Abandoned Mill Village: Inside the Walls

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When my friends and I visited the Abandoned Mill Village, we couldn’t resist taking a look inside the little houses that had been abandoned for forty years or more.

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Many of them were painted bright colors inside, perhaps they had once been cheerful little homes. But now the paint was peeling from the walls, parts of the floors were caved in, and plants had begun to creep in through the broken windows and cracks in the walls.

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It’s a spooky feeling walking through a place now dilapidated, that was once somebody’s home. I wish I could see what these houses looked like when families were still living in this village.

Parking Lot Carnival

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One late spring afternoon, a carnival came to town and began to set up in the parking lot of a mildly run down shopping center down the road. We waited until evening, and then ventured down to see what awaited us.

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A few rides, and some food stalls stood clustered together in what was usually an empty area of the parking lot. But on this night, the shopping center was more packed than anyone had ever seen. People were walking towards the carnival from all directions, there was no admission and no one really seemed to be in charge.

It was a bizarre scene.  Across the way stood the Taco Bell, a Radio Shack that was going out of business, a Chinese Buffet we had been to a few times but regretted, our favorite Mexican restaurant and a number of strange stores we had never been too. On the other side stood the interstate.

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Beneath the swirling clouds people lined up for the rides, waited for their food, and didn’t appear to think this parking lot carnival was a strange abnormality.

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 I’ll never forget the time that a carnival inexplicably appeared in a shopping center near my house.

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….

Abandoned Mill Village

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This is a sequel to my post: Cemetery in a Christmas Tree Farm

After my friends and I visited their family’s long lost graveyard, one of them had the idea of exploring an old abandoned village that had been used to film parts of the Hunger Games movies. It wasn’t far from the Christmas Tree Farm, and we were in an exploring mood so we went for it.

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I imagined the village being tucked way back into the woods, maybe down a dirt road and hard to find. But in reality it was just a few minutes off the interstate, and on either side of a busy road!

This plot of land is called the Henry River Mill Village, and was an industrial textile manufacturing operation from the early 1900s to the 1970s. The mill workers lived in the 35 homes that made up this little village, but when the mill closed down and the workers left, the homes became abandoned and forgotten.

The little mill houses have certainly degraded over the many years spent abandoned, and most of them are full of graffiti and trash. But this mill town still seems to have quite a bit of character, with the winding pathways, rolling hills and overgrown brush that wrap around the homes.

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This entire town is actually for sale!  I’ll be interested to see what becomes of this little place in the future. I’d definitely love to return to it again someday.

In the Sky

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I have flown on a plane six times in the last half year. Before that the last time I flew was when I was four. I find the whole process of flying absolutely astounding.  (And a bit scary! )

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The last plane trip a week ago was to Houston Texas with my Mom, Sister and Husband to visit my Aunt and Grandma. I’d never been to Texas before, or even that far west.

This was my longest plane ride, and also the first time I’ve flown on a clear day. Both times going to New York it was dark and cloudy which made for a boring view out the window. So I was very excited this time, to look down on the earth from way above.

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I stared out the window and snapped pictures for the entirety of the 2.5 hour trip. I am amazed to be able to view the earth from this level. I imagined all the towns, and homes we were passing over. Places I may visit one day, but mainly places that I will never see from the ground.

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When I got home I compared these pictures to the satellite view on google maps, to try and figure out what I flew over. This ended up being somewhere over Georgia.

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Even when we were up at 38,000 ft, I could still just barely see cars on the highways. They looked like specs of dust! It was very surreal.

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Another one of my favorite things is seeing other planes in the sky!

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I am guessing that’s the Mississippi river..

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My first glimpse of Houston!

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The plane journey to Texas was by far the best ride yet. Even if I was so freaked during takeoff I couldn’t look out the window while I attempted to record a timelapse. I spent so many years afraid to ever ride in a plane, and it still does scare me, but I also think it’s incredible so I always find myself dreaming of where I will fly to next.

Beach Birds

 

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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.

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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.

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It was like riding through a bird tornado.

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

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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.

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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

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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..