Looking around Durham

Today I went exploring in Durham and Orange county I was again luck with a lovely cab driver today, Ezana from Ethiopia. He was very generous driving me all over the place and waiting for me to finish immersing myself in the vibe of each place before heading off to wherever else I wanted to go. I visited Bennett Place, where Generals Johnston and Sherman met to negotiate the largest surrender of the American Civil War. The timber on the buildings was amazing, but better still, they were doing an information session for some school kids so I tagged along and listened to the "pretend" Confederate and Union soldiers talk about how it was for the soldiers "on the ground". Then both guys loaded their "old school" guns and fired them......the noise was deafening! The soldiers were expected to be able to fire three times a minute and given they had to prime, ram and cock their guns before firing...this was a pretty big ask! I then headed off to "Duke Homestead and Tobacco Farm" the first tobacco farm in this area (which made the Duke family a lot of money). The homestead is now owned by state of North Carolina and I must say the site is beautifully maintained. It's incredibly quiet (apart from the birds singing in the trees) and as there weren't many people around I felt like I was walking around in the 1860's, a lovely gentle feeling about the place that was augmented by the undulating landscape, green pasture and surrounding forest. I'd sort of forgotten what green grass is like (given it's been so dry at home), so I took off my shoes and walked around in the paddock (I guess I should say field) in my bare feel, which was a real treat. Finally I headed to the Orange County Museum, which was quite a drive from where I'm staying. The museum itself was pretty small, but out the back was an amazing cemetery filled with gravestones from the American Revolution and beyond (it was established in 1757). Those of you who know me well, know how much I love spending time wandering around cemeteries immersing myself in the stories that lie there, just beneath the ground. Some of these headstones were huge and some tiny. Some remembered people who died as elders, others as wee children (one little fellow was only nine hours old), but the wonderous thing about the place was it's peace and tranquility, though just behind the main street of Hillsborough, it was quiet, green and had a gentle energy about it. The thing that impressed me the most........there was a children's playground (belonging to the Presbyterian Church) in amongst the graves. Wow.........an organisation on my wavelength! It was a shame that the kids weren't there today, but I've attached a photo so you can see how inspired the idea is! That's it for now, I'm off to Duke University tomorrow and sure I'll have heaps to relay in my next entry!

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