Abandoned Mill Village

DSC_3921-3

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.

DSC_3923-3

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.

DSC_3930-3DSC_3931-3DSC_3952-2DSC_3957-2DSC_3959-2DSC_3960-2DSC_3963-2 - CopyDSC_3969-2DSC_4054-2DSC_3929-3

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.

Advertisements

In the Sky

DSC_5226-2

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! )

DSC_5227-2

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.

DSC_5234-2

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.

DSC_5251-2

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.

DSC_5257-2DSC_5263-2DSC_5271-2

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.

DSC_5277-2DSC_5285-2

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

DSC_5286-2DSC_5293-2DSC_5296-2DSC_5309-2DSC_5318-2

I am guessing that’s the Mississippi river..

DSC_5339-2

My first glimpse of Houston!

DSC_5342-2

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

 

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..

Tulips and a Bee

DSC_3291

I’ve grown to really like Tulips. They never were one of my top favorite flowers, but I like that they seem to stay in bloom longer than any of my other bulbs, which bloom for a couple days and then turn into what looks like an old brown tissue. This fall I am going to plant an absurd amount of them and watch my yard explode with tulips when the spring comes.

DSC_3288

DSC_3281

This pointy white one must have came in the variety pack I bought, even though the picture didn’t show any like this. I’ve never seen a pointy leaf tulip before. I hope he comes back next year.

DSC_3307

(Not a tulip, I just liked how this other plant looked!)

DSC_3294

DSC_3317

Another reason tulips are good:  Their leaves fall off one by one while they’re still colorful, and never once look like a dried brown tissue.

DSC_3302

I saw this bee hanging out while I was taking tulip pictures. It’s rare to see an actual honey bee these days!

Neighborhood.

DSC_3342-2

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.

DSC_3343-2DSC_3339-2DSC_3341-2DSC_3356-2DSC_3344-2DSC_3352-2DSC_3351-2DSC_3357-2

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

Flower Explosion

DSC_2835

I am always amazed at how quickly winter turns into spring. How one day you see some green poking up through the dirt, and then barely a week later. Flowers everywhere.

DSC_2940

DSC_2925

DSC_2882

This Hummingbird Moth loved the flowers!

DSC_2902DSC_2929DSC_2936DSC_2941DSC_2942

And just as quickly as they bloomed, the flowers faded away. Not to be seen again for another year.  I love these flowers that fill the front garden with giant splotches pf color. I just wish the blooms stayed longer.

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.

Cherry Blossoms

DSC_2722

Many Streets downtown are lined with cheery trees and for a few weeks each spring, there is a glorious display of light pink cherry blossoms.

DSC_2726

These particular trees are right outside my office window at work. I’ve never had a desk near a window before so I was quite overjoyed to be looking at these trees every day. One day they were looking so pretty I had to race right back there after going home to get my camera so I could take some pictures. .

DSC_2728DSC_2734DSC_2736DSC_2743DSC_2745DSC_2755DSC_2767

DSC_2759a

I love walking along the city sidewalks, underneath all the blossoms. I just wish the trees stayed in bloom longer. A few days after I took these photos, some huge storms came through and all the flowers were washed away. I wish flowering trees kept their blooms all summer.

Return

DSC_3660

I have returned!

I have a new camera, new laptop, new photo editor, and I what I hope is new inspiration.

There are quite a few posts that have been hanging out in my drafts, waiting around for me to figure out what to say about them so those should be appearing soon.

Stay tuned!