22 September, 2010

From the UK to NC

Sadie Green is on her 'Sir Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship' trip to North Carolina and Virginia to see where North Devon's 17th and 18th century pottery was exported to and to make contact with the people and arts community in Manteo on Roanoke Island NC. I her husband Dave am accompanying her on the trip and representing Bideford Bay Creatives (BBC). I go partially supported by a Networking Artists Network (NAN) Go-and-See bursary. My role is to extend the hand of friendship from our local artists in Bideford to those across the water in our 'sister city' Manteo. I'm hoping to find ways of solidifying the twinning process by building real relationships through the artistic community in both towns. I'm also a photographer and will spend some of my time exploring and documenting the similarities and differences between Manteo and Bideford.

The closest international airport to Manteo is Norfolk Virginia, a 2 hour drive away. We decided to fly to Richmond VA instead, a 4 hour drive but close to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail (AT). The AT runs the length of Virginia and the western edge of North Carolina and much more, it's over 2000 miles long. We just hiked about 12 miles of it, staying in a cabin 2 miles from the trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of Americas most 'scenic' drives. I now understand the lyrics '...on the trail of the lonesome pine' - there aren’t any pine trees, or very few; it's all deciduous trees here and starting to change colour in the early 'fall'. Blue Ridge Mountains - I was expecting hard grey slate pinnacles, but instead of this there are trees, you see the blue as the sun sets, all of the shaded areas are blue. (the picture, one of Sadie's is of some locals making pastel pictures of the sunset) Trees, lots and lots of them will be a lasting memory of VA. We drove for 4 miles from the 4000 ft peaks to America's first 'permanent' settlement at Jamestowne, down tree lines roads for almost the whole journey; and by tree lined I mean driving through deep forest.

You can read all about the pottery in Jamestowne in Sadie's blog: sadie-green.blogspot.com
Left are some full-sized replica ships in Jamestowne.
We've now arrived in NC's state capital Raleigh, a 3 hour drive from Jamestowne once we'd crossed the James river on a free 15 minute ferry ride. We could have avoided the ferry, knocked 1/2 hour of our journey and taken the free-way but our route took us through a quiet, rural part of the 2 states full of romantic colonial houses, often partially in ruins.

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