All posts filed under: Strange Places

Winter’s Last Gasp at Elk Knob Park

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.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden (Chinese Lantern Festival)

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 …

Strolling Through the Gloom

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.

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.