All posts filed under: Strange Places

Carolina Beach State Park

I’m a big advocate for visiting parks off season, and Carolina Beach State Park is a perfect example of why. It’s full of evergreen trees that give the park a lush look all year round, there are carnivorous plants that are active until late November, and some of the trails terminate on the banks of the Cape Fear river.

The World’s Only Carnivorous Plant Garden

Tucked behind a Wilmington elementary school, in a grassy open hidden by a grove of tall pine trees, is the The Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, the only garden in the world dedicated to carnivorous plants. Among the grass grow pitcher plants, sundews, and Venus Flytraps, which are native only to a small area within 60 miles of Wilmington. The garden both serves as a showcase for these plants and an effort to conserve them. The Venus flytraps were not in season when I visited last November, but there many varieties of active pitchers plants to admire.

Lake Fontana and the Road to Nowhere

In 1945, construction on the Fontana Dam was completed, the structure stretching across the Tennessee River, creating Fontana Lake. The dam was built for the war effort, creating electricity for ALCOA aluminum plants and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manhattan Project. The Dam also provided flood control and recreation, and part of the project included dedicating surrounding land in Swain County as the Great Smoky Mountains National park. The downside to the project was that several towns became submerged in the process of creating Fontana lake. Residents were forced to leave their communities, and along with their homes, they highway many used to travel, Old Highway 288 became submerged underwater. Residents were promised a new road, Lakeview Drive by the Federal government, which would have run along the shore of Lake Fontana, and allow them access to family cemeteries. Unfortunately the road was never finished due to environmental issues, and Lakeview drive ends at a tunnel 6 miles into the park. Ultimately, the US Department of Interior reached a 52 million dollar settlement in place of …

Kings Mountain National Military Park

No matter what historical battlefield you visit, you will find the requisite on site museum. Designed to give you an overview of the historical events and a little context, they all seem to house the same things. Uniforms, weapons, cutlery, topographical maps, and maybe some letters exchanged by historical figures. What stood out to me when I visited Kings Mountain was the way they used a relatively small museum space to truly place you in the same atmosphere that the battle of Kings Mountain was fought. Located just over the border in South Carolina, Kings Mountain is the site of the first patriot victory after the invasion of Charleston, SC. In early October, 1781, the British sent newly trained American troops to the Kings Mountain area, hoping to earn an easy victory over local milita, who were inexperienced in fighting. But as many Americans learn in grade school, what the American’s lacked in formal military training, they made up for in knowledge of the local area. The local milita knew how to take advantage of …

The Myths of Boone Cave Park

Established in 1909, Boone Cave Park is the smallest State Park in North Carolina. However, it is dedicated to one of the state’s biggest legends. Allegedly, it is where the Boone family first settled in North Carolina, when Daniel Boone was a teenager. There is no real paper trail to confirm that, only the unverified location of a cabin, tales past down by local family, and deeds that show the family owned land in the nearby area. The cave onsite is subject to several legends. Some that say the Boone family lived in the cave during their first winter. After seeing the size of the cave up myself, I find it hard to believe that Squire and Sarah Morgan crammed in their with 10 children and the other friends and family that left Pennsylvania together. In total it was a group of 25. Other legends say that Daniel Boone and his family hid in the cave from Native American raiding parties while living in the area after relocating from Pennsylvania. This is also unlikely. Daniel …

A Fresh Start for Fall

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.

Childhood Favorite at Colt State Park

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.

Notes From the Road

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.