Thursday, March 15, 2018

Montgomery County, North Carolina

George and I spent a cloudy Saturday in Montgomery County, and we really enjoyed it!

The drive through the North Carolina countryside en route to Troy was very pretty and relaxing. On the way, we drove through Carthage, county seat of Moore County, a county I've already visited. I made several stops in Moore County on my official visit there, but didn't make it to Carthage. It's a pretty town, and I'm sorry I didn't include it in my Moore County post.

Montgomery County Courthouse
Our first stop in Montgomery County was the county courthouse in the county seat of Troy. It's an old looking building, but very pretty, I think! It was built in 1921, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In an era where a number of old courthouses have been replaces by more modern gray buildings, this one is a charmer.

Star Library
From there, we went to Star, which is the geographic center of North Carolina. It's a charming little town, with a downtown area that includes the Star Branch Library. The Star Municipal Building has a model train in front, near a plaque with the coordinates for the center of the state.

While in Montgomery County, I found geocaches in both Troy and Star--always fun!

What would I do differently if I were to visit Montgomery County again? I'd made sure to visit the unincorporated community of Blank Ankle, which in addition to the interesting name, sounds like a close knit community. Plus, the Blackankle Bog Preserve and Blackankle Fort sound like interesting places to visit while in Black Ankle.

Photos of our trip to Montgomery County are posted in an album on Flickr, which can be found here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Iredell County, NC

On July 5, 2017, I visited Iredell County. I've been looking forward to revisiting Iredell County, since I moved to Iredell County just after college. I got a late start, unfortunately, so I didn't get to explore as much as I'd planned, but I still enjoyed my time there.

I took more rural route into the county, and landed first in Union Grove, where I found my first geocache in Iredell County. It turns out that Union Grove used to be home to a Fiddler's Convention, organized to raise funds for the local school, very interesting! The Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC-Chapel Hill has some materials on the Union Grove fiddler's convention, which had several names through the years. The collection is described here.

Love Valley, NC
My next stop in Iredell County was Love Valley. I vaguely remembered a visit to Love Valley from my time in Statesville, so I was interested in returning for this blog. Love Valley is an interesting little place with a western theme. There's a big sign of Love Valley town rules on the way into town. Cars can drive through the residential parts of Love Valley, but once you hit "downtown," no cars are allowed. You can walk in, or you can ride your horse in a hitch it to a post.No kidding! (This is a big horse area!) I wish I'd taken more pictures, but it really is something to see in person, if you ever get the chance. It's like stepping back in time.

Speaking of stepping back in time, I had a surprise when I decided to leave Love Valley and head for Statesville, the county seat. I plugged "Statesville" into Google Maps on my phone, and got the message, "No route found." I closed and reopened the app, same message. Next, I turned my phone off and back on, still no route found! I was worried only briefly, then I remembered that Statesviille is south of Love Valley, and I have a compass on my rear view mirror. So, I headed southward, and eventually got a Google Maps route into downtown Statesville.

First Presbyterian Church, Statesville
I enjoyed my drive around Statesville. Some things looked familiar, but other things were different, since I left in 1988, and haven't been back since. I stopped and took a photo of First Presbyterian, the church I joined while I lived there. (I remember feeling like such an adult, joining my first church away from my hometown in Alabama.) This was my only stop, unfortunately, since the day was getting on, and I still had a drive to get back home. I did drive by my first post-college workplace, Barium Springs Home for Children, in southern Iredell County. Things have changed there (both in name and in buildings), but the campus looked nice.

All in all, it was a nice visit back to my old stomping grounds! My photos of Iredell County are here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Edgecombe County, North Carolina

On June 30, I enjoyed visiting Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Edgecombe County was formed in 1741, from neighboring Bertie County, so it's one of the older counties in North Carolina.

Edgecombe County Courthouse
I started in Tarboro, the county seat of Edgecombe County. Although Tarboro isn't the largest city in Edgecombe County (that distinction belongs to Rocky Mount, which straddles Edgecombe and Nash counties),  it's a charming place. I stopped at the Edgecombe County Courthouse, then walked and drove around Tarboro a bit. It's easy to tell there's a lot of history there.

Next, I visited the Edgecombe County town of Pinetops. Even though it has a population of less than 2,000, I was impressed by little Pinetops, and would like to explore around there some more. I did stop at a local park, where I tried to find a geocache, but found a VFW memorial instead. I also stopped by the Pinetops Branch Public Library for a quick photo.

Speaking of photos, my pictures from this adventure have been uploaded on Flickr, and can be found here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Halifax County, North Carolina

Last May 28 (2016), George and I took a day trip to Halifax County, North Carolina. What a pretty and interesting area! Halifax County's website says Weldon, located in Halifax County, is the Rockfish Capital of the World--who knew?!

Halifax County Courthouse
The county seat of Halifax County is the town of Halifax, which had a population of less than 250 residents in the 2010 census. The Halifax County Courthouse is located there, and it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I really like the cupola on top of the courthouse!

As we explored, George and I stopped to visit Historic Halifax, a North Carolina Historic Site. There's a small museum there, which offers information on the history of the town, as well as maps to get to nearby historic buildings of interest. This was a very helpful stop, since we didn't know much about the area before. Admission is free, though donations are welcome.

Halifax Resolves Mural, Halifax
One of the surprising things we learned about this area was that the Halifax Resolves, a resolution that helped pave the way for the presentation of the  Declaration of Independence, was signed in Halifax. This permitted the North Carolina delegates to later vote in favor of independence. I was happy to find this nice mural honoring the Halifax Resolves in downtown Halifax.

We also enjoyed driving through Medoc Mountain State Park, located in Hollister, and the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail in Roanoke Rapids. The museum was closed by the time we got there, but we enjoyed walking around the trail. We didn't see much of Roanoke Rapids, so I'd like to go back for a more thorough visit sometime.

More photos from our visit to Halifax County can be found on Flickr, accessible here.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Hoke County, North Carolina

I took my birthday (December 4) off from work to visit Hoke County. Founded in 1911 from parts of Cumberland and Robeson Counties, Hoke County was one of the last two counties formed in North Carolina. (Avery County in western North Carolina was also formed in 1911.)

Hoke County Courthouse
Raeford, a town of a little under 5,000 residents, is the county seat of Hoke County. When I visited in early December, the downtown area was already decorated for the holidays, with wreaths and red bows on lamp posts and some buildings.

The Hoke County Courthouse had a nice veterans memorial in front of it, as well as a marker for a time capsule to be opened in April 2111.

Dundarrach Community Church
My favorite Hoke County discovery outside of Raeford was the tiny community of Dundarrach,
which is home to the Dundarrach Community Church and Cemetery. I love country churches with accompanying cemeteries!

The rest of my Hoke County photos are here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wilson County, North Carolina

On September 5, 2015, I enjoyed a visit to Wilson County, North Carolina. Wilson County was formed in 1855 from neighboring counties in eastern North Carolina, and named for Louis Dicken Wilson, a state legislator from neighboring Edgecombe County who was a colonel in the Mexican-American War.

Wilson County Courthouse
I spent most of my time in the county seat of Wilson, which has a population of nearly 50,000. It was the birthplace and initial headquarters of Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T). Although the headquarters has moved to Winston-Salem, the bank is still Wilson County's largest employer.

One of Wilson County's local treasures is Vollis Simpson. Although he passed away in 2013, his art lives on in the form of whirligigs throughout the area. While I didn't make it to the Wilson Whirligig Park, I saw a number of them across the city! They're delightful!

I also stopped to visit St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, which is a beautiful older church (built in 1906), and found several local geocaches.

My photo album of Wilson County is here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cumberland County, North Carolina

Cumberland County Courthouse
Last Saturday, I enjoyed an afternoon trip to Cumberland County, North Carolina, just an hour and a half from home! Cumberland County is the fifth largest county (population-wise) in North Carolina, and was formed in 1754.

Oval Ballroom
The county seat of Cumberland County is Fayetteville, which is also home to Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield. I enjoyed driving around Fayetteville, where I stopped to take photos of both the old and newer courthouses. I stopped at Heritage Square, where I found a geocache and enjoyed taking a few more pictures. My favorite building there was the Oval Ballroom--the outside of the building is an octagon!

Local attractions I'd like to return to Fayetteville to visit include the Fayetteville Museum of Art, the Museum of the Cape Fear, and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

I also explored the Cumberland County town of Hope Mills. As I drove into town, I saw the remnants of Hope Mills Lake, which used to be full but was drained a few years ago, due to a sinkhole that was causing a leak in the dam. I enjoyed a stop at Big Rockfish Presbyterian Church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I really enjoyed my visit to Cumberland County, and look forward to going back. The rest of my Cumberland County photos are here.