Showing posts from July, 2015

Our World Tuesday: History Buffs on the Loose

Nothing makes a history buff happier than being on the loose with another history buff at a historical site.  So it was with me and my nephew Alex a few weeks ago, when we spent several hours at the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina.  This is the largest privately owned-residence in the U.S.  The Vanderbilts are responsible for the tax bill of this cozy country estate. It took about three hours to tour the house before we were let loose on the grounds.  My nephew and I took the audio tour, and we were geeky enough to listen to every last word of the recording along with the footnotes and the footnotes on the footnotes.  It's amazing what you find out about people when you press that pound key.  (We did not end with the people we started out with. So it goes.) After the house tour, we had lunch so that we would have the energy for the gardens.  After our hot dogs and pretzels, we had a look around the grounds, where we were free to take pictures.  I thought these two l

Skywatch Friday: Good Morning!

This year has been wild with sharks in North Carolina, so we've walked the beach and made the most of the view.  It's always good.

Our World Tuesday: Birds at the Beach

Nothing beats morning on the beach.  In this unofficial Year of the Shark, the only people on it are the fishermen, the die-hard fitness people, and the turtle folks who make sure the beach is clean and any turtle nests are marked.  There are no bad days on the beach.  I cannot identify this bouncy little songbird that has taken over the osprey nest on Topsail.  He (she?) struck up quite a pretty tune while behaving like an osprey by hovering over the nest and stretching out the ol'  wings. This pigeon wasn't looking well when I cam across him under the pier.  He didn't mind me, and he seemed to feel safe in this under-the-pier cathedral. This willet--well, I think his name is Echo. Our World Tuesday

Summer in the South

The recent spate of shark attacks has kept many a swimmer out of the sea.  At Topsail, that means there is more room on the beach for turtles this time around.  This summer, there are three nests on this length of beach, which saw many false crawls last year.  The beach then was loaded with vacationers' debris:  chairs, umbrellas, shade tents, toys, you name it.  This year, the sharks have tipped the balance.  The rain has helped. I was down for a few days when my nephew and I headed for the hills to visit Adella at Brevard Music Institute.  She has rehearsed and heard and performed with some amazing talent, including TheBoston Brass.  She and I heard Sarah Chang play.  She has been in concerts, been to concerts, and directed parking for concerts (as part of her work-study commitment).  She has been learning under some great and kind teachers and directors and one grouchy, mean conductor.  She has made some great friends and endured some lousy food and crude accommodations,