Monday, May 28, 2012

Crossing North Carolina

We were sorry to leave the Outer Banks of North Carolina…a really special place that’s a 150 mile long sandbank. From Avon we headed to Williamston NC and stayed for 4 nights in an RV Park called Green Acres on Green Acres Road – an idyllic place in the middle of farmland country; so much so that we never took the car off the dolly as we had everything we wanted in the park. Our RV site was right next to the tennis courts where we played every day; in the humid climate playing tennis is draining as one will sweat a lot, so one hour of playing was enough for both of us each day. Behind  us was a par three golf course, the greens were not good but Adele went out each day to practice her short game; there were two heated pools so no trouble to get a good swim 30 lengths for one of us and maybe 8 for the other.

We took long walks through the farmland that was all around us. One day we were caught in a rain storm and headed for the shelter of trees at the roadside, however the rain was so heavy that we ended up running 100 yards to take shelter in a roadside barn. We were quite wet but dried out on the way back to the park which was almost 2 a miles away; the following day we took an umbrella with us and of course we hardly saw a cloud.

Our next stop was near Cary close by Raleigh which gave us the opportunity to visit MaryAnn and Jeff Jordan - the fourth member of Adele’s Newcomers lunch bunch (joined in 1996) that we have visited on this trip. We stayed the night and spent a delightful 25 hours with them - it was not enough as it is eight years since we last saw one another. We do keep in touch with Christmas letters and periodic phone calls. Adele loves to visit, see people and talk…as I'm sure you all know. The weather was very pleasant, we had a 3 mile walk around a nearby lake, ate al fresco on the back porch except for dinner. We returned to the RV with enough food to feed us for the next several days.

Great planners that we are we had forgotten that Memorial weekend was almost upon us and we had no place reserved for the weekend! Tom called several places attempting to get make a reservation. From now on we need to plan at least a week in advance as summer has arrived and places will get busy.

Our next stop was near Lexington NC in an RV Park called Cross Winds, a really lovely park owned and run by the Morrison’s who knew that we were looking for a place for the Memorial weekend and offered us a spot in their overflow area. Thankfully, we had secured a booking (the last site) in a KOA in the Blue Ridge Mountains - once again we were lucky

A big storm came through one night, lightening cracked illuminating the inside of the RV, thunder rolled and torrential rain and winds shook the RV. Next morning the RV was sparkling clean.

The Morrison’s suggested that we visit Old Salem which was made all the more pleasurable by our tour guide Steve Allred who gave us a guided horse drawn carriage tour around Old Salem; his black horse “Midnight” proved quite a character himself.  We learned about the first Protestants - the Moravians – started about a 100 years before Martin Luther, about their journey from the Czech Republic (which used to be called Moravia) to Salem in North Carolina. Steve clearly lived and loved his religion (he nearly had a convert in Adele and…that’s saying something).

Moravian boys and girls had to leave home at 14 and go to school; the boys to the Brothers House and the girls to the Sisters House. Boys were apprenticed to a trade for 7 years and were not permitted to marry until they could support a family. The girls were taught “feminine” life skills, including animal husbandry - the girls’ school continues to this day as Salem College a four year women’s liberal arts college. In 1950 developers had plans to knock the whole area down and redevelop it - thankfully, a committee formed and saved this historic old town. 

Old Salem is quite a large area with all the houses as they were when first built (some from the early 18th century) there are old fashioned shops selling candles, glass and pottery, a gun shop, a hatters and a bakery where we our lunch on the back porch. We learned the people grew their fruit and veg and hunted for their meat. Everyone in the village wore traditional Moravian dress. Remarkably the houses had running water delivered through pipes made from cedar; seemingly cedar pipes do not deteriorate or leak. Gods Acre a beautiful cemetery is at the top of the town; Moravian burial culture is rather unique - married couples and families are not buried together. Rather, men are interred in a male only section and women in female only while children under 14 are buried in a separate section also. Throughout Gods Acre all the grave markers are uniform as in the Moravian religion everyone is equal in Gods sight.

During both the War of Independence and the Civil War Moravians supported neither side yet gave food, shelter and medical care to soldiers irrespective of which uniform they wore. Salem was not destroyed, testament to these peaceful people who still share their good fortune with one another. We had a lovely day.

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