A few years ago I experienced a stressful phase in my life. To cope, every time I was in a serene, calming place, I would take a quick video at least ten seconds long, to watch later if I was feeling down. It became a habit, and I’m still taking them. I found a few of my favorite summer videos to celebrate the start of the season. Myrtle Beach, just after sunset. Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Memorial Day Weekend A thunderstorm in my own backyard
Originally built in 1935, Charlotte’s Fire Station Number 7 is the oldest fire station standing in Charlotte. Built with a storefront style facade in order to blend in with existing buildings, it was also designed with two jail cells due to the unsavory nature of the NoDa neighborhood it is located in at the time it was built. The station is still active, and because of its smaller size every fire truck in Charlotte has to be specially made in order to fit through the doors. The jail cells however, are used by firemen to watch TV.
These 22 by 7 foot wings are part of a project by artist Maria Velas Campangna to beatify the entry of the downtown area of Mooresville, NC. Inspired by lines from an Erin Hanson poem, “‘What if I fall?’ ‘Oh but my darling what if you fly?’” the wings on the side of this brick building were just a start. She has since added even more sets of wings to this wall and other buildings in Mooresville. Campangna started the hashtag #wingwallmooresville so visitors could share their photos with the wings.
Recently I went on a restaurant tour in the NoDa neighborhood here in Charlotte. The food was fantastic, but an added bonus was all of the street art we passed by strolling from restaurant to restaurant, and at the cafe that was our final stop in the tour.
I have a few places around Charlotte that I like to visit when I have a day off. One of my favorite’s is the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. A large botanical garden just south of Charlotte, its been updated recently into two parts. The first part is very manicured section that features a changing seasonal assortment of plants and blooms along its pathways and fountains. On the edge of this section is orchard house. A miniature tropical paradise year round, unique orchard flowers dot the greenery in miniature pops of color. It takes a lot of work to maintain, and since I was visiting on a weekday, I caught a glimpse of all the work it takes to constantly weed and update the flowers around all of the water features. The second part is a walk way that loops around a large meadow and a quiet wooded area. A nice contrast to the carefully tended seasonal gardens, the eventual plan is to plant wildflowers in the meadow. I’m sure the final product will match the gorgeous …
As Charlotte slowly thaws out from winter, I’m looking back at some of the places I explored last year, and planning new excursions. Around this time last year, I visited Körner’s Folly, a historical home in North Carolina in the midst of a renovation. It was a fascinating visit, and I’m looking for more places like it to see this year. So far I have my eye on a massive greenhouse, a few battlefields, and the glaciers in Alaska. Stay tuned!
One thing that almost every zoo has in common is birds. Whether they are the main attraction, one of many exhibits, or merely wandering the grounds, every Zoo has them. Often overlooked in favor of larger animals, they are every bit as interesting as the larger animals that usually overshadow them. This week I’ve rounded up some of my favorite bird photographs from some of zoos I have visited in the past. Make sure to give the birds a good look on your next zoo visit! Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – Cincinnati, OH North Carolina Zoo– Asheboro, NC Tiger World– Rockwell, NC Carolina Raptor Center– Huntersville, NC
I’ve written about the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve before, and the benefits of visiting during the winter when there are few other visitors. I took advantage of an incredibly unseasonably warm day this past weekend to enjoy the miles of trail and lake views.
Halloween may have come and gone, but it feels like fall is just arriving here in Charlotte. Every year it feels like summer’s heat and humidity cling to us a little longer. I wake up one day to find that fall has finally shaken it them off and replaced them with foggy mornings and shades of yellow that creep into the leaves.
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.