Historic Structures in Marion, North Carolina

imagesNorth Carolina has always been known for textile mills and for the manufacture of fine wooden and upholstered furniture, and for almost a century, Marion was home to a large cotton mill with 600 workers at it’s peak, and a components division of Broyhill Furniture, based in nearby Lenoir.  All of that came to a halt when these jobs were outsourced to Latin America and the Far East.  The impact to the Marion economy was obvious, but this small town of 8,000, situated just east of the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi, was resilient, and bounced back, retaining other manufacturing companies, including Ethan Allen in nearby Old Fort, and Coats Textile in North Marion. Also, Marion has become the eastern  center for stone building products, with numerous producers and whole sellers located north of the town.

The Main Street corridor has the distinction of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places, with three prominent churches leading that list. Below are four historic church buildings, and four homes that can be found inside that district. A recent heavy snow storm gave me the opportunity to capture these structures surrounded by the white stuff.

BaptistLocated on Main Street, The First Baptist Church uses creative brick designs to anchor its main sanctuary to the street. The meticulous placement of thousands of multi-colored, locally produced bricks is notable. The unusual steeple, below,  is a celebration of brick, slate, and copper construction.Steeple

presbyFirst Presbyterian Church

MethodistCross United Methodist Church.   American Gothic style.

LutheranSt. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.  All River Rock construction, in Mountain Gothic style.


St. John’s Episcopal Church.       American Gothic…

Blue Roof


Green Mansion




Returning to Montford Cove in Snow

Nestled in a wide valley between Lake Lure and Marion, North Carolina, Montford Cove is known for producing award winning grass fed Black Angus cattle, and for the high protein hay to feed them during the winter. Corn is also a major crop. Previous posts wrote of the low number of people who live here, and the large amount of undeveloped land that covers Hickory Nut Mountain to the west, and Pinnacle Mountain to the east. No State or Federal land can be found here. The area sits astride the border between McDowell County to the north, and Rutherford County to the south. Visiting after the recent heavy snow storm found breathtaking snow covered mountains and large snowfields where hay was harvested just six weeks ago.

Montford Cove 1Field Corn will wait until Spring to be cut…

VictorianThis majestic Victorian farmhouse has seen better days, but its dramatic use of color still warms the senses.

Grassy MountainGrassy Mountain to the north overlooks pastures and a pine forest.

Pinnacle Mtn 1Pinnacle Peak and Long Mountain tower over this farm, already decked out for Christmas.

Pinnacle PeakTen years ago, fire ravaged the western slope of Pinnacle Mountain, but she is recovering very nicely, thank you.

Oak Mtn SUnsetOak Mountain sits on the southern boundary of Montford Cove, above Greasy Creek, and bids farewell to a cold, but glorious Thursday evening.

The Aftermath of a Major Storm

As temperatures moderate, and the snow begins to melt, beauty can still be found in every direction.  A hard freeze put a thick crust on the ground.  The Sun decided to appear.Upper Pond...

Two ponds

wolf PenWolf Pen Mountain behind Bear Gap…

log home 5

NelsonsBrushy Top Mountain…

Otter PondOtter Pond at sunrise…

I made this short four minute video of the event…





Historic 14″ Snowfall in Otter Creek Valley

Heavy snows happen occasionally here in the valley, but storms like the one that moved through yesterday are rare, Even more rare are events of this magnitude in early December.  Here are some of my favorites from a memorable day.

Card Image 3Before daybreak at Hemlock House…


Hemlock House



Caddy 2My Caddy…

Droopy PinesThe road to Otter Pond…

fence 1Oak Mountain over the Pond…..

BeechAmerican Beech



Heavy Snow at First Light

Over 10″ fell overnight, and the snow is still falling. Just beautiful…




Spending Thanksgiving in Miami

Every Thanksgiving I travel to South Florida to be with family and friends. During my most recent trip, I went to Rickenbacker Causeway that connects the Florida mainland with tropical Key Biscayne, located five miles southeast of Downtown Miami.grassOriginally dredged from the shallow bottom of Biscayne Bay, this causeway opened in 1947. It is five miles long, and includes three bridges, the larger of which replaced the original structure and drawbridge in 1985. It is high mostly to accommodate the tall masts of sailboats moving along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. data=VYxFeQy4vB4AXb8hmBaIaLEbQSo99CfXu2pQ6LphxuepLMAqVt3qqHDtKKm2MEDUCFaIwttnPGSJbXCfn3DeDIDFzOhAdxQPk5wrkid_Cz0X3M0CHWdDqznBvPqEDDbH2JrCYL85fX-qvcFu4Along the shoreline on both sides of the causeway, public beaches have been created, drawing thousands of visitors on the weekends.

BrickellThe gleaming skyscrapers along Brickell Avenue remind beachgoers and drivers how close they are to the center of a major American city.

sandSunset is the best time to be on the south shore of the causeway as the Sun disappears into Biscayne Bay.

BridgeLuxury residential towers fill the bayshore along Brickell Avenue, while the William Powell Bridge towers over the eastern portion of the original structure, now transformed into a free popular fishing pier.

MangroveA Mangrove tree bids farewell to another glorious day in Miami. Historic Coconut Grove can be seen on the far right. Miami’s City Hall is located there, occupying the original seaplane terminal for Pan American World Airways.

sunset 1The next time you visit Miami, don’t miss the sunset from Rickenbacker Causeway. It might just be the high point of your trip.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah


One of the most striking churches in the South is in Savannah, Georgia. I have visited there many times. I wanted to share this blog post from a site that I follow called Via Lucis, which normally shares photography about Romanesque and Gothic churches in Europe. Recovering from cancer, and not being able to travel to Europe this past summer,the blog writer, Dennis Aubrey, along with his wife, P.J. Mckey,  took a trip to Savannah instead, and their post is worth sharing.