Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl I am a farm wife with a travel habit. Join me for the ride! Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:37:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl 32 32 108033688 Historic Stagville, Civil War History Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:35:35 +0000 […]]]>

Historic Stagville sits outside of Durham, North Carolina.  I toured this fascinating site with Rose Hammitt while in Chapel Hill for the North American Travel Journalist Conference.  This historic site shares the story of a pre-Civil War farm.  I think for those of us that grew up in the north, the plantation and slavery times are hard to comprehend, this visit is fascinating an eye opening look into our past.

The brochure about Historic Stagville states, “Stagville was part of a plantation complex once the largest in North Carolina. At its height in 1860, the land holdings of the Bennehan-Cameron family totaled 30,000 acres-approximately 47 square miles. Over 900 enslaved men, women and children also lived and worked on the plantations in 1860, the largest enslaved community in North Carolina.”

The tour offers a look at the Visitor’s Center, the Bennehan home, slave quarters at Horton Grove, and the beautiful Great Barn that was built over a five month period during 1860. The barn measures 133 feet by 32 feet and was originally used as a stable for mules, which operated the farming equipment and wagons. There is a loft area where the guide suggested one of the overseers lived.

The story of Stagville begins with Richard Bennehan, his wife and two children. The family purchased the property in 1787 and ran a store. The Bennehan home started out as a two- room house in the vernacular Georgian style. The Bennehan family expanded the home in 1799.  While it appears simple, the large rooms, decorative woodwork and glass windows showcased the family’s wealth. On the dining room table is a Rose Medallion bowl which was interesting to me because my parents collected Chinese antiques like this lovely bowl.

While there is a lot to see, a lot of buildings, are not  in existence anymore, the brochure states, “Around the house were many outbuildings-smokehouse, milk house, chicken coop, barns, stables, buggy shed, lumber houses, kitchen, domestic slave dwellings, and more.”


The house was the center of the plantation and it sits on a hill so the owner could view his fields. The Bennehan family lived in the home until 1847, after that, it served as a home for the overseer and later as a sharecropper house. The house was occupied until the 1950’s when the Liggett and Myers Tobacco company purchased the home and remaining acreage of Stagville Plantation.
The Cameron connection comes in from the man Richard Bennehan’s daughter Rebecca would marry. The Bennehans had two children, Rebecca and Thomas and Rebecca married Duncan Cameron in 1803. He later established a partnership with his son Thomas and his son-in-law, Duncan.

Duncan and Rebecca went on to have 8 children, and her brother Thomas never married. When he passed away, he left the Stagville holdings to his nephew Paul Cameron. A historical article claims that Paul Cameron was the sole heir of both his father Duncan and his Uncle Thomas’s estates. He was actively engaged in the operation of the plantation and the plantation thrived under his watch. He also became a state senator from 1856-1857. At the beginning of the Civil War, Paul Cameron was considered the wealthiest man in North Carolina. The isolated location of the plantation helped keep the Civil War from affecting the day to day operations of the plantation, except for some raids and small fights at the end of the War.

One story our guide shared about a slave named Mary was that Paul Cameron’s daughter was ill and Mary took care of her.  They took a trip to New York to see her doctor and while there, Mary was able to escape. She tried for years to free her children, but it wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation that she was reunited with them.

Stories like this cement the lives of those that lived on the property.  Seeing the slave cabins at Horton Grove brings slavery into perspective.  Horton Grove is the site of four original slave cabins/ The website adds, “These  (enslaved) carpenters and artisans were responsible for the erection of the Horton Grove slave quarters, the Great Barn and all of the other buildings on the plantation except for the Bennehan House.”

The slave quarters were built at Horton Grove in 1851. Each dwelling contains four rooms and around 80 to 100 slaves lived in the homes. They were well designed and they are off the ground. The guide contended this was to ensure the slaves stayed healthy.  In the bricks of the chimney, you can actually see fingerprints and in one case, the toe prints of an enslaved child.

Those that worked on the plantation  worked from dawn to dusk, six days a week, planting and harvesting crops. The brochure states, “…When returning after dusk, slaves tended gardens, fruit trees, and livestock to supplement their meager rations of cornmeal, molasses, and salted pork. Hunting and fishing helped in supplementing their diets. Slaves prepared meals over an outdoor fire pit; a West African tradition brought by ancestors to the New World then passed down. Communal cooking provided slaves with necessary nutrients and an expression of community.”

Paul Cameron didn’t grow cotton and the guide thought that was part of the reason he was able to obtain his wealth that so many lost after the Civil War.  He did try to sell his land, but at the time there were no buyers.  After the Civil War, many newly freed families left Stagville. Some chose to stay, however, as day laborers or sharecroppers. Sharecropping was the dominant form of labor throughout the South after the Civil War. It would be interesting to speak with some of the descendants of the Bennehan-Cameron  community that remain in the surrounding area and hear their stories.

In 1976 the tobacco company donated some of the acreage to the state of North Carolina. Historic Stagville State Historic Site is located at 5828 Old Oxford Highway in Durham. It is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Stagville is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9-5. Check out the website at for more information.


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Deere, here, Deere there Deere Everywhere! – Land of Lincoln Expo Wrap Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:38:49 +0000 […]]]>
Deeres in a line at the Land of Lincoln Expo!

This was the first year for the Land of Lincoln Expo and it went off with a bang.  Bill Miller pulled out all the stops and along with a wonderful group of sponsors the show was a great success.

Over 300 tractors of all makes and models came to the first ever show.  There were some amazing tractors, and the show was heavy on John Deere with tractors making their way from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and beyond.  If I recall Bill said there were visitors from either 15 or 18 states!

There were construction Deeres, hicrop Deeres and more. Some of my favorite Deere sightings were the attachments that made the Deere’s special.  One tractor, a late 1920’s to mid-1930’s GP standard beaner had a very cool light that advertised that the tractor could work at night.  The light was called a Prest-O-Lite and the line beneath the owner’s sign stated, “Gas Lighting, the best light for tractors.”

I love the drama of the advertising that says, “Darkness falls. The job is not quite finished. It looks like rain tomorrow. But with Prest-O-Lite on your tractor (the same one you use on your truck) you can finish the job today.”

There was also a very neat anhydrous applicator attached to one of the Deere tractors, it was a 930 series applicator and they made a cool display using a window to show the operator manual and directions for the NH3 applicator.

930 Series JD anhydrous applicator

Friday night of the show there was a Deere Friends Dinner that we attended.  The dinner and meeting was held at the Elks Club which appropriately enough was a former John Deere Dealership. What I loved was they played a film with the Star Spangled Banner, said a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.  While we all dined Brian Holst, Historic Equipment Manager for Deere & Company shared a presentation about John Deere and the Men that Moved His Company.  He had a few pieces of information that I had never heard before like information about Gilpin Moore. While I have heard of the Gilpin plow, I didn’t know that the man had 35 patents on horse drawn equipment and that he threatened to leave the company when he didn’t feel he was being paid enough. Deere stepped up to the plate and made it worth his while to stay.

Brain said that Edward Parkhurst, a watchmaker was instrumental in engine igniters.  William Butterworth, who was married to John Deere’s grand daughter, Katherine Deere combined the branch houses for Deere & Co. making the company offer a complete equipment line.  Charles Deere Wiman, who started on the shop floor, was also trained as a civilian pilot and served in both WWI and WWII.

Brian Holst was also responsible for the amazing John Deere 101 Experimental tractor that was at the show.  This National show had to meet certain criteria for the Deere archives to allow it to be on display.  In an upcoming article in Green Magazine, read the story of this amazing tractor.  Likewise, Dan Thomas brought the recently finished Bathtub D to the show.  This amazing tractor’s main case was found by construction workers doing some landscaping during the 1992 JD Expo.  A collector bought the main case and Dan, along with help from some professionals completed the restoration and the tractor was debuted at this exciting new show that will be back again in 2019.  Look for an upcoming article in my column Wrenching Tales in Farm World for details about the Bathtub D!

For more information about the show, log onto  Hope you made it to the show, if not, plan to come again in two years!

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Route 66 Tractor Drive, remembering Sun, 18 Jun 2017 16:01:23 +0000 […]]]> June 17, 2017 was a first for us, it was our first tractor drive and the first that we know of in the area on Route 66.  We started out from the Macoupin County Fair Grounds in Carlinville, Illinois where the Land of Lincoln Tractor show was underway and headed to the square in Girard.  On the way back, we stopped at McClintock’s in Standard City.

Thirty-two tractors started out as we made our way on historic Route 66.

Many thanks to the Macoupin County Sheriff’s police, the Girard police, the Village of Girard, Doc’s Soda Fountain, and McClintocks for working with us.  Also many thanks to Bill Miller for putting on the first ever Land of Lincoln Show that brought over 300 tractors to Carlinville from all over the US.

A special tribute should also be mentioned to Becky Huyear, Lynn’s new bride. They were married the weekend before the show and they put their honeymoon to Hawaii on hold to help plan and orchestrate this tractor drive.

Love of tractors, love of history and love of the ride, it was an awesome experience.

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Loaded for Land of Lincoln Tractor show and drive Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:05:09 +0000 […]]]>

Ready to roll for the Land of Lincoln Expo hosted by the Macoupin County Agricultural Antique Association. This weekend, is it!  The show is coming to Carlinville, Illinois and along with the tractor show, there is also going to be an antique tractor drive on historic Route 66.

Tractors are already lining up at the show that will take place at the Macoupin County Fairgrounds in Carlinville, Illinois. Set takes place with set up on today June 15, 2016 from 8 -5. The show runs over the weekend and wraps up on Sunday afternoon after the 3:00 Parade of Power. All makes and models from original to restored are welcome to the Land of Lincoln Expo.

Join us for Tractor Parade & Rib Cook off! A safety meeting for the tractor drive takes place at 8:00 a.m. then we hit the road. On Saturday June 17, 2017, enjoy the square in Girard, where we will take pictures of tractors at this Route 66 town. Plan to stop by Doc’s Drug Store for a soda and to check out the Pharmacy Museum!

We already have our bibs ready for when we arrive back at the show; we are planning to enjoy the Rib and Brisket Cook-Off with sampling from noon to 5.

The tractor drive takes take place along historic Route 66and will cover parts of the two-lane historic Route 66 between Carlinville and Girard, Illinois.
If you need last minute information, call Lynn Huyear at 217-825-7154 or Keith Ladage at 217-971-5917.

There will be tractors, vendors, food and fun, hope we see you there!

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BC Shellfish& Seafood Festival, seafood at its best! Tue, 13 Jun 2017 05:13:43 +0000 […]]]> Picture Top Chef at several receptions, amazing seafood and a group of travel writers and you have the premise for what we have experienced these past few days.  On a hosted trip to Vancouver Island, I have learned about the amazing sea life that lives around the coastal waters of British Columbia, and best of all, I have had a chance to taste much of it!

Off the coast of BC, there are over 100 sustainable seafood products that are exported to both domestic and international markets.  The  BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival embraces the sea life and serves it up on a plate by the best chef Canada and in some cases beyond, have to offer.

The event took place June 9-18, 2017 offering ten days to taste and explore, I arrived on June 9th and stayed until the 14th, so I attended most of the great events that even have a proclamation by Queen Elizabeth The Second declaring June 2017 as “BC Seafood Month”!

The first night of my arrival, there was a meet and greet BC Seafood on Your  Plate event at Local’s restaurant in Courtenay and Chef  Ronald St. Pierre made us an amazing spread.  I had scallops and a portobello mushroom bake and shared some spectacular Cream Brûlée.

Saturday night, the 10th, we attended Fresh Fest.  Held at the Coastal Black Esate Winery we first had wine sampling and learned the dairy farm history of this lovely place.  Fresh Fest is one of the signature events that showcased farm-raised seafood offered at culinary tasting stations with wine pairings.  The chefs were some of the country’s top rated chefs.

On Saturday in Campbell River before heading out to tour a BC Salmon Farm, we had a wonderful lunch at the Salmon Capital Seafood Taste at Spirit Square.  All proceeds went to the Campbell River Hospital.  Four Chefs offered a variety of fresh farm-raised fish.  All the samples were delightful, but I admit to having a favorite in Chef Xavier Bauby’s offerings.  Chef Bauby is an International Chef and Culinarty Instructir at North Island College.

While you would think these events would be the topping on the cake, the best was yet to come withthe Chef’s Shellfish Showdown held at the lovely 40 Knots Estate Winery.  The event offered eight courses paired with 40 Knots clean crisp wines.  Everyone tasted then voted on their favorite meal.  

We sat with locals that had come to the event and I was blessed to be at a table with a fun couple and their friend who kept us laughing all evening long.  Being from the Midwest, my seafood palate is a bit on the inexperienced side, and I had a few things like quail eggs and octopus that I had never had before.  I found the Vancouver Island Sea Salt Cured Wild Pacific Salmon, Crisp Latke with fresh asparagus and lime hollandaise sauce to be my favorite entree.  The Pinot Gris that went with it was also top in my book.

  1. The last big food hurrah was the International Buyers & Media Reception where literally “surf meets turf”!  This event brought buyers, chefs, industry and media all together for a fun night of food sampling with 10 plus Chef Stations to sample from.  Besides Canadian Chefs, there were also International Chefs, Chindits Varadarajulu from India, Freddy Raoult from Shanghi, Michael Reidt from Florida and Brian Archibald from Arizona.  After touring a farm where they raised geoduck earlier in the day, I had to try some of Chef Reidt’s geoduck and found it quite tasty.  

All samples were great and the great weather helped make the evening a huge success.  My favorite of the evening was Chef Nigel McMeans of Blackfin Pub.  He prepared a sable fish, which during my time here I learned is a Black Cod fish.  The tasty fish was paired with a gingered yam sauces and I must say was quite yummy.

I have learned about seafood sustainability, sea farming (look for  an upcoming article in Farm World!) and a bit about the different types of seafood and how they are prepared.  All in all, I have a huge appreciation for fresh seafood and the wonderful bounty offered in the Vancouver Island area.

If you have a chance to visit and attend some of these marvelous events, take the time to book a hotel and plan your trip in advance, because this is a festival of a lifetime.  Like one fellow travel writer, Mona Day, said, “We are making memories,” and so can you!

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Comox Valley Farmers Market Fresh and Fun Sun, 11 Jun 2017 14:53:14 +0000 […]]]>

While on a hosted trip to the ComoxValley for the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival, I had the chance, along with other travel writers to visit the Comax Valley Farmers Market which was voted ‘BC’s Large Market of the Year’.

It is easy to see why this fun market is a favorite, because not only is it year round, but they also have an amazing variety of food.  We received a tour from Vicky, the Manager of the Farmer’s Market who shared that they are celebrating their 25th year this year.

The Market started in May of 1992 with ten farmers.  I had a chance to speak with Dave of Arden Farm who was an original member. Dave indicated that the market is going strong today, but he added, “It took a while.”

The market has grown to have 90 members with 45 primary producers.  “There are bison, water buffalo, beef, fruits, vegetables and more,” Vicky shared.

Island Bison raises bison and water buffalo and have a partner That creates cheese and yogurt from the water buffalo milk. This was a totally new product for me.

Estavan Tuna was on hand selling their fresh and canned tuna.  ‘They are the only fishermen right now,” Vicky explained adding that the fishermen can make such good money selling internationally right off the boat that those coming to the market have decreased.

Probably my favorite sight at the market was the shed created by Lentelus Farms who raise lambs and pork.  The artwork for the building was created by a friend of owner Dave Sommelink.

Dave shared that he had grown up in South Africa with dual citizenship, but stayed in Canada and started his farm.  His father had farmed before him as well.  “I went to school for conservation, now I just want to farm,” he added.

Some amazing  bakery items were available. The Pretzel guy said that they had baked all night to bring fresh pretzels to the market. “I’m a baker by learning, we are from Bavaria,” he said.

Besides the food vendors, there were also vendors like Backyard Bloomers offering flowers. Stew Ludtke had his business, Garry Oak, which is an oak that only grows locally. Stew said that the Garry Oak is native to Northern Canada, “but only 1% of the  range is left.  I found acorns and roots and planted them.  I hope people will take them and plant them.”

Among the flowers and products, Deborah with Lavender by the Sea said she has been growing lavender for the past 15 years and here in Comax Valley for 8 of them.  Using 1/4 acre, she creates products in her kitchen.

On this island there are particular products like the sea salt mix with culinary herbs and garlic created by the Clever Crow Company. There was also honey and Cumberland Hemp as well.

Simon of Good Earth Farms had a different take on vegetables, herbs and flowers.  He and his wife sell seeds.  “It grew out of an interest in gardening and it is unique.  The best thing for the environment is planting a garden.”

When asked what his favorite seed and produce was, Simon said, “It is the Banna Nana Pea, it is a nice large crisp pea.”

Wine was also part of the market mix.  Megan Hazelhurst of Stones Vineyard and Winery said she married into the family .  “My father-in-law tried grapes, for a while we sold them to a company that made port, then we tried our hand at making wine ourselves and we have been doing this for the past year and a half although we have been growing grapes for 11 years.”

The market is a family affair, that offers great music.  I loved seeing some of the children swaying to the music of Andrea Smith.

Before leaving I had to buy a small jar of Ivan’s Truffles.  I choose his lavender truffles. He sold lavender, natural and Houjicha which is a Japanese flavor.  They were all good, but for me th lavender took the cake.  I left with my truffles stuffed in my purse and a glass of London Fog tea, a great hot tea with a bit of vanilla and milk.  I was a happy camper as we left and headed to our next adventure!

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A Walk Along the Water Sat, 10 Jun 2017 15:15:34 +0000 […]]]> It was early morning in Courtenay on Vancouver Island and a fellow travel writer Tracy  from Washington had the same desire that I did to take a morning walk.  She shared the same get out and see attitude that I do.

We are here for the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival and BC Seafood Expo.  Before starting our day, we took a walking path that was along the coastal waters of British Columbia, in an inlet, we spied a group of playful sea lions.

At home before leaving I took my geriatric dog Sherman for a walk and we saw a doe that stood stalk still for a few minutes looking at us. The sea lions really didn’t take any notice of us, but continued to frolic and lifted my spirits with every joyous appearance they made.

It is amazing to know that these coastal waters have over 100 sustainable seafood products, and an amazing array of sea life.  A seat mate on the plane on the way from Vancouver to Comax Valley shared that he and his wife catch and can salmon every winter, enough to last the year.  He showed me a great picture of her holding a beautiful rainbow trout, and a picture of a bear from a recent hike.

So many new adventures, so many things to see literally from the sea!

This mornings walk offered so much, a chance to get to know another with the same interests, a look at water, the sky, the fun sea lions and a chance to stir the soul realizing how blessed I was to be in this place at this time.

Think about getting out and seeing what is around you today.  It is amazing what is just outside your window, just a step from the office, or a block off the beaten path.

Live your own adventure today, I plan to make the most of it, as they say, “Cease the moment!”

Sea lions frolicking


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Duke Homestead, tobacco history Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:26:37 +0000 […]]]>  

A stop at the Duke Homestead offered a fascinating look into both the Civil War time period and tobacco history.  It was Washington Duke that farmed the ground before being conscripted to join the Civil War along with his 18 year-old son Brody.  After losing his oldest son and two wives, Washington Duke set about changing from growing tobacco to manufacturing it.  He sold his farm equipment before he left for the war and upon his return, he and his children worked together to start what would eventually become at one time, the largest company in the world, the American Tobacco Company.

Rose Hammitt and I loved this stop during our North Carolina trip.  It was fascinating learning about the tobacco curing process which requires a stone furnace in the center of the barn burning continuously during the curing period. They offer a self-guided as well as a guided tour and we were able to jump on to a tour just starting when we arrived.  Our guide told us about the family and the Dukes.  We saw the tobacco curing barn, the tobacco pack house and at the first tobacco factory, our guide even demonstrated how Washington Duke and his children started their business.  Pipe tobacco required beating the dry tobacco with sassafras flails to break the leaves, then sifting it through a fine metal sieve and packing it into muslin sacks.

This was very labor intensive, but also lucrative. W. Duke and Sons was the name of the company and their first product was Pro Bono Publico. The company grew quickly, and Washington soon built a second factory (which is no longer there) and in 1869, a third factory.  One source shared that by 1873 the Dukes were producing 125,000 pounds of smoking tobacco. 

The third factory at the Duke Homestead was used until 1874 when they moved to what is now downtown Durham.  The guide at the Duke Homestead wrapped up the continuation of the family business which grew to new heights through the efforts of Buck Duke.  Buck Duke introduced cigarettes into the tobacco mix, first hiring European rollers, then investing in a machine that he patented.  Eventually the company was broken up by anti-trust laws, but the Dukes impact on the area is still felt today in the Southern Power Company Buck Duke started and the donation to what was Trinity College and now is known as Duke University. 

Part of the fun of this tour for me was seeing the barns and the machinery like the tobacco sled and basically learning about a crop I know little about.  The home was also very cool and this visit reinforced the impact of the Civil War.  Another interesting fact that connected my recent travel is that near the end of the war, Washington Duke was captured and sent to a Union prison. They released him near Bern NC, not far from Kinston where I had toured before heading to the Durham area. Washington Duke walked the 138 miles from New Bern to his farm.

For me, history brings places alive and this was one stop I was really glad we made. Admission is free although donations are accepted and appreciated.  Located at 2828 Duke Homestead Road, Durham, North Carolina log onto 


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Bennett Place the last surrender of the Civil War Mon, 05 Jun 2017 19:12:10 +0000 […]]]> Outside Durham, North Carolina is a farm where a unique event took place.  On April 17, 1865 General Joseph Eggleston Johnston and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman met to negotiate terms of surrender. 

Not long before, on April 9th, Lee and Grant had met at Appomattox and that I thought was the end of the war. I was surprised to learn that the fleeing Jefferson Davis, after the fall of Richmond had met with Johnston and ordered him to continue the fight.  The remaining army under General Joseph E. Johnston was reassembled and ready to fight until Sherman moved north into the Carolinas following his March to the Sea.   Johnston seeing nothing but guerilla warfare in the future sent a message to Sherman for peace talks and surrendering.

When they were looking for a place to meet, they found the Bennett Farm James and Nancy and their three grown children had lived.  The Bennetts were farmers that had never been slave owners. They had lost two sons, one in the army and the other on the home front and their daughter staying at the farm while her husband was at war when the two general arrived to meet.

I cannot imagine how they felt when two generals asked to use their home for a meeting. A farm that had been selected before the Bennetts refused to let a Yankee set foot in their home.  The two generals met on April 17, 1865, in an area of open fields and woods prior to finding the Bennett Place.  James and Nancy Bennett agreed to let Johnston and Sherman use their home. To give the two generals privacy, the family moved from the house to their log kitchen building, which stood across the yard. The original home burnt in 1921, but today they have a house built circa 1840 that belonged to the Proctor family that lived down the road.  The house does have the original rock chimney of the historic landmark.

Sherman planned to give the same generous terms to the Confederates that President Lincoln had outlined.  Lincoln’s vision of reconstruction was with “malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Around the time of the meeting, Sherman learned that Lincoln had been assassinated.  They left for the night and decided to meet the next day.  Sherman decided to stick to the kinder terms of Lincoln’s surrender even though down the road he would suffer gravely for taking on what he was told was authority he didn’t have. 

On April 18, 1865, Joseph E. Johnston agreed to surrender the Army of Tennessee.  The agreement was ultimately rejected in Washington which was filled with rage over Lincoln’s death.  Humiliated, Sherman had to again meet with Johnston on April 26, 1865 with harsher terms.  At that time, the surrender included all Confederate forces in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida – 89,270 soldiers in all

Ironically Johnston and Sherman became close friends after the war and Sherman even died of pneumonia after standing bare-headed in a cold rain to show his respect at his Johnston’s funeral.

This small piece of land in North Carolina has such a big place in history.  The Bennett family after the war tried to hold onto the farm, but eventually gave it up and moved to Durham.  Today, you can take a self guided tour and see where this event took place.  Perhaps you, like I, will be moved by the Unity Monument that was erected in 1923 by the Morgan Family as a symbol to the reunification of the United States.  Located at 4409 Bennett Memorial Road in Durham, North Carolina, the park is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take time to stop at the visitor’s center and watch the film.  It is eye opening.


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Art in Kinston, it is gawk worthy! Sat, 03 Jun 2017 17:05:44 +0000 […]]]> Along with the Civil War history and great dining options, another reason to visit Kinston, North Carolina is the art.  It is everywhere, and most falls under the umbrella of the Kinston Arts Council.  There is a public art trail transforming downtown Kinston into a visual mecca.  One of my favorite public art pieces was the mural called Goose in Flight.  I also loved the neon sign at the Mother Earth Lodge where we stayed on our hosted trip to this historic town.

There is a nature center with a planetarium that is quite amazing.  On the side of the planetarium is a mural and the grounds though they had been recently flooded were lovely.

Sandy Landis, Executive Director of the Kinston Arts Council said the council was established 50 years ago and that the council is one of the oldest non-profit arts organizations in the state of North Carolina. She said the secret to their success is that they reinvent and refresh.  Keeping things fresh offers new visual sights year after year throughout the town and Lenoir County.  The Community Council for the Arts building itself is a three level 30,000  building that once was the Summerill McCoy Produce market that dates back to around 1910.

Today the building holds current exhibits, permanent exhibits and offers budget friendly studios to artists to sell their wares. “We have a clay studio, a private artist studio and a place where they teach music lessons and jazz programs,” Sandy said.

At the council they offer art of new and established artists.  One of my favorites was a cotton picking picture by “Chick” Jordan Wooten.  “He painted this from memory, he was also a part of the music trail and often wrote poetry to his pieces,” Sandy added.

The Kinston Music Park is located in Sugar Hill, a district of town that once was the hub of African American music where according to a site brochure, “…musicians including Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong played.”

The park has a 12-foo thigh, 23-foot wide sculpture with images of famous jazz, rhythm and blues, soul and gospel musicians from Kinston and surrounding communities. There is a stage where musicians can perform and several art pieces on display.  I love the quote on the brochure that shares how different backgrounds, races, and economic groups can come together though music. It states, “Just remember, music is a healer.”

One of the most impressive things to see in Kinston was their smart Program.  They took one dilapidated neighborhood, refurbished the houses, painting them bright colors and placing a fence around them. The homes are then rented to artists and they are able to work and sell their art from their home studios.  The definition of art is encompassing including chefs, sculpture, writers and more.  While there, Rose Hammitt and I walked the downtown and through this beautiful neighborhood. Across the street from this district is an area of old historic homes, some in good shape some not, but they hope they to will be renovated.

The entire town of Kinston has been going through a major revitalization and part of the draw is the beautiful, gawk worthy art!

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