Travel Journal: Historic Old Salem, North Carolina

Old and historic places are my favorite kind of places to visit. It is one among many interesting places that I’d love to see up close. During our short visit in North Carolina in February , we stopped by a wonderful historic place called OLD SALEM. The historic town of Salem was established in 1766 by Moravians – one among the oldest Protestant denominations – who originated from the Czech Republic. Old Salem boasted a remarkable architecture and attention to details that are still exist today. Three-quarters of the buildings in the old town are the original constructions. Salem used to be the center of the administrative, professional, craft, trader and spiritual activities which in present day is immaculate and simply wonderful. Rows of old houses and shops line up the main street. Several houses are available to rent. Can you imagine living in an old and historic house like the one on the 1st photo? That house is called the Fourth House which is the oldest home that still stands in Salem. The German style house was built in 1768 using timber and bricks and has 3 rooms which is known as the “Flurküchenhaus” plan. The first tenants who lived in the Fourth House were a saddle maker and his wife who rented it from the church.

The other point of interest in Old Salem that we visited was the Winkler Bakery. It wasn’t hard to entice anyone to come to the shop where the aroma of fresh baked goods wafting in the air. Visitors were greeted by the pieces of sugar cake that were waiting on a table at the dining area. A lady who wore an 1800’s-styled clothing, served the cake while a man who also wore similar clothing style prepared another batch from the wood-fired oven that’s part of the bakery. The aroma was so heavenly! My kids and I couldn’t stop getting one more piece of the cake and there was no rule of how many you were allowed to get. So it’s all fair. There were several choices of breads and other baked goods sold at the bakery including the sugar cake. Although the flavor of the bread they sold wasn’t as good as the one they baked in the 200-year-old wooden-fired oven. The charred part of the top part of the bread was a distinct flavor and gave the uniqueness. It’s true, the modern oven can’t beat that of an antique one. 

We opted to merely walked about this old town and not going on specific tour visiting each of the main historical interest. The town is a live museum where to get into several buildings you need a ticket for it. But we didn’t buy any ticket due to the time constraint and the vast area of the town that we thought it would need an all day to spend. Visitors are free to roam around the peaceful neighborhood, though would be unable to go inside the ticketed buildings. My kids and I also went to the souvenir shops there that were among the small shops that lined up the main street. The weather wasn’t the prettiest and it’s still winter. It was pretty bleak that day. We thought of coming back here again maybe during summer or fall to be able to enjoy the garden and the outdoor activities set up there for the visitors. It must be lovely when the flowers are blooming and the gardens are thriving. There are lots of places that I would love to see in Old Salem. I hope one day I get to visit this fascinating place again for longer time.

D. Justisia

THE FOURTH HOUSE – built in 1768, the oldest building in Salem.
EDWARD BELO HOUSE – built in 1849, owned by a cabinetmaker, Edward Belo, in Greek Revival style. The building was Belo’s house, shop and place to do other businesses.
HISTORIC OLD SALEM – Main street
Statues of a lion and two dogs in front of Edward Belo’s house.
Enjoying some sugar cake at the C. WINKLER BAKERY, that was built in 1800 and altered in 1818.
The lady who served some sugar cakes to the visitors.
The dining area at C. Winkler Bakery.
Sugar cake from C. Winkler Bakery is made by following the original more than 200-year-old recipe. The burnt part on the cake was the best part as a result of having baked in a wood-fired oven.
The Doctor’s House – 1802, includes the doctor’s home, clinic and apothecary shop.
Miksch Garden and House – 1771
The Boys School
Market-Fire Engine House – 1803 on Salem Square.
Coffee Pot, made in 1858, becomes the icon of Historic Old Salem. It was made to promote the Mickey Brothers’ tinsmithing business.
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Once Upon A Time, I Wanted to Be An Architect

When I was about 8, I knew a new word of “an architect”. I was curious of the meaning and my mom told me an architect is a person whose work is to design a building. I said to my self,”Wow! To design a building?” Since then if someone asked me what I wanted to become when I’m older, I would say,”I wanted to become an architect”. But unfortunately, I’m not really into formulas in math or physics, whereas those two are needed to study architecture. Oh well, I’m more leaning towards the art of the design itself, rather than building a structure. I enjoy looking at a building in details and feasted all the nooks and crannies of it to my heart content. I become a fan of an architecture study. I learn about the style of a building, which era it was designed and how the custom and art background from the architect influenced it. My amazement at an architecture of a building sometimes implemented in the photos I took wherever I go, but lately I wanted to draw it rather than take some pictures of it. That’s what I did and I want to do it more often, if I have plenty of time to absorb all the details that I see from a certain building.

I drew the first sketch during my son’s ensemble class. The class is on the 3rd floor of the music school where our kids have been studying for years. The big window in the class overlooks an old building that I could see from where I sat. It was Fall and the scenery was beautiful with the falling leaves on the ground and the leafless trees. The building itself is one of a landmark building in New Haven, Connecticut. Its called the Kingsley & Havenmeyer House that was built in 1850. Then weeks after that (I drew other images instead meanwhile), I sketched one of the building at Yale University campus.  My object was a building called the Street Hall that was built in 1864. The red stones that becomes a significant of the building looks contrast comparing to other buildings that over all are in grey. While drawing the Street Hall, my son and I were having lunch at Panera Bread across the building. My son became restless, because he didn’t want me to finish my sketch. So I asked him to join me drawing whatever things he saw. Sure did, it worked! That became our first drawing session. Then another chance came to sketch another building, when I took my son to Yale-British Art Gallery. From the huge window on the 3rd floor gallery, I could see the street below and Yale Art Gallery across the street. We decided to sit before the window. My son and I were actually enjoying our second drawing session with some chats and jokes. I added more details at home as much as I could with the help of some pictures I took with my cellphone. I was ecstatic with the image of the bridge that connected the Old Yale Art Gallery with the Street Hall. Nowadays, I can’t wait for another time to just sit and sketch somewhere, admiring a building as an artwork, as of admiring a painting. An architect is somewhat an artist too.

The Kingsley & Havenmeyer House, circa 1850 seen from the 3rd floor of Neighborhood Music School

Sketch of A Building

Street Hall – Corner of Chapel St. & High St., Yale Campus, circa 1864

Sketch of Street Hall, Yale

The bridge of the Olde Yale Art Gallery to Street Hall over High St., circa 1928

Sketch of Olde Yale Art Gallery bridge, Yale

Historic Main Street, Litchfield

It’s been a while. So many things to write, so little time. This winter has been too much for us. Too much snow. Too much ice. Too cold. Some days we had to stayed indoor, because of the snowstorms that seemed coming every week. But yesterday was brilliant! The temperature was warm enough that the spring might just peeking out for a bit. There’s no strong and cold wind, and sunshine was abundant. We decided to enjoy our Saturday by visiting a town called Litchfield in the northwestern part of Connecticut. Town of Litchfield was established in 1721 that thrived and prospered during the Revolution era, while other towns in Connecticut were attacked by the British. I love history, and a town that has history like Litchfield is my kind of town. Our first destination was Litchfield Historical Society, but unfortunately, the place was closed until April. On the entrance to the Litchfield Historical Society building was a unique and very interesting door knocker. It’s in the shape of an Egyptian man’s head. After admiring the door knocker and the massive entrance door, I took the kids for a walk around the main street and the town green for sightseeing.

Our first destination was the First Congregational Church that was established in 1829 with the Greek Revival Style. It was the third meetinghouse in Litchfield and said to be the most famous church in New England, being photographed by many. I could see why. The building looked so grand and majestic. Next, we walked pass by a house that used to be owned by Timothy Skinner. He was a treasurer, constable and also a selectman in Litchfield, beside being a Brigadier General in the militia army. Then, we walked back towards the town green and saw the Civil War cannon and monument that was dedicated on July 8th, 1847. Across the town green are rows of stores and among them is the State Court House. Litchfield also known as the birth town of the first law school in America. One of its student was the 7th Vice President of United States, John C. Calhoun. With so many historical buildings that lined up on the main streets of Litchfield, no wonder if this town is a place to be if you love history, or just want to get away from the winter blues while the weather is bearable. The town of Litchfield is spectacular indeed.

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The Noyes Memorial Library (1893), where Litchfield Historical Society is located.

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The First Congregational Church and the 3rd meetinghouse of Litchfield (1829) in the Greek Revival Style.

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The Civil War monument and cannon at the town green.

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The State Court House building (1888).

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The Timothy Skinner House (1787).

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The Tapping Reeve house and law school, America’s first law school (1775-1833).

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The Samuel Seymour House (1784) where Vice President John C. Calhoun once stayed during his time as a law student.

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The historical store blocks in Litchfield.

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The Grandeur of Gillette Castle

My family and I visited Gillette Castle last November for the first time. This rock castle that looks like an old Scottish castle, is nestled in the southern part of hill rows called the Seven Sisters, in the town of East Haddam. Gillette Castle is one of the state park in our state, Connecticut, and was designed and owned by an actor, William Hooker Gillette. He was once famous for his role as Sherlock Holmes on stage and during the silent movie era. Gillette was very eccentric and also genius, who designed and invented some of the stage props and also helped the use of stage effects, like the sound of horses’ hoofs in many different situations. He was the real Sherlock Holmes, the one who started the icon of the brilliant detective wearing a deerstalker cap and smoked with a curved pipe. The Gillette Castle was built filled with William Gillette’s own designs and inventions. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the inside of the castle due to certain reason. But I heard that each door in the castle is different and Gillette himself designed them. The castle stands overlooking the beautiful scenery of Connecticut River, with some wooden areas that add another image to the castle’s grandeur. It’s simply spectacular to be on top of the valley and taken aback by the surrounding as the sun slowly set.

 

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Under the Arches

Under the arches, the shadow’s lurking,
Giving the ultimatum of the future ahead,
Will it be a better one, or the challenge awaits.
A new perception might come out stretch,
But under the arches it shall remain,
Until one comes to unveil,
the very essence of life itself.
 

(Yale University campus, July 2013)

Memorial Quadrangle ceiling

Memorial Quadrangle-Yale University

Sterling Law Building ceiling-Yale

Yale campus

Yale campus

Yale campus

Yale campus

Yale campus

Yale campus

Memorial Quadrangle-Yale University

A Trip to Brooklyn Bridge

One of New York City landmark that I’ve been meaning to visit is the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridge in United States, that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It stretches regally across East River as a silent witness to the history that surrounds New York City. We went there during Easter weekend on Saturday. I was hoping that the sun would be up and the weather would be nice. I couldn’t wish for anything better, the weather was gorgeous! The sky was so clear, with clumps of clouds and abundant sunshine. It was also warm enough to put on our spring jacket. We arrived by subway at the City Hall and Brooklyn Bridge station, and walked towards the bridge with hundreds of people who wanted to go there too. The wind was minimal and after walking for sometimes, I could feel some sweat’s trickling on my back. Though my kids were grumbling and refused to go to the furthest part of the bridge, I thought they had fun anyway. We walked as far as the 2/3 part of the bridge. My younger daughter even dared her self to climb up the bridge and I followed her. I felt uneasy and thought I might fall because of the tremors from the passing vehicles, but I managed to take some shots while standing on the bridge ledge. We could see two other famous landmarks of New York, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. That’s how clear the view was, up on the bridge that day. Although this time we didn’t go as far as Brooklyn, I’ve got what I wanted, to visit the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe next time we’ll try again and reaching Brooklyn.

 

The Brooklyn Bridge built in 1875

Brooklyn Bridge & Manhattan

Brooklyn Bridge & Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge plague

New York skylines shot from Brooklyn Bridge

Downtown Manhattan shot from Brooklyn Bridge

Empire State Building shot from Brooklyn Bridge

Statue of Liberty shot from Brooklyn Bridge

Brookly Bridge, NYC

A Girl at the Brooklyn Bridge

Brookly Bridge, NYC