A new state for the house...

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, October 20, 2012

We have been camped out at Falls Lake State Recreation Area for the last six days.  It is hard to believe that even though we've driven through North Carolina in the truck and coach before we've never actually stayed here.  Just goes to show that even with 7 1/2 years under our belts as fulltimers we've only scratched the surface!  

It is always fun 'discovering' a place for the first time.  We had no idea that this area consistently ranks as one of the best places to live, work or retire!  After spending a few days sightseeing and acting like a local, I can certainly understand why.  But, I think my opinion may be a bit different if we were to visit in the heat and humidity of the summer months!  

We visited the State Capitol in Raleigh along with the State History Museum.  Raleigh is also home to a very nice, and free, art museum. Not only do they have a very large display of Rodin sculptures they also have a few Monet's - Ken's favorite!  If we had visited in the spring/summer months we could have taken in a minor league baseball game as well.  The area contains 5 different colleges, including Duke University so trying to find a sporting even to attend wouldn't be too difficult!  

The city of Durham is home to Bennett Place State Historic Site.  Just when you think you know what happened at the end of the Civil War, after all we visited Appomattox earlier this year, you learn that that you are wrong!  We would learn that after Lee surrendered to Grant four more surrenders would occur.  The second, and largest, happened here at Bennett Place when Confederate General Joseph Johnston surrendered to General William T. Sherman. This surrender took three different meetings between the Generals and their staffs. The conditions of surrender would change, dramatically after the first meeting due to the assassination of President Lincoln.  In fact, it took General Sherman ignoring a direct order to get the almost 70,000 Confederate troops to lay down arms.  

Also in Durham is the Duke Homestead Historic Site.  Washington Duke and his family lived here.  They ran a small, family farm and grew tobacco as a cash crop.  Washington was drafted in 1864 and served with the Confederate army.  When he returned home at the end of the war he found most of his property gone or destroyed with the exception of a 1/2 a wagon load of tobacco.  He planted his crop and built a tobacco factory on his property, putting his children to work curing and processing the tobacco he grew.  

In one of those strange twists of history the northern soldiers had developed a liking for southern Bright Leaf tobacco during the Civil War and demand for it increased.  Washington Duke had to expand his factory twice before finally outgrowing his property.  He would move production into Durham and by 1890 he had a monopoly on the tobacco industry.  In fact, he founded the America Tobacco Company which was the largest company in the world.  In 1924 his son James, donated the Duke Endowment to Trinity College which is now Duke University!  Fascinating history, indeed!  

 
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