Thursday, December 31, 2009

Queen's on a winter night (not Photoshopped - this is how it really looked)

Queen's University in Belfast. I don't know if it is always illuminated at night, or just for Christmas. The queen in question is Victoria. The university is not as old as Wake Forest (1834), as it only offered its first classes in 1849.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Brooklyn and Belfast

The blog knew something about the murals of Belfast before its recent travels there, but just discovered the school wall murals of Brooklyn.

POBAL is an organization that lobbies for the Irish language community: "
Scátheagras phobal na Gaeilge." Interestingly, once again Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure Nelson McCausland's personal blog offers an interesting perspective. He makes the point that there are two indigenous minority languages in Northern Ireland - Irish and Ulster-Scots - and notes similarities to the situation in Scotland, where Scots and Gaelic are the minority languages.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aftermath II: December 29, 2009

Same place, behind Speas School.

Aftermath I: December 26, 2009

Behind Speas School.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Coal Shop

Susan's friend Martine has started The Coal Shop: Brooklyn Workshop Gallery. "A gallery committed to fine expression in crafts and fostering the next generation of craft artists. Brooklyn Workshop Gallery explores the use of an atelier space as a mini-museum as well as community outreach and education." (December 23, 2009)

People's Republic of ...

The People's Republic of Brooklyn turned out to be a neighborhood restaurant, locally famous for its $15 "all you can drink" brunch. Mimosas, anyone? Nate, December 23, 2009, in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Snowstorm in Maryland

This is the end of the big December 19, 2009 snowstorm. Susan was trying to spot her car from the 13th floor of Grosvenor.

Back to normal, with memories

After a short stint as international bon vivants, the blog is back in Winston-Salem and will resume regular blogging (it promises). The production of Belfast Blues at the Brian Friel Theatre of the Queen's University was a success. Check out the very nice description in the blog of the Minister of Culture, Arts, and Leisure for Northern Ireland. The upper photo, taken by Abe, shows the blog in the alley outside of the Duke of York pub very late at night and very happy after the first performance.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Tis the season...

Taken at Heathrow Airport on the way to Belfast.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Third Night

Abe and Nate celebrate Hanukkah with their grandfather, Dan.


Abe and Nate's grandfather, Dan Robinson, has lived at Grosvenor for many years. Susan likes the fact that the Red line of the Metro stops right there, but it's the blue balconies she really loves.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Travel is fun

Here's what Jon saw at Heathrow Airport on his way to Belfast.

Travel is educational

Here's what Jon saw in the Philadelphia airport on his way to Belfast.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas in the South

Some Winston-Salem residents decorate remarkably well for the season.

The blog is irresponsibly headed to Belfast for a few days. In fact, half of the blog is already somewhere in the UK while the other half had a quiet Friday night at home packing and drinking hot chocolate (not wine) before turning in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Headed toward the shortest day

The blog is busy grading and getting ready to go to Belfast, where the days are even shorter than they are now in Winston-Salem...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Late 2006

This sign has been posted behind the Robinhood Road Starbucks for a while...say, about 3 and a half years. (The original Mount Tabor is in the Lower Galilee. It's already developed.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

R/W = right of way marker

Jon found a surveyor's web site with a helpful photo gallery that pretty convincingly supports the hypothesis that the R/W markers we see around Winston-Salem are survey markers. But when were they placed? What boundaries do they mark?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wait Chapel Moravian Lovefeast 2009

This is the 45th annual Christmas Lovefeast at Wake Forest. Nate and Susan's fifth and Erin's fourth. The first lovefeast celebrated in North Carolina took place not far from the site of present day Wake Forest in 1753.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This obviously is...

...a marker for something. But what?! These R/W posts are not common, but they are also not too rare around Winston-Salem. The blog has been unable to find out what they mark, despite numerous Google searches. This example was photographed on our Thanksgiving day walk. If you know what they are, please post a comment!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Is garage-centrism dead?

The blog recently received the postcard shown above. It is from Eastwood Homes, and it left the blog feeling quite cheery! Buyers of value-priced new homes, there are alternatives to garage-centric design. You don't HAVE to buy an ugly house. Jon, to see a development by Eastwood ("Cheslyn"), we need to walk the entire length of Spicewood Drive, which connects Olivet Church Road to Yadkinville Road. Olivet Church is a Moravian church that started as a Sunday School in 1851. A chapel was built near Spicewood Drive in 1878, superseded by a church completed in 1929, which has since been completely renovated and considerably expanded. Lots of useful information on this church's web site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Deerfield in Winston

The leaves are now off the trees, and the blog's walk on Thanksgiving down Paddington Lane in Sherwood Forest provided an opportunity for the blog to look at familiar houses in Jon's neighborhood afresh. One blue house stands out because it is so unlike all the others. Upon seeing it Jon's mind wandered once again back to Deerfield, Massachusetts, this time to the reconstructed "Indian House". The 1929 reconstruction is now a children's museum. The building we see today is a replica of the 17th century Ensign John Sheldon House. The artist George Washington Mark painted the original shortly before it was demolished in 1848. Note the tasteful placement of the detached stable (ok, garage) in the Winston replica.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Important: 4200 Cold Springs Road Update

Thinking about walk scores reminded the blog to return to its favorite lake front home, the one at 4200 Cold Springs Road that has a walk score of 2. No longer on the market, but also not sold! Asking price this summer was $789,000; current Zillow estimate: $574,000.

Zillow still notes that this home can be viewed by appointment.

Crittenden Court

There is a little cul de sac just beyond the southbound Robin Hood Road entrance ramp to Silas Creek Parkway. The blog had not previously walked there because it is extremely difficult to access on foot. We took advantage of the good weather and the reduced traffic on the parkway on Thanksgiving to check it out: here's the path. We minimized time spent walking on the parkway by cutting through the parking lot of the Burkhead Methodist Church (which like many churches offers no history or information about its buildings on its website). This little community of 8 houses is truly isolated, but there is evidence, visible now that the leaves have fallen, that a walking path once connected the backyards of Crittenden Court to the backyards of Paddington Lane...Susan is hoping to have found a location off Silas Creek Parkway with a lower walk score than Ashley Forest, but hasn't checked yet. The photo is of the branch of the creek we intrepid explorers had to cross to get to our destination.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks, Riley!

As Deacons fans get ready for the last game of the season (away, at Duke), the blog looks back at a successful season of tailgating with a few photos taken two weeks ago on Senior Day (L 41-28, Florida State). Today is also quarterback Riley Skinner's last game. Jon captured Riley preparing to shake hands with Coach Grobe and Athletics Director Ron Wellman. Riley holds the ACC record for single-season completion percentage, plus 11 Wake Forest records, including Most Career Passing Yards, Most Career Completions, and Most Career Touchdown Passes. Not bad, considering that Wake Forest has been playing football for 107 years. And here's hoping that Riley's example of consistency inspires Ian Eastman-Mullins to consecutive seasons of being the cutest tailgater ever. He's off to a strong start in his first season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving thanks for...

1. the patented turkey lifter

2. pumpkin pie, especially when it can be photographed against a background of Corian

3. pumpkin-turkeys

4. Jon's kitchen!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Early warning signs

Some citizens of Winston-Salem took advantage of warm weather just before Thanksgiving to get a head start on their holiday decorating.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling very, very Neo-Georgian

Construction has not started, but white tape marking the foot print of the new Wake Forest Welcome Center is now visible in the woods alongside the entrance drive. The new building will be Neo-Georgian, which refers to a late 19th and early 20th century style of English and American architecture inspired by an 18th century style of English domestic architecture referred to as Georgian (as in George I, George II, George III etc.). Typical features are brick fa├žades with rubbed-brick dressings, sash-windows, and door-cases with fanlights. It's been noted that Neo-Georgian architects often mixed Colonial in with true Georgian (on both sides of the Atlantic), and that unpretentious vernacular elements were frequently paired with Classicism. The term Neo-Georgian is especially used to describe English architecture of the reign of King George V (1910–36). When I think of true Georgian I think of, for example, the Royal Crescent in Bath, England. Given the context of 21st century Wake Forest, I think it's a good thing that Neo-Georgian is a whole lot more subdued than Georgian!

When will the new building be finished? It seems as if bets are being hedged. The sign for the construction mentions October 2010, but spaces in the graduate student parking lot have been commandeered for admissions folks through December 31, 2010.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A sign of thoughtfulness

Walkers are welcome in the Ardmore section of Winston-Salem...

Japanese maple dreams

Susan has developed an obsession with Japanese maples, but is either too cheap or too fearful of commitment to plant any of her own. But she dreams of planting an entire GROVE of Japanese maples!!!!!! This Japanese maple, photographed last week, stands delicately at the edge of the main quad at Wake Forest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Abandoning the entire concept of garage...

Most houses in Ashley Forest (Susan's neighborhood) are NOT examples of garage-centrism. By and large, they have proper driveways that lead to attached garages on the side of the house. This house on Good Hope Road used to be an exception to that rule. But the above photo shows the response of the homeowners to the damage caused by an unattended pork roast last New Year's Eve. It was a puzzle why they were waiting so long to rebuild, but now the answer is clear - they were working up the courage to abandon the entire concept of garage.

Camouflage Kitty

Animals often attempt to blend in with their surroundings. (From a Sunday morning walk in Ashley Forest.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Abandoned garage

The blog's first attempt at an explicit statement of the garage-centrism credo: 1. The garage door must be the first thing you see when you look at a house.

The photo of an abandoned Winston-Salem garage was taken by Jon this summer in the Washington Park neighborhood of Winston-Salem.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is what looks normal to me

As I refine the "Tenets of Garage-centrism," I have been researching the history of garages. National Public Radio distracted me with a feature on parking garages. But what I am really interested in is the origin of the attached garage. I am not the only one so interested...this photo was taken in Ardmore earlier this summer. It is an excellent example of how even small lots were once designed to accommodate a detached garage at the end of a driveway. Those who grew up in the suburbs might not realize how normal and even modern this looks to me, given that in Philadelphia the main alternative was row houses and back alleys.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winmor Mystery

Jon is so busy these days...good thing the blog has his downloaded photos to remember him by...these photos, taken this summer, are of an estate in the Washington Park section of Winston-Salem. The plaque (which is not old) reads Winmor 1929, but the internet is silent on the history of this house. Which is actually hard to believe, given the long and ever-growing tentacles of the internet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eagles and garages

One of the few arguments in favor of garage-centrism: provides an obvious place to hang your eagle plaque. A short history of eagle ornaments in America can be found here. Eagle plaques are neither common nor rare in Winston-Salem, just present at a steady background level.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obelisks of memory

A memory of a Massachusetts obelisk was awakened in Jon's brain by a note from his mother: Bloody Brook. This is an unusual obelisk because it commemorates an event, as opposed to celebrating a person. It shows how effective obelisks are in tethering memories to places: why else would I now be thinking of that long ago night in 1675? And trying to remember what little I once knew about King Philip's War?

Today's photos were taken at the entrance to Graylyn by Jon last Tuesday morning. Graylyn now has a blog of its own: Will they try to lure Jon to their new blog? They need some photos!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Unasked local interest question answered

During the summer the blog walked along the old Grandview Golf Course, in Pfafftown, Forsyth County, just off Yadkinville Road. It appeared to be closed, with evidence of suspended real estate development activity. The Pfafftown entry in Wikipedia (I can't make this stuff up) notes that the course, which opened in 1971, closed for business in 2007. It was hard to tell from what we saw if the golf course would be revived as an "amenity."

A question in today's SAM ("straight answer ma'am") column in the Winston-Salem Journal provides more information (SAM used to be a real person and an Ashley Forest neighbor of Susan; but the real SAM was fired in a cost-cutting move and now who or what constitutes SAM is a mystery). The 2007 development plan was for a subdivision of 130 acres with 241 residential lots. A revised plan with a smaller footprint was submitted and approved by the city's Planning Department in 2008. Two points to note: land currently for sale along Yadkinville Road was part of the initial plan. And the current plan includes the Grandview Creek Restoration Project.

Building activity is expected to begin within 3 weeks. The photo above is of a house that will be a neighbor of the new houses. It's a fine example of garage-centrism, and it will be interesting to see if the new houses also adopt the design principle of putting the garage (or more likely, garages) up front. In this case the water tower almost balances out the garage, but only a lucky few houses ever achieve the amenity of a backyard water tower.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The blog misses walking

As the remnants of Hurricane Ida rain down on North Carolina, the blog reminisces about walking...recalls a summer's day in Asheville...and wonders if there is such a thing as a Apparently not, but we do have something called "the beehive."