom
Virginia/Carolinas Branch of The Holland Society of New York
Natural Bridge - Lexington VA
2013 Branch Meeting of the Virginia/Carolinas Branch
The Holland Society of New York
On the weekend of October 18th, 19th, and 20th, twenty-one members and friends gathered
in Charleston, SC for the annual meeting of the Virginia/Carolinas Branch of the Holland Society of New York. We stayed at the Charleston Harbor Marina Resort, just across Charleston Harbor and had great views of the “Holy City”.
On Friday, the 18th, we met at the Resort for a cocktail party hosted by member David Van Blarcom and his lovely wife, Helen. We renewed friendships, brought each other up-to-date, and established new relationships.
Saturday, we boarded the ferry at the dock of the marina and enjoyed a trip across the Harbor, where we were met by a tour bus for a guided tour of Charleston. Charleston has been voted the “most favorite city to visit” by several publications and it lived up to its advance billing. The quaint narrow cobblestone streets, the historic buildings and the beautiful setting of the Charleston Peninsula between the two rivers that form the Atlantic Ocean (according to Charlestonians), were impressive. The afternoon was spent in the downtown area, walking and shopping and further appreciating the beauty and history that is Charleston. Several of our members also visited the Aquarium, the Patriot’s Point Military Museum, and the Market Place. We came to appreciate why Charleston is so highly regarded as place to visit.
Saturday night saw us at dinner on Shem Creek at RBs restaurant where we feasted on seafood that the local fishermen delivered that day. Our Society President Charlie Zabriskie and his wife Star joined us for the weekend and brought us up-to-date on the happenings of the Society. Communication with those of us in the hinterland really helps keep our membership active and interested.
After our annual meeting on Sunday, when it was decided to hold our next meeting in Virginia, we adjourned to head home. Some of us stopped by the Coastal Living Magazine’s Resort home on Daniel Island so our ladies could get ideas on how to spend more money. We had a good time with good friends and good New York Dutchmen, 10 or 11 generations removed.
Virginia/Carolinas Branch Meeting 2012
New Bern, North Carolina
Thirty-two members, friends and their guests attended the annual branch meeting of the Virginia/Carolinas Branch of the Holland Society of New York on the weekend of 9-14-12 through 9-16-12. The meeting was held in the small but historically significant city of New Bern, North Carolina on the beautiful Trent and Neuse Rivers. We had visitors from Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, California and the Society’s president, Charlie Zabriskie.
An arrival cocktail party, hosted by David and Helen Van Blarcom started the weekend off on Friday. After which, our members discovered the ease and walkability of New Bern, as we sampled the many dinner offerings to be had in this quaint city.
Saturday, a beautiful Carolina Blue sky greeted us in the morning as we boarded an open boat for a 2-hour trip exploring the rivers around New Bern. After this, many of us looked in at the soda fountain where Pepsi Cola was born or shopped at the many different stores within walking distance. Later, some of us explored the “Tryon Palace”, the home of the last Royal Governor of the Colony of North Carolina, while others searched for the numerous individually painted bear statues around New Bern. As the city mascot, there are some 25 hand painted statues in the downtown area. One of our guests, Morgan Purr, 6 ½ years old, found 17 of these.
Saturday night, after another cocktail party, we enjoyed a dinner at a local restaurant, where the food was good, the conversation interesting and the bread pudding divine. Our President, Charlie Zabriskie brought us up-to-date on the happenings in New York and some of the other branches.
Sunday, we held our meeting on the veranda of the hotel with another beautiful day and sadly packed up and started on our way home. New friendships were established, old ones renewed and the feeling of camaraderie of our Dutch ancestry was reinforced. Hope to see more of you next year!
Meeting: Nov 4- 6, 2011
Charlottesville, Va., home of the University of Virginia,
and nestled in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains,
was the site of the Virginia/Carolinas Branch Meeting
where we enjoyed the company of 27 members, spouses,
friends and children. Friday, we toured the “Lawn”
and Rotunda of the University of Virginia and were
suitably impressed with Thomas Jeffersonâ€™s ideas
on constructing a seat of higher learning. Friday
evening, we shared beer and wine, good conversation,
and further fellowship in our Branch Vice President,
Jim Van Blarcomâ€™s hospitality suite. His lovely
wife, Leigh, being responsible for most of the food,
drink, and the Dutch spirit and color, was the gracious
On Saturday morning, most of the members took walks
around Charlottesville and stopped and shopped in
the quaint shops on the downtown mall. Some went off
to visit Ashland, the home of James Monroe. In the
afternoon, we all met up at Monticello for a tour
of the house and grounds of Thomas Jefferson. It seems
that both Jefferson and Madison (the framer of the
Constitution) were influenced by the Dutch concepts
of equality, freedom of religion and the right of
Saturday night, we gathered for dinner at a South
African themed restaurant, being the closest thing
to a Dutch restaurant in Charlottesville. The cuisine
was exotic and a little spicy, but good nonetheless,
though a lot of water was consumed to put out the
After dinner, we adjourned to the hospitality suite
and talked about our original ancestors. It did seem
amazing, the pride with each of us talked about people
from 360 years ago and the struggles that they went
through to set up a life in a new and strange world.
We also decided on where to have our next meeting.
As we try to alternate states each year, New Bern,
North Carolina was chosen. The home of Pepsi Cola
and Grady White Boats is on the Neuse River and was
the first Capitol of North Carolina. All are welcome,
so see you in 2012!