Photo Shoot Saturday – Brittany



Serendipity All Over My Foyer

I’ve been redecorating for-ev-er!  Seriously…I started with my office in October 2015 and I’m still reworking rooms.

Decorating is sort of a visceral experience.  There’s a certain amount of science that goes into it but at the end of the day it’s all about your gut.  And the size of your car!  You have to have room to carry the right piece home!

Jim and I just updated the foyer.  We weren’t planning this particular bit of redecorating…it just kind of happened.  A trip to Pier 1 also just kinda happened right before.  We both fell in love with this table (technically I fell in love with the 6 foot tall wooden giraffe first but he talked me off the ledge) and it fit in the car.  It was serendipity or something.

It would have been serendipitier if we didn’t have 40 foot tall walls in the foyer and no way to paint them.  I’m not a white wall kinda girl.  But I am  an ‘afraid of heights’ kinda girl.  Fear won out…the walls stay white.

Cabinet – Pier 1

Lamp – Christmas Tree Shop

Frames – TJ Maxx & Marshalls

Books – Save the Orphans Thrift on Legion

Framed art – Hobby Lobby

Photos – mine


Southern Pines – Revisited

I’ve talked about Southern Pines before…but it’s become one of our favorite day trips.  Jim and I drove down recently to explore and then just a short while later Candice and I made a day of it…

Nestled in the Sandhills between Pinehurst and Aberdeen, is the quiet town of Southern Pines. Founded in 1887 by steel magnate John T. Patrick, Southern Pines was originally intended as a health resort. Breathing in fresh pine air was considered quite healthful and many people in the area actually built sleeping porches which they used year round.

A wooden bench inside the historic train depot on Broad Street

Today Southern Pines is home to the Historic Weymouth House, built by railroad magnate James Boyd; the 1200 acre estate originally had stables, a tennis court, gardens and a 9-hole golf course. In the 1930’s his grandsons, James and Jackson, divided the house, pulling half of the structure by mule across the street and establishing what is now the Campbell House and home to the Arts Council of Moore County. James and his wife enlarged the original house and entertained the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. Today the Weymouth House is open to the public and serves as Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. The family donated 1,000 acres of the original estate to become the Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve. Somewhere inside the preserve is a 465 year old long-leaf pine tree, the oldest of its kind.

Candles in the shops on Broad Street

Also in Southern Pines are the historic Shaw House built in 1820, and the Sanders Cabin built in the 1700’s.  Both are classic examples of early settler’s homes.  And while you’re in the neighborhood plan to visit the Garner House with its handmade brick fireplace and authentic pine paneling.

From one of the many shops

Donald Ross, the famous Scottish golf course architect who built the acclaimed course at Overhills in Fayetteville, also built three courses in and around Southern Pines.  In Pinehurst you can still play a Ross course at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, and in Southern Pines at the Southern Pines Golf Club.  During his career Ross built nearly 400 courses, and favored the sandy terrain here, which reminded him of his home on Dornock.  His courses are notable in that they often incorporated naturally occurring elements instead of the modern method of reshaping the land and introducing new elements.

I had to snap this…TENNESSEE!!!
Unique shop displays
Tortoise shell earrings…a small souvenir

    If golf isn’t your thing, try shopping the historic district on Broad Street. Both sides of the street are a consumer delight with everything from gourmet coffee, fine dining, antiques, and cutting edge fashion. The Sunrise Theater, built in 1898, began as a hardware store before being converted in 1940. Today the Sunrise Preservation Group offers all manner of entertainment: original release movies, concerts, live broadcasts and theatrical performances. And across the street is the historic train station, also built I 1898. Today it operates as the Southern Pines Amtrak Station so it’s both beautiful and functional. Southern Pines, with its charming shops, world renowned golf courses and rich history has something to offer every visitor.

Historic Savannah

Four hours and twelve minutes from Fayetteville is the historic city of Savannah. Founded February 12, 1733 by General James Oglethorpe, who designed the now famous ward system of streets and parks, the city was originally created as a buffer colony to protect South Carolina from Spanish occupied Florida. During the American Revolution the city was occupied by the British until the Americans won the war, and Eli Whitney…famous for inventing the cotton gin, lived and worked in Savannah as a tutor on the Mulberry Grove Plantation. In January of 1861, after 13 of the Southern colonies rejected ties to the Union over State’s rights and the issue of slavery, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.

Today downtown Savannah is a thriving marketplace rich in history and culture.  The River Walk is part is the jewel of their historic district. Many of the buildings date back as far as 1817 when Savannah was the leading Atlantic cotton seaport. The Cotton Exchange, built in 1887, and the row of red brick buildings soon became known as “Factor’s Row’ or ‘Factor’s walk’ after the cotton factors (brokers) who traded cotton along the river banks.

Today the entire district is thriving with hotels, restaurants and retail shops for the history enthusiast. While the cotton ships are long gone, the river bank is now a docking station for colorful paddle boats and historic sail boats. Just south of the River Walk are 22 of the original 24 squares designed by Oglethorpe…9 of these squares are fabulous parks with amazing statues and their own historical points…like the park bench Forrest Gump sat on to tell his amazing story. At the corners of Abercorn Street and Oglethorpe Street is the Colonial Park Cemetery or ‘The Old Cemetery’.

Established in 1750, it’s been estimated more than 9000 people are buried here, including many of the 700 people who died in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1829. During the Civil War Union soldiers stabled their horses in the cemetery and desiccated many of the graves…looting them for valuables and altering dates and names. Most of those grave markers are now attached to the eastern wall.

Five miles south of the River Walk is the Bonaventure Cemetery made famous in John Berendt’s best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The Bird Girl, statue made famous by the book cover, was sculpted by Sylvia Shaw Judson in 1936.  A family in Savannah purchased on of the four bronze castings, named it ‘Little Wendy’ and placed it in their family plot in Bonaventure.  Now it’s on loan to the Telfair Museum and can be seen at the Jepson Center for the Arts.

French for ‘good fortune’ Bonaventure was established as a formal cemetery in 1847 by Peter Wiltberger and is the final resting place for some of Savannah’s most notable figures:  Conrad Aiken – poet and 1929 Pulitzer Prize winner, Johnny Mercer – a singer and songwriter who penned hits like ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘Hooray for Hollywood’, many of Savannah’s founding members, and veterans of the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.  The grounds are breathtaking and the grave markers are some of the most interesting and often reflect the life’s work of the deceased.  Noted artist John Waltz sculpted dozens of statutes used throughout the cemetery and the grounds are sprinkled with a liberal dose of live-oaks and Spanish moss.


Occasionally Jim and I like to get dressed up and do bougie things.  When we do, he refers to us as “Skip & Buffy’.  Last weekend Skip and Buffy went to the horse races and had our own little My Fair Lady moment.

I wore pearl earrings and a large brimmed straw hat, he wore loafers and crisp khaki shorts, and we headed to the Pinehurst Harness Track for the Spring Matinee Races.

The track is historic…you know how I love anything historic and most of Pinehurst has some kind of historical reference.  The track opened in 1915.  Leonard Tufts, the son of Pinehurst founder James Tufts, helped to form the Pinehurst Jockey Club in 1916.  The 56 acre track was placed on the national Historic Register in 1992 and the Pinehurst Parks and Recreation Department maintains it.  Adjacent to the track is the Fair Barn which was built in 1917.

*Photo courtesy of Tufts Archives. The barn was used for a cattle auction in 1931.

“The Fair Barn is the oldest surviving early twentieth-century fair exhibition hall in North Carolina. It was built in 1917 for use at the Sandhills Fair, one of the major country fairs in the Southeast from 1915 through 1925.”

See?  Major historic cred.  The barn has been completely restored and is a multipurpose gathering place available for social events.  The day of the races the interior was set up as a gallery with dozens of easels sporting amazing horse art.

The horse…is smiling!
I had to stop myself from shouting “Move your bloomin’ arse!’ during every race!

Behind the bandstands are food trucks and along the fence line are tables you can rent.  In fact, the park opens hours before the races start so people can mingle and munch.  You contact “Bunny” if you want to reserve Rail-side Parking.  Her name could actually be Bunny…but I think she’s infringing on my thing.  We decided to purchase a table rail-side next time and bring friends.

This weekend Jim and I did our quarterly road-side cleanup.  We’ve adopted the road outside our neighborhood through the NCDOT program.  And next weekend Skip and Buffy are off to the Long Leaf Pine Horse Trials at the Carolina Horse Park.


Through some ironic twist of fate, Jim and I have almost always lived in small towns…Abilene Texas, Moore Oklahoma, Bossier Louisiana, Hope Mills North Carolina!  There were exceptions…two stints in DC (land of terrorists traffic jams and blizzards) but somehow the military always sent us off the beaten path.  Which means we’ve never been to a proper flea market.  We’ve never experienced the joy of finding funnel cakes conveniently located yards away from stuffed alligators, locally grown tomatoes and Louis XIV paintings.  Until now!

Saturday morning we loaded the Tommy Bahama Beach cart into the car and headed to the Raleigh Flea Market.  We took the scenic route through Fuquay Varina because seriously…who wants to drive the interstate?  The Flea market is hugely popular and Saturday was the first really nice day we’d had in a while so the place was packed.  We had to circle and wait for someone to leave then grab their parking spot.  While we were debating whether or not to take the cart…he was worried the aisles would be too narrow so we left it in the car…we watched someone back out and hit another car…almost knocking it off the tiny dirt ledge and onto the railroad tracks below.  Yah and then they just drove off!

Remember when I said Jim wanted to leave the beach cart in the car?  Well..the first stop we made was at a booth that sells corn hole beanbags.  We replaced his torn and broken set with a Carolina Panthers set…which he LOVES.  But…they’re kind of heavy so i made him carry them.  Then we bought two horns…

…this one lives on the coffee table

We’re not entirely certain what kind of horn they are.  I Googled ‘exotic African animal horns’ and I’m pretty sure this is…not.  I think it’s actually a Texas longhorn…horn.  Either way we love them.  But they’re long and awkward and sharp when you’re carrying them around in a crowd….trying not to stab people…or yourself.

Our next stop was an antiques dealer.  He had gorgeous chandeliers…most of them cost more than my car but a girl can dream.  He also had some amazing paintings.  But the real score was an antique golf club!  Before 1920 golf club shafts were made of hickory wood.  It was light but inconsistent and fragile so they switched to steel.  Today it’s kind of hard to find good examples because the wood was so easily broken or the grips are missing or the head has rusted.  We’re still searching for a second one so we can cross them and hang them.  By now Jim was desperately regretting his decision to leave the beach cart and we needed a pee break.  We lugged our swag back to the car, grabbed the cart and headed back.  This was my first opportunity to really look at the buildings.  The flea market is held at the NC State fairgrounds.  The main buildings were built in 1928 in the Mediterranean revival style.  They’re awesome…and totally look out of place in NC.  Seriously…it just screams Texas…maybe even the Alamo?  Across from the Alamo is the Dorton Arena.  the two buildings couldn’t be more different…

It’s new-agey and kind of has a sci-fi look to it.  This one was built in 1952.  It was designed by architect Michael Norwicki who died before construction could begin so local architect William Henley Dietrick oversaw construction.  I’m sure it has some kind of architectural cred…but I totally don’t know what Norwicki was thinking or why he put this next to the commercial buildings with their stucco finish and terracotta shingles or their turrets!  But Dorton does provide a shaded area to sit and rest and have a beverage when you’re all tuckered out from shopping.  So it’s got that going for it.

Jim refused to let me buy a single dish all afternoon and absolutely put his foot down when I suggested we needed some kind of taxidermy in the living room.  To be fair, the only two examples we found all afternoon were the very awkward looking alligator (as a Tennessee girl i can NOT have an alligator in my living room) and a somewhat deformed duck.  To be fair i don’t think he was always deformed.  Either his stuffing process went awry…or somewhere along the lines he was shoved into a storage unit and it didn’t suit him.

But we did find a few more treasures.  He purchased a leather wrist band for himself and bought me a large bottle of perfume.  Then i found a sterling spoon bracelet at Free Spirit Creations.  I’m developing a large collection of spoon jewelry….don’t know how that happened but I could write for hours about her lovely boutique and the unique treasures she had to offer!

Last but not least are the local growers with their honey and fresh veggies.  This area smells soooooo good!  The sun was beating down on the booths and you could smell strawberries and corn and vine ripened tomatoes all mingling together!  We didn’t buy any…we were afraid the ride home would wilt them so the next time we go we’re taking a cooler with us so we can stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.

It was…a lovely afternoon…and well worth the wait.  I kept waiting to be disappointed…you know I’m a skeptic at heart…but the whole place is charming and exactly what I wanted in a flea market.  I highly recommend it and we can’t wait to go back again.

(most photos were borrowed from the Raleigh Flea Market’s website and/or facebook page)

Granny and Her Chickens

Granny had a chick coop.  Behind the weathered door and rusty hinges were the greatest wonders and eight-year-old could ever behold.  Inside, the air hung heavy with two mingling scents, the acrid ammonia of chicken poop and sweet musky corn feed.  The feed was dried corn kernels chopped into tiny slivers.  I was weirdly obsessed and ran my fingers through it as we marched from the barn to the coop each morning.  Years earlier momma’s first cousin twice removed, Marvin, fell into a rock grinder while he was working in the coal mines.  I knew the rock grinder and the corn grinder were wildly different, but every time I looked at the neatly shredded corn…I thought of Cousin Marvin.

Granny’s chicken coop

Inside, the coop walls were lined with rows of matching boxes for the hens to lay in.  The patinaed wood was a silky-smooth grey outside, and a chaotic poof of straw inside.  The hens…were the bane of my existence.  The eggs beckoned to me and I watched Granny slide her hand under each feathered bottom and scoop up a perfect brown egg.  But as I approached the nesting boxes the hens…leaned.  They watched me with a practiced side-eye as they leaned slightly away from me, as if to say ‘we don’t trust you’.  My little eight-year-old psyche was fragile enough, now a flock of unruly hens were implying that I was somehow sketchy.  I wasn’t the one sporting a sharp beak with which I could peck…say a small girl…to death!

Granny and mom sitting on the front porch (c.1975)

More often than not, I left the coop with a bruised ego…and eggless.  But feeding the chickens was really my forte anyway.  Chicken feed went into anything Granny had laying around…and nothing ever went into the trash.  Empty coffee cans, old sauce pans, well-made pie tins all got a second life as a chicken feed scoop or holder.  So early mornings usually found me carrying a pan full of chicken feed trying not to trip over rocks before I’d spread feed around for the hens.

Officially, there was no ‘right way’ of feeding the chickens.  If the feed was anywhere they could get to it, and they went everywhere, they were happy.  But I had a carefully developed system based on days of careful observation.  The chickens walked bent with their heads to the ground constantly searching for anything edible.  When they found something, or thought they found something, their pace doubled which alerted the other chickens who all came running.  So instead of haphazardly tossing feed about, I laid it in a large spaced “X” pattern.

In my mind this gave an advantage to the smaller or dumber chickens who weren’t as fast or as good at finding lunch.  If a chicken sped up and started to eat and other chickens saw this and flocked (pun intended) to her, they too could graze at carefully spaced intervals…each one sufficiently far enough from the first so as to avoid irritating anyone but still close enough that as they were run off from the initial feeding spot there was no chance they wouldn’t stumble onto a spot of their own.

Darwin may have coined the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ as part of some trumped up evolutionary theory, but I like to think I invented the first special ed. program for chickens and invented the concept of accommodations.


Photo Shoot Saturday – Disco

Photo Shoot – Candice & Kaci

This was all about the pith helmet.  I found it in a thrift shop and decided we were going to do a grand safari inspired photo shoot around the helmet.  But…it had to be elegant and it had to be a period shoot.  I hadn’t seen Out of Africa (yet) so the shoot was sort of my interpretation of the movie.

I also had this crazy idea that i could make wooden bracelets so i found myself at Home Depot buying all of these bits for the drill…which did NOT work.  I ended up using a jig saw to cut them, then a belt sander to smooth the outer circles.  Did I mention it was about 109 degrees on the patio while I was sanding and sawing my way to African authenticity???

I also made Candice’s necklace…so much easier than the bracelets.  I bought the wooden disks at a craft store, stained them and used the dremel to drill tiny holes in them after I’d laid them out in a simple pattern.  I used some kind of black waxed thread to tie them together, then tore a piece of black taffeta and attached it to the back to fasten the necklace.  And..i did it all while sitting at my desk watching a movie…in the A/C!

Both dresses are from a local thrift shop, Kaci’s shoes are mine, Candice wore her own.  We shot this at the old train depot in Normal Oklahoma.

Thank you ladies for indulging me!

Atalaya Castle


if you stick around long enough you’ll notice a theme to our adventures….they almost always involve the residence of some rich person who died mid-century.  We don’t plan this.  We don’t literally scour the internet for abandoned/neglected homes of the rich and famously dead.  It just kind of works out that way.  My mom actually suggested we visit Atalaya when we told her we were going to Myrtle Beach for the weekend.  She and my dad lived in MB when they were first married…and I was born there!


To be fair…while Atalaya was built and owned by the very wealthy Archer Huntington…it’s not opulent in any way.  In 1927 Anna Huntington, his wife and a famous sculptor, contracted tuberculosis and Arthur purchased four adjacent rice plantations near Myrtle Beach to build a winter home for her.  Arthur was a brilliant industrialists by day and a scholar of Spanish culture by night.  Atalaya (AH-tuh-lie-yuh) means “watchtower” in Arabic, and is designed to resemble  the real Atalaya Castle in Spain.


“The house is dominated by a square tower, which housed a 3,000 gallon water tank.  Rising nearly 40 feet  from a covered walkway, it bisects Atalaya’s inner court…..The living quarters consist of 30 rooms around three sides of the perimeter, while the studio, with its 25-foot  skylight, opens onto a small, enclosed courtyard where Anna Hyatt Huntington worked on her sculptures. Pens for animal models, including horses, dogs and bears, are situated adjacent to the open studio. The building also features hand-wrought iron grills designed by Mrs. Huntington, which cover the exteriors of windows. These and shutters were installed for protection against hurricane winds”


The entire structure is made of stone and there’s a fireplace in nearly every room because the house was situated just a hundred feet or so from the water’s edge.  Winter winds whipping inland from the Atlantic had to be unbearably cold.  It was relatively warm when we were there and I still couldn’t help but think how cold the house felt.  Imagine stepping onto the icy stone floors in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!!!





The New Duchess of Devonshire


This is the Duchess of Devonshire.  The Honourable Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford was born on 31 March 1920, the sixth daughter of the 2nd Baron Redesdale.  She died September 24, 2014.

Read more about her here…

My old lady goal…is pretty much to rock everything like she did.  Every chore…even feeding more glamorous with a ball gown and tiara.


Which brings me to my point…I’m addicted to dishes.  I’m the Frank Navasky of the porcelain world.  I love our house…it’s not a centuries old castle in the heart of England…but you can’t win them all.  And even though we’ve been in the house 6 years I’m still slowly buying things and decorating.    I finished an upstairs bathroom in June and now I’m focusing on the kitchen…and I’m trying to channel my inner Duchess as I decorate it…


I’ve been collecting dishes for years….I started buying them at thrift stores and yard sales, TJ Maxx and department stores.  I have full sets of some and no more than 1-2 pieces of others.  But I love them all…and I really love to mis-match them!




The bottom piece is a charger from Michael’s.  I painted them blue

The square plates are from TJ Maxx last week

The scalloped baby blue saucers are from a charity shop in Oklahoma

The gingham, both polka dot dishes and the whales are from the Christmas Tree Shop

and the Transfer ware is from a local thrift shop

I’m slowly working on new colors for the different holidays.  It’s a process


Photo Shoot Saturday – Matt & Candice

Cousin Popcorn’s On My Bar Cart

I’ve wanted a bar cart for the salon for eons but we really don’t drink very often so I couldn’t justify paying a LOT for one.  Then…we found this….


It WAS $130 at Target the first time I saw it.  The second time it had been marked down to $60 and by Thursday it was marked down to $38!!!  But…it gets better…I still had $15 on a gift card from my birthday so I paid a grand total of $23 for the most awesome bar cart ever.


The infamous Popcorn Sutton is my cousin…my 5th cousin to be exact…on my Great Granny Rachel’s side. Popcorn was famous for moon shining in the Great Smokey Mountains.  His family has gone ‘legit’ and they produce and sell moonshine in Popcorn’s name.  Which is how I came to own a mason jar full of moonshine this afternoon.  I’ve never had moon shine before…which is actually kind of sad considering Popcorn isn’t the only family member who ran moon shine through the mountains.  But I figured if I was going to try it…it had better be his.  (And it looks cute sitting on the bar cart)


“Moon shine” sounds kind of romantic, they made white whiskey by the light of the moon to avoid detection and all that stuff.  But really it’s like hell in a jar.   At first you think it’s kind of like tequila…only smoother.  Then the burn hits and you start to choke on what I’m guessing was my tongue…melting.  The fire reaches your belly and you flush all over…only it’s more like a hot flash and a volcano merged and had a baby inside of you.  You sweat. I didn’t even know i could sweat in some of the places that were sweating.  And then your belly hurts for five or six minutes and then…you think ‘that wasn’t so bad…maybe I’ll do another shot’.


For the record…it’s been 25 minutes and I’m still sweating.




Photo Shoot Saturday – July 4th!



I love trees. I love full trees with thick canopies that send down flickering dappled light. I like tall weedy trees that sway in slight breezes and drape their thin tendrils around your rooftop like a gentle embrace. I love ancient trees that wear cicada skeletons and moss covered branches like merit badges announcing their longevity.


The kids laugh at me when oooh and aaaah over a nice tree. They think it’s silly to get excited over something so mundane.

But there’s something romantic about a large tree…it’s withstood, it’s weathered storms, it’s watched people grow and love and die and still…it stands there like a majestic sentinel quietly noting the passage of time.


To lie on soft grass and listen to the rustle of soft leaves jostling about in a summer breeze, it’s the purest form of decadence, the ultimate laziness. I love trees.

It is not so much for its beauty

that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts,

as for that subtle something,

that quality of air

that emanation from old trees,

that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

~Robert Louis Stevenson


Fayetteville’s Historic Cemetery’s

It’s not often that Cait wants to spend the day with me…so when she does I jump on it.  We spent all afternoon tooling around the historic cemetery’s in Fayetteville.  There was lots of Spanish moss, a few homeless people and a lively discussion about grave robbing…so we had a blast.









Hiking Raven Rock


The couple that hikes together…stays together!

Plus we were bored and wanted to get out of the house for a few hours.  So we drove to Candice & Matt’s favorite hiking spot and we hiked the ‘easy’ trail at Raven Rock.

It was NOT easy.  I’m just gonna put that out there.  That little squishy part of your leg just above your kneecap…I killed it.  In both legs.  And it turns out that’s the most important part of your leg when you hike.

But it IS beautiful out there.  We did the whole trail…even down to the fish hatchery and we climbed all the way down to the river.  It’s super clean and you totally feel like you’re away from the hustle and bustle of humans out there.  I loved it!









Photo Shoot Saturday – Skates

Independence Day Fort Bragg Style


This is our first July 4th in NC…and we had a blast!  We’re exhausted, dehydrated and might have a heat stroke before the week is over but we’ve had so much fun!

On the first we went to the Symphony in the Park followed by fireworks in Festival Park.  One the 2nd we saw a movie,  on the 3rd we went to the Swampdogs game…followed by fireworks!  Today we saw Charlie Daniels and Little Big Town in concert and the 82nd Airborne did jumps, then we watched another fireworks display in Hope Mills.  Exhausted!  We need a few gallons of water and a few days to rest and recuperate





Memorial Day with Wilford Brimley


We spent Memorial Day in Festival Park with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, as well as the US Army Ground Forces Band and Wilford Brimley.  The Symphony performed an original score written for the event and Brimley read ‘Quiet Heroes’.





The Rockefeller Estate

In the winter of 1916 Percy Rockefeller, nephew of industrialist John Davidson Rockefeller, was visiting the Overhills Country Club nestled just outside of Fayetteville.  The club was owned by the Kent – Jordan Company at the time and was slowly gaining interest from the wealthy East coast crowd.   In 1921 Percy and William Averell Harriman, businessman and two-time presidential candidate, would form the Overhills Land Company for the purpose of managing the estate.

Percy Rockefeller (center) c.1920

Rockefeller was an avid hunter and immediately began construction on a fox hunting compound with twin stables for kenneling dogs and horses and a large paddock for training purposes.  Throughout the 20’s and 30’s the stables would be the starting point for the foxhunts which drew participants from up and down the east coast.  When Rockefeller died in 1934 the fox hunts stopped and the horse stable was converted into a dairy barn.  The dog kennels were mostly neglected and finally demolished in the late 1950’s.  Today all that remains of the dog kennel is a rough cement outline of the foundation.

The fox hunting compound shortly after completion
The Fox Hunting Lodge today 2013

Harriman was an expert polo player and would convert a dairy barn, one of the oldest buildings on the estate, into polo stables for his prized ponies. Competitions were held pitting Harriman’s horses against local teams from Fort Bragg and Pinehurst on a polo field Harriman built near the world renowned golf course on the estate.

The Barn – used as a dairy barn, then a polo stable for Harriman’s horses, and then a barn again.

Throughout the 20’s and 30’s the estate flourished.  The Birdsong Cottage was built in 1928 for Percy Rockefeller and his family.  Historic bricks and ceramic roof tiles were salvaged from buildings in and around Charlotte for its construction.  Outside the grand salon was a brick terrace and below the house was a four-car garage made of the same historic brick.  The estate also boasted its own post office, a train depot, a hunting lodge, a fully stocked lake and a golf course designed by Scottish architect Donald J. Ross.

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What’s left of the Birdsong Cottage

Percy Rockefeller and William Harriman had a falling out in the early 30’s and Harriman sold his interest and left the estate for good.  The Great Depression took its toll and the last guests to enjoy the resort left in 1932.  Percy died in 1934 and his wife died in 1937.  Their children inherited the estate and their only son, Avery, took over managing the property on the family’s behalf.  In the following years, thousands of acres were sold to raise revenue for new projects and to lessen costs.  The focus shifted from sports and recreation to agriculture and the polo stables were once again used for dairy cows.  Tenant farmers took up residence and the large palatial homes were razed and replaced with modern and modest homes.  While the Rockefeller family continued to call Overhills home until the 1990’s, the enchanting world of luxury they had initially established was long gone by then.  In 1997 more than 10 thousand acres were sold to Fort Bragg and Fayetteville’s connection to the notorious Rockefeller family would end.

A bathroom on the second floor of the fox hunting lodge

Somehow Overhills never found a spot on the National Historic Registry and each year several more buildings collapse or burn.  There’s no sign of the rail road tracks that once bisected the estate, or the animals that initially drew hunting guides to the land, or the opulent homes and clubhouses.  In 2009, Fort Bragg representatives announced their intention to use the acreage for field training exercises.  Both soldiers and trespassers use the playground of the rich and famous for war games, their discarded bullets scattered across the floor and bullet holes scar every door and wall.  Fortunately, a small group of urban explorers have discovered the estate and are slowly and methodically photographing what’s left in the hope of preserving some small bit of its history.

Parkton North Carolina


Parkton NC

We spent the day exploring Parkton.  Turns out…there wasn’ a whole lot to explore.  there’s a gas station across the street from this house and a family Dollar about 2 blocks away.  The house is scheduled for demolition and I’m devastated.





I’m not sure if anyone actually lives in it, but there’s usually a yard sale of some kind on the porch every weekend.  To be fair…it stinks.  It smells like mold and mildew and maybe a bit of dead things.  But they don’t make houses like this anymore…



After we explored the house we wandered out into the country a bit and found this old barn.  i got out to take pictures and Candice…sensing a potential for snakes…opted to stay in the car.  When i turned to walk back up the dirt road she was coming towards me to give me a flower she picked.  She braved snakes for her momma!


Edit;  the house is now gone and they built another Family Dollar in its place

Southern Pines

‘The first James Boyd, a steel and railroad magnate from Pennsylvania, came to Southern Pines around the turn of the century. He purchased twelve hundred acres and created an estate that included stables, tennis courts, gardens and a nine-hole golf course. He named it “Weymouth” because it reminded him of Weymouth in England….

The Boyds entertained extensively and Weymouth became the center of a very lively social life in the 1920s and 1930s, with literary friends such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green and Sherwood Anderson. Boyd became one of America’s outstanding authors of historical novels. Drums was followed by Marching On (1927), Long Hunt (1930), Roll River (1935) and Bitter Creek (1939). He also wrote poetry and short stories.”

Read more here


We spent the day exploring Southern Pines.  After a trip around the Weymouth House we visited the historic district and shops.  There’s an old theater that plays really old movies, lots of little boutiques, a coffee shop and a historic train depot.





Battle of Bentonville 150th Anniversary

‘On March 19, 1865, Joseph E. Johnston organized his forces into a hook-shaped line at Cole’s Plantation, blocking the Goldsboro Road. That morning William T. Sherman’s Federal Left Wing stumbled into the Confederate trap, just as it was being set.

After a Union probing attack failed, the Confederates launched a massive assault which drove Gen. William P. Carlin’s XIV Corps division from the field. Morgan’s division managed to hold on despite being surrounded on three sides by Confederate adversaries. Late that afternoon a strong Federal defense of the Morris Farm by the Left Wing’s XX Corps managed to squelch the Confederate advance. The first day’s fighting ended in a tactical draw.”

Read more….












The Other Rockefeller Estate

Today Jim and I toured the other Rockefeller estate in Carver State Park.   The home belonged to John Stillman Rockefeller, nephew of John D. Rockefeller.  Stillman bought the farm in 1937 and completed construction, on what would be his summer house, in 1938.


During WWII Stillman served with the Airborne Command and developed a real passion for the military and aircraft.  From a wooden platform high up in a tree, he would spend hours watching the aircraft take off from Pope AFB using binoculars.



When Stillman died in 2004  he bequeathed the house and 1400 acres to the NC Nature Conservancy.  The house sat empty and abandoned for more than 6 years until 2010 when the Conservancy finally accepted the donation and set about restoring it.  With funding from the state and grant money they’ve restored the roof and pumped standing water from the cellar.  According our guide…there were snakes living there…probably feeding on the mice we saw.


The most interesting part of the estate is simply the contrast between what Stillman built and what Percy created a few miles away.  Long Valley Farm is as modest and simple as Overhills was ostentatious and sprawling.  And while Overhills was designed as an oasis for the Rockefeller’s wealthy East Coast friends, Long Valley Farm was obviously meant to be one man’s retreat away from the responsibility of being a Rockefeller.