All posts tagged: travel

Airlie Gardens Off-season

Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina is another great park to visit during Fall and Winter. Look for atmospheric Spanish moss, Fall foliage, imposing oak trees, a historic graveyard, mystery grave, lake views and pergola garden. Mount Lebanon Cemetery and mystery grave

Carolina Beach State Park

I’m a big advocate for visiting parks off season, and Carolina Beach State Park is a perfect example of why. It’s full of evergreen trees that give the park a lush look all year round, there are carnivorous plants that are active until late November, and some of the trails terminate on the banks of the Cape Fear river.

The World’s Only Carnivorous Plant Garden

Tucked behind a Wilmington elementary school, in a grassy open hidden by a grove of tall pine trees, is the The Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, the only garden in the world dedicated to carnivorous plants. Among the grass grow pitcher plants, sundews, and Venus Flytraps, which are native only to a small area within 60 miles of Wilmington. The garden both serves as a showcase for these plants and an effort to conserve them. The Venus flytraps were not in season when I visited last November, but there many varieties of active pitchers plants to admire.

On the Road

View of the Great Smokey Mountains from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stretching along the Tennessee/North Carolina border, “The Smokies” were given their name by the Cherokee, because of the natural fog that hangs over the mountain range. The Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, and was designed to connect Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park via a roadway. It is the most visited part of the National Park system.

Lake Fontana and the Road to Nowhere

In 1945, construction on the Fontana Dam was completed, the structure stretching across the Tennessee River, creating Fontana Lake. The dam was built for the war effort, creating electricity for ALCOA aluminum plants and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manhattan Project. The Dam also provided flood control and recreation, and part of the project included dedicating surrounding land in Swain County as the Great Smoky Mountains National park. The downside to the project was that several towns became submerged in the process of creating Fontana lake. Residents were forced to leave their communities, and along with their homes, they highway many used to travel, Old Highway 288 became submerged underwater. Residents were promised a new road, Lakeview Drive by the Federal government, which would have run along the shore of Lake Fontana, and allow them access to family cemeteries. Unfortunately the road was never finished due to environmental issues, and Lakeview drive ends at a tunnel 6 miles into the park. Ultimately, the US Department of Interior reached a 52 million dollar settlement in place of …

Kings Mountain National Military Park

No matter what historical battlefield you visit, you will find the requisite on site museum. Designed to give you an overview of the historical events and a little context, they all seem to house the same things. Uniforms, weapons, cutlery, topographical maps, and maybe some letters exchanged by historical figures. What stood out to me when I visited Kings Mountain was the way they used a relatively small museum space to truly place you in the same atmosphere that the battle of Kings Mountain was fought. Located just over the border in South Carolina, Kings Mountain is the site of the first patriot victory after the invasion of Charleston, SC. In early October, 1781, the British sent newly trained American troops to the Kings Mountain area, hoping to earn an easy victory over local milita, who were inexperienced in fighting. But as many Americans learn in grade school, what the American’s lacked in formal military training, they made up for in knowledge of the local area. The local milita knew how to take advantage of …