Houston Downtown

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A few more photos from our drive around Downtown Houston.

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I found the sight of palm trees among all the skyscrapers quite amusing. All the big cities I have visited so far have been in the north. I found myself having a strange desire to go to California..

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Houston seemed different than other cities I have been to. It was clean and shiny, and on this particular day, quite quiet. It was definitely a contrast to the grimy bustling feel that New York or Pittsburgh had.

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Skyscrapers of Glass

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I traveled to Houston for the first time to visit my Aunt and my Grandma, who both moved there some time ago. I love traveling to new places, and I especially love big cities so I was definitely looking forward to exploring downtown Houston during my visit. I didn’t really know anything at all about this city, so I had no idea what to expect when I traveled there.

(Except I recognized the brown pointy Bank of America building from the Sim City game I played years ago!)

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I soon came to discover that Houston is a sprawling metropolis made up of gigantic interstates and new buildings being built all the time. Although Houston had a rather large downtown, the city was very spread out and not just centered around the downtown area.  Just about anywhere you drove, you were not far from places to eat or from large shopping centers. There is just so much “stuff” in Houston. It is also the fourth biggest city in the US, which I had no idea of until I traveled there.

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We drove around downtown on a Saturday afternoon and I took pictures through the windshield of my Aunt’s car as we ventured past all the glass skyscrapers, towering over the street. The city felt very new and shiny. It also felt very quiet. Surprisingly there were not many people walking around, and there were very few cars on the street, which I can only guess was because there are so many interesting things to do throughout the entire city, and not just downtown.

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The glass on the buildings reflected the blue sky, and the palm trees scattered around made for a very bright and tropical feeling city. It was definitely different than other cities I had been to. (Also the stoplights are turned the wrong way??!!!)

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Visiting Houston and seeing palm trees and big blue skies, made me want to travel father west. I wonder what the next new city I visit will be….

Bailey Power Plant

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The power plant that once supplied energy to  the tobacco factories in Winston-Salem has been sitting vacant for many years.

It sits closed off from the world, by a towering chain link fence.


(A fence I would love to sneak through, but am too scared!)

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Many companies had been contacted to restore the old building, but they all turned away, as they thought the building could not be saved, or would be too complicated of a project.

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Luckily one company finally saw the potential and has finally gotten to work, restoring and updating the former power plant.

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Bailey Power plant is one of the most unique buildings in Winston-Salem. There are big plans for it, and I can’t wait to see them unfold.

Snow Fell on the City

Last February we had a pretty good snowfall. It started in the evening and we woke to a beautiful white fluffy wonderland. Sadly we both had to work that day since at the time we were working in a 24/7 medical testing lab that never closed. But before we went in, we drove downtown and I walked around taking some photos. All the years I’ve lived here I have never ventured downtown when it snowed. 

It was still lightly snowing as we walked around early that morning. I loved every second.

It was the perfect snowfall. With giant flakes that stick to every tree branch.














After our downtown walk, we ate some yummy biscuits before going into work. It was a disaster at work because so many people from third shift couldn’t make it in and thousands of samples were piled up.. But they ended up buying a whole bunch of pizzas for everybody so it was worth all the hard work!  And then Steven and I took some home and ate the most delicious white pizza every day for three days straight. We felt like kings.

I had so much fun wandering the city in the snow. I hope we get another snow storm really soon!

Downtown in the Dark

I love the city, especially just after sunset.

The different lights from all the buildings cast an eerie glow along the crowded streets.

The newest addition; towers to serve as a monument to the city’s tobacco factory past, expel a spooky mist that fills the skies, and makes for a creepy atmosphere.

It’s fun to peer  in to the spooky dark shops, and see the wares back lit against a night light.

Murals can be found on many street corners. Some are quickly painted over, some last for years.


Lights from all over, reflect off of windows like Christmas lights.

Downtown Winston-Salem has a slightly eerie vibe to it. The ghosts of the tobacco factories that once ruled the land, cast a haunting feeling from their abandoned windows. 

The Abandoned Automotive Shop

In the middle of downtown, there is this seemingly abandoned automotive shop.

A peek through the barbed wire covered windows, shows shelves of sun bleached boxes of products covered in dust. Like one day everybody decided just to leave and never come back.






There’s a forgotten car hanging out next to the building. It’s almost like everybody just walked away from this place one day.

The model of this car is a ninety eight, and strangely enough, the license plate tags were last renewed in ninety eight! Spooky!

There was also a mysterious file left on the drivers seat..



We climbed up those stairs and peeked into the garage. Add it was filled with old cars!
Around the back of the place, there was a small office that looked like it could still be in use.. And a quick google search shows that this company is up and running in other locations, but I couldn’t find any info about this particular spot. It’s very mysterious!

The Former Tobacco Town

Winston-Salem is a city built by tobacco. A man named RJ Reynolds started the first tobacco factory here in the early 1890s and before long, he had built factories all over the city and Winston-Salem was providing the USA with 25 percent of the overall tobacco consumed. They created the very popular Camel cigarette, which gave Winston-Salem the nickname Camel City, as well as the brands Winston and Salem, named after the city of course. This made RJ Reynolds the richest man in the state, and made Winston-Salem grow to the size it is now.

However, within the last few decades, sales decreased and what was left of the Reynolds tobacco business moved to Atlanta, leaving the old factories deserted and abandoned. 
That was until the city just recently began renovating the old buildings and turning them into lofts and and office spaces as a way to try and bring new business into the city. I just love the way old factories look and I am so excited to see them restored and not torn down!  

The main factory is tucked away behind fencing, but I would so love to wander around and explore it!




They’ve finished many of the buildings already and created space for research labs.  I used to work just a few blocks away from here. I would love to be able to work here in this area again in one of the new research places.



Isn’t this ironic?  Times sure have changed!


It would be so neat to live in these lofts, with the fancy catwalk across the road and plenty of shops and restaurants withing walking distance. But as much as I like the city, I think I prefer having a house with a yard.
 


I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden the colors seemed to look to nice when I was taking these, and then I realized it was my new lens!  I barely had to edit these at all.  I am super happy with my new lens and I’ll write a little review on it soon.






Winston-Salem would not be the city it is today if it weren’t for Mr. Reynolds and his tobacco business. Before his death he gave money to start two hospitals and a school among many other things. I like to think it was his way of making up for all the toxic chemicals he sold people for so many years….

I am excited to see how they restore all these buildings, and I especially can’t wait to be able to go inside them!

A Walk Downtown in the Fog

Last weekend I went with my mom and my sister to watch the Christmas parade downtown. We got there a little early and walked up and down the streets, checking out the old buildings. It’s interesting to see all the old buildings mixed in with the new ones.




This used to be a woolworths. A historic sit-in occurred here  February 8th, 1960. (My Future birthday!)  Sadly this place is abandoned now.

It’s crazy how many old buildings you pass by, not knowing what history they hold. I’m always intrigued by the older buildings in my town and want to know as much as I can about what they used to be.


The Reynolds building has festive red and green lights at night.  It was the prototype for the Empire state building, and apparently every year the staff at the empire state building send a Father’s day card to the staff at the Reynolds building. How cute!


After the parade we stopped into Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe for some falafel and fresh pita.
We’ve always been big hummus fans, (Steven and I have had it every day for lunch at work since I started there seven weeks ago…. Seriously) But none of use had ever had falafel before, it was SO good and now I’m pretty sure I am a big Mediterranean food fan. I can’t wait to go back and try some more dishes!
After dinner we finally checked out Camino Bakery after drooling over their instagram pictures for months. We shared a delicious slice of ammareto cheesecake which I promptly forgot to take a picture of! Oh well, it’s somewhere in the above shot..


We had so much fun wandering the city streets in the fog. When I was younger all I wanted to do was move away from here and go anywhere else, but now I have grown quite found of my little city.  

Exploring the City

Last month we went to take a little walk, and it ended up being a long walk exploring part of the city we didn’t know existed.



We turned down a street we had never noticed before, that went behind some old buildings that were once the tobacco factories that fueled this city.
Some of the buildings had been abandoned, some had been turned into offices.

This foundation was being held up by rubble!

Behind some bushes we found a gathering of oddly shaped bricks, so we made a little brick boat.
Then we stumbled on some really fancy condos we had never seen before.
And a strange little garden made from those oddly shaped bricks and weird knick knacks. 

This little area we found was right behind some roads we drive on nearly every day, it’s  fun to turn down the less traveled roads and see what you find.