Blind Fish, Bats, and Slimy Rock. Sounds Cozy.

29 Mar

Linville Caverns entrance signWho doesn’t love spending an hour-ish in a dimly lit space, with water dripping on your head, and trying desperately not to rub against slimy looking green rocks? Count me in. I LOVE it!

Linville Caverns in North Carolina takes you inside a mountain. That’s pretty damn cool.

Mountains or Molehills
Caverns can form only in limestone, which is porous rock. Most mountains are granite, but sometimes, like in this region of North Carolina, limestone is both tall and cavernous.

Ribbons and Broken Stalagmites at Linville Caverns

Ribbons and a Broken Stalagmite

How Does your Cavern Grow?
It takes a day for rain water to seep through the rock and affect the cavern. Then millimeter by millimeter, the rock formations grow.

Utter Darkness
There are two places in the world that have complete, natural darkness: a cavern and an abyss in the sea.

Anybody in Here?
The fish who live inside are blind – no light = no sight. And bats hibernate for six months.

Formations at Linville Caverns

Some of the formations are rather unsightly

Do you love caverns and caves? Me, too! Read about  Blanchard Springs Cavern in Arkansas.

Do you like to explore these kind of spaces or do you feel closed in?

Sliding Rock: Natural Fun, Freezing Cold…Can I Go Again?

16 Mar
Sliding Rock in Brevard, NC

And away we go!
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Sliding Rock is even better than it sounds. A naturally-occurring 60-foot waterslide that lands in a seven-foot deep pool. Surrounded by the trees and mountains of Brevard, North Carolina.

Um, is there a limit to how many times I can go on the slide?
No? Perfect.

Sliding Rock, Brevard NC

Watch your step or the water will take you
away before you're even seated!
Photo courtesy of the Sliding Rock website

What’s the Attire?
People wore wading boots, tennis shoes, river shoes, and no shoes at all.

One woman navigated the rocky creek bed while holding a cigarette. It didn’t last two steps.

A Gaggle of Girl Scouts
A Troupe took over the slide and every single girl squealed. They wore goosebumps and life-vests.

Sliding Rock, Brevard NC

Splash!
Photo courtesy of Flickr

This was a delight for my inner child and for my actual self.

What travel experiences have turned out to be perfect for both your young and real-age souls?

You Have HOW Many Salt & Pepper Shakers?

13 Mar

Just 20,000 or so sets. Is that unusual?

Vegetable Salt & Pepper Shakers

Vegetable Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, TN is must-see. Why, exactly?

  1. Because everything else in Gatlinburg in woefully touristy, neon-y, and kitschy.
  2. Because you had no idea that salt and pepper shakers were made in so many styles.
  3. Because there are walls dedicated to themes: fruits, bears, birds, & basic pillars.
  4. Because when someone takes the time to collect 20,000 of something, you should stop in and take a gander. I mean, seriously.
Southern Belle Salt & Pepper Shakers

Southern Belle Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

One of a Kind
This is the only S&P museum in the world (no surprise, there).

Origins
The woman who owns the collection started it because she was amused by how something so simple garners so much attention and personality. Good point.

Many sets were collected by the owner, but once word got out, even more were given as gifts and sent from people around the world. The kindness of strangers: Red Cross aid and Salt & Pepper contributions…

Bee Salt & Pepper Shakers

Bee Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

Musings on Collecting
A collection says something about the collector; and the culture that inspires it.

Interested in other quirky collections I’ve found on my travels? Check out

What do you collect? Where do you find your pieces? What started the collection?

Goats, Kudzu, and Rotted Wood Walk into a Bar…

5 Mar

Bick wall, hole in the wall, Goat Farm Atlanta

…there’s no punchline. Becuase there’s no joke.
Not really surprised, are you?

What’s incredible, though, is how these three come together and create compelling space. Yes, I said “compelling.”

Humans flock to the Goat Farm in industrial Atlanta for the cool, run down buildings aside the train tracks. Photo clubs (like mine) are in heaven. Funky weddings, trendy businesses, clever adjectives paired with benign nouns.

That Was Then, This Is Now
Once a cotton gin, there are 12 dilapidated buildings on the 12 acre property. Crumbling brick; facades overgrown with kudzu (the fastest growing plant in the South that’s practically un-killable); broken windows; rotted wood. Basically a dream come true…as long as you’ve had your tetanus shot.

Now it’s glory for artists, and goats. Becuase they go together like peanut butter and jelly. I didn’t know why it was called the goat farm until I actually stumbled upon some goats. That part is rather hidden despite being the namesake and all.

Americana the Beautiful
Places like this, tucked away where you don’t expect to find them, are the lore of Americana. History and production. Creativity and productivity. Turning a space inside out. It’s American. It’s Beautiful.

What spaces have you discovered – in your hometown or on the road?

Can’t see the slideshow? Click here.

Fuzzy Dice. Need I Say More?

2 Mar

World of Wheels, hot rod How often do you actually get to use the term “hot rod” in a sentence and have it be contextually accurate? Not often. Glory be for the World of Wheels!

Here’s the scene: a convention center with all of its acoustic shrill; thousands of people speaking in a vocabulary that I don’t understand; and cars shinier than you would think is even possible. So shiny in fact, that some are on mirrored platforms so you can see their pretty underbellies.

My car does NOT have a pretty underbelly. Does yours? Didn’t think so.

Fuzzy Dice and Airbrushed T-Shirts
YESSSSS! If only I wore airbrushed items, THIS would be the place to have them made. The memories every time I wore that shirt or trucker hat…

You Spend Money Your Way, I’ll Spend it My Way
The show was truly incredible and the cars stunning. Stunning for their beauty, the amount of time spent working on them, and the amount of money invested into them. But those folks probably think I’m wackadoo for having the camera lenses I do. A hobby is a hobby, and all that matters is that it makes you happy.

This was one of the greatest outside-of-my-bubble-world experiences I’ve had.
What’s yours?

Can’t see the slideshow? Click here.

Is it a Bird? Is it Superman? No..it’s a Plane!

29 Feb

Great Georgia Air ShowThe Great Georgia Airshow is equally spectacular for the feats performed as for the people-watching. And to be clear (and fair) the people-watching isn’t especially, um,  special here vs at other festivals, it’s just that the nature of an air show calls for sitting still; so you get to watch the people more intently. It should be called the Great Georgia People and Airshow.

What Goes Up, Must Come DownAltimiters, Georgia Airshow, vintage planes
And evidently also get torn apart. There were tables galore with plane gear. Altimeters (I think) and other parts whose names I don’t know. I liked them for their history and because I’m drawn to anything in multiples.

Helicopters, Georgia AirshowHow’d You Learn to Fly Like That?
If you’re not impressed by the loops and formations, then you’re not human and certainly not American. I mean seriously. I get uncomfortable driving next to a car on the highway and they fly with four helicopters in alignment…. Shazzam.

Preaching to the Choir
No one needed to tell this crowd to quiet down. They were into this show. All eyes upward!

Great Georgia Air show, festival, planes, helicopters, people-watching

A Slice of the Big Apple

27 Feb

New York City, NY, NYC, I love NY, mug, souvenir, taxi, cab, statue of liberty, snow globeNew York City’s main draw for me is friends. The city is amazing – and so is learning about how friends live there. It’s a life completely different from mine – and that’s the point. The point of being New York and the point of travel.

I love the anonymity at the same time that you’re face to face with so many people. I love the grandeur of some buildings and the despair of others.

Delancey Street, NY, New York, NYC, Crossing Delancey, subwayV.E.R.Y. Specific Sales Plan
hat, NY, NYC, New York, Lower East SideThis trip took me to Delancey Street, where I fantasized I’d meet the pickle man. Sadly the store closed for Shabbos (Jewish Sabbath) just before we (elementary school friend Miriam and now New Yorker)  arrived. But along the way we met a Greek man who (talks a lot and) has had his hat store for 40 years. It’s just a tiny closet of a shop and that’s his livelihood (unless I’m naive and there are, um, other sources of income).

For Better Service, Don’t Speak English
Then there’s the fabric store where we got better service once Miriam started talking in Russian with the men. Apparently flirting has no age boundaries! It was overwhelming and overflowing: ribbons and lace; patterns and textures. And it made me wish I could sew more than a loose button.Fabric store, NY, NYC, New York, Lower East side, ribbon, fabric, spool, button

Holy Sugar Coma, Batman!
Economy Candy claims to have the most candy in one place. There may be some truth to that assertion.  A summer-long quest for ribbon candy for Mom was satisfied–only to discover it tastes disgusting. Oh well! Treats indigenous to communities around the world. Childhood memories. Candy necklaces, enormous lollipops, more tootsie rolls than Dad could dream of. The most fun was hearing all the shouts of glee and squeals across the store as friends called out to each other when they found something.Economy Candy, NY, NYC, New York, Llower East Side, chocolate, scale, gobstoppers, pretzels, candy bars

While groovy stationery stores and lovely imports can be found anywhere, there’s something about the sparse square footage of New York that makes everything feel like a treasure.

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