Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Asheville's Street Performers

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA is an enclave for artists of all kinds, and that is on display on just about every street corner downtown. Even up close I had no idea how the performance artist (above) pulled off these illusions. I'm not sure how a stuffed teddy bear can keep this very tall man balanced on two wheels. He's been photographed a thousand times, but I have yet to find out anything about him or his act... and perhaps that is how he wants to keep it, a secret!
Musicians are all over the place, and most of them are pretty good. They don't need a permit to play on the street, but there are a lot of rules in place they must abide by, including: allowing enough room for pedestrians to get to where they are going; playing only certain times of the day; and performing no less than forty feet from another performer. Although I don't plan on moving to the city or becoming a street performer myself, I did run across the brochure put out by the city for those who are. It's pretty interesting to read about all the rules artists and panhandlers must follow. Click here and read for yourself.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Asheville Grove Arcade

Anyone who makes their way to downtown will certainly find themselves at the Grove Arcade. It's an obvious choice for my first blog post about the city of Asheville, so apologies for the predictability. The building is a beautiful piece of architecture to be appreciated, especially from the inside looking out. It takes on a different mood depending on the time of day. Inside the mall you'll find offices, high-end galleries, makeup studios and shops selling artisan crafts, decor and designer clothing. On the permitter of the building there are several cafes and restaurants that spill out onto the sidewalks adding to the charm of this section of town.
Just outside the south entrance of the grove, seven days a week, you'll find a dozen or so artisans selling their wares in the portico. Side-by-side you'll find booths with finely crafted jewelry, t-shirts, hand-sewn stuffed animals, fine art and photography. I've been to the city twice now and each time their was a different group of sellers. If you'd like to learn more about the Grove Arcade, the Portico Market, or to take a video tour of them both, click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sun, Sand and Surf!

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH ~ I dedicate this post to all the kids returning to school. There's a week until Labor Day and the beaches are packed with families taking in the last days of summer vacation. I took this shot of Wrightsville Beach (4-miles long) in Wilmington, NC back in the winter when the beach was pretty empty. I imagine this is what it will look like again in a month or two. But until then, kids, enjoy the sun, the sand and surf (now that the sharks have stopped biting!)

Accolades - Best Place to Live 2015

Okay, so it's not Raleigh, but Apex is just a couple towns away and still considered part of the greater Raleigh/Durham area. Congratulations to this small American town. Check out my posts on Apex. Here's another, click here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Southport Sea Breezes

No, this is not Bermuda, the Virgin Islands or somewhere on the Greek Islands. This is SOUTHPORT, an out-of-the-way place along the intracoastal waterway of North Carolina, a small town spanning no more than four miles.
I checked this town out with a couple friends on an unusually warm winter day back in mid-March. It was also Sunday, so few places were even open.
Southport has been the backdrop for many tv shows and movie productions, including Dawson's Creek, Crimes of the Heart, Revenge, A Walk to Remember and Safe Haven. And it's not hard to see why with picturesque southern homes, the sounds of waves lapping against docked boats and seagulls soaring overhead.
There are two distinct vibes here in Southport  represented by the two photos above. To the left...I imagine a spunky woman in her nineties on her skateboard, dressed in helmet and kneepads vandalizing a traffic sign early in the morning before others her age are even waking for the day. To the right, I picture an older lady of leisure, spending the afternoon with the love of her life, soaking in fresh air, scenic views and sipping on sweet tea—a scene straight out of a Nicolas Sparks novel. And if my initial impressions prove to be correct, both women would be welcome here. 

This is a town I would visit again, for sure, but perhaps not on Independence Day, when this quiet town of roughly 3500 swells to a boisterous 50,000 for the Fourth of July Festival. For me, I'd like to remember this place for the welcoming spirit, and slow pace. Until we meet again...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Winston-Salem Transitions

A view of the past, a look to the future. WINSTON-SALEM's skyline from Bailey Park.
Bailey Park, named after the Bailey Power Plant, a former coal-fired generating plant, is located in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The 1.6-acre park includes a sloping green lawn, restrooms and a covered stage...ready for community events, music performances and outdoor movie screenings. The park is also slated to become a venue for fitness classes and a frequent stop for food trucks.
Just behind Bailey Park you'll see this. For some history buffs, it might be sad to see the old tobacco mills and power plants of yesteryear disappearing at the mercy of bulldozers and condo developers. But for me, I see the 3Ps — progress, possibility and people... people coming together to enjoy a new sense of community.
I found a cool time-lapse footage of the building of Bailey Park (click here), which just opened officially this April. (Be patient, the link takes a minute or so to load).
Kick off the shoes, throw a frisbee, get out and enjoy sunny skies! To keep up with the status of the Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem, you can check updates on their designated Facebook page, here.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Krispy Kreme Cravings

Took a trip to Winston-Salem this past weekend and spent most my time downtown. Before I started my exploration on foot though, I stopped in at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the ORIGINAL location. Got my doughnuts fresh off the line and devoured them in only a couple bites. They melt like hot, sweet lava. Honestly, these treats should not be sold any other way. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lily's of Apex

APEX ~ At the end of North Salem Street in the heart of downtown, there's a rustic home furnishings boutique called Lilly's.
Lilly's sells artwork, lighting, florals, garden accents, gifts and has an endless supply of eclectic decor. There's even a section devoted to jewelry. Be sure to look up when you're there... there's just as much to see in terms of merchandise, and the exposed pipes and duct work just add to the overall experience. It's a nice complement to the wood floors below.
If you'd like to see more of what Lilly's offers its clients and customers, check out their Facebook page here. 
Not sure if this is Calla or Lilly, but their home resides behind the cash register in the center of the store where they can keep an eye on things.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beer Lovers, This One’s for You!

CHAPEL HILL ~ St. Patty’s Day is just around the corner, so it’s no stretch to think there might be a lot of drinking happening this week on Franklin Street. (But please, designate a driver before heading out for the night! My public service announcement for the day.)
In the spirit of getting together and enjoying a “cold one”, this post is for you! While shooting in town a few months ago, something caught my eye between two buildings. I was sucked in by the bright colors and bold graphics of a series of murals promoting various brands of beer.
I made my way down the alleyway and found an outdoor beer garden (apparently Chapel Hill’s only one) lined with trees and equipped with an outdoor bar and some picnic tables. It’s not hard to imagine this place packed with students after a weekend football game or a grueling weekday of academics. 
If what I read online is actually true, this bar is welcoming to students from both UNC (University of North Carolina) and Duke, despite their legendary rivalry in College Basketball.
After a bit of online investigation, I’ve since learned that these murals were painted by local artist, Scott Nurkin.
And by the way, the bar’s name, He’s Not Here! Love it!