Monday, June 23, 2014

North Carolina: Wilmington

Last weekend I made the drive to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  It was the first time I had gone to the ocean since I left Madagascar, and it was so exciting to smell the salt air again and feel the sand between my toes.  Wilmington, too, was an exciting place to visit.  The Cotton Exchange reminded me of some of the shops in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the whole downtown has a fun, funky vibe.  We stopped at The Black Cat Shoppe which apparently was featured in One Tree Hill quite often. We also ventured in the Serpentarium and watched a 400 lb crocodile get fed! It was pretty intense.  I enjoyed seeing some of the colorful snakes and learning more about the snakes in my new area.  Downtown Wilmington is on a river, and it's large enough that ships can come up into Wilmington from the ocean.  While we were there, a coast guard ship was making its way back out to sea.  Across the river, the battleship USS North Carolina sits, and tours are given daily.

The day ended with a clam bake and lobster dinner at Shucker's Oyster Bar followed by a sunset walk on Wrightsville Beach.  It had been a beautiful day, and a storm was rolling in off the Atlantic.  The clouds were incredible, and they just got more beautiful as the sun set.  With salty legs and smiles on our faces, we drove back to Fayetteville.

Water Street

USS North Carolina

Walking to Wrightsville Beach

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bannack, Montana

My mom and I took a trip to Bannack back in 2012.  I have rediscovered these images and have decided to repost them from an older blog of mine.  Bannack is one of those places that I could photograph for weeks and be perfectly content. I fell in love with it.
Bannack.... Montana's Territorial Capitol from the 1800's.  People lived in Bannack clear up to the 1970's, and several of the houses had the wallpaper to prove it.  I found a lot of things to enjoy in this wonderful town.  As I was walking down the street, the Old West town that it was seemed to spring to life.  Walking through the Hotel, I felt that I could live in that building and be content for the rest of my life.  Bannack is a beautifully preserved town, and I'm excited to explore it some more in the future.  


Broken Down Hutch

Green and Yellow Door

Inside the Hotel 

Hotel Mead

Masonic Temple

Red Door



Sewing Machine

Grand Staircase in Hotel Mead

Window View

Rickety Staircase 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Memorial Day 2014: Washington DC

This past memorial day, I hopped a train to DC from North Carolina to hang out with some friends.  My first night there, we checked out the newly unveiled Washington Memorial. The scaffolding had been taken down, and it has recently reopened to the public.  We didn't go up to the top (the lines were OUTRAGEOUS), but we at least got to walk up to it, and my friends allowed me to photograph them doing handstands against it.  With the scaffolding off, we were able to see the color difference in the memorial.  The building began before the Civil War, but completion was held off until after the conclusion of the war.  This disturbance in building led to a slightly different colored brick being used to finish off the memorial.  From there, we wandered over to the Iwo Jima Memorial and just enjoyed the toasty DC night.

I spent the majority of my time in DC just enjoying time with friends, but on the second to last day there, I was able to go visit Arlington National Cemetery for the first time.  The cemetery is absolutely massive, and I was so glad to have been able to go there.  JFK's gravesite was very large and impressive, and Robert E. Lee's house overlooking the cemetery is incredibly gorgeous.  We got to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just as they were doing the Changing of the Guard.  Afterwards, we ventured over to the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater.  We weren't allowed to go inside (usually you can, but they were getting ready for a ceremony), so I only got a couple quick peeks.  At the front of the Amphitheater is this absolutely massive marble throne that I wish I could have taken a picture of.  It was really impressive.  My second venture to DC was a success, and there is talk of a possible 4th of July excursion as well.

coins on JFK's gravesite

standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cross Country Adventure: Kansas to North Carolina Part 2

After departing Missouri and the Farm, I had an 18 hour drive ahead of me. I decided that I would stay the night in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and photograph the town.  In the morning, I would head over the Smoky Mountains to Cherokee, North Carolina and photograph that town.  My plans changed a little bit when I got to Pigeon Forge and saw how ludicrous it was. I spent much more time photographing there than I would have thought. Pigeon Forge is home to several attractions, including Dollywood, and there are some very interesting tourist things going on. One that especially caught my eye was the Titanic museum.  They had rebuild the front half of the ship, to half scale, complete with an iceberg and a small reflecting pond. Being the history geek that I am, the Titanic has always held fascination for me, and it was pretty neat to photograph the ship, even if it was only a recreation.  On the way out of town, I found a sign leading to a historic covered bridge.  I made the short detour and photographed the bridge, built in 1875.

The drive over the Smoky Mountains wasn't as spectacular as I was hoping.  I'm from the Rockies, and I'm a bit of a mountain snob.  While beautiful, the Smokies aren't as enormous as what I'm used to, but it was still nice to see some mountains after the flatness of Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  I stopped in Cherokee, but the weather was getting to be pretty bad (torrential rainfall), so it was a very quick stop.  Five hours later, I pulled into Fayetteville, my new home.

The Comedy Barn getting a new screen

One of the many mini golf sites

The Inn at Christmas Place

Lumberjack Feud  From what I gather, this is similar to a 
Medieval Times restaurant. 

Mailbox outside of a wax museum

A "mill" in part of the old western bit of Pigeon Forge


The covered bridge


A thrift shop in Cherokee, NC

A place selling boiled peanuts as well as rat cheese