Queen’s Gap Revisited 2020

Over the past eight years, I have photographed the exquisite example of American Craftsman architecture that was built in 2008 as the Wellness Center for a new gated community in the Northern Rutherford County Mountains known as Queen’s Gap. Originally, the development was slated to have over 300 Craftsman homes overlooking a Jack Nicklaus Championship golf course. “The best laid plans…” as they say, went bust with the Great Recession, but the remarkable Gate House and shingled Community Building survived intake, and have been meticulously maintained by the property receivers, in hopes that one day, the right buyer will appreciate the idyllic mountain setting and the historic design of the structures. Personally, I think these two buildings are the most beautiful creations between Charlotte and Asheville, and located just 90 minutes from the Charlotte Airport.

gap 4

gap 5

gap

gap 1

gap 2

gap 3

A vintage promotion piece…Queens-Gap-web

Grand Canyon of the East

linville gorge

When I saw the cover of Our State Magazine in October, I was reminded that my very favorite, and most breathtaking spot in all of North Carolina’s Mountains is Wiseman’s View on the western rim of Linville Gorge.  Nothing else comes close. As a comparison, I rummaged through my archives to find similar images that show that view at different times of the year. Here are a few I like best.

Winter Sunset…linville winter

In Summer…KODAK Digital Still Camera

My favorite teacher in high school, Mr. Frome…KODAK Digital Still Camera

Gorge Gateway

While I’m at it, here are a few images from the East Rim summit of Hawk’s Bill Mountain, across from Wiseman’s View.

Two Friends

summitt 1

To the North

summitt 2

This is a Bucket List destination that is not to be missed. Wiseman’s View is accessible by car, with a short walk from the parking area. Get details from Google.

Merry Christmas from Otter Creek

May your holiday be filled with the love and joy that you deserve.  Thank you for letting me share my world with you.

window

331734

7ca0e5d8bc76f2937f23cd691751b9d8

Diverting to Florida for Thanksgiving

My annual Thanksgiving trip to Florida found sunny skies and balmy temperatures, a nice change from the late dreary days of Autumn here in Otter Creek. Here are a few of my favorite impressions from that week.

PALM BEACH

palm beach 2

PALM BEACH 1

palm beach 3

ON THE NEW RIVER IN FORT LAUDERDALE…

eddie 6a

eddie 2

eddie 6_Realistic

eddie 4

eddie 6b

DANIA BEACH PIER

DANIA 3

dania 4

 

dania 1

dania 2

SEMINOLE HARD ROCK “GUITAR” HOTEL AND CASINO, HOLLYWOOD

guitar 7

guitar 3

guitar 9b

guitar 5

SOUTH MIAMI BEACH

beach 6

beach 7

beach 2

beach 7a

beach 1

beach 8b

convention center 1

CORAL GABLES GARDENS…

bibi 9

bibi 7

bibi 9a

bibi 1

bibi 9b

FLORIDA KEYS OVERSEAS HIGHWAY

carlos and vann

carlos 1

slingshot 1This video follows the ride down into the Keys in a Polaris “Slingshot” three wheel open air sports vehicle…

 

Last Weekend of Autumn 2019

This year, Autumn’s final weekend was a tad later than usual. Spending Saturday afternoon at Lake Lure brought surprisingly bright color. With a lake elevation of barely 900 feet, combined with the effect of warmer water, Lake Lure is always a late bloomer…

lake lure 34,000 foot Mt Shumont behind 2,800 foot Rumbling Bald Mountain  never disappoint when it comes to sheer drama…

Lake Lure 1Yacht Club Island, originally known as Snake Island, guards the entrance to the cove that leads to the “Million Dollar Dam”.  Unusual Boat Houses have always separated Lake Lure from other man-made lakes in the mountains.

lake lure 23,200 foot Stone Mountain catches the last rays of sun.

A twenty minute drive north to Elliott Mountain finds the last of the Sugar Maples still hanging on…

elliott 2

elliott 1

On Sunday, just 75 miles northeast of Lake Lure, Grandfather Mountain has a dusting from the season’s first snow…grandfather 1

Facing Grandfather is the Residence for Saint Bernadette’s Catholic Church…bernadettes

Another twenty minutes northwest is 5,100 foot Sugar Mountain, who opened for skiers early this year after a record breaking 14 degrees during the past week, sending snow-making machines into full production. A 3″ snowfall helped jumpstart what hopes to be a record season…sugar 3

sugar 4

sugar 1

An easy drive back to the Blue Ridge Parkway  south of Linville Falls revealed the last patches of color from a popular Overlook…parkway 3Dobson’s Knob north of Marion dominates the Catawba River Valley…

parkway 1

A 2,000 foot plunge down from the Parkway finds the Catawba at low water at sunset…catawba 1

catawba 2The main flow of the river could still accommodate a kayak or two…

After almost six weeks of Autumn splendor, the Blue Ridge Mountains are poised to welcome Winter.

 

 

Returning to Elliott Mountain

Seven years ago this week, I was exploring backroads a few miles north of my house, when I happened upon  Laurel Valley Road, and decided to follow it.  A steep winding road took me up Elliott Mountain, and I discovered the most colorful area I’ve ever found anywhere in these Blue Ridge Mountains. For whatever reason, Sugar Maples were growing in profusion on this small, otherwise non-descript hill, and I just happened to be there when they were at their peak display.  Since then, every year during the second week of November, I return to Elliott Mountain, hoping to experience that same awe.  Either because of drought, too much rain, to warm temperatures, or some other weather related reason, I’ve never seen it the same way since.

On Tuesday, I went back, and even though clouds had moved in as a cold front was approaching, the Maples were even better than I remembered.

maples 1

maples 3

maples 5

laurel valley 4

laurel valley 7

laurel valley 5

laurel valley 3

laurel valley 6

I made this video seven years ago during my first visit. The quality isn’t the best, but you’ll get the idea.

Coasting Down Interstate 40

When I drove to Asheville on Saturday, I was amazed how vibrant the color was along Interstate 40 between Old Fort and the Eastern Continental Divide near Ridgecrest.  Yesterday, with a deep blue sky, I returned to capture the trip on video.

tripod

I secured my tripod to my hood with Gorilla Tape, pushed the right buttons on my camera, and drove onto the Interstate at Old Fort. I was disappointed with the results on the climb west. Everything was overexposed. At Ridgecrest, I reset the exposure, and headed back to the eastbound entrance for the trip back down the mountain. It’s six miles of coasting to Old Fort, and keeping the car in a lower gear kept my foot off the brake.  I stayed in the truck lane so I could move slower. I’ll let the results speak for themselves.

Here are two screen captures that I especially wanted to share.

40 b

40 a

After making the video, I stopped to look back toward the mountains I had just driven through…best mtn

The video features the music from The Planets, Jupiter, the bringer of jollity, by Gustav Holst, which seemed very appropriate for such a monumental place… When I arrived in Old Fort, an afternoon freight had just made the slow trip down the mountain, and stopped me in my tracks.