From My Carolina Home

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Museum of Natural Science North Carolina

There was so much to see at the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh, that I had to go to two posts.  Today will concentrate on the North Carolina specific exhibits.  Like the history section moving from earliest prehistory to more recent history, the North Carolina ecosystem exhibits moved across the state from the mountains to the sea.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

The Western area is called the Mountain Cove Forest.  The Highlands area has the distinction of having the most rainfall of any area in the east, with an average of 80 inches a year.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

Full size dioramas depict the key features of the region. Mountains, forests, natural flora and fauna were represented. The forests of western North Carolina are thought to be among the oldest in the US, and North Carolina has the most peaks east of the Mississippi at 43 taller than 6000 ft, and many more under 6000 like ours.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

Waterfalls and birds seen from the balcony above the Mountain Cove diorama.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

Our region also has Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the east, and Whitewater Falls, the tallest waterfall in the east.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

The Piedmont area of forests and plains was represented with additional dioramas.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

Between the Piedmont and the Mountain cove forests, there are more species of fungi in NC than any other state.  Animals found in the areas are part of the scenes, like the fox seen here.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

The Coastal region of NC contains the New River, in a quirky twist of naming, as it is thought to be the oldest river in eastern North America. The coastal region also has the oldest trees known in eastern North America, a stand of Bald Cypress dated at 1700 years old!

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

This is a Megatooth shark’s jaw bones with teeth, the ancestor of the modern Great White.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

Real aquariums contain native fish and corals.  The blue whale bones from yesterday’s post were above this area.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

Underground North Carolina was a neat exhibit, with a rocky entrance dimly lit with display cases to give visitors the feeling of being inside a cave.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

North Carolina is the only state where all four major gemstones have been found – emeralds, diamonds, rubies and sapphires.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

The largest emerald found in North America was found in North Carolina. Emeralds are beryl stones colored by chromium.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

More gems found underground in North Carolina.  Lots of amethysts are found here.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

Interactive exhibits invite the visitor to turn the displays for more information on North Carolina ecology.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

On the floor was a map of North Carolina created in marble and granite, showing the prevalence of each across the state.

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC at From My Carolina Home

Then in the Natural Treasures exhibit, glass cases depict the rich diversity of flora and fauna in our state.  Here is the state bird, the cardinal, on our state flower, the dogwood.

Museum of Natural Science Raleigh at From My Carolina Home

We spent the entire day there, and still didn’t see all there was to see.  The museum is free to the public, and well worth the visit if you are in the area.

Did you enjoy the virtual trip to NC Museum of Natural Science?



Take Me Away!



Waterfalls in the Autumn Mountains

I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze.
The sweet chill of pumpkin
and crisp sunburnt leaves.
~Ann Drake, 2013

I found this quote recently, and had to share it with you.  It was the perfect opening to a picture heavy post from our hiking over the weekend with friends here from out of state.  They wanted to see some waterfalls, so we took them to a few lesser known areas of Transylvania county, knowing that the Blue Ridge Parkway would be overcrowded this weekend.  It wasn’t their first visit to local waterfalls, so we could go a bit farther off the main roads. We were all hoping to see more brilliant color, but this year it just isn’t to be.  It has been too warm and too dry.  The drought has made it hard for the leaves to stay on the trees long enough to have pretty color before falling off.  The warmth has delayed the change in color, which needs a good cold snap to make that change. You can see that in dramatic detail with these 100-ft trees next to our home, some that are bare too early and more that have yet to change color.

Leaves 2016 3

On the road, the color is sporadic like this spot, but it won’t be the brilliant color of past years.  A brisk wind over the past few days brought down a lot of leaves just turning brown.

Leaves 2016 5

Still, nothing beats a walk in the woods no matter what the season. This is the path to the first waterfall view of the day. It was chilly, we had to wear jeans and sweaters, but it was worth it. It was one mile to the waterfall.

Log Hollow Falls 2

The first waterfall we hiked to was Log Hollow Falls.  It is way off the beaten path of the Blue Ridge Parkway or DuPont Forest. Small (only 25 feet high) and tucked away, we had the place to ourselves to listen to the gentle running stream, hear a rustle of leaves, and marvel at the quiet beauty.

Log Hollow Falls 7

Back to the car, we drove over to Whitewater Falls near the SC border. This park is more of a draw, with a nice parking lot, a paved walk to the observation point, then 154 wooden steps down to the bottom. Going down is easy, coming back up is a bit hard on the knees. This picture is from the observation point, some color in the trees but still a lot of green. Whitewater Falls is the tallest in the eastern US, falling a total of 811 feet. This is the upper section, 411 feet.

Whitewater Falls 3

Whitewater Falls bottom section falls another 400 feet.

Whitewater Falls 5

From the bottom, you can get a view of both sections.

Whitewater Falls 11

Another view of the upper falls.

Whitewater Falls 10

While we were in that area, I was able to take a picture of Lake Toxaway.  This area is still mostly green, and probably won’t reach peak color until mid-November.

Lake Toxaway

I did find this tree with beautiful color, lovely red leaves against an azure blue sky.

Leaves 2016 7

Another short drive south of Rosman, there is a privately held property with a waterfall. They allow visitors to respectfully visit on their property. The falls drop 60 feet down a rock face, lovely and a bit unusual in the rock formations.

Eastatoe Falls 1

The rock at the top has a curve to the right, which makes an interesting pattern to the falling water.

Eastatoe Falls 13

Lovely, isn’t it? The leaves are scattered around the moss covered rocks.

Eastatoe Falls 16

Downstream a bit, there is a little bridge that leads to a small raised platform with a couple of chairs to sit and enjoy nature in all her glory.

Eastatoe Falls 28

Moss covered rocks channel the water between creating a calming environment, a perfect way to relax.

Eastatoe Falls 29

Here and there, brilliant color can be found. This scarlet red and orange with some gold was all on the same tree.

Fall 2016 trees

If you love that first quote as much as I did, there is a free printable on Ann Drake’s website with a lovely image – HERE.

I’ll leave you with this lovely thought.

When autumn dulls the summer skies,
And paler sunshine softly lies
Upon the brown and fallow lands:—
As fairy artists come in bands
To paint with brushes dipped with frost:—
They pay with gold, for verdure lost…
~V.O. Wallingford (b.1876), “The Cottonwood Trees”

How are the views at your place?


Foodie Friday and Everything Else at Rattlebridge Farm

Take Me Away!


Bellamy House in Wilmington NC

Last year when we went to the Outer Banks on vacation, one of the places we visited was the Bellamy House in Wilmington. I never got around to posting about it, so here it is.  I love old architecture, and this 1859 Greek Revival and Italianate home was a delight to see.

Bellamy House

Just look at the intricate detail under the eves, amazing. Such craftsmanship is rare today.

Bellamy House

The detail of the front door is just as ornate.

Bellamy House

Preservation of the home is ongoing. There was a devastating fire by arson just after the home was taken over by a preservation group.  The damage was severe, and has taken years to recover, slowing the restoration and refurnishing of the rooms. This marvelous fireplace graces a front room.

Bellamy House

The interior upstairs has amazing woodwork, wonderful original wood floors too.

Bellamy House

Bellamy House

The small room at the top of the house is called a belvedere. The windows were opened in warm weather with an elaborate vent system to draw hot air up and out from the lower levels, keeping the rooms more comfortable.   It makes me wonder why we don’t still have vents today that would open at the top of the house to let out warm air in the summer.

Bellamy House

I love looking at old kitchens, and this one was just as fascinating.  It had an indoor sink, which was an innovation at the time.  Period correct items were set out on the table and countertops to illustrate the types of foods and utensils people used over a century ago.

Bellamy House

There was a pantry on one wall, filled with various storage containers and serving dishes.

Bellamy House

The tools of the time would give an antique collector the vapors, like this wonderful old coffee grinder.  All over the kitchen were small frames with information on the surrounding items and how they were used.

Bellamy House

This fireplace in the kitchen was the main way of cooking.

Bellamy House

Out in the butler’s pantry, just off the main dining room, glass fronted cabinets hold a myriad of dishes.

Bellamy House

Outside, the fountain is on the square next to the mansion.

Bellamy House

All around the house, magnolia trees were blooming with those gorgeous white flowers.

Bellamy House

If you go to Wilmington, be sure to take the audio guided tour.  The amount of information, tidbits and details is amazing.  The tour points out things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice, like worn places on the flooring where servants walked and stepped over decades of use.  This home had many new innovations of the day, including a water system for showers and toilets not seen in most homes of the day.  We had a wonderful tour here, and would recommend the tour for anyone visiting Wilmington.

There are historic homes near us too, yet we haven’t been to any of them in years.  Of course, there is the Biltmore House, but the Carl Sandburg house is very close too.  Maybe we should go hiking there soon.  The Thomas Wolfe home is in Asheville, just up the road, and the Angel statue of his Look Homeward Angel novel is in a Hendersonville cemetary.

Are there any historic homes near you?



Take Me Away!


September Hike

Saturday was a gorgeous day here in the mountains, temperature in the low 70s and clear.  A nice change from the overcast days we have had lately with afternoon rain.  We decided it was a perfect day to hike to some of our local waterfalls.  We drove over to Dupont Forest, our favorite place to hike, and picked the Triple Falls  trail.  We haven’t been up there in a couple of years.

September 20 hike -1

It is an intermediate trail because it has plenty of elevation change.  Luckily it goes up to the falls, so the last part of the hike coming back to the car is downhill.

September 20 hike - trail 2

There were a fair number of people out, but many times the trail was all our own.

September 20 hike -4

We stopped along the stream a couple of times both going up and coming down.

September 20 hike -3

We hiked up to Triple Falls, which is named for the three distinct waterfalls all on the same mountainside.  You can see two here, the third is at the bottom flowing to the left behind the trees.  We were high on the next ridge looking to the falls, and the people below will give you an idea of the scale.  These falls are high and lovely.  The roar of the water can be heard from quite a distance.

September 20 hike - Triple Falls

DH walked down to the very bottom to get these photos.

September 20 hike -triple falls bottom

September 20 hike -lower triple falls

September 20 hike triple falls lookg up

We weren’t too tired when we got to Triple Falls, so we decided to keep hiking. Going up we could get one more view between the trees.

September 20 hike -triple falls 2

We made it up to High Falls.  We went there earlier this year from the other side where the covered bridge sits over the river.

September 20 hike -high falls 2

Even the rocks are pretty with a sunny day.

September 20 hike -5

September 20 hike -downstream

We have a couple of weeks to go before our color season begins, but I did see this little section of a tree  starting to show a bit of red.

September 20 hike - a bit of color

Everything is so lush and green, lots of rain this summer. The stream on the left is quiet at this spot.

September 20 hike -creek trail

Yes, the downhill is easier going back, LOL!

September 20 hike -6

I hope you enjoyed the views!

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A Trip to the Vineyard

Last weekend we took a little jaunt to one of our state’s premier wineries and vineyards. Shelton Vineyards is in Dobson, NC, just a couple of hours northeast of here.  It has 406 acres of grapes, making it the largest family owned vineyard in NC.

Shelton 2

Shelton Vineyards was host to a national Triumph event, and we went up to see some friends who had a Triumph Stag in the concours. We didn’t take our little British car this time, just went to enjoy the show and a barbeque dinner with our friends. This was about a third of the cars.

Triumphs 1

It was such a pretty venue, and the vineyards grow several different kinds of grapes.

Shelton white

I had to take several pictures of the views, grapevines as far as the horizon.

Shelton 1

This wildflower field is one of several greenbelts on the property to allow wildlife a habitat.

Shelton 3

This pretty little stream has a waterfall built out of local rocks, creating a pond behind it.

Shelton waterfall

We were going to take a hayride tour around the property but it started raining.

Shelton red

Still, we had a nice time. We had lunch at the restaurant there, and DH got a sampler flight of five different wines to try.  It came out on a holder like a spiral staircase with five wine goblets, quite impressive presentation!  We didn’t get any wine, it is something my husband enjoys but I honestly don’t care for.   It is wonderful to get away for a little while, and we have so many places for a quick trip close by. Shelton Vineyards is just one of many vineyards in the area.

We did do a little walking around, and realized that we haven’t been hiking in quite a while.  Looking forward to doing some in a couple of weeks when the schedules permit.  Now that I am done with the State Fair and the annual Friends of the Library Sale only has one more weekend, we might be able to find some weekend time.  I’ll be sure to bring some pictures when we do.  For now, I’ll be glad to get back to doing some quilting.  I have an idea for an autumn table runner and I want to get out the fabrics and play!!


State Fair Ribbons 2014

This has been a very busy time between volunteering for the Friends of the Library book sale and helping with setting up the quilt competition at the State Fair. The Fair opened on Friday and we were able to go that afternoon. It was a great time to go because the crowds were smaller and we could park pretty close.  We enjoy the shows and the competitions.

Fair quilts

I was excited to win a number of ribbons in a lot of competitions. First up, a third place in Throw Size Quilts for my Picnic Challenge quilt.

Picnic quilt third place

Second place went to Purple Summer Bliss in the bed quilts category.

Purple Summer Bliss ribbon second

I entered five craft categories and won a ribbon in all five. My Patriotic Table Runner won a first place.

Patriotic first place

The Sewing Kit was entered with its Portable Ironing Board and the Thread Catcher, Pincushion and Needle Book as a set. It won a first place ribbon.  I wish it had been displayed open with all its little accessories showing because the real workmanship is on the inside, but, oh well.

Sewing set first

Second place ribbons were won by my Spring Basket Wool Applique

SpringBasket-second place

and this Toile Table Runner from the color study.

Toile Second

In the Christmas category, I made a larger Triangle candy dish using the same pattern as the thread catcher and won a second place ribbon.

Christmas triangle dish second

Wow!! What fun is that!! Here are a couple more pics from the fair, first from the hill beside the livestock competition stables.

State Fair 2014 overview

And this one was one side of the agriculture youth competition, with the quilts hanging from the ceiling. Look at the size of those pumpkins!

State Fair 2014 pumpkins, quilts

I entered three photographs into the Adult Photography competition, but they didn’t get any places.  Looking at all the photographs it is hard to see how the judges could even make a decision! There are four of these racks full of photos.

State Fair photos 2

If you haven’t entered a State Fair competition, I encourage you to look into it.  It is so much fun to see your entries displayed for your friends and neighbors to view.  Winning ribbons is fun too!


Apple Festival 2014

One of the highlights of the year around here is the annual Apple Festival held every Labor Day Weekend.  It is four days of fun, three with vendors and shows on the stage in front of the courthouse, and then the King Apple Parade on Monday. Henderson county grows 85% of the apples in the state.


The number of varieties grown here will boggle the mind. I even found a new one to me this weekend, a sheepnose (also called a crow egg) apple! It is because the bottom of the apple resembles a sheep’s nose. It has a medium balance of tart to sweet.

AppleFestival2014- sheepsnose

There were 14 growers at the fair this year, with all kinds of beautiful apples to buy, taste and just admire.




Here’s my favorite variety, honey crisp!  Nicely sweet, goes really well with peanut butter.


Ever have apple ice cream? It is wonderful! Tastes like an apple pie.


The vendors had all sorts of things to sell to eat using apples, like apple pie..


and fried apple pies…

AppleFestival2014-fried pies

jams, chutneys and butters…


apple bread …


apple bread pudding…

AppleFestival2014-bread pudding



and whole caramel apples.


It was hot, so we didn’t stay but a couple of hours.


And I know I took way too many pictures, but don’t you think this one is pretty?


Here’s what made it home with me.  The big green ones are Jonagolds.


I hope I have enough cinnamon!

     Kitchen Table Art