Beach Birds

 

DSC_4713

On our last excursion to Cape Lookout Island, as we were riding along in the back of a truck to the sandy point, we came upon an enormous flock of seagulls. It was the biggest gathering of birds I had ever seen.

DSC_4711

We first spotted them from far away and got closer and closer until the finally decided to get out of the way and fly into the air above us in one huge swarm. They hovered in the air just a few momentsuntil the truck passed, before returning to their place on the sand.

DSC_4714-2DSC_4716

It was like riding through a bird tornado.

DSC_4717DSC_4718DSC_4719DSC_4733

As soon as the truck dropped us off, I raced back to the birds.

DSC_4746

DSC_4736

They waited until I got very close and then they all flew off together, but then landed just a few feet farther away after circling around the water.

DSC_4750DSC_4755DSC_4756DSC_4757DSC_4767

DSC_4777

DSC_4773

Times like this are one of the reasons I love coming to the sandy point of Cape Lookout island so much. It is a very uninhabited area and you just never know what you will see.

Cemetery in a Christmas Tree Farm

DSC_3850-2

My friend has been researching her family history and visiting the graves of her ancestors. Her recent search led her to some coordinates which pointed to an old cemetery plot that was located in the mountains in the middle of what is now a Christmas tree farm. It sounded like an adventure waiting to happen, so one Sunday morning, my friend, her sister and I piled in the car, made quick stop at Trader Joe’s for some road trip snacks,  and we set off in hopes of finding this hidden cemetery.

DSC_3852-2

The coordinates took us down the interstate away from the city, and then through some twisting curvy country roads that got smaller and smaller, until we found ourselves way up in the Blue Ridge mountains. We are very much city folk so we began to freak out a bit as our travels took us more and more into the middle of nowhere; into some region of the state that none of us even knew existed.

We eventually turned down a gravel road just wide enough for one car, and followed it to the very end. According to the coordinates the cemetery was just through the woods ahead of us!  The only problem was the big fence surrounding the woods and all the no trespassing signs. There a were a few houses close by and we were concerned someone may call the cops at the sight of a strange car parked on the side of the road. After contemplating trying to find a more secretive way in, we decided just to leave a note and a flower on the windshield explaining why we were there, and then we jumped the fenced and started our trek through the woods.

DSC_3854-2 - CopyDSC_3859-2

We climbed up a giant hill and then came to a barbed wire fence. Just beyond the fence we could see the Christmas Tree farm, with little trees for as far as the eye could see. There was some talk of turning back at the sight of the barbed fence, but the coordinates showed that the cemetery was very close so we crawled carefully through the barbs and continued one.

DSC_3867-2

We found ourselves on the very top of a large hill filled with little future Christmas trees and an incredible view. The country is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

DSC_3910-2

As we walked through the row of little trees I glanced to the side, and there I saw what appeared to be headstones! It was the little cemetery!  We could hardly believe we actually found it. And so quickly! My friends laid flowers on their distant relatives graves, and we tried to imagine what it had been like when they lived and worked on this land.

DSC_3875-2DSC_3881-2

DSC_3905-2

DSC_3882-2DSC_3907-2

This was such a peaceful spot.

DSC_3912-2

On our way back down to the car, we spotted these animal bones!  As we were checking them out, we saw a woman walking down the gravel road, on the phone, staring into the woods towards us!  We were afraid she was calling the police! But then she didn’t seem like she had seen us and began walking away.  We stayed hidden and waited for her to walk further back down the road before climbing over the fence. I didn’t think we would be in huge trouble, but my worst fear when I saw her was that we would have to awkwardly climb back over the fence while she angrily stared us down and I would die of awkwardness. Luckily that didn’t happen and we made it back to the car without being spotted.

Visiting this little cemetery in the Christmas tree farm was definitely quite an adventure. We were all so excited that we were able to find it, and make it in and out without any problems. We travled back down the mountain, ate some pizza at some biker stop right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and discussed the days next adventure..

Old Salem Wandering

DSC_2999

My favorite time to explore Old Salem is on a weekday evening, when not many people fill the streets and I am free to wander about.

DSC_3004DSC_3005

I always head towards the back corners of the  village. The knobby cobblestone paths are quieter there and less often traveled.

DSC_3007DSC_3010

Towering trees stand tall over my head. Some of them must be as old as the buildings themselves.

DSC_3013DSC_3018DSC_3021

Nestled between the buildings are many hidden corridors and twisting paths. There is never a lack of places to explore.

DSC_3029DSC_3066DSC_3071DSC_3073DSC_3074

DSC_3028

One of my very favorite things about summer is the long warm nights that are often spent exploring.

Train Bridge

dsc_2040

I have always loved trains; I find them mysterious, and intriguing. I like to dream of where they’re going, and where they came from. I wonder about what they’re carrying, and who’s riding them. I live close to the train tracks, and most nights I can hear the lonely whistle of the train, and I try to imagine where it is headed as I fall asleep.

dsc_2035

Sometimes I dream that I am on that train, headed to some far away, unknown town.

dsc_2041dsc_2042dsc_2043

I always have the yearning to travel far far away, and train tracks always make me dream of distant places.

Skyscraper Search

I’ve always been a city child. The landscape of the countryside is pretty, but the wide open spaces, the lack of humans, and the absence of buildings, all makes me feel unsettled after a while. I had never given New York City much thought until recently, and when I visited, it seemed obvious that I would like it there.The city I live in only has a few skyscrapers, but I have always loved being downtown, nestled in between the tall buildings. So I felt quite at home, wandering the New York City streets, looking up, and admiring all the skyscrapers that put the ones in my city to shame.

dsc_0005dsc_0010dsc_0069dsc_0084dsc_0218dsc_0230

dsc_0343

dsc_0542

NYC: On the Street

dsc_0213

A collection of random shots I took while wandering the streets of New York City. Most of the pictures I didn’t frame of even stop to think about. I just snapped away as I walked.

dsc_0009

dsc_0014dsc_0067

One of the many glorious city pigeons I saw!

dsc_0085dsc_0089dsc_0209dsc_0211dsc_0214dsc_0246dsc_0247

My favorite thing about our visit was just roaming the streets and taking in all the sights. I love the crazy atmosphere of the city, where there’s always something new and exciting to see every street corner you turn down. Although I am not a very social person, I feel safe and secure in large crowds. I like how busy everybody is in NYC; nobody tries to talk to you and everyone seems to mind their own business. Because of that, it seemed a lot less stressful and scary than my own city. I miss New York.

New York City

dsc_0428

I’d never spent much time thinking about New York City. But a few years ago I got the idea that I wanted to visit during Christmas time. And as the years went by, my desire to visit this city grew and grew until the next thing I knew, I was buying plane tickets this past November, to visit the city just a few weeks later.

20161208_105612

The last time I had flown on a plane, I was four years old. All I remember is eating fig newtons and being in a cloud the whole time. For years I had convinced myself that I was afraid of flying, and vowed to never set foot on a plane. But eventually I realized that was silly because I love traveling and there are so many places I want to go. It’s been years since got over my fear, but still hadn’t actually flown anywhere, so it was time.

When the plane finally took off, after driving around on the runway for what felt like an inordinate amount of time, I was so freaked that I couldn’t bring myself to look out the window for at least half an hour! It was such a tiny plane, smaller than a train car, and when it turned all you could see was the ground. But I was so excited to go to NYC it helped to cancel out how freaked I was. We were only in the air a little over an hour before we landed, I couldn’t believe how fast we got there!

dsc_0553

The next adventure was getting our subway pass at the airport, figuring out what bus to take to get to the subway, and then figuring how to navigate the subway to get to our hotel.

20161211_121039

After the long subway ride from Laguardia to Canal street in lower Manhattan, we climbed up the steps and found ourselves directly across from our hotel. Success! I hadn’t gotten us lost.  I was pretty proud of myself for successfully navigating the way there, by car, plane, bus, train and foot!

We didn’t have any major plans when we got there; just to wander around and explore.

dsc_0176

Our hotel was on the edge of Chinatown, which was a blast to explore.

dsc_0372

We walked on the High Line, which had some great city views.

dsc_0101

I got to see all the Christmas sights I had dreamed about, including the giant Christmas tree!

20161211_102319

I finally got to try an authentic NY bagel that I’m still dreaming about. Also, our hotel was conveniently located close to a pizza place that sold $1 cheese slices, which I forgot to take a picture of. We tried out a few pizza places during our stay, but the $1 place called Joey Pepperoni was the best.  I looked it up a few nights ago when I was craving a slice, and it’s only an 8.5 hour drive from the house 🙂 WORTH IT.

dsc_0308

We visited the World Trade Center and saw the memorial, plus this insane structure.

dsc_0235

We saw all kinds of crazy skyscrapers, including this giant cube which is the tallest residential building in the world, and full of billionaires.

dsc_0799

And we went to the top of 30 Rockefeller Center for a 360 degree view of the city.

I never expected NYC to be so much fun, and I am already dreaming of going back! My favorite part about the city is that you never know what your are going to see. Almost every time you turn a street corner you see something new, crazy or unexpected.

It’s a crazy city and I definitely recommend visiting it at least once in your life. I want to visit as many times as I can.