Montreat College

In the 1830’s a Presbyterian minister from Connecticut came to Montreat, North Carolina, establishing a religious center which later became a college. It continues today. Entering the town of Montreat this stone entry is passed through.

Then the College…

There is much natural beauty on this campus. Here is a sampling..

A retreat center building and overlook.

The Nature Center was closed, however, there are signs for trails. I particularly liked the signs for children. Need to start them hiking young..

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And check out this playground, nice spot for both parents and children.

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Drive through the college grounds..

Past this church the mountain inclines and hiking trails are available for those with moderate skills.

I think I am feeling the need for a retreat. Don’t you?

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Black Mountain is an art community with a long history. In the 1930’s a liberal arts college was founded here. The mountains were an ideal setting for the cultivation of creativity. Many progressive artists and thinkers were produced from this school. Refugees escaping Hitler’s plight also were in attendance. Sadly, the college closed in 1957 but the arts remain in this community.

Let’s start our tour at the art gallery. Here’s what greets you at the door, what a great idea for planter decorations..

Then inside even more creativity..

The Gallery also has classes for young and old along with performing arts camps for kids. What fun that would be.. Ballet, pottery, drawing and painting as well as Dungeon and Dragons were some of the class offerings for Spring 2021. Check out their web site for more info at

Walking through the town don’t miss the murals painted on building facades.

Artist At Work..
Outside the German Restaurant
Lovely Horses

And who knew… Roberta Flack was born in Black Mountain. A fitting tribute to a woman with an angelic voice.

Then some fun stores..

Another fun shop … here you can get books or a children’s gift for the child who has everything…

Black Mountain had rail service at one time. There are placards giving much information with a train displayed from the era. And the depot remains with another interesting shop.

An artist’s depiction of the actual depot.
Some of the treasures found in the depot

And let’s not forget the restaurants.. There were Thai, Cuban, Italian, German, to name a few. Since Black Mountain is a short 30 mile drive from my home base I plan to return weekly to visit a different restaurant each week. Prices were reasonable and all had a pleasant ambience.

But what I especially liked about the town was the planning which went into this venture. They even planned for comfort stations..

My you never know who you’ll meet on the street at Black Mountain..

What a fun place for an afternoon visit!

Next stop.. Montreat College

North Carolina Arrival

Rented a cabin for my stay in Western North Carolina. Didn’t think I would arrive in the middle of a snow storm with a power outage, however, I did. Driving through the forest as my Atlanta based landlord guided me was a challenge in the darkened wilderness but the cabin was found. Discovering no power another call to Atlanta was made. The landlord’s brother in law arrived with candles. Nice touch.

Since this is my eighth travel nurse experience I know to plan for the unexpected. The small and light weight Vornado heater was packed and has served the purpose for heat along with a flannel night gown, quilt, and afghan.

Up early the next day to investigate the area found an interesting lumber operation nearby. Here’s a few pictures..

Later laundry was done with a recent purchase – a portable washing machine. What a great machine. Here she is…

Brought plants for the cabin and am growing herbs. A homey touch and fun to watch…

Computer access is problematic in the area. Am learning more of hot spots and the like since my last blog. Running back and forth to Verizon and Staples is exhausting and time consuming for this computer nincompoop.

Tomorrow will be exploring Hickory, North Carolina. Stay tuned.


State Farm

No, this isn’t an insurance ad, it was an exit off the highway on the way back from Raleigh to Goldsboro. What a great farmers market, so glad to have stopped.

While I wasn’t after super sod, (my goodness how could I ever fit this in the car for the trip to Florida), I certainly benefited from the many fruits, vegetables, and baked goodies available at this great spot. They should have one of these in every state, if not several.

Open 7 days a week this market offers an assortment of tomatoes, as tasty as those in New Jersey, bags of pecans, different apple varieties, jellies, home baked delicacies, great flowers, and plants. Then there is always the honey, wherever I travel I buy the local honey. In every area the honey has a different taste as well as a medicinal effect for cuts and the like. To date my favorite honey is from Italy, however there are some Florida varieties that give Italy a run for their money, and the N.C. blend was definitely tasty.

Since watermelon juice is my treasured juice of choice, both straight and in red wine, I picked up a new variety of the melon. Once home I blended up a batch and now I’m plagued with trying to find this new deep green creature as it struck my palate with a glow.

Then of course there were the pumpkins…

There are also fish and food vendors beyond the farm stand roofing, however with the 105 degree weather I stayed beneath.

With this I say good bye to this Raleigh journey thanking them for the fun filled weekend.

Quilt Speak

Quilts speak, and they certainly do with a story all their own. These stories were beautifully displayed at the museum. Come and read a few.

This is a pieced quilt made from 11,650 pieces of fabric none larger than a postage stamp. Mamie Dameron made this quilt after finishing her farm chores, and as a project to keep her from thoughts of her husbands 1932 death.

The fabric used in this quilt is chintz which is a printed cotton fabric with a polished look. This was a more expensive fabric to use.

Crazy quilt – These were made of a combination of different fabrics, sometimes fine silks and velvets. The fabric was cut in varied shapes with an overcast stitch to maintain the construction.

Applique is another type of quilting. This is done by adding a design with pieces of cloth to a foundation fabric.

Quilts can also be made as memories or history.

This is a thank you quilt made by Patience White, a slave. Once freed she continued to live with her enslaved family. It was during this time she was taught to read and write. This literacy occurred between 50 and 77 years of age. Patience, what a woman!

And nowdays the rage is quilts made from t-shirts. These can include anything from sports to places of interest visited.*

With over 500 quilts in the collection the exhibit will be changing as it continues. So, bring the kids to see this extraordinary exhibit. Who knows, it may create a new hobby for the family to enjoy together.

*not in exhibit

The North Carolina Museum of History

The final museum in this Raleigh tour was the North Carolina Museum of History. This Museum gave a portrayal of history and depicted North Carolina citizens during the various eras. Let’s start with those who lived here over 10,000 years ago those being, our native sons, the Cherokees.

In this area of the museum was an authentic Indian home. The Cherokee Indians lived in the remote mountains of North Carolina. They had little to do with white settlers until the 1700’s when trading began. Also in this area of the museum was Indian sculpture and a replica of their sports equipment, which were a chunkey and stickball, as seen in pictures below.

And can we forget the villain of the seas who strolled the Carolina waters? Here is a replica of the Blackbeard ship.

On to the Revolutionary War where a Continental Army soldier stood..


Civil War..

And reconstruction.

The Depression.

And on to happier days.. Flight and new innovations.

The North Carolina Sport Hall of Fame is housed at the museum. Begun in 1963 it honors many native sons and daughters who gained prominence in sports. Stop and view the introductory film at the beginning of this area. There are over 300 honored in this exhibit.

Separate from the Hall of Fame was the Legends of Racing. Here the race car of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., is displayed and a tribute to the Tar Heel racers.

At the end of the exhibit was an interesting movie bringing history to modern day. What a great way to end the visit.

Tomorrow: My favorite exhibit at the museum: Quilts

NCNHM: Women In Science

The Museum has a fascinating exhibit of women who have and are currently changing the world in STEM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), careers. Bring your children to this exhibit and read a several of the bios. We need them, especially our women, to make our world a better place.

Here are a few of the amazing women represented at this exhibit.

This talented Chicago born gal is an engineer and physician who flew into space during an 8 day mission. Here she studied weightlessness, motion sickness, and bone cells. She also is a talented modern dancer and was the inspiration for the Lt. Khura character on Star Trek.

This China born woman has no post graduate degrees nor the usual credentials for scientific research, however she discovered artemisinin, a compound to treat malaria that has saved millions of lives. In 2015 she won the Nobel Prize for her discovery.

This Austrian woman was one of the first to discover nuclear fission in 1939. She was the second woman to obtain a doctoral degree in physics at the University of Vienna in 1905.

Born in London in 1920 this woman is known as the dame of DNA. Her work allowed Watson and Crick to understand the structure of DNA.

This American astronaut flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 and was the first woman of Indian origin in space. She died with the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and was awarded posthumously the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

This German biologist identified genes which cause an egg to be fertilized. Primarily working on fruit flies it gives information regarding our embryonic roots. She won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for her work.

Another NASA woman who in this instance innovated the space program by developing transmitters to transmit images from space. Her technology is also is used in surgery and television screens.

Nicknamed “Amazing Grace,” this Navy Admiral was the first to build a computer compiler converting code into English words through a series of “0’s” and “1’s.” She began the words debugging and computer bug when actual insects were found in the machine. The components for Fortran and Cobol computer languages were also developed by her.

And let us end with a climate change innovators…

This woman studies atmospheric change so we can predict weather and climate. She works with NASA and is co-director of the Berkley Institute of the Environment.

Photo by Markus Spiske on

And let us not forget Greta Thurnberg. This 16 year old Swedish woman recently spoke at the United Nations regarding climate change. She is a strong advocate and I am sure we will hear more of her.

Let us hope she wins!

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

And, discover I did of this amazing museum with much to offer. This kid friendly museum provides much, read on.

Of particular interest to children seemed to be the dinosaur exhibit. Passing through I heard the oohs and aahs of many under aged as they viewed these creatures. Quite frankly, I did as well.

Then there was the tribute to the Carolina Coast.

And the creatures of the forest..

As well as the minerals from the Tar State.

Documentaries are available at the Museum. Those I viewed were Earth Flight, concerning bird migration, and Great White Sharks, informative but not scary. Pricing is reasonable and with membership discounts are available. The Museum web site is:

Meet With The Animals is another program at the Museum. Here come face to face with the actual creatures.

All in all a great place to visit and bring the kids. They will never want to leave.

Caveat: Still trying to figure how to transfer photos with the new phone. Perhaps I should have asked at the Museum?

Corn Maze

The newspaper article said, “Prepare to be a-mazed.. and possibly lost,” and both claims were true. For the last few years Shawn and Jeff Parks have operated the Hood Swamp Road Corn Maze on the grounds of the Park Farm. What a hoot.

Driving up to the Hood Farm I was greeted by an enthusiastic Jeff Parks who directed me to a parking spot then gifted me with a pumpkin as I was the first customer of the season. After this I paid my $7 admission to Shawn, his wife, and was guided to the maze entrance and told to go left.

The maze was a fun jaunt however my time was limited since I had double booked my evening with a 7 pm Henry Cho Clean Comedy Show at the Parmount in Goldsboro. Since I was lost and it was after 6 I did the unthinkable and broke through the maze stumbling among the corn stalks which provided soft landing to my falls. At last I was in reality only to find my actions caught by Jeff who over sees the maze in a life guard chair.

Once out of the maze I noted the farm also has a slide area which children can enjoy post maze as well as a photo shoot spot where they can plunk their heads in for that magic picture.

For us old folk there also is antique farm equipment for viewing.

Hours for this operation are Friday 5-9 pm, Saturday 2-9 pm, and Sunday 2-6 pm. Adults are $7 with kids free. It runs through the entire month of October. The farm is located on 600 Hood Swamp Road outside Goldsboro. It happens annually. Bring the little ones for a good time.

Carl Sandburg Home

The Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, North Carolina is perhaps one of the greatest historical treasures I have visited. This simple white frame farm house with adjoining goat farm on 245 acres was where this remarkable two time Pulitzer Prize winner lived with his wife and daughters from 1945 till his death in 1967. In 1968 his wife and daughters packed their suitcases and sold all to the National Park Association. What a gift they gave America. It is an entirely intact home filled with Carl’s worldly possessions. There are over 17.000 books, his clothing, typewriter, and even an intact kitchen. It is a unique snapshot of a life well lived.

Abe and the Pulitzers

Carl Sandberg was born 13 years after the Civil War in a town not far from Springfield, Illinois. Here he became enamored with Abraham Lincoln who he studied most of his life. He eventually created a six volume tome of Abe’s life which he whittled down to one volume. For this he won his first Pulitzer Prize. His next Pulitzer was for poetry, and he is credited as the only individual to earn two of these prestigious awards in separate venues.

Early Life

Leaving school in 8th grade to help support the family he later prowled the states as a hobo working odd jobs eventually serving in the Spanish American war. From there it was a time in college where a professor encouraged his writing. He never finished that college degree but began to write and worked in newspapers for over 2 decades. His major interest was always in political concerns for the welfare of mankind.

Later Life

Along the way he met a beautiful and intelligent woman who he convinced to marry him and had 2 daughters. Lilian Steichen Sandberg, besides sharing his interest in social reform also held many avocations. She was an avid farmer and award winning goat farmer. In these circles she is credited for changing the goat farming industry with her innovative ideas. Goats still remain on the farm for viewing and are gentle and friendly.

Carl Sandburg never stopped singing or writing throughout his life. He wrote long hours into the night often going to bed as Lilian began her farm work. Known to have a strong sense of humor he stated that writing was, “95% perspiration and 5% inspiration.”

Visiting The Property

Enjoy the visit and start with the movie where you will meet Sandburg’s granddaughter. Here she describes growing up on the farm and life with her famous grandfather. See the house, visit the goats, and take a walk on the property. It is a truly delightful experience.

In closing is a simple quote from Carl which sums up this remarkable American who gave so much to the world.

“…be careful, be careless, be what you want to be.”