I feel like I’ve spent the last few months in a heat induced haze literally and figuratively. The Carolinas languished in a sweltering heat bubble, becoming so hot and humid I abandoned many outdoor plans this summer. I also got a new job within the company I work for, as a corporate debt collector. Don’t wince for me, I actually like it! But it has come with new pressures and expectations, and I had to take a few months off from writing while I adjusted. Yesterday fall arrived, ushering in lower temperatures and a much more preferable air quality. I celebrated with apple picking. I’m determined to venture out of my house for more excursions. I’m also determined to get back into posting on here regularly. I can’t maintain the same pace as before, but my goal is three days a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Ideally, this will allow me to post and read other blogs regularly.
Last week I traveled back to New England to visit family, and one of my secondary priorities was making sure I got to eat all of my local favorite foods. At the top of my list was a Del’s Lemonade straight from the truck. A Rhode Island favorite that originated in Italy in the 1840s, the frozen treat is part of so many childhood memories visiting my grandparents in Bristol, RI. So I was ecstatic to discover one of Del’s trucks while visiting Colt State Park during my trip. It’s still as delicious as I remember.
I’m traveling to Massachusetts this week to visit family with my husband, and it’s been quite an experience, going from spending over a year of quarantine and working from home to a road trip crossing several states. Along the way, we’ve seen beautiful sunsets, foggy mountain landscapes, ominous storm clouds (pictured below), and the infamous cicada brood X splattering our windshield (not pictured.) I find myself appreciating the strangest things on this trip. While staying in Pennsylvania, our dog had to go out in the middle of the night. As soon as I stepped outside, I realized the entire area was saturated in the sweet scent of cinnamon rolls. I could practically taste the sugary sweetness and cream cheese frosting. I couldn’t figure out where it could be wafting from, our hotel was just off the highway, next to a Nestle bottling plant. It was surreal, standing in a quiet parking lot with chirping crickets and the smell of desserts swirling around us. It’s nice to get out of the house, I thought.
When my husband and I approached the start of the trail that takes visitors to Otter Falls, we encountered a mother and her daughter at the end of their hike, huffing and out of breath. “Have you been before?” the mother asked. “No,” we answered. “Its definitely worth it!” she assured us. Given that the trail is under a mile long, her reassurances seemed strange, until we realized how steep the drop in elevation to reach the falls actually was. She was right though, it was worth it.
Technically, I visited Elk Knob Park three days after the start of spring. The weather however, was all winter. A cold wind swirled a misty haze through the woods, and the landscape was still bare, devoid of any greenery. Dispute clamoring for warm weather, I didn’t mind the fog and sparse surroundings. The misty atmosphere was quiet and peaceful, and highlighted an ongoing project. As hazardous trees are removed from the trail, art from students attending Appalachian State University are being mounted into the stumps.
I’ve visited the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden many times to escape into it’s captivating displays of exotic flowers and soothing water features, but this visit in 2017 is one of my favorites. A special collection of Chinese Lanterns was layered in between the flowers and foliage, creating a whimsical and colorful atmosphere. The lanterns were created in Zigong China,where the tradition of lantern festivals was born, and then carefully transported to North Carolina for display. Along with traditional silk lanterns, the collection also featured elaborate elephant statues constructed from Chinese teacups, and a peacock sculpture constructed from recycled pill bottles filled with colored water. Visit my instagram feed (everyday.strange) to watch a video of its elaborate display in motion! Usually when I am snapping pictures at an event, I try to eliminate people from my shots as much as possible. This time however, I couldn’t help letting a few children slip into my photos. They definitely help capture the scale, whimsy, and humor in the lanterns shaped as all sorts of creatures, from snails to …
Sometimes you make big Sunday plans because your meteorologist announces it would be 77 and sunny, and you wake up to find it’s 47 and foggy. That’s where I found myself last weekend. Ultimately, I decided to brave the cooler weather and head to a local park anyways. The fresh air, misty landscape and bird watching was worth it.
Walking through the mall lately, I’ve been struck by how faceless the mannequins are. There is a complete lack of facial features, many don’t even have heads! The mannequins I spotted this past weekend at a few antique malls were quite the opposite; incredibly expressive.￼ they all bore fashionably aloof expressions, even in some cases, without hair or clothes.￼
My visit to the Edison Ford Winter Estates was a last minute decision designed to fill time while visiting my in-laws in Florida. Since I hadn’t done any research in advance, all I expected to see was a few historical homes, and maybe an antique car or two. It turns out, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison bought these neighboring homes on the Caloosahatchee River in the late 1920s to work with Henry Firestone on a very specific project. They were concerned with the Unites States’ dependence on foreign rubber, and were determined to find a plant that could be cultivated in the US, allowing for the production of domestic rubber. They constructed a laboratory on the land shared by Edison and Ford, and brought in plants from all over the world to test. Eventually they discovered a plant, goldenrod, that would work. Today the homes on the estate are preserved, along with the laboratory and 21 acre botanical garden created from all of the plants that were tested during the project. There is also a …
When travelers visit The Blowing Rock, the are presented with the following legend attributed to the strange rock formation: “It is said that a Chickasaw chieftan, fearful of a white man’s admiration for his lovely daughter, journeyed far from the plains to bring her to The Blowing Rock and the care of a squaw mother. One day the maiden, daydreaming on the craggy cliff, spied a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness far below and playfully shot an arrow in his direction. The flirtation worked because soon he appeared before her wigwam, courted her with songs of his land and they became lovers, wandering the pathless woodlands and along the crystal streams. One day a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the maiden to The Blowing Rock. To him it was a sign of trouble commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. With the maiden’s entreaties not to leave her, the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leaped from The Rock into the wilderness far below. The grief-stricken …