Tag Archives: Small Towns

Road Trippin’

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina

Kathy & I like to get out of town on weekends, especially taking advantage of some long holiday weekends to stretch our meager PTO (Paid Time Off) allotment.  We did just that over July 4th, visiting (most of) our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC.  The towns were dressed up in their patriotic best, and we even managed to take in a parade.  I’m saving the parade photos for another post and possibly even my SoFoBoMo project, but here are a few random photos from the weekend.

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina

With temperatures in the mid to upper 90s here in Charlotte we’ll be taking off again this weekend.  The mountains are calling, as they say…. 🙂

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Along Water Street in Belhaven North Carolina
Along Water Street in Belhaven North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Bath, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Bath, North Carolina

Day Trip to West Jefferson

Ashe County Cheese Company, West Jefferson, North Carolina
Ashe County Cheese Company, West Jefferson, North Carolina

We don’t get to do it as often as we might like, but Kathy & I enjoy taking day trips to places that are just an hour or two from home. We visited West Jefferson, NC a few weeks ago for the first time in several years, having previously visited to photograph the town for a magazine assignment.

Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina

West Jefferson is a nice mountain town, just busy enough to not be considered “sleepy,” but not as zoo-crazy as a place like Boone or Blowing Rock.  Needless to say, that was one of the things we remembered about West Jefferson, and was one of the reasons we wanted to go back.

Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina

One of the notable things about West Jefferson is all of the murals on the sides of the buildings.  The scenes are varied, but generally reflect the history of the town or are some kind of artistic or humanitarian expression.  There are a number of interesting shops and art galleries, and even a photography gallery.

Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina

I naturally had my camera with me, and while many of my photos would not be considered “Chamber of Commerce” shots, I had fun finding the things I like to find and capturing them with my camera.

Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Three Locks Are Better Than One?

We found it an interesting place to spend the day, and ended up coming home via the Blue Ridge Parkway which crosses nearby.  It was a nice place to visit and one we hope to return to again soon.

Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Impatient People May Not Park Here?
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina
Urban landscapes in downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina

Time Flies

Reflection at LaBella Pizza, Washington, North Carolina
Reflection at LaBella Pizza, Washington, North Carolina

Kathy & I took a quick jaunt over Easter to visit some of our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC.  It was a quick trip and we didn’t see everyone, but we did manage to buy some wine from our favorite Wine Guy, and I was able to take a few photos.  We’re planning a return in July and will be sure to look up the rest (SN).

Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina

A couple of weeks ago I was able to take advantage of a “clearance” sale on the Fuji E-X2 and picked one up as a backup to my X-T1.  I don’t do a lot of events, but when I do I know it is prudent to have a spare camera, just in case.  Adorama had the E-X2 body and the wonderful 18-55 zoom lens on sale for what amounted to $200 for the body.  As much as I would love to have an X-Pro 2, and as aware as I am that the X-T2 is right around the corner, I have placed a self-imposed moratorium on the upgrade cycle and am planning to stand firm for a while.  But I still don’t have all the lenses, so…. 😉

Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina

So here is a little sampler of photos taken with my “backup” kit.  No slouch for sure, especially with a nice lens.  Looking forward to using it some more.

Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina

Branchville, SC Train Station

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

One of the things I love to do when we travel is seek out old railroad stations.  They are especially prevalent in rural areas of North and South Carolina, and I have found them in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, as well.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

One of the stations we pass by on a regular basis is the station in Branchville, SC.  It’s on one of the “slow-cuts” we like to take when we are headed to Hilton Head and want to get off the freeway.  I’ve taken pictures there before, and have been particularly interested in the old freight depot that sits across the tracks.  It is in pretty sad shape, but a few years ago was given a new roof, and while I don’t know for sure I am hopeful that some funding will find its way there to complete the restoration.  Both buildings are beautiful and reflect the good old days of American railroading.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

According to one of the signs there, Branchville was on the first commercial railway, from Charleston to Hamburg, SC.  Construction began in Charleston in 1829 and was completed to Hamburg in 1833.  The distance was 136 miles and at the time was the longest railroad in the world and twice as long as any in the United States.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

The railroad branched out from Branchville to Orangeburg in 1840, and Branchville became the first railroad junction in the world.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

The Branchville Depot was built in 1877 and featured a dining room there trains would stop for breakfast and dinner.  It claims the distinction of having had three former US Presidents dine there: President William McKinley, President Theodore Roosevelt and President Howard Taft.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

The depot today is a symbol of Branchville’s rich railroad history and contains Branchville’s Railroad Shrine and Museum and a restaurant.  It seems that we have never been there when either was open, but at some point I will be sure to get inside and look around.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

Christmas 2015 Wallpaper

Sunrise along the waterfront in Belhaven, North Carolina
Sunrise along the waterfront in Belhaven, North Carolina

I was looking at my desktop the other day, and realized that I wanted something “Christmas-y” instead of the one I had been using.  I thought I had used this image before as a wallpaper, but as it turns out I never did.  So here you go!

Believe it or not, this photo was taken back in January 2010 in Belhaven, NC. I included it on my paper calendar for that year, and it was such a hit in town that the woman who owns the house and dock where this photo was taken bought calendars to give out to her friends!  As a Thank You I took her a print of this photo.  Hopefully she is enjoying that print.  And she gave me her permission to photograph from this dock whenever I’m in town, which I try to do whenever we are in Belhaven.  The tree isn’t there any more, but it’s a great place for sunrise at certain times of the year.  I think we’re due for a return visit!

Kathy & I want to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2016!

People Pictures

Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina

Monte very astutely observed in my last post that all of the photos I posted had people in them, and what a departure that was for me.  And it’s true – people who don’t know what kind of photography I do frequently ask me if I do weddings, and I almost always reply that I don’t take pictures with people in them.

Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina

On our recent visit to Asheville, however, I took way more pictures of people than I ever do.  After Monte’s comment I realized that, for me, Asheville was all about the people.

Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina

A lot of places tend, for me at least, to be about other things – buildings, architecture, historical landmarks, nature, etc.  But even though most of those other things can be found there, Asheville was mostly about the people.

"Before I Die" wall in Asheville, North Carolina
“Before I Die” wall in Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina

I think the thing I enjoyed most about shooting there was that no one really paid any attention to me.  Here in Charlotte, a person with a camera is often looked upon with suspicion, especially by the rent-a-cops that stand in front of (“guard” would be a misuse of the word) the bank buildings.  A few people cast a sideways glance, but it seemed like for the most part I was just another tourist, and one who happened to have a camera.

Street musicians in Asheville, North Carolina
Street musicians in Asheville, North Carolina
Street musicians in Asheville, North Carolina
Street musicians in Asheville, North Carolina

I did find that using a wrist strap on the camera instead of a shoulder strap helped me be more spontaneous, and to a certain extent it made the camera a little less apparent to the people I was aiming it at.  All in all it was a fun experience, and one I hope to try again soon!

Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina

An Afternoon In Asheville

Street musicians in Asheville, North Carolina
Street musicians in Asheville, North Carolina

In all the time we have spent in Western North Carolina, we have spent comparatively little time actually in Asheville.  Everyone knows Asheville, some people know about Brevard, but relatively few people know about places like Waynesville, Sylva, Bryson City and others.

Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Hammered Dulcimer player in Asheville, North Carolina
Hammered Dulcimer player in Asheville, North Carolina

Most of our previous visits to Asheville have been for specific purposes – a visit to a museum, meeting with a photo editor, or a quick stop on our way to somewhere else.  But Asheville is much more than just a place to pass through.  In many ways it is far more cultured than the pseudo-culture of Charlotte, although admittedly there are places in Charlotte that are pretty darned interesting as well.

Accidental Self Portrait
Accidental Self Portrait
Big Dawg Slingshots, street performers in Asheville, North Carolina
Pictures of People Taking Pictures, Asheville, North Carolina

I have spent virtually no time in Asheville with a camera, so on Sunday afternoon we decided that it was high time we do some exploring.  A quick check of the calendar confirmed that Octoberfest was the previous day, so other than the usual Sunday tourist crowd we figured we’d be OK.  And were right, although the “usual tourist crowd” was still a bunch of people!

Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina'
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Asheville, North Carolina
"Before I Die" wall in Asheville, North Carolina
“Before I Die” wall in Asheville, North Carolina

We had a nice few hours in town, checked out a few of the highlights but left plenty of places yet to be explored.  We’ll definitely have Asheville on our short list for places to go back to soon.  It’s even a pretty decent day trip from the Big City, so we just have to make a go of it in the near future.

Balloon guy, street vendor in Asheville, North Carolina
Balloon guy, street vendor in Asheville, North Carolina

A Weekend In Waynesville

Pumpkin Patch at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina
Pumpkin Patch at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina

This past weekend, Kathy & I made one of our periodic visits to Waynesville, North Carolina.  Waynesville is our favorite mountain town to visit for a weekend, because it is easy to get to, there is a nice little motel right in town that we like to stay at, and there are a number of excellent hometown restaurants that we enjoy checking in at.

Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina
Vine covered bench in Waynesville, North Carolina
Vine covered bench in Waynesville, North Carolina
Dew-covered webs, Waynesville, North Carolina
Dew-covered webs, Waynesville, North Carolina

As it turned out, Saturday was supposed to be a craft fair, where they close Main Street for the day and fill it with vendors and craftspeople. Unfortunately this year’s show was a bit of a washout, although I understand the craft vendors did very well in spite of the rain, but the food vendors didn’t fare as well because no one wanted to eat standing in the rain.  Can’t blame them!

Abandoned chair on the sidewalk in Waynesville, North Carolina
Abandoned chair on the sidewalk in Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photographs while wandering around Waynesville, North Carolina

I did manage to take some photos around town, and on Sunday we drove to Asheville for the afternoon.  That will be the subject of another post, because I have a completely different set of photos.  So for now, here is a little taste of fall from Waynesville, North Carolina, courtesy of me!

Pictures of people taking pictures, Waynesville, North Carolina
Pictures of people taking pictures, Waynesville, North Carolina

New Wallpaper – September-ish

Fishing boats at Hobo Seafood, Swan Quarter, North Carolina
Fishing boats at Hobo Seafood, Swan Quarter, North Carolina

I have this need to do a new wallpaper periodically.  Sometimes I post them, sometimes I keep them to myself.  This one looks like one to share.  Taken over Labor Day weekend in Swan Quarter, NC.  It’s a place I return to often, and there’s something about these boats that attracts me.  Sometime maybe I’ll need to talk one of the captains into a tour.  And maybe a fishing trip.