In my mind

29048014664_3215c79c29_oAs I promised, I am adding a new Autumn sticky post this year that will enable me to alternate between my NYC fall post, up right now for the season, and the new one.


Not being one to shrink from taking on too much and this being an incredibly busy time for me, I chose a place that I think may be the other perfect state to visit when you just want to see the leaves turn but you don’t want to shiver doing it. That state is North Carolina.


I can speak about it in an intimate way because I have been to North Carolina more a dozen times in the past decade or so.  My mother’s extended family is populated with physicians, so I have aunts, uncles and cousins who are doctors practicing up and down the East Coast.  There is a cluster in the Research Triangle, comprised of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.


So, whenever Geoff and I want a change of scenery, going from parched to quenched, we head to visit my family in the Tar Heel State.  Most of them moved there from England or the Northeast, but now consider themselves local natives and that has made it possible for us to travel all over the south, from their jumping off point and appreciate the beauty of that little region that encompasses Virginia, Georgia, South and North Carolina.


Growing up I had only passed through or flown over them on our way to my parents’ condo in Boca Raton.  I really missed a lot, but I suspect that the North Carolina of today, bears less resemblance to that state of a few decades ago. I am glad I waited. It really is up and coming in an exciting and unique, yet familiar way.


My cousin Hallie and her husband Mike are pathologists and chose North Carolina for its famous scientific community of young, progressive, professionals. They also loved its reasonable costs of living. A house in North Carolina, even in the metropolitan areas costs about 20 percent of its equivalent in the North East or California.  They have a beautiful sprawling house on 20 wooded acres of paradise, three seasons of the year.


The winters are mild, even when it snows, in North Carolina. Spring sees a burst of life, due to rich fertile established loamy soil, regular rainfall and warm temperatures. If you want a temperate four-season climate, this is the closest I have seen to perfection. There is only one brutal month: August.  Literally, stepping outside on a sunny August day you had better just wear a towel, it is a veritable Turkish bath. The first time I spent August in North Carolina, the humidity hit me like a wall, it was shocking.


And, along with that comes mosquitoes, a particular concern right about now, until the state perfects a program to eradicate them.  To make matters worse, gullies or culverts run in front of almost every residential street, presumably to direct overflow during tropical rainstorms. They present all kinds of hazards, including for drivers who often drive right into them inadvertently when the roads are slick with snow or flooded.


There is something else to mention, lest you consider living in North Carolina. If you are a fierce progressive, you might have to adopt some mental and political flexibility, as the state is undergoing rebirthing pains. For those of you who know the American South, you will understand the tug of war going on right now for the hearts and minds of millennials seeking the 21st century even in rural southern states. I don’t want to delve into it too much, but the struggle is ongoing as the state emerges from a chrysalis of tradition that has a three hundred year history.


Never mind that. North Carolina is fairly bursting with things to do. The most exciting gourmet and ethnic eateries, bakeries, cafes, coffee houses are on almost every block in Downtown Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. I hope to mention a few of them as I work on this seasonal sticky-post this fall. It may take me awhile to list all my favorites, but I will consider this particular post to be ongoing and a real-time travelogue. Bear with me on this.


Meanwhile, I am putting these pictures here so you get an idea of why this is a place you should consider for a vacation, three seasons of the year (unless you need an all over body-sweat, LOL) and perhaps a place in which to buy vacation property or your retirement home. You had better hurry though, it can’t stay this affordable forever.


While I am thinking about it, I will probably not list any hotels or B&Bs as I usually do.  These days, more and more, the way to do this is by snagging an Air B&B and using Uber to get around, if you don’t want to drive or rent a car. There is no better way to “live” your vacation than through a home for lease, including a Vacation Rental By Owner, aka VRBO.


So, this is my test case for an evolving seasonal travel post — stop back periodically. More is coming.

Welcome Autumn 2016!!

Images: Chez BeBe assets /North Carolina in three seasons





30 Comments on “In my mind”

    • I think any Canadian would love it, because of the woods and natural beauty, much of it left untouched. As I develop this post more, I will touch on that fact. It truly is a beautiful and unique place. Thank you Vera!!


  1. Wow those pictures are amazing. I’ve always thought about visiting, this will be on my list. Good idea using Uber / AirBnB to “live there” most conveniently while on vacation — never tried that, but I should get with the program and enjoy. Thanks for the great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, one great thing about renting an Air BnB is how inexpensive it will be to stay in a great place. This state is the most affordable place I have ever been. You will love it, just don’t come in August, LOL!!

      Thank you for the compliments. I took these pictures with a little Kodak without even thinking of ever sharing them publicly. Luckily, most of them came out well enough for the internet.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love NC. I thought about moving there once…to Ashville (is it?), in the mountains, sort of a hippy, yuppy sort of hangout. Probably not big enough for a Starbucks. Your photos are very cool…and I read that you used a Kodak??!! I’m amazed more and more with the photos I take with my phone…I’m thinking toss that camera with all its weight. I love this line: a chrysalis of tradition that has a three hundred year history, and I hope the millennials can do something about the past–this is the 21st century. The world needs to grow up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not surprised, BF, you really have been everywhere (I thought I was the one who cornered that market!).

      If it weren’t for my other half, I would move to NC myself. Truly, I can’t think of another state whose politics I could at least handle by living amid scientists, that is also affordable.

      As for kids. How they could cling to a past that is riddled with fear and loathing, I cannot imagine. They simply have to shed it and join the future.

      Even a world traveler, who has seen it all, and is discriminating like you would love this place. I know Ashville — yup, Berkeley East. That is where I would head if I were on my own.

      As for the cameras. You know, that Kodak is a treasure. I still keep it with me at all times. My Nikons are so big and heavy and I end up just taking one lens, so what is the point of having more? Software fixes just about everything. The only drawback is one is forced to shoot JPEGs instead of RAW, but really, who can tell the difference in amateur photography?

      Thank you!!! ❤


      • Beth, I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list! I’ve been to all but a couple states. I’ve been traveling, literally, since I was 17. Ants in my pants, or something like that.
        I would move to NC…but it’s NC. How uncool is that?
        Camera: my only regret about not being on the planet in 50 years or so, is that by then they will be making pro cameras the size of cell phones with 100mp sensors. I am so amazed at the photos I get with my phone, I turn to it more and more. You shoot in RAW? I haven’t yet because I don’t know LR. But probably should start, because editing is the future.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am not sure why you wouldn’t want to be in NC, maybe it is because you prefer to live outside the US? I once thought that too, but a few years living in a fourth world country changed my mind.

          Cameras are getting less important and processing more so, so I am not planning to buy any more. Maybe one more lens, a Lens Baby Pro for closeups. That’s it. I already blew the wad on the ones I have.

          Oh, and I should mention that you no longer really need Lightroom. In PhotoShopCC, the newest versions have Camera Raw which enables you to open RAW files and manipulate them exactly the same way as is done in Lightroom. Really, very easily.

          So, for now, I think I will watch your travels, BF, and stay at home with my creature comforts that seem to be more important to me now than they did at one time.

          You do a better job of describing the places you go, so why should I reinvent that wheel? LOL.



          • NC…east coast, south. But it is a lovely state, it’s just that it’s not…Hawaii.
            Cameras…I carried a heavy camera bag, tripod (heavy-duty one), and film (sometimes in ice) for years. I’m just not going to carry that load any more. I have the most expensive “bridge” camera with a pretty cool lens at 2.8 all the way through (24 to 200mm). But the sensor is only the 1″ thingy, not full frame, so I lose clarity. And it’s bigger and heavier than I want to lug. Once the iPhone takes telephoto and micro shots, I’m tossing my camera.
            Why would Adobe make PS do what LR does, won’t they lose money? That’s not the Amurican way is it?
            Someone told me I should be shooting in RAW, and I did on one trip, then reverted back. I think when I finally learn to edit, I will regret that move.
            And you know, you may have to get out there in the world again, because I do like living in another country, and traveling to others. But…yeah…it’s fourth world out there, and even the slightest issues in the States become bigtime problems in the world. You get tired of it sooner or later. But where do I want to spend the rest of my life in one place–NC, Hawaii, Alberta? Humbolt county???

            Liked by 1 person

            • OK! Let me unpack these things one at a time.

              I could not live permanently in a Red state, hence NC not for me until they are blue, likely not in time for me.

              Not crazy about the South with its racist past and superficial manners and politeness that belies a deep-seated retrograde attitude toward life.

              Couldn’t live in an open carry state as I am fiercely anti-gun. I would get the NRAs lowest rating, off the charts I so loathe guns.

              Ideally for me? Vancouver Canada or the Bellingham Washington area. Cheaper, beautiful four seasons, kind, gentle people. I am so sick of nastiness, it hurts.

              Adobe is probably smart to beef up PhotoShop — the only other piece of software that I love is the Topaz Collection. With PS and Topaz, you could open up a photography/art business and retire to your place of choice. (I like Hawaii but find it enervating and too tropical for me. I worry about typhoons sweeping my stuff away.)

              You really do need to shoot in RAW. You should read up on why. You are throwing away 95% of the information in each shot by shooting in JPEG. RAW enables you to come back again and again and pull out different data from that shot. I shoot in RAW, transform everything into TIFFs (non-lossy) in Lightroom and then process the TIFFs endlessly in PS and Topaz. More bang for your buck that way. Quick go shoot up a lot in RAW before you retire to The Big Island.

              Lastly, you could get a telescoping monopod or simply use a foot to hand strap in lieu of a bulky tripod. I use the latter and it works for most of what I want to do.

              OK, no more amateur advice from me. There are few places I haven’t been that I want to go: Prague, Norway, Indonesia — that’s it! Meanwhile, I’ve been everywhere else I want to go and have done it multiple times or stayed for months. I am no longer curious about the world. I get it. Now all that is left is chasing beauty and kindness.

              I sound like a nun!! L-O-L.

              You’re the best, BF. 😀


            • I agree, but See…I don’t need all those reasons not to live in NC. It’s NC…nuff said!!
              I don’t know why I have put off learning post editing. Last summer, I started shooting RAW because someone else told me I should, and her photos are awesome. But then, I stopped… for no good reason.
              I’ve heard of Topaz, don’t know what it does.
              I’m getting to the point where you are. I really don’t feel the need to travel to places I used to crave for. But just don’t know where to live or what to do if I’m not out in the world somewhere. I love these lines from you, and I collect quotes, so don’t be surprised if I quote you in a post some day: “I am no longer curious about the world. I get it. Now all that is left is chasing beauty and kindness.” Good stuff, Beth!

              Liked by 1 person

            • I think you would love Vancouver Island/Victoria. Now there’s a gorgeous, incredible place, with lovely, kind, gentle people. If I had to pick one perfect spot, that’s it.

              You can go to and try the free trial. It will blow your mind.

              OK, you can quote me. You may the sole person who ever does, so I cannot turn down that opportunity.


              Liked by 1 person

            • Beth, yeah, I’ve been to Vancouver Island, but it was raining. And rained the whole time. And was great for the few days there. But I just wouldn’t like all the rain all the time. I don’t do wet well.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a fabulous photographic experience and I am grateful for your sharing beauty and light, in so many facets, Beth.
    Have only a few spare moments but an still happy the way Hillary is presenting herself. Her partner, Kaine, wasn’t quite as articulate but cane across well in his vice presidential debate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Hillary is doing exceedingly well, considering all the falsehoods lobbed at and about her.

      As for Kaine, I think he was asked to do what he did and took one for the team, so to speak. Pence lied throughout the debate and yet the foolish and partisan media anointed him the winner. Since when does lying blatantly and continually make someone a winner?

      Just a few more weeks of this madness and hopefully things will calm down.

      Thank you for the kind words, Robin. Hugs to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I loved your North Carolina photos, will share them with my youngest brother, Rich. I will be seeing them in two weeks. . . I was texting him about our Cleveland Indians and Cavs game, too. Just last night. . .
        I have eye cataract surgery on the 28th and will be heading up to Mom’s for a week shortly after to relax and spend her #88 birthday on 11/1.
        I probably shared that my SIL attended prep school, then graduated from Princeton, having met and married her first husband who went on to law school while she went further in her education at different universities to get her PhD. She is now Dean of three “schools” and over 8 subjects at Baldwin Wallace, in Berea, Ohio. She fully relates to Hillary Clinton. She even admits that men in universities have been annoying in lack of open minds towards women who are assertive.
        They are great at joining and serving public organizations.
        Rich went from bachelor’s at Cornell to UNC in Chapel Hill, of course. This is why I will share your lovely photo montage and post!
        Then, Rich taught inner city Cleveland for twenty years, went to Kent State to get his PhD. He loves tutoring and filling professor positions while they are on sabbatical. He teachers Master’s degree teachers how to carry out productive and tested ways for students who have reading or math learning disabilities. His professional articles have also taken him to international conferences to speak. Mom will go with Rich to vote, as she did for the Primary, proudly hoping for a woman President. She liked Eleanor Roosevelt and admires strong women. 🙂
        Hugs to you and Geoffrey, dear. We just pick up where we left off, don’t we? ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Robin, I cannot get over what a high-achieving family you have! You must be proud of them. I hope Rich likes my pictures — he can tell me what he thinks. 😀

    As for Hillary, I cannot believe she is still only a few points ahead of that despicable opponent. I don’t even want to dignify him by saying his name. What a strange country this is.

    Good luck with your surgery and keep me posted.

    A big hug and Happy Birthday to your Mom. She must be so proud of you, Robin and you are lucky to have each other.

    Yes, we always pick up where we left off — that’s what friends do.

    Hugs ❤


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