All posts filed under: Strange Places

Vintage Expressions

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.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

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 …

The (Probably Made Up) Legend of Blowing Rock

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 …

Hubbard Glacier

When I first saw the Hubbard Glacier from a distance, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that it is larger than the state of Rhode Island. As the cruise ship I was traveling on drifted closer, the thin stripe at the end of the bay transformed into a stunning expanse of ice. Once we were as close as the ship could get, we came to a stop. I took in all of the gorgeous tones of blue in the ice and water, the quiet occasionally broken by the calving of ice, and exclamations of awe. Looking back on the trip now, it seems like even more of a once in a lifetime experience.

Natural Rush

Earlier this week I wrote about my newfound appreciation for ambient noise recordings after seeking some out for morning yoga sessions. I got the idea from a weekend my husband and I spent in Boone, NC. We rented a a cabin with the formal name “Stream-side II.” I had assumed the name came from the stream visible in promotional pictures, but it turns out it was only one of of many flowing down the incline the cabin was set on. Every time we stepped outside, we were surrounded by the soothing sound of rushing water. It was definitely the perfect backdrop to reading on the cabin’s large deck.

Chasing Foliage at Reed Creek Gold Mine

I had another post planned, but never finished it due to the tumultuous events this week. So here’s some calming content of my hunt for fall foliage at a local gold mine last year instead. ****** 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.

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts may be well known for it’s history of witch trials, but it also has a rich literary history as well. Salem was the birthplace and home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the Scarlett letter.  Hawthorne lived in four houses during his lifetime in Salem, and to me the most interesting one is at 14 Mall Street.  It’s where Hawthorne wrote the Scarlet Letter, while working in a customs house. When I visited in 2012 the house was abandoned and in disrepair, guarded by a large dead tree and surrounded by gravestones. In contrast, the site of the customs house where Hawthorne worked is still lively and bustling, situated right on Salem’s waterfront. It’s easy to see how his occupation may have influenced his writing. Part of The Scarlet Letters plot is based on the length of time sea travel took during the time period, which Hawthorne would have been more than familiar with watching ships sail in and out of Salem Harbor.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a place I can visit over and over again. Named after the woman who spent her life collecting the art within it, and commissioned the unique building it is housed in. She personally oversaw the construction of the museum in Boston’s Fens neighborhood and personally arranged all of the artwork. When she passed away in 1924, her will stipulated that nothing in the museum’s galleries would be changed, and no items be acquired or sold from the collection. The museum is known internationally for the shocking theft of 13 paintings by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet, and Degas in 1990. One of the stolen paintings was Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee (his only known seascape.) If you visit, you will see the empty frames the paintings were cut out of still on display. Visitors can only take pictures of the museum’s intricate courtyard and gardens, but it’s Instagram account shares works of art, museum events, and pages from Isabella’s many journals.

24 Hours in a Flood Plain (A Cautionary Tale)

Reposting this account of an ill fated trip to Myrtle beach a few years ago. I know for many there is an urge to rush back to pre-COVID activities for a sense of normalcy. I can definitely sympathize, I almost became stranded in a flood zone because I didn’t want to give up a much anticipated beach weekend after a major hurricane passed over the area I was traveling to. Trust me, ignoring warnings and red flags for a trip, a party, or other high risk activity is not worth it. ***** I wish I could say the above picture was from a quiet weekend at Myrtle Beach, spent relaxing on the beach and catching up on submissions. Unfortunately, it was the single bright moment in a 24 hour nightmare. I scheduled my trip to Myrtle beach back in late July, long before hurricane Florence was even a rainstorm. I even added trip insurance to my hotel booking, well aware that September is an active month for hurricanes. The week before left, I had confirmed …