All posts filed under: Strange Places

Chasing Foliage at Reed Creek Gold Mine

I never appreciated the fall foliage I grew up with in Massachusetts until I moved to North Carolina. In New England, brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red would begin to appear in early September. Here in Charlotte, the leaves mainly turn a burnt orange in mid October. If you go looking for it though, you can still find a burst of color amount the duller hues around the end of November. And what better place to look then the trails around an old gold mine? In addition to foliage, you may spot veins of white quartz that may or may not contain gold, and the oddly placed raccoon skull.

Dolly’s House ( Where Fish and Men Came Upstream to Spawn)

When I visited Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska, its raised boardwalk was lined with small shops and packed with tourists jostling for a glimpse of salmon and sea lions in the creeks below. But in the early 1900s when Dollys House first opened for business, Creek Street was a much different place. When Dolly Author decided to quit waitressing and open a brothel in Ketchikan, Alaska, Creek Street was a red light district, known for men disappearing after visiting with prostitutes that roved the streets at night. She bought a little green house in the red light district with the intention of opening a reputable place where men could enjoy female companionship. Her plan worked. Men were willing to pay much more to visit Dolly safely in her one woman brothel instead of risking getting dosed with bad whiskey, robbed, and flipped into the creek by an ill-intentioned streetwalker. Dolly stayed in business until prostitution was outlawed in the 1950s, turning her last trick in her 60s. Dolly designated her home to be a museum …

Fall Arrival

Halloween may have come and gone, but it feels like fall is just arriving here in Charlotte. Every year it feels like summer’s heat and humidity cling to us a little longer. Eventually I wake up one day each November to find that fall has finally shaken it them off and replaced them with foggy mornings and shades of yellow that creep into the leaves.

Craggy Gardens

My sister and I both have long lists of places to visit saved on Pinterest, and in 2016 we resolved to start visiting some of the local spots we had saved. One of those was the rhododendron tunnel in Craggy Gardens, located north of Asheville in the Smokey Mountains. If you’re local to the area, I highly recommend visiting. Take the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to the Craggy Gardens visitors center. There are several trails to explore, but if you take the The Craggy Garden Trail, you will pass though a rhododendron tunnel exotic enough to belong in a tropical destination. We were so exited to see it that we forgot that the trail would actually lead somewhere, in this case to fantastic views of the surrounding Smokey Mountains.  Since the Craggy Gardens area is higher in elevation the weather can change quickly, so come prepared. During my visit it went from light rain to fog, before the sun finally broke through.

Flashback Friday

My husband traveled back to our home state of Massachusetts to visit family last week. While he was up there he visited some of our favorite haunts, one of which is the wildlife refuge that we used to live a few minutes away from in Taunton, Ma. I was pleasantly surprised when he sent me a few snapshots of his visit while he was still away. Formally named the Gertrude M. Borden Wildlife Refuge, but known to locals as “the bird sanctuary,”  it is a quiet park with trails and a boardwalk along the river. It was the perfect place for summertime strolls and appreciating the local fall foliage, even if at times it felt like it wasn’t being as well maintained as it should have been. My husband’s pictures show it on the edge of autumn, when the days are still warm but a chill creeps into the air after sunset.

Reed Gold Mine

Before the California Gold Rush, North Carolina was the place people flocked with hopes and wishes of striking it rich. Reed Gold Mine was developed after one such discovery made by a farmer’s son on their property. A visit to the mine includes a small exibit detailing the history of the gold rush in North Carolina, and a chronology of gold culture.  After moving through the exibit visitors then move to a self guided tour of the mine itself and the surrounding property. Some points of interest include the engine shaft, Chilean mill stones, and a quartz vein.

Finding the Unusual in the Routine

I always have a great time documenting my weekend adventures, but some of my most interesting photos are captured either going to or coming from work. Something about the quiet early mornings and occasional late nights lend themselves to spotting all kinds of interesting things that serve as writing inspiration. I’ve spotted towering thunderclouds, tiny snails, Venus aligning with the Moon, unexpected commuters, and blazing sunsets. I find you can notice all kinds of strange and unusual sights when you’re looking for them, even in ordinary places.

Bechtler Mueseum of Modern Art

Located in Uptown Charlotte, NC, the Bechtler Museum is housed in a stunning terra-cotta building designed by Mario Botta, a renowned Swiss architect. The impressive architecture serves as an additional exibit to the works held inside. A vaulted skylight and glass atrium in the center of the museum spread natural light throughout the exhibits. Once visitors are greeted by the Firebird sculpture, designed by Niki de Saint Phalle outside and pass through the museum’s courtyard, they are able to to peruse the personal art collection of the Bechtler family, which was formerly housed in their home in Switzerland. Amassed over a 70 year span by Hans and Bessie Bechtler, the collection was brought to Charlotte by their son Andreas, giving the collection the security of a permanent home. The collection contains mid 20th century modern art pieces, and mixed among these are personal letters, photographs and cards that show the personal relationship that the family has with many of the artists who’s works are on display.  The art is stunning, but it’s the cards, letters, …

Linville Caverns and Falls

When I was growing up, my family spent many summers hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I grew up relishing the accomplishment of making it to the summit of a mountain and taking in the view from the top. Some of my favorite hikes passed by rushing waterfalls or intersected with small streams. Having to strategically crossing a stream successfully always made the hike feel more adventurous. When I moved to North Carolina five years ago, I traded the White Mountains for the Greak Smokey Mountains, which sprawl between North Carolina and Tennessee. Thanks to the North Carolina gold rush, you can explore caverns and abandoned mines within some of the mountains in addition to hiking to the top. Cavern and waterfall hikes are the perfect pairing for a day trip, especially if you add in a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs though North Carolina.  Located in the Pisgah National Forest near Marion, NC, the Linville Caverns are submerged within Humpback Mountain. Open to visitors since 1937, they were …