When I first started researching Körner’s Folly, a historic home in Kernersville, NC, I assumed that it was haunted. Or at least had a tragic history or an eccentric owner. A 22 room house where no two windows are the same, the ceiling heights have no uniformity, that was continuously renovated until the owner died and then sat abandoned for years deteriorating had to have some kind of macabre history. Alas, the home has no sordid past whatsoever. The trap doors in the floor are not for vanquishing enemies but for cooling the home in the summer months. The home’s varied array of design features and finishings are the result of its owner, Jule Körner, being an interior designer and decorator who used the home to show off his work to clients. The strangest thing about his family is that his children had a pet raccoon named Bob. Despite the lack of ghosts or tragedy, this is still a fascinating place to visit. It’s currently in the middle of of being renovated, so some rooms …
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 we could be, the boat 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.
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.
When I visited Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska, its raised boardwalk was lined with small shops and packed with tourists jostling for a glimpse of salmon and sea lions in the creeks below. But in the early 1900s when Dollys House first opened for business, Creek Street was a much different place. When Dolly Author decided to quit waitressing and open a brothel in Ketchikan, Alaska, Creek Street was a red light district, known for men disappearing after visiting with prostitutes that roved the streets at night. She bought a little green house in the red light district with the intention of opening a reputable place where men could enjoy female companionship. Her plan worked. Men were willing to pay much more to visit Dolly safely in her one woman brothel instead of risking getting dosed with bad whiskey, robbed, and flipped into the creek by an ill-intentioned streetwalker. Dolly stayed in business until prostitution was outlawed in the 1950s, turning her last trick in her 60s. Dolly designated her home to be a museum …
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. Eventually I wake up one day each November 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.
As soon as I stepped off the cruise ship and walked down the gangway onto land, Icy Straight Point took my breath away. It was the first of four stops in a 7 day cruise, and also the most unspoiled.
My sister and I both have long lists of places to visit saved on Pinterest, and in 2016 we resolved to start visiting some of the local spots we had saved. One of those was the rhododendron tunnel in Craggy Gardens, located north of Asheville in the Smokey Mountains. If you’re local to the area, I highly recommend visiting. Take the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to the Craggy Gardens visitors center. There are several trails to explore, but if you take the The Craggy Garden Trail, you will pass though a rhododendron tunnel exotic enough to belong in a tropical destination. We were so exited to see it that we forgot that the trail would actually lead somewhere, in this case to fantastic views of the surrounding Smokey Mountains. Since the Craggy Gardens area is higher in elevation the weather can change quickly, so come prepared. During my visit it went from light rain to fog, before the sun finally broke through.
My husband traveled back to our home state of Massachusetts to visit family last week. While he was up there he visited some of our favorite haunts, one of which is the wildlife refuge that we used to live a few minutes away from in Taunton, Ma. I was pleasantly surprised when he sent me a few snapshots of his visit while he was still away. Formally named the Gertrude M. Borden Wildlife Refuge, but known to locals as “the bird sanctuary,” it is a quiet park with trails and a boardwalk along the river. It was the perfect place for summertime strolls and appreciating the local fall foliage, even if at times it felt like it wasn’t being as well maintained as it should have been. My husband’s pictures show it on the edge of autumn, when the days are still warm but a chill creeps into the air after sunset.
Before the California Gold Rush, North Carolina was the place people flocked with hopes and wishes of striking it rich. Reed Gold Mine was developed after one such discovery made by a farmer’s son on their property. A visit to the mine includes a small exibit detailing the history of the gold rush in North Carolina, and a chronology of gold culture. After moving through the exibit visitors then move to a self guided tour of the mine itself and the surrounding property. Some points of interest include the engine shaft, Chilean mill stones, and a quartz vein.
I always have a great time documenting my weekend adventures, but some of my most interesting photos are captured either going to or coming from work. Something about the quiet early mornings and occasional late nights lend themselves to spotting all kinds of interesting things that serve as writing inspiration. I’ve spotted towering thunderclouds, tiny snails, Venus aligning with the Moon, unexpected commuters, and blazing sunsets. I find you can notice all kinds of strange and unusual sights when you’re looking for them, even in ordinary places.