Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte was the last leg of my Central North Carolina tour. Arriving on Labor Day was a poor move on my part as much of the City was closed. Aware that the Bible Belt closes on Sunday for church I was a bit surprised holidays were included. My error for not checking before, however making lemons out of lemonade I think I made a fine brew..

The 4th District

This is where several museums, a theater, interesting cemetery, and a Labor Day Parade took place. Historically, the 4th District is where Scots and Irish came to settle in 1768. These pioneers built a Presbyterian Church and later came Settler’s Cemetery.

Here Charlotte’s founding fathers, Revolutionary and Civil War veterans are buried. The graves are arranged in family groups.

Further down from Church Street was the Discovery Science Museum. This place has much fun stuff for kids to do. They also have special exhibits and movies. Great one on Pandas.

Spirit Square is across the street from Discovery Science. This spot in a former synagogue which has some great indie movies, comedians, and open mike nights. Interesting venue to check out if in Charlotte on an overnight.

From here the journey led to Billy Graham, however as I was leaving an interesting fountain caught my eye.

The signs explained the 4th Districts history and mentioned nearby Victorian houses. I hunted them down. Aren’t they beautiful?

If you do go to Charlotte for a visit check out Jen McGivney’s web page, “Free and Cheap Things to do in Charlotte.” She is a local and has some good ideas on what to do and see.

Here are the places I wanted to see but were closed. Locals and those who’ve visited recommended the following:

  • Reed Gold Mine
  • Mint Museum
  • James K. Polk Historical Site
  • Levine Museum of the New South
  • Murals – wish I could have located these
  • And if you love Thai food as I do, Basil Restaurant

Stay tuned for tomorrow…. Nascar Museum. What a fun visit.

The Burwell School

Burwell School

This school was created to educate young women from 8 to 18 years of age. It drew local students as well as those from distances as far as Texas and New York. In its 20 year history from 1837 to 1857 it taught women spelling, grammar, geography, arithmetic, writing, philosophy, and chemistry. For an additional cost the student could also receive lessons in painting, drawing, and French.

Gardens Outside the School Building. Note the brick privy.

The student’s day began with prayer and scripture, then exercise which was a walk. After this a breakfast of bread and butter was served. Lessons began after breakfast until 2 p.m. when a larger meal was consumed. Food served would have been that which came from the farm. Hogs, chickens, eggs, and vegetables were raised or grown on the farm.

Where classes took place.

After lessons another walk would occur then in the evening students would write letters home, read, or study. There were 10 boarders at a time in the school. In reading some of the letters I noted the students were homesick and often fearful of Mrs. Burwell.

Mrs. Burwell

Mrs. Burwell began the school to supplement the family income. Her husband came to the area as the minister for the local Presbyterian Church. When they arrived there were 2 children, however this number increased to 12 with 7 surviving to adulthood. While Mrs. Burwell came from a prominent Virginia family wealth did not always come with position.

School desk along with “dormitory” rooms.

Typical Slave Dress

The operation of the school and household came at a cost. Slaves were hired or rented to maintain the household. Enter Elizabeth, “Lizzy,” Hobbs, who was born into slavery, and in 1835, at age 17, came to Hillsborough as a wedding gift to the Burwells .

This strong minded young woman came with many talents, those being the ability to read, write, and sew. However, here she suffered at the hands of the Burwells. The abusive beating promulgated by Mrs. Burwell in an effort to break her spirit and conducted by the Rev. Burwell were so horrific that the community came to Lizzy’s defense to ensure the beatings ceased.

Rev. Burwell later resigned his ministry accepting a headmaster position in Charlotte at a school which was later to become Queens College. In 1857 they left the area.

Some of the rooms of the Burwell home.

However, Lizzy’s story had only begun. Her ownership then went to a Burwell daughter who moved to St. Louis. Lizzy’s dressmaker skills supported the family during this time.

The St. Louis customers of Lizzy loaned her $1200 for purchase of her freedom. Lizzy moved to Washington D.C. and set up a dressmaking shop. There she began a friendship with Mary Todd Lincoln and was her confidante often visiting the private quarters of she and the President.

Mary Todd Lincoln once called Lizzie, “my best living friend.”

Reproduction of dress Lizzy made for Mary Todd Lincoln which now stands in the Smithsonian Museum.

Hillsborough, N.C.

Visitor Center

What a beautiful restored community laced in history. Stop at the Visitor Center located inside the historic Alexander Dickinson House for direction then walk the town. With every step you will see a community similar to the 17th to 18th century with its architecture. Even the firehouse is historic. Below are some pictures of the community and government buildings.

The nearby Ayr Mount Historic Site holds a Federal era plantation home which is open for viewing.

Behind the home is a one mile walk known as the “Poet’s Walk.” This free one mile walk also allows dogs on leashes. There are picnic benches on property as well.

Views from a rock in the middle of the stream.

For those bringing little ones to the area the Orange County Historical Museum has interactive exhibits to entertain and enlighten them. They also had an exhibit of toys of the era.

Behind the museum is a historic, well maintained cemetery. The Old Town Cemetery which began in the mid 17th century also has a pamphlet available explaining who is buried in the grounds along with their connection to the community. For those cemetery buffs this is a real find.

Stay tuned as tomorrow we will complete our visit to Hillsborough with a truly fascinating piece of history.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

My first stop in Chapel Hill was Coker Arboretum, the university gardens. The sign at the garden’s entry states it is designed as a place of contemplation and rest. With the lovely shady trees and beautiful flowers it was.

While the grapevines, Black Eyed Susans, and Cornflowers were to be expected I certainly never thought this would appear in the garden.

A lovely deer graced my visit.

While nothing can compare to the deer in the garden, here are some pictures of the beautiful campus.

While walking past sorority houses I noted young women dressed to kill. Unaware of why these gals were dressed up I inquired of a reliable source who I later found out was the “sorority recruiter.” This was interview day for sorority placement. In the front yard of one of the sorority houses sat 100 ladies sitting at small tables chatting with each other.

Maybe we could transfer this activity to Washington D.C.?

Learn something new everyday.


Patterson’s Hill Country Store

This antique store with chuck full of memorabilia. If you are into antiques of any type it certainly is worth the trip and not far from the main drag.

And to end the day a nature walk at the North Carolina Botanical Garden trails. The Streamside Trail was restful, peaceful, and cool. Give it a try when you are in the area.

Morehead Planetarium

This Planetarium, on the grounds of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was an interesting visit. Here I took in 3 different shows and learned more about the “beyond.”

The facility has trained 62 astronauts in the theater where planetarium shows are currently held. Here Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldron, Michael Collins, and John Glenn sat investigating the stars to assist with navigation just in case the computers failed. During Gordon Cooper’s flight systems did fail and he relied on his celestial training to realign the space ship.

Fun facts…

  • Stars are different colors with blue being the hottest, and red the coolest.
  • The Earth is closest to the Sun in January, and farthest away in July.
  • An elliptical path is followed around the Sun by Earth.
  • There is only one star in our universe. That star is the Sun.
  • The Sun has shown on the Earth for 4 1/2 billion years.
  • There are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way.
  • The Milky Way was named by the Greeks for a goddess who dropped milk on the sky.
  • Stars twinkle. Planets have constant light.

There are several shows at the Planetarium dedicated for all ages. My favorite was Carolina Skies as this was more interactive and the presenter informative and entertaining.

One final note, stop by the basement for a short exhibit on the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon.

The Northern Lights…Iceland

Historic Halifax

Historic Halifax is one of the many fascinating and free North Carolina State Parks with restored buildings authentic to the era and well versed docents giving information regarding the site. Bring your family, enjoy the grounds, and have a picnic in the gardens behind the visitor center. September 21st from 10-4 the Park is having a special event. What a perfect time for a visit. Note the following website for specifics…..

Halifax was a prominent town in the mid 17th century with English settlers moving from Virginia courtesy of King Charles II land grants. Settlers mainly grew peas, corn, and tobacco, and lived among the Tuscarora Indians peacefully until 1711 when Indian wars began. At the end of the wars the Indians relocated to New York.

Interesting museum explaining tavern life.

Halifax was the main city in the Roanoke Valley with a population of 900. As a plantation society wealth grew during its glory days from 1760 to 1820 and along with that parties, balls, and yes, horse racing. President Washington visited the town on his southern tour as did the Marquis de Lafayette.

And with town development there was more need for taverns with room accommodations.

Next, a Masonic Temple was built.

Then a court building was needed.

As well as a law office..

And a jail.

Halifax was instrumental to the start of the American Revolution as plantation owners joined to draft the Halifax Resolve, a request for county independence.

One of the main initiators of this document was Joseph Monfort. This man was clerk of the court, a member of the assembly, a Mason, and a prominent businessman. His home of Georgian architecture was recreated with the original cellar left intact and exposed. For all those architecture buffs the Monfort Archaeological Museum is a wonder. Below is the home and some archaeological pictures of the site.

Historic Halifax began through the efforts of volunteers. Later the state purchased the property and created a state park, however these volunteers remain involved. While visiting I met a volunteer restoring a home on a nearby parcel of land which will become part of the Historic Halifax exhibit upon completion.

The Bradford House was the home of a Methodist minister who besides preaching also ran an academy for females in the 1820’s. His daughter married the great great grandson of Thomas Jefferson. The couple then moved to Tallahassee and founded Florida State University.

When the family heard of the home being moved to the site they donated the proceeds for the renovation.

Whew! What an active place Historic Halifax is.

And don’t forget to mark your calendar for September 21st.

Rocky Mount, N.C.

Began the visit by journeying through the Tar River Trail. City Lake was the first attraction on this trek. Here much water fowl was available to feed on this pristine day of much sun and cool 70 degree temperatures.

The next item on the trek was a carousel, and while the venue closed who can resist taking pics of those horses?

Snaking through the trail was the Rocky Mount Mill Village. These small, well preserved bungalows were once home to mill workers. Residents are fortunate to have the Tar River in their back yard as a lovely wooden walkway is present for strolls along the river.

Around the corner from the now defunct Rocky Mountain Mill was The Battle Park with a confederate cemetery and monument.

The Stonewall, a late Federal architecture home built around 1830 was part of the route.

Then onto Martin Luther Park. Passing firefighters practicing their craft on the way I took a shot. Where would we be without them?

Martin Luther King spoke his “I have a dream..” speech in Rocky Mount.

What a beautiful tribute and likeness. And his words follow.

Let us always remember this great man and what he stood for.

Bailey’s to Bonanza of Bailey, North Carolina

Bailey’s of Bailey, North Carolina, was listed as having an extensive teapot collection in their restaurant according to the Nash County Tour Guide. However, two months prior to my visit the restaurant was sold. The new restaurant is The Bonanza Grill with all the motif of the Cartwright’s.

Ben, Hoss, Little Joe, and Adam adorn the walls. There are burgers dedicated to them with the Hoss Double Cheeseburger and the Little Joe single.

The restaurant is a family operation of women with mom the owner, grandma the baker, and think the daughter was the waitress. Did I mention grandpa was there having lunch?

Lunch was a fried pork chop with a side of slaw, applesauce, and hush puppies. Never had a fried pork chop. Didn’t know they could cook them that way, however, this is the South and much of the food is fried. It was tasty, with the entire bill $15.00 inclusive of tip and grandma’s baked goods to go. What a bargain.

Back to the real reason for my visit…. teapots. Luckily, the former owner had only sold half the collection. The remaining 2,000 were a delight. Here is a sampling. Enjoy.

Spot of tea anyone?

Pools and Tractors

Are you thinking what do these two things have in common? Well, actually nothing, but since I was raised never to waste here’s an eclectic montage from 2 sightings. Hope it enlightens, gives you something to talk about or even a laugh.


Recently, the YMCA in Goldsboro drained their olympic pool. 450,000 gallons of water are pumped out over a period of 3-4 days and drained into a local creek.

After that folks scrape, plaster, and paint the pool for several days. Only to return the pool to it’s natural beauty in less than two weeks.

What a job. Good this only needs to be done every 4-5 years.


Did you know there are organizations that restore farm equipment?

Here are some of the beauties this group has restored…

1974 Farmall 140

1955 John Deere 40 STD

And I never knew Ford made tractors.
Here’s a 1958 Ford Powermaster with 56 Horse Power

I think I’ve found another type of show to investigate. Good bye car shows!

Thanks for being an……….

Hope you enjoyed.

Going back to school..

When I had to retire I was so miserable I elicited the guidance of a woman to help sort out of my life. She recommended I return to school and become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. It sounded good so I investigated this option. It would take 5 years and $50,000. I decided I would rather travel. Did I make the right decision? Well, I still have time.

I shutter when I hear student debt stories. A friend who recently passed at 68 had $70,000. worth of student loans. Once she received the pancreatic cancer diagnosis the loans were cancelled, but prior to the diagnosis she worked every overtime shift imaginable to make the payments.

Whenever I hear of young folk wanting to go to college I tell them, “Go to New York State, become a resident, and apply to a state school. It’s free.” I don’t know if these folks have done this, however I know Florida parents who have sent their kids to New York State to live, and they are happy, and attending college free.

Recently, a nurse colleague of mine returned to school at 49. She’s shared some of her class information with me. I made the right decision to travel.