Ramblings on the Way to Wilmington, N.C.

Catchy title, eh? My next journey is to Wilmington, North Carolina, and am driving on I 40 which reminds me of Upstate New York with the beautiful green trees. As I drive I could not help but take note of the many decorative, standardized winery signs. There are 200 wineries in North Carolina according to Auntie Google. Signs for one boasted being a center for weddings. I must tell my daughter and check out the place.

Better yet I will drop an email to Andrew Cuomo’s site so he can do these pretty signs on New York State highways. Perhaps he has already done this as he is such a forward thinker. New York State wines are sublime especially those from grapes on Long Island where the breezes of the bay and the ocean affect the grape flavor.

I digress.. Having already tried a North Carolina red I have found them to be of good quality. Think I need to visit several and do a blog. For another time as…

Wilmington here I come!

Wedding Bell Blues..

Dress For Sale or Hire?

Disclaimer: My daughter is 36, and since she doesn’t read my blog I have the license to write about her. She will never know what I write.

Let me let you in on a secret: I want my daughter to get married and settle down. It is time and she’s dated enough. Yes, I want her to meet the right one and be happy, but time is of the essence, and let’s face it there is no perfect man, or woman. No, it’s not that I want to be a grandmother, but, if that happens I’ll deal with it.

Two years ago I found the perfect mother of the bride dress and bought it. I also have the shoes and earrings. I am set on a moments notice for the call, and would even flip to pay for a small ceremony. She is aware of all this, however, I do not harp.

She tells me she is the last of the college friends to “hang out” in this respect. While I wanted to probe, I bit my tongue. Wonder of wonder that I have a tongue left since I’ve bitten it so much.

Lately I’m beginning to worry the dress will go out of style. So, if anyone out there has a wedding where they need more guests feel free to invite me. It will be good practice for me. And I also have a dress for the rehearsal dinner.

But perhaps the best thing – I won’t fight to catch the bouquet.

Outer Banks Weekend: Day 2

Indian Dancing Circle with Longhouse in background

Began day 2 traveling back to 1585 at Roanoke Festival Park. This attraction depicts the first English settlement in America. Start with the 45 minute film which sets the tone for the park then venture forth through the Indian village. From here the journey led down a path to a recreated ship of the era with sailors dressed in authentic garb.

The Elizabeth

Then to the settlers village, not an easy life for those adventurers. Here is a replica of their blacksmith shop.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Visit the grounds outside the attraction as it holds amazing ocean views, then journey across the bridge to the Town of Mateo. This quaint spot has wonderful restaurants, shops, and my favorite lighthouse ever. Here’s the picture, isn’t it adorable? Andy Griffith of Mayberry fame lived here till his death, and was known to have helped remake this lovely setting.

Within 5 miles of Manteo is Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The Elizabethan Garden on this site is a must see for all who love nature. It is a well deserved tribute to our first settlers. While I could rattle on a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The first non-native child born in the Americas was Virginia Dare. While we have no idea of what happened to these Roanoke colonists this garden statute is a tribute to her. It assumes how she may have appeared as an adult.

The Lost Colony

My final event was the play The Lost Colony on the grounds of the Raleigh National Historic Site. This production is the longest running outdoor play having 82 seasons as of this year. They were awarded a well deserved Tony several years ago. Franklin Roosevelt even attended the performance. The story describes the Roanoke colony intertwined with the Indians as well as the British monarchy. It was an amazing performance.

Hope you enjoyed our visit…

Prior to the performance I attended the backstage tour. Sir Walter Raleigh was the tour guide in full regalia. Hearing the rehearsals of songs, props moving about, and even the choreography of a fight scene was intriguing. When you visit see both venues. Unforgettable.

The time may end but the memories remain.

Outer Banks Weekend: Day 1

Moral: Always check the picture before you leave the site.

With the first week of orientation completed and a free weekend available, I took the opportunity to venture forth. Having never been to the Outer Banks this was my first of many North Carolina spots to visit.

The trek was quick from Goldsboro with many twists and turns among bucolic North Carolina farm lands. Arriving in the Outer Banks at dusk I was unprepared for the enormity of its beauty. What must those coming to the new world in the 1500’s, have thought of this amazing land of beaches, dunes, and mixed greenery.

Driving the speed limit was challenging once on the island. Trucks hauling trailers drove 40 mph when the speed limit was 55. This caused caravans of 15 plus cars behind them. Be prepared for this aggravation as you soak in the beauty. Arriving in Hatteras at 9:30 p.m. I noted a text from my tour company that traffic warnings were in affect for the weekend. Even with my acute NYC driving skills I decided to leave for the tour at 5 a.m. to ensure I’d make it by 8:30 and I was glad I did as this left adequate time for a stop at the Hatteras Lighthouse.

What a beauty and the beaches here pristine and free!

The morning tour was the Wild Horses of Corolla. These 115 horses roam the beaches and the 700 homes of this gated preserve. In the early 1900’s there were 7500 horses, however, the government saw the need to decrease this population.

These Spanish horses arrived on the Outer Banks from ship wrecks and being tossed into the ocean when cargo weight needed decrease. Excellent swimmers they sought sanction in the shores of these beaches and acclimated to a diet of brackish water and sea oats.

There is a community of volunteers who care for and monitor these magnificent creatures. The remaining horses are well protected and a tribute to government working well.

The guide shared a funny story regarding the horses. They are intelligent and had been known to roam the towns near the preserve. At one point they became interested in a local grocery store and learned how to open the automatic doors by stepping on the mat. Several times they raided the produce counters until the store manager removed the automatic doors.

For all those who know me I am obsessed with the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree owners have a vacation house on this preserve. Here is it! With my purchases I probably paid for one of the windows or maybe even a door. Had to include the picture.

After the tour I explored the town of Currituck Beach which has a brick lighthouse. You can also walk to the top of this structure for a fee. Surrounding the lighthouse are historic houses and a gift shop. It is a shady place for a picnic lunch or stop by the North Carolina rib house nearby.

Onward to the Federal Park commerating the first in flight brothers, the Wrights. On this day they had a kite festival and children filled the museum taking in the sites with glee.

Back to the hotel.. more adventures for tomorrow.

Dorothea Lynde Dix

As a psychiatric nurse I have been remiss in not writing of this amazing woman. Born in Hampden, Maine in 1802 of an itinerant, alcoholic Methodist minister and a mother with bouts of depression, she was responsible for her family. Her stern father taught her how to read and from this her love for education grew.

Moving to Massachusetts to live with her affluent grandmother in her mid-teens she began to teach and eventually developed schools throughout the area. It was through a Sunday school class teaching inmates where her advocacy for prisoners began. Here she saw horrific conditions of the incarcerated being mistreated and those incarcerated who were mentally ill. Appalled by the conditions she presented her findings to the Massachusetts state legislature. Widespread reforms were made in the state with Rhode Island and New York to follow. Her reforms went nationally as well as internationally.

During the Civil War she was appointed Superintendent for Nurses. Louisa May Alcott served under Ms. Dix during this time. After the War Dorothea continued her advocacy work for the less fortunate till her death in 1887 at 85. She died at a New Jersey hospital bearing her name and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts.

Orientation: First Day N.C.

On the first day of orientation I arrived at the wrong site. Instructions had changed and I wasn’t notified. While I’m usually 15 minutes early on this day I decided to refrain from this practice. As stood next to a door with a sign stating, “Do not exit – alarmed,” my guide explained where the class was. Embarrassed, I quipped, “I best not depart here.” In response she stated, “Oh, the alarm doesn’t work, and you can leave this way. I can even make the door ring if you’d like.” Laughter ensued and I was on my way.

Upon finding the new building I attempted to sneak into a room of 15 people, however, this was difficult. Grateful class had not begun and some with internet service were peering into their cell phones, I signed in and tip toed to a seat.

Shortly after sitting the instructor appeared in a t-shirt stating, “Relax, I’m hilarious,” and she certainly was. The training was informative and entertaining with portions of The Big Bang Theory and Friends explaining the concepts we were to learn. It worked and made the training enjoyable.

Prior to break we completed paperwork. The instructor stated several times how there is always one that forgets to sign on the back of the form as 3 out of 10 pages required this additional signature. I signed the back of all 10 pages. Hope she got a chuckle.

Looking forward to tomorrow…

Planning the Visit

The first step to a visit anywhere is a stop at the local welcoming center. These places are usually proximate to touristy destinations and the folks working the desk are delightful, insightful, and helpful. In North Carolina working with Miss Peggy was a charming experience as she armed me with 20 pounds of books and brochures to make my stay pleasant. She also spent about 15 minutes giving me the low down on her favorite haunts. I know have much homework and will review the many recommended things to do such as moonshine factory tours, civil war trail info, historic homes, and state parks.

Will be sharing these memories with you.

Windcatcher outside the tourist center

Savannah Visit

Nice officer

At 2:30 a.m. I began my journey north and after 3 hours of I 95 the Savannah exit called to me. Since I hadn’t been there in 15 years, it was time. Upon entry to the City I was greeted by a friendly, young, bald, police officer. Would someone please tell me why these sweet young things shave their head? For another blog.. Well, from this lovely young man I learned the Savannah rules of the road without a ticket. To tell the truth I think he was more interested in the packed contents of the car than the rules, however, I learned to, “Watch the signs painted on the street.” After our visit I was off to explore the early morning hours of the City.

Parking near St. John the Baptist Cathedral I checked the mass schedule and realized I had 2 hours to explore. Starting with architecture enjoy these pictures of the beautiful homes in the area. Each one has a different flavor and style.

An added bonus for the area is the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD). Student art is displayed throughout the City. Many student pieces were displayed in the De Soto Hotel lobby and in the 1540 Room where I ate breakfast. Never had a seafood omelet and it was tasty. Stop in and take a peek.

Once again a police presence looms. Antique police cars on display.

Then onto the unique cemetery next to the police station. In this cemetery many prominent former residents are laid to rest in beguiling crypts surrounded by beautiful flowering trees. Nice tribute to these folks.

Savannah is a city of small parks known as squares. A captivating one was a tribute to an Indian Chief, Tomo Chi-Chi. In the square is his grave.

Near the Chief’s grave is an enticing museum, however, with time of the essence it will be for next visit. This exquisite exterior must house fascinating exhibits. Go and tell me about The Telfair Academy and Museum. I’m sure I’ll be jealous I missed it.

God calls..church.. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

After mass I passed by a historic post office, some quaint shops and restaurants then came across a tribute to Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. Juliette was a resident of Savannah and her home is open to the public. A must see for all Girl Scouts, as I did on my last visit.

In departing a new route appeared, 17 North. This route includes a spectacular bridge affording breath taking views of Savannah harbor. After the bridge was more natural beauty which is part of Savannah Natural Wildlife Refuge.

Onward for another 300 miles, North Carolina here I come. In the meantime, I am now traveling through South Carolina, Colbert Country. Wonder if I’ll bump into him in a rest stop as he returns to New Jersey? You never know.

Farewell Savannah

Fort Mose

On US 1 north, shortly before the City of St. Augustine, stands Spanish soldiers on each side of the route. These soldiers protect the entrance to one of my favorite places in the area, Fort Mose. A small, serene, and scenic state park, it holds much history. The area was established as a refuge for Negro slaves in 1688. Then in 1738, with St. Augustine then under Spanish rule the King freed the slaves and had Fort Mose created for their protection.

While my short summation does not describe the many nuances of this period, a trip to the museum at the park surely does. The interactive exhibits will interest and intrigue young children, as well as adults wishing to learn of this colonial history. Cost of admission is $2 for adults with children under 6 free. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m.

Besides the museum there are trails to walk, places to picnic, and interesting vegetation to observe. Fort Mose also has several living history events throughout the year. In June there is a reenactment of the Bloody Battle of Fort Mose with uniformed soldiers and muskets firing. Then in February the Flight to Freedom reenactment has costumed participants explaining the journey to Fort Mose. Escaping slaves, bounty hunters, and priests tell their tale in blocking or assisting these individuals as they journeyed toward freedom.

Fort Mose is currently undergoing a $500,000. Capital Campaign to represent portions of the 1738 Fort and further develop their living history programs. I look forward to seeing the Park additions.

Donations may be sent to:
Fort Mose Historical Society
P.O. Box 4230
St. Augustine, Fl. 32085
Attention: TJ Jackson

Peaceful St. Augustine

Among all the St. Augustine hoopla there is a quiet place to take a stroll, and sit awhile. This place is the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, and is a stop on both trolley routes. Here shade abounds and there is no need to be a Catholic to enjoy the peace.

Area where Spanish landed.

Spanish explorers established St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, on September 8, 1565, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first mass was celebrated on the shores of the Shrine.

St Francis Statute and Prayer

Later Franciscans brought the La Leche image to the Shrine in 1609, and devotion quickly spread as local Indians were converted. The current Shrine has been the center of devotion to those wishing to conceive, mothers to be, and mothers.

On the grounds are burial plots of the sisters who came to St. Augustine to teach the freed black slaves. There are also many statutes of saints, and a small chapel. The large cross on the property was a gift from the Pope on the 450th anniversary of the City of St. Augustine.

Directly off the main street is a larger church which is a convenient respite for those unable to walk to the grounds. This comfortable church has much beauty with air conditioning and bathrooms. Next to the church is a museum of interesting religious artifacts.

This area was hit hard with hurricanes and remains under renovation. Near completion is a retreat center, a new gift shop replacing that which was destroyed, and several other upgrades.

Worth the visit. Tell the Lord I sent you. 🙂

Non-denomination place to sit and rest.