S: Southern Curiosity #1
BC: The End
FC: July 2011 | Southern Curiosity #1
1: After two years living abroad in Turkey and Egypt, we returned home to Natchitoches on July 3. We spent the first few days catching up with family before heading off on a 5-day road trip to our new home in Falls Church. Our route, above, which was determined largely by food, friends, and weather, is our first of many anticipated future routes back and forth between our home states of Virginia and Louisiana.
2: Top: Sabine Theater (Many, LA) Bottom left: Birthplace of Pepsi (New Bern, NC Bottom right: Train station (Many, LA)
3: Top left: Downtown street (Demopolis, AL) Bottom left: Downtown street (Meridian, MS) | Top Right: Confederate memorial (Newbern, AL) Bottom Right: Old storefront (Akron, AL) | Places
4: The Rural Studio Founded by architect Samuel Mockbee in 1993, Auburn University's Rural Studio was a primary goal of our trip. Mockbee started the project in 1993. He situated the studio in Hale County, Alabama's poorest jurisdiction. The idea was that that architecture doesn't exist solely for the rich and that poor people deserve to live in creatively designed buildings just as much as the wealthy. | Using salvaged and reusable materials, students design two projects each year: One is a home for a selected individual and the other, a community-oriented project, such as a fire station or amphitheater. Mockbee died in 2001, but the studio is still very active. As of 2011, more than 80 projects have been successfully completed in three counties.
6: Left: Private residence (Newbern) Right Hale County Animal Shelter (Greensboro) Opposite: Boys & Girls Club (Akron)
9: Mockbee created the subrosa ("under the roses") as a place for those seeking privacy. When the Romans needed to discuss something in private that would never leave the space, they hung roses from the ceiling of a room. Mockbee's design is a circular concrete room built into a hillside and featuring an open-domed rotunda. A bench is located in a recessed section, above which a canopy of roses falls through the open ceiling. Visitors sit on opposite sides of the bench, under the roses, to tell secrets into metal tubes that travel around the structure. As one person whispers into the tube, the other listens to the secret on the other side. Mockbee's daughter, Carol, finished the construction after his death.
10: Top: Fire station (Newbern) Left: Private residence (Akron) Right: Typical Hale County residence (Greensboro) Opposite: The road out of Newbern
12: Amicalola Falls, Georgia
13: Eastern Shore, Virginia
14: Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset
16: Chesapeake Bay views
17: Lake Pontchatrain
19: The Peerless Grille Hungry and bored with the Interstate, we rolled into the city of Anniston, Alabama around 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon. The town was pleasant and mostly quiet. We noticed the gorgeous building on the opposite page and pulled over to take a photo. Upon closer inspection, we noticed it was a restaurant. We assumed that like all the other restaurants we'd found in the city, it was closed, but we tried it anyway. We wandered in to a beutiful, but completely empty, bar room. After a few minutes, a woman emerged form the kitchen. We asked if she was open and her happy response was simply, "Well, I'm cooking!" So she sat us down. Turns out she was cooking only for a private wedding shower that was happeneing later in the day. And the woman who greeted us was Kristy Farmer, the owner of the place. Even though we were the only people in the dining room and she had a party to plan, Kristy made us feel like we were at her house. We ate a fabulous lunch of beans, collard greens, and shrimp n' grits with some tasty shortcake for dessert. After our meal, Kristy sent us on a tour of the building which has quite a history dating back to the 19th century. The main bar was built exclusively for the 1900 World's Fair in St. Louis. Kristy filled up our travel mugs with coffee and sent us back on the road, fat and happy. Discoveries like this are the reason we travel.