Cemetery in a Christmas Tree Farm

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This was such a peaceful spot.

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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..

Neighborhood.

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With the the days being longer, I like to make the most of them by taking walks as often as possible.  Even if it is just a quick wander through the neighborhood.

In the spring and summer I feel like my favorite time of day, dusk, lasts so much longer. In the winter it seems that as soon as the sun begins to fade, it’s night in a matter of minutes. But during these warm months, the sun just hangs out on the edge of the horizon for quite some time.  This is my favorite to to take a walk.  I love how the landscape looks in the setting sun’s golden glow.

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I look forward to many more months of walks at dusk.

Old Salem Wandering

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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.

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

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

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

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

NYC: On the Streets at Night

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New York City is a crazy place, whose streets don’t slow down as the darkness falls. The bright, sparkling lights of the skyscrapers illuminate the streets for as far as the eye can see.

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…And some areas grow even brighter as the sun goes down, hitting you with blinding lights as you turn the corner. Sometimes you forget that is isn’t the middle of the day!

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(I love the giant towers of steam!)

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But no matter how dark, or how late it got, I always felt very safe on these busy city streets, which is a lot more than I can say about my own city.

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I love exploring this city, no matter what time of day!

Train Bridge

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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.

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

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

Long Branch Trail

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A new Greenway is coming to the city!  And this one runs right through downtown.

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The old industrial side of town that has been crumbling for years is finally getting a new life, and this trail will help to connect everything together. The old tobacco factories are being converted into loft apartments, businesses, research labs and classrooms for the local medical school. It’s getting hard to believe this whole area was nearly abandoned just a decade or so ago.

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It was a chilly, foggy Sunday afternoon that we ventured out and walked along what would soon be the busy new trail. The Greenway will run along some old railroad tracks that are no longer in use, and include many bridges.

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Click here to see what this area looked like back in the summer, right as construction started. I kind of liked the overgrown look of what it used to be, but I am also excited to see what it changes into.

NYC: On the Street

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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.

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One of the many glorious city pigeons I saw!

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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.