All posts filed under: Strange Places

Rooms With a View

Like many people my summer vacation plans have drastically changed. I’m taking a nostalgic look back at this vacation post from last year while I brainstorm some new ways to enjoy the warm weather in 2020. *************** If some of my recent posts haven’t tipped you off, I’ve been on vacation this week. I spent part of this past week at Myrtle Beach with my husband and some family, and it was a fantastic, relaxing beach vacation. One pleasant surprise on this trip was discovering upon arrival at the hotel that although we didn’t have an ocean view room, we had wound up with a balcony on a side of the hotel that had a partial view. A small bonus, but I did really enjoy sitting out there in the morning to write before heading out to the beach, and star gazing before going bed. So this week I decided to dig out other pictures I have of hotel views from past vacations. Some are more glamorous than others, but all of them hold special …

The Red Dog Saloon

When my husband and I originally visited the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska, I took an excessive amount of pictures in a moment of tourist indulgence. Now that going out to eat isn’t even an option I’m happy to have them and look back on the luxury of going out to eat, having a beer, and listening to live music in a restaurant. The restaurant itself has all the appearances of being a goofy tourist trap, but it’s actually a genuine historical fixture in downtown Juneau. Built during Alaska’s mining era, the memorabilia on the walls is genuine, carefully moved and rehung as the restaurant as the restaurant has moved locations several times since opening. One of the most interesting things I learned about tourism in Alaska is that there is a hard shut off in mid fall. For cruise ship stops especially, everything closes down around mid September. The cruise that I was traveling on was the last of the season for Norwegian in Alaska, and most of the employees you see in …

A Hazy Morning at Lake Norman State Park

Once the weather turns nice in spring, my husband and I make a point to choose a trail to hike every Saturday morning, before the southern heat and humidity over take the day. Usually the goal is to pick a new trail we haven’t visited, but this year the selection is limited to our neighborhood. All of the parks in our county and surrounding counties are closed to promote social distancing. These pictures were taken at Lake Norman State Park last August. The park is huge, almost 20,000 acres, with miles of trail, lake side picnic spots, and camping. It was our only visit last year, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to explore more this summer.

The High Water Mark

In addition to taking in the history of Ocemegee Mounds National Park, one of my last forays out before North Carolina’s stay at home order, I was able to explore some of the wetland trails in the park. While exploring, it became apparent that the area had recently experienced some major flooding. A coating of dried clay covered the vegetation, drawing a line at the high water mark. Technically, the boardwalks were closed, but I snuck past the rope to take a few pictures of the clay coated grasses and tree. The thing about any high water mark is, you can’t see it until the flood recedes. We are still watching the flood waters rise as Covid-19 advances in the US, hopefully we will see the high water mark soon.

Treasure Hunt at Purser-Hulsey Park

The trails at Purser-Halsey Park are scenic and relaxing on their own, a series of loops that lets visitors decide if they want to take a short walk or a 3 mile trek. It’s the hand paint rocks hidden Ali g the trails that give it a little extra magic. Adorned with everything from Japanese cherry blossoms to silly dad jokes, they were nestled in tree branches, tucked behind roots, and scattered on the forrest floor.

Ocmulgee Mounds National Park

Earlier this month, as the impeding pandemic was just looming on the horizon in the US, my husband and I were traveling through Georgia. We stopped in Macon for an overnight stay, intending to continue on to Florida the next day. Ultimately we made the decision to turn around and return home the next day as news of the coronavirus’s spread intensified. We were however, fortunate enough to visit the Ocmulgee Mounds National Park before heading home. Fittingly, it is a testament to the resilience of humanity, as the park is home to a pre-historic American Indian site. Occupied by many different cultures for thousands of years, the Mounds were constructed around 900 CE, during the Mississippian era for tribal elites. Normally I would edit down the large amount of photos I take during a visit to a park or event, but since many of us are stuck inside and unable to travel, I decided to include more then usual, to create a virtual tour of sorts.

Byodo-In Temple

Over ten years ago I spent my final spring break in Hawaii for a two week study tour. The focus of the trip was on religion and culture, the course credits would complete my Asian Studies minor. I got to attend lectures at the University of Hawaii, and visited shrines and temples in the Waikiki area. The one that made the biggest impression on me was the Byodo-In temple in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. Set against the Ko’olau mountains, it is a replica of the original Byodo-In Temple in Japan. I was so entranced by the peaceful grounds, golden Buddha residing inside the temple, and elegant black swans, I still have the pamphlet from my visit.

Artisan Works

A few years ago my husband and I helped our friend Devin move to Rochester, NY. Our plan was to drive Friday, spend the day Saturday with our friend, and return Sunday. Although I was interested in seeing a different part of the state other than New York City, I didn’t know anything about Rochester, and didn’t expect it to be a particularly memorable trip.  On Saturday Devin suggested we visit Artisan Works, a self funded non-profit art space housed in a renovated 40,000 square foot factory. All of the artwork displayed is available to buy, rent, or stage offsite. The space  itself is crammed inside and out with all kinds of sculptures, installations, paintings, collages, and photography created by local artists. Live music is featured on the weekends, and the space has an amazing eclectic energy with all of the different works of art layered on top of each other.  The pictures themselves aren’t the greatest, but I still wanted to share since it is one of the experiences that inspired me to look …

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

*** A surprise southern snowstorm is blanketing the Charlotte area with an inch of sloppy, slushy snow, so I’m looking back at this old post of my visit to the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. I hoping it will already be melted by the time this posts tomorrow!*** Before I moved to Charlotte, I visited three months beforehand to do some house hunting and go on some job interviews. In between driving around with a real estate agent and prepping interview questions, I tried to do a little sightseeing, dispite the on and off rain. I still wanted the trip to be fun! One of the places I chose was the UNC Botanical Garden. I knew it was at a college and didn’t expect much, I just wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before during the trip. I was in for a huge surprise. Although housed in a small greenhouse and outside garden area, it was packed with unusual and exotic plants. Inside the eight greenhouse rooms were 6 different plant collections, including a fascinating …