Three times this week I have made treks northward, crossing the Blue Wall into the mountains of Western North Carolina. Two of those trips covered similar ground. Only one was in the new Mini convertible. All three covered ground I’ve traversed recently, so some of the photos may look a little…familiar.
Monday – Picnic at Davidson River
Last weekend Laura’s sister and mother were with us. The weather looked good for Monday, so we decided to take a trek up to Pisgah Forest for a picnic. We had done this trip with Laura’s cousins a couple of years ago, and her mom had loved the sound of the Davidson River rippling past our picnic area.
For this trip we loaded everyone into the Subaru and first headed up Highway 25 toward Hendersonville. We took a brief detour through Tuxedo, then turned toward Flat Rock. At Flat Rock we took Little River Road toward Crab Creek westward, toward Brevard. The weather was clear and spectacular, with large fluffy white clouds and blue skies. Continue reading “Multiple Mountain Meanderings”
We have a tradition of looking for a good barbecue place after our paddling trips. This was no different. Our target for this outing was Lone Star Barbecue and Mercantile. However, this was a two-fer – lots of good food and a chance to explore one of South Carolina’s ghost towns.
Lone Star, the Ghost Town
It started with a bit of miscommunication. The rest of the guys had never been to the town of Lone Star, and thought that the barbecue place was in the town proper. So, once we loaded up the boats, they set off, with me following, toward the town. What they found was the ghost town that I knew. All that is left of Lone Star is the old freight depot, moved from its original location, the large brick Masonic building, and two dilapidated stores. Across the tracks was a small convenience store that may or may not have been open. No barbecue anywhere in sight.
On my way down to Bluffton I passed through twenty-six small towns. In addition to that I’ve visited two ghost towns, and some of those other towns were about to cross the line into the “ghost” category. For the return trip I had a couple of options for avoiding the Interstate. I decided to retrace my way partially on 321, then branch off on 601 northbound to Orangeburg. That would take me through more small towns.
I was leaving Hilton Head fairly early, and even had time for a good breakfast leaving the island. That would give me plenty of time for exploration. That turned out to be a good thing because of some very unexpected delays, but more on that later.
So, on the way back I hit the following towns that I had visited before.
I didn’t linger too long in these, but continued on until I reached the turnoff for Highway 601.
The towns of Stokes and De Loach were little more than wide spots in the road. In Google Earth Stokes is shown off the main highway down a dirt road. It is a possible ghost town. I didn’t have that information at the time, so I didn’t venture to check it out. Next up was Furman, which I had visited via detour yesterday.
NOTE: Yeah, I’m still behind on blogging. Now I’m about two weeks behind, but I’m slowly catching up. 🙂
A few months ago I learned about an exhibit at USC’s McKissick Museum about the town of Mitchelville. As I read more about Mitchelville, I knew I had to add this one to my list of South Carolina ghost towns. The recent trip to Bluffton offered the perfect opportunity to explore this town on the northeast shore of Hilton Head.
During the Civil War Union troops captured Hilton Head Island and established that as one of their bases of operations. Beginning in 1861 escaped slaves, or “contrabands” as they were called, sought refuge on the island. The Union soldiers were unsure of what to do with the slaves, so in late 1862 General Ormsby M. Mitchel allowed the escaped African Americans to establish the town of Mitchelville. This one of the first examples of the Port Royal Experiment, where African Americans were given control of the land to work for wages.
I’m still playing catch-up with my blogging. I’m about a week behind, but maybe over the next couple of days I can get caught up.
When Glynda first got married she lived in Savannah and our family would make the occasional trip down there for a visit. This was 40+ years ago, so I-95 was non-existent. The only way to get there was a series of two-lane roads that went through lots of tiny towns in South Carolina.
Now for the present – last weekend my paddling buddy, Matt Richardson, turned 40, and his wife, Cris, planned a surprise party for him. Since I’m now retired with nothing better to do, I decided to drive down and join in the surprise. I had the time, so I decided to replicate the trips from long ago, avoiding the interstates, and driving through all of the little towns, taking photos along the way. I also planned to hit a couple of ghost towns. Continue reading “Lowcountry Small Town Tour”
Been a busy week. We headed down to Florida to Laura’s sister’s house for the Fourth holiday. The days at Amy’s have been spent on day trips, but mostly paddling out on the Indian River. I have fallen woefully behind on blogging. I’ve got a couple of ghost town reports and other write-ups to finish. … Continue reading Fourth in Florida
I’ve gotten behind on my blogging. It seems that living life is taking more time that the documentation thereof. It’s an ironic consequence of having available time. When I do sit down to write, I tend to fall asleep. So, here goes a bit of catch-up…
Saturday Evening – Super Moon
Saturday’s full moon was a “super moon”. That’s a relatively recent term, meant to generate more interest in astronomy. A super moon occurs when the moon reaches perigee at full moon. Since it’s at its closest point to Earth, it is supposed to appear larger. Of course, this only works if the moon can be placed in context, near the horizon. The lensing effect of the atmosphere automatically makes the moon appear larger.
The trick is to find a good place to take a photo with a clear view of the horizon. I decided to try Bald Rock. I’d had success up there with sunrise shots, why not a moon rise?
I got to the location well before sunset. There were a few other around, but it wasn’t crowded. As I set up my camera and gear a woman nearby asked if I was there for the super moon. I said that I was. Another photographer set up nearby. Soon, others were joining us on the rock.
It finally happened. As many times as I’ve been here and photographed the exterior, I was finally able to get inside the old main building at the old Cokesbury College. This weekend is Greenwood’s Festival of Flowers, and as part of the event they were holding an open house at the historic location. While in Greenwood I hit a couple of other locations I had been wanting to photograph. I was joined by fellow explorers Mark Elbrecht, who alerted me to this year’s tour dates, and Alan Russell.
I had tried to do this last year. Mark was able to go down on a Saturday, but I had to delay until Sunday due to a paddling trip. Even though their website said the event would be Saturday and Sunday, when we got there Sunday morning everything was closed up tight. We never got into the building.
We had a great, wildly diverse weekend in Charleston, from swamps to beaches to city church yards. When planning this trip, we intentionally stayed an extra night into Monday so that I wouldn’t think about work at all on my first official day of unemployment. That meant that we could take our time coming home, and we did just that.
Laura and I love taking the back roads to and from the low country. Our plan was to drive northeast out of Charleston, then turn north through the Francis Marion National Forest. There was at least one ghost town along the way, and I was sure other interesting places would present photographic opportunities.
As we headed north on 17 I mounted the GoPro to my windshield. I wanted to get video as we crossed the the Cooper River Bridge. The video itself that interesting, but I got a couple of interesting stills. Never mind the reflection of my GPS and XM radio on the dash.
I wasn’t really planning to do a waterfall excursion. Truth be told, I didn’t really have anything planned. Laura was away at her sister’s, so I had Saturday available for a solo outing. My only real thoughts were to head up to Sassafras Mountain and check out the new overlook, then just see where things went from there. Turns out it was a perfect day for catching waterfalls.
I started out early, taking 276 to Highway 11, and from there over to Highway 178. There were some low clouds giving way to clear skies, with fog hanging where those clouds touched the mountains. Table Rock was shrouded, so I didn’t pause for any photos there. On Highway 178 I got to Bob’s Place, and on a whim turned down toward the Estatoe Valley, heading toward Twin Falls.