Saturday, October 10, 2009

Greetings from Old Swampy

I stand corrected. The swamp isn't swampy at all. It's actually marshy. And all my worries about varmints (snakes, gators, giant insects, hounds) have thus far been for naught.

I'm in New Bern, North Carolina, staying with ScribeGirl at the house that she and Tim will
live in after their imminent retirement. The big attraction this weekend is Mumfest, which is a celebration of chrysanthemums and autumn but seems to involve a lot more vendor tents than actual mum plants. To avoid parking the big-ass pickup truck in the crowded town, we parked on one side of the river and rode the Mumfest ferry to the other. From the dock it was a short walk to Tryon Palace, the home of the first governor of North Carolina, where we strolled through the lovely grounds that were open free of charge for the fest. Lots of beds of mums there, and manicured hedges, statuary, a beautiful kitchen garden, and views of the river. Unfortunately, the river stinks to high heaven at the moment due to a massive die-off of little white fish, but I won't dwell on that.

The highlight of our Mumfest activities was a guided tour of the Cedar Grove Cemetery. We
learned bits about the lives and deaths of New Bernians of note, albeit not in chronological order so it was kind of hard to get a good historical overview. The cemetery has graves dating back to the early 19th century, and people are still being interred there today (mostly in the newer part across the street, although one older woman on the tour showed us the spot that will be her eternal resting place), so in a relatively modest space we saw 200+ years of townsfolk. Light was fading as the tour ended, and raindrops had begun to fall, so we skedadled back to the big-ass truck with a plan to return later in the weekend to take more photos.
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