Willowdale Cemetery and Gertrude Weil among others..

Stopped by Willow Dale Cemetery in Goldsboro, North Carolina to see this historically significant place designed by Colonel Charles Nelson. I wish to acknowledge Tim, the cemetery manager, for his gracious assist and time. Thank you.

The cemetery began in 1853 with its first occupant being Dr. Samuel Adams, a beloved local physician.

Here is a picture of Dr. Samuel Adam’s cemetery stone.

The cemetery has much history with the remains of 800 Confederate soldiers underneath its confederate monument.

The plot of Governor Curtis Brodgen who served North Carolina from 1874-1877 during the reconstruction era is here. The first Secretary of the Army, General Kenneth Claiborne Royall, is also buried in the cemetery.

Eliza Dyer, the first person of “color” was buried here in 1910. She was maid to a prominent family and they requested she be buried in the all white cemetery. The following picture shows her stone and inscription. A moving tribute.

Gertrude Weil, (1879-1971), a prominent southern Jewish activist and lifelong resident of Goldsboro is also interred here. From a prominent family involved in the merchandising business, Gertrude dedicated her life to many causes and spread her philanthropy worldwide. Below lists several of her pursuits:

  • Graduate of the high school branch of Columbia University. Attended Smith College in Massachusetts.
  • Advocate of women’s rights, founded North Carolina League of Women’s Voters. Challenged laws which thwarted women’s rights.
  • As she could not hold a political office, she volunteered and served on local boards and commissions. She was famous for knowing how to get things done and campaigned against lynching, segregation, and for Jewish rights.
  • While North Carolina voted against the US Constitution amendment for women’s right to vote, (Tennessee cast the final vote), her work is credited for setting the national tone for this effort.
  • Gained national attention in 1922 when she spotted and ripped up a stack of illegally marked ballots.
  • In the 1930’s and 1940’s rescued Jewish refugees from the Holocaust and supported the creation of Israel.
  • At 80 she dove head first into a swimming pool thereby desegregating the pool. This pool was one of her philanthropic endeavors.
Elizabeth, far left, from North Carolina Archives. 1920 picture.

From my internet search I became quite inspired by the works of this Southern Jewish Activist from the from early part of the 20th century. My interest was piqued as I live near her former home.

Her efforts and work glow as an enduring legacy for women to follow in the footsteps of her greatness. In closing here is a quote from Gertrude which best describes her simple credence.

“It is so obvious that to treat people equally is the right thing to do.”

New Berne, North Carolina

New Berne is a historic, revolutionary war town. The town was returned to its roots in the mid 1900’s through the efforts of several dedicated women who worked tirelessly with public and private organizations to achieve their goal. The area was successfully reclaimed and the Tryon Palace area returned to its former glory.

And what a job they did. See the gardens below.

The back of the Palace overlooks the Neuse River.

The Palace was home to two British governors, Governor William Tryon and Governor Josiah Martin. While considered a government building in British standards citizens of the area deemed it a Palace. Here the governors lived and conducted British colony business. In May 1775 the then Governor Morris fled when he received news of colonists organizing locally to form a new government.

Restored at a cost of $8 million dollars in 1950, and opened in 1959, the structure rests on its original foundation. Palace furnishing while not authentic are indicative of the era. A fascinating and well maintained structure it is a must see when visiting the area.

Docents are dressed in maid garb and give interesting highlights regarding the daily Palace operations. What I particularly enjoyed was learning about the clothing and dressing of these individuals in this time period. So many hoops and wigs…

Then off to the kitchen to see Palace food preparation. Staff were making casseroles and breads on the hearth during the visit.

The second floor was where servants lived. The Governor had both black and British servants.

The Stanly House was the next home available for tour. Built and owned by John Stanly, this man had a checkered history. John began his life in Williamsburg, where he was jailed on forgery charges. He then moved to Nova Scotia and became involved in shipping. He later moved to Jamaica where he made his mark, however once again legalities presented themselves. His partner claimed he embezzled funds. He was jailed for a year but later exonerated.

It was on to Charleston after suing his partner and recovering financially, however, the ship stopped in New Berne. A fellow passenger invited him to a party where he met, fell in love, and later married a young wealthy woman at the party. They had 9 children, 6 of which survived to adulthood.

John became a wealthy businessman paying 14% of the town taxes. He was involved in sugar cane, molasses, distillery, and, as mentioned earlier, shipping. During the Revolutionary War he became a pirate for the government, and though he lost 14 ships in this venture he managed to stay afloat financially.

Sadly, in 1789 he contracted and died from yellow fever with his wife dying the following month. As the children were young the house was boarded till his youngest son, John, Jr., reached adulthood. John also had a similar intriguing history becoming a lawyer, later a politician, fighting duels, and eventually dying penniless.

Whew! What a life they lived.

Not far from the historic area is the North Carolina History Center. Informative guides are here to assist you with your visit, and while there take in the movie and exhibits. The Palace collection piece exhibit described how the women who started the project acquired its furnishings.

For boat enthusiasts there also is an exhibit on Barbour Boats. These boats were created from 1930 to 1970 and the museum currently resides on the former Barbour property. Shown here is the Barbour Rocket.

Now, on to downtown New Berne, the birthplace of Pepsi Cola.

Here much memorabilia is on display for all those Pepsi lovers. Stop in and check it out.

Besides the famous Pepsi landmark there are also restaurants, high end consignment shops, and all types of retail venues for your spending pleasure. My favorite was Mitchell Hardware. This is a hardware store of a bygone era. Look for this bear to find the place. All ages would enjoy.

The City of New Berne is a haven for bears in all shapes, sizes and versions. Legend states the founder of the City was from Switzerland and named the City for the word Bear. The name stuck and it became their symbol.

Hope you enjoyed the visit.

Country Docs, Selma, Wine, Whirligigs, and Roses

Decided to visit The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, North Carolina, after a late start to the day, and was glad I did. According to the tour guide there are only two country doctor museums in the country and this was a cutie.

Dr. Newell

Started in 1967 by Dr. Josephine Newell who practiced in the 1950’s, it is a tribute to a bygone era. The old apothecary shelving, display of nurses caps, items from the Civil War, and even live leeches are on display here. Fun Fact: Leeches have anticoagulant properties, and when applied to the body they aren’t felt. Well, maybe this isn’t a “fun fact,” but interesting.

Here’s a few pics from the place. Docs made house calls in these Model T’s. And take a guess at what was used to hang plants in the herb garden? You got it – an antique IV pole..

Next stop, a quick visit to Selma.

Here I found a train station with a small museum. Selma is where Vick’s Vapor Rub was invented.

Couldn’t resist adding this gas station picture. Does anyone remember these?

Then.. Hinnant Family Vineyards

The tours at this winery occur Thursday through Sunday, but, tastings are daily and for a $10 fee much is offered. Sweet wines are this vineyard’s specialty and their most popular selling brands. While that is not my palate I did find a peppery red wine which I enjoyed and purchased, Norton. I’m told it is good with steaks, so when someone invites me over for a cookout I have a bottle to bring.

The friendly server at the winery clued me in to my next stop and who would think??


This park is the largest collection in the world of Vollis Simpson’s work. Vollis constructed, welded, and painted the whirligigs. They appear everywhere from LA to Russia, and have been featured in many publications including the New York Times. Here’s a few more and my favorite.

On to the Wilson Rose Garden..

Here are a few pictures of the roses and sculptures in this lovely garden. It also has a whirligig and can be rented for events. What a beautiful scent walking through these roses. Fantastic job ladies of Wilson, North Carolina.

What a great way to end the day.

Florida vs. North Carolina

No this isn’t a football game. It’s cable reception. In previous blogs I’ve alluded to my problems in Florida, now the culprit has followed me to North Carolina. The teams remain anonymous, however, it is certain their playbooks need update.

Since I’ve been busy I only recently began to look at television. I use cbs.com to get my Stephen Colbert updates, and quite frankly, that reception is equally awful. Having a punch line break up then recalling what was said earlier is challenging. As I write there is a blizzard of snow on the screen. Am I in the North? But even in the North we don’t get snow in August.

My first clue should have been when the internet service shut off. I received notification when this occurred requesting I try again in an hour. However, in an hour still no reception.

While I lament over Florida service, they do have a functional internet. Perhaps that gives them 3, or maybe 6 points? A touchdown it isn’t, but, Florida got one ball over the goalpost.

When I’ve asked other fans the response is, “It’s the satellite.” Satellite or not I’m sure the North Carolina team is getting their residuals.

Need the phone number for the North Carolina team. Then am going out to buy Excedrin as pre-game preparation for the next play.

It’s Kathleen and if you don’t like what I say it’s still Kathleen.

The Cliffs of the Neuse

Cliff View From Base.

This North Carolina State Park holds the highest cliffs in the state at over 90 feet, with its origins over 180 million years ago. During this time period most of North America was covered by an ancient sea and the cliffs developed as a collection of sediment left from the ocean floor. Fossils, which are preserved animals and plants stuck in sediment, are found throughout the park and date back over 75 million years.

Cliffs from the top with tree and foliage obscuring view.

The cliffs are multicolored, however, the orange sediment is the most striking. Iron reacts with oxygen to make this orange color. The Neuse River developed from a fault line in the Earth and along with it many springs.

Three Indian tribes, the Tuscarora, Woccon, and Saponi Tribe, lived in this area for over 1000 years. The Tuscarora were originally from the New York State and Pennsylvania area and returned after the 1713 War becoming The Iroquois Nation.

From 1881-1945 The Seven Springs Hotel was a popular tourist spot in the park area. People came from all locales to drink the water for almost every ailment. However, in 1999 the hotel was closed due to Hurricane Floyd damage.

The idea to make this area a state park came from Lionel Weil, a local businessman. He spear headed a group which donated their lands for this purpose. The plaque seen here located at the cliff site honors his actions.

Currently the park has many trails, an amphitheater, bathhouse, boat rentals, fishing and swimming facilities. While it also has camping and cabins this year they are closed for renovation.

I took the Lake Trail, a 1.9 mile path of sand from the Visitor Center Museum area to the lake. It was a beautiful, shady, and cool walk, but long. Remember to bring water. The swimming area held very few patrons on this mid week 5 pm evening. It proved to be a serene experience swimming and diving from the lake dock.

After this came the Cliff visit. There is little Cliff visibility from the top due to plant and tree overgrowth so I ventured the long path to the cliff base. This journey is made for the physically fit with many stairs to the base and once arriving slippery mud. Also, beware of the bugs and snakes. Thankfully no snakes crossed my path. Worth the hike to base and here are a few pictures.

Bring an extra pair of sneakers.

This is a phenomenal park for families. The museum at the Visitor Center is kid friendly and the lake holds many activities. Here are some interesting tips to curb water pollution according to one of the museum exhibits:

  • Keep sediment from washing into streams.
  • Prevent oil leaks from cars.
  • Don’t over fertilize lawns, clean up fertilizer spills
  • Water car on the lawn so water doesn’t go into the storm drain.
  • Dispose of pet waste properly.

Enjoy your visit.

Back Pain

Don’t you just hate back pain?

I’ve been trying to figure out why this is occurring every morning as I get out of bed. There are many possibilities the blow up bed, driving too much, sneakers with not enough arch support, the hospital chairs and cement floors, but quite frankly I am dumb founded.

There have been several remedies I’ve applied to alleviate this evil. I purchased a foam topper for the blow up bed, applied my special blend of pain relief oils more frequently, slept with a pillow under my knees, even got new inserts for the sneakers, but it still plagues me.

At least I have relief once I do my daily 20 minute workout with Miranda Esmonde White. It’s just getting out of bed to do it, however, I push myself as I know the reward. I can walk the remainder of the day, and am pain free. YIPEE!

Bottom line: I need to loose those last 20 pounds as the belly fat is pulling on the back. Anyone out there want to join in?

Birthplace and Home Governor Charles B. Aycock

On the pamphlet for Governor Aycock’s home it states, “Get Your Hands on History,” and this man certainly did. Charles B. Aycock was the son of a Baptist farmer, and the youngest of 10 children. On the family farm of over 1000 acres corn, peas, beans, and sweet potatoes were raised. There were also sheep, milking cows, and oxen. Here he learned the value of hard work. Besides farming his father was active in politics. Many guests visited the home and the young Aycock listened ardently to the the talks, even participating in rallies. This led to his passionate career.

While not a wealthy family funds were raise to send Charles to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of 125 students he was thought a country bumpkin, and did not fit in. Charles changed all that joining the literary society and debate club. He became a campus leader. Graduating in 3 instead of 4 years, he then began a career in the law. Later he was appointed in the United States District Court for Eastern North Carolina, after which he transitioned into politics.

Early Law Office

As he traveled through the state he spoke of public education for all. He was elected Governor in 1901 on the Democratic ticket. During his tenure as governor more than 3000 school buildings were constructed and teacher salaries doubled. From his work there was a dramatic increase in literacy and he became known as the “Education Governor.”

Room from his Goldsboro home.

After years in the private life others encouraged Charles to run for the senate. Sadly, prior to the actual run he died. One can only wonder what he would have accomplished there.

Following are pictures of the Governor’s farm which the State of North Carolina continues to maintain. Lovely tribute to a man who served so many.

His parents..

The farm home..

The Farm..

And while there is a school on the property, Charles did not attend here.

“..men can never grow higher and better by rising on the weakness and ignorance of their fellows, but only by aiding their fellow men and lifting them to the same high plane of which they themselves occupy.”

from the 1901, inaugural address of Governor Charles B. Aycock

Old Waynesborough Historical Village: History and Exercise

This free, self-guided museum and historical village was a real surprise. Beginning the visit at the museum, reproductions of Confederate and Union uniforms were seen. It certainly must have been hot fighting in wool uniforms.

The first picture is the uniform of a Confederate Lieutenant, the second a Confederate private, and the final a Union officer.

In the gun room there were many, as well as sabers. For those interested in this type of memorabilia the collection is a must see. Items from several eras were located in this room. However, my interest was the organ from the 1900’s in the next room.

Leaving the museum I began to visit the many historical buildings on the property. First was a Grange Hall with many pictures of former area Granger members along with the actual furnishings of the Hall.

Next door to the Grange Hall was an interesting home of the late 1800’s. Well restored and furnished to the time period.

And what is a village without a Doctor’s Office? Here is Dr. Kennedy’s office. Built in 1905, it housed a waiting room, examination room, and in the final room a bed which may have doubled for a hospital or perhaps a place for the doc to take a quick nap?.

Then we have to keep the village informed with the local newspaper. The 1920 Print Shop.

And did someone say they needed a lawyer? This is a typical 19th century law office. A clerk would stand at an elevated desk to conduct business to give himself some exercise. Another fun fact, in 1827 the French invented and patented the fountain pen, so no qwills here. Want one more? Thomas Jefferson was known to carry one of these “copiers” as seen in the fourth picture. He copied his writings while traveling. Sure must have been a heavy load carrying this copier. It is cast iron.

And then it is off to school for the children.

On Sunday a visit to the Quaker House of Prayer.

Did someone need to make a visit somewhere else during service?

One final stop after services..

Now on to the exercise portion of our visit…

The grounds have extensive walking trails. On these trails were many singing birds. Several folks with binoculars were eyeing these beauties. There was also a historic cemetery along the path.

Besides the birds, butterflies, and beautiful swamp area, an enormous white tailed deer graced my stroll. She flew by not 4 feet from me. As I looked closer a baby fawn was hidden among the leaves of the tree.

This is a spectacular place to bring children. Get them off those cell phones and have them start enjoying nature. And the exercise will help as well.

Bentonville and Farm Visit

In the Visitor Center at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in North Carolina there is a movie, small museum as well as the availability of an interesting house tour. The movie gives a thorough explanation of what led to the war, and the plantation house tour shows how the home was used as a hospital during, and after the battle. Start your tour here as this will set the tone for the visit.

The Battle of Bentonville was one of the last Civil War Battles. It was fought between March 19-21, 1865, and claimed 2200 lives. This was the largest battle ever fought on North Carolina soil. The war ended shortly thereafter in April 1865.

Harper House

The first floor of the Harper Plantation served as a hospital treating 600 Union and 50 Confederate soldiers. Makeshift surgical suites are seen in the pictures below. Treatment during this time was before knowledge of germs, antiseptics, infection, and anesthesia. Casualties were high and many are buried in the nearby Harper family cemetery.

The 10 member family lived upstairs while soldiers were being treated.

The Harper family had slave quarters and an outside kitchen on their property. While the structures are similar kitchen is left, slave quarters right.

Upon leaving the Visitor Center area there is a drive with placards explaining each facet of the battle for that particular site. This is a must see and do for Civil War buffs.

A few interesting facts learned from the visit:

  • South Carolina was the first state to secede from the union.
  • Abraham Lincoln was elected via the Electoral College. None of the 4 candidates held a plurality.
  • Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on the 4th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

From here I left for a more flavorful visit..

Simply Natural Creamery is a great place to bring your family and children. A bit of a drive from Goldsboro, but worth it with delicious homemade ice cream, an interesting farm tour, and fun playground for children. Prices are reasonable and the front porch is breezy to sit on as you eat your ice cream.

Of course you can also sit inside and see the milk production.

For me the best part of the tour was the farm. Here our group was taken via tram to see the pregnant cow pen. Cows in their 7th month of confinement are placed in this pen till birth.

Then we saw the babies which delighted all the young’ins on the tour.

Cows have a gestation period of 9 months like us humans. A calf can weigh anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds at birth and occasionally there are twins. Once born the calf is separated from their mother to ensure mastitis does not occur. The boys are sold to others and the girls kept as milkers. At 2 years of age the girl is artificially inseminated and has her first calf. Then she begins to be milked. These are Jersey cows and can be milked for 25 years. Also, those who are lactose intolerant can drink this milk.

We also passed by the cow grocery store where their feed is stored. This is a very important place as cows eat between 80 to 90 pounds of food daily.

What a nice ending for the day. See you tomorrow.

Here’s a final good bye from the girls.

The Secret Garden Winery

Visiting the Secret Garden Winery is like having an outing with an old friend. Linda, the winery owner developed the winery after she retired from the family business. Her wine is based on recipes from her mother with the entire process being organic.


Our tour began after ringing Linda’s door bell and being greeted by Lady, her friendly 10 year old beagle. We mounted a golf cart and rode through the vineyard as she explained the organic process. No pesticides or preservatives are used in her wine .

During the vineyard tour we past a lovely Japanese maple which was Linda and her husband’s 50th anniversary gift to each other. Near the maple was a grouping of Purple Martin birdhouses. These birds eat insects and are the vineyards only pesticide.

Beyond this was Linda’s truly secret garden with shady trees, and a bridge over a koi pond.

Next stop was the fermenting and bottling operation site located in a garage on the property. Linda individually bottles, corks and shrink wraps the bottles.

And, finally the tasting room where Lady joined us.

These wines are different than what I have ever tasted. Due to the fermenting process which lacks the addition of sulfites the wines have a higher alcohol content. This creates a sweeter taste and if not refrigerated these sweet wines can become bubbly. The dry wines as they age become more mellow, and don’t we all. Her Golden Harvest won a medal at the State Fair.

Linda doesn’t like her picture taken, however, an image of sorts appears on the bottle along with this lovely poem she wrote.

The Secret Garden

If there were a ‘secret garden’, what would it comprise? Fragrant flowers, a bubbling brook, butterflies? Dragonflies, birds and bees, there would be all of these.

But most of all, within ‘that place’, tranquil peace and serenity await; ever there for me and you to relax and renew. So every morning, before you start, visit the ‘secret garden’ of your heart. Linda Wall Hall

Thanks, Linda for the beautiful visit.