I absolutely love exploring historical sites, and out of all of the ones I’ve visited, Eastern State Penitentiary is one of my favorites. It’s a massive prison on the edge of Philadelphia, well known for famous prisoners, brazen escape attempts, and ghost stories. It’s a fascinating place to visit, maintained as a “preserved ruin” that has been left largely in the same state as when it was closed and abandoned, with a few cells restored to their original state. Eastern State was the first penitentiary in the world, holding each prisoner in solitary confinement in order to inspire penitence, or strong regret. It opened in 1829, and featured an imposing exterior designed to inspire a foreboding fear. The inside of the prison was quite different, with running water, flushing toilets, and architecture that resembles a church. As time went on, the prison began to function as a more traditional prison, housing inmates together until it was closed in 1971 It was reopened to the public for historical tours in 1994 after being discovered by Steve Buscemi. …
Although most of my writing centers around darker themes, I usually feel the most inspired to write after a bright, sunny nature hike. I’m not sure if it’s the dose of fresh air or spotting something unusual, like a tree overtaking a barbed wire fence, but I always come home feeling refreshed with new ideas and motivation. Fortunately there are many parks nearby for me to recharge at, including Frank Liske Park in Concord, just a town over from Charlotte. I visited early last Sunday, trying to sneak in a refreshing walk before the southern heat and humidity settled in for the day. It was exactly what I needed. What do you do to recharge?
One of my favorite places to visit in the summer, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, is still closed to the public while volunteers work to planting and pruning after a long absence. So instead of new photos from a recent visit, I’ve gathered some from a visit in 2018. I had just gotten a new iPhone with Apple’s portrait feature, and spent a whole morning experimenting with it by taking close ups of flowers. I hope they brighten your Friday!
Growing up in Massachusetts, what I learned in school about the Revolutionary War largely centered around events in my home state.
Oftentimes, locations are named by the person who first discovered them. They may make sense at first, but as time passes, some of the names bestowed on lands and landmarks lose their meaning and no longer make sense. This is definitely the case for Alaska’s Disenchantment Bay. It was originally named by Italian explorer Alessandro Malaspina in 1792, after he traversed the entire length and discovered that it was not the entrance to the northwest passage. For me, sailing past the snow capped mountains lining Alaska bay before turning into the greenery on either side of Disenchantment Bay was fairytale like. And finding the awe inspiring Hubbard Glacier at the end of the journey was a perfect ending, not disappointing at all.
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 …
A few sights from evening walks on my neighborhood nature trail. During our stay at home order, which will be lifted as this posts, it’s been the highlight of my day.
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 …
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.
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.