Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Walk Through Historic Belmont, NC!

My allergies are all in a kerflunkley uproar.

Meaning – that I woke up at 2am with my eyes watering and itching so bad I got up, put in eye drops, and tried to go back to sleep, but it really never happened – I toss, turn, toss, turn…kind of doze, but the deep sleep didn’t happen until about 6am, and then someone called on the phone at 7:45am?

What ever happened to not calling before 9am and not after 9pm? We are such an instantaneous, want it now, call it now society!

And I know it wasn’t a time zone thing ---- Anyway, I’m up. Eyes are still swollen and itchy, and more allergy meds and eye drops are working their way into my bleary self.

Too much machine excitement! It will throw your equilibrium off, I tell ya!

I mentioned in last nights post about the Barbie Retrieval—that I took some time to do a walk around town. That’s the other thing I love about antique malls ---the people who work there are just as in love with history as I am, and in this case, the lady who helped me load Barbie into the car gave me an “in a nutshell” run down of the history of Belmont, which is deeply rich in textile heritage. In fact --- that sign you see there at the beginning of this post? Did you pick up on the THREAD CONE right away?

Settlement in the Belmont, NC area actually dates back to the Colonial days, around 1750. There was a fort built here, and though there were some mills in the mid 1800s, the big build up of industry didn’t happen until AFTER the civil war. At one time, this area had 100 mills.

Gleaned from Wiki:

Belmont was still a small town at the turn of the 20th century, with a population of only 145. The organization of Chronicle Mills in 1901 marked the beginning of Belmont's development as a textile center. It was founded by Robert Lee Stowe Sr. (1866–1963), his brother Samuel Pinckney Stowe (1868–1956), and Abel Caleb Lineberger (1859–1948, son of Caleb John Lineberger, who had founded Gaston County's second textile mill, the Woodlawn, or "Pinhook," Mill in Lowell, North Carolina in 1852). Chronicle was the first of the nearly twenty mills built in Belmont through 1930, expanding the town population to 3,793.

Mills in this area were a mainstay of life. Of course, they don’t exist anymore ---but I love seeing the thread spool there still as a symbol of what this town was built on! Oh, and get this? Their bowling alley is called “Textile Lanes”. HA!

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Carolina Thread Trail?! It was a beautiful day and I followed the sidewalk right down main street to see where it lead. Admit it. You would have taken a pic of this sign just for the design on it too, right?! :cD

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Right there at the corner of the park was a sign! Okay, I can do this – I have my running shoes on, it’s a gorgeous day ---let’s try the 2 mile route!

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I walked up streets, some quite hilly --- going from one sign post, to another sign post until…OOPS! I couldn’t find sign posts anymore! But look at this lovely stately home with all the blooming just taking over! See how our tree tops are greening up? I love a North Carolina Spring!

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Well okay…Here’s a sign, but is it pointing the right way? And why do we now have a 2 Mile Route and a 3 Mile Route…where did the 1 Mile Route go?! Never mind, keep walking! Can you tell by the street that things are quite hilly here?

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Another sign…looks like I haven’t lost it all completely, but I could swear I’ve done at LEAST a mile already, and this was NOT going into the best area of town……do I turn around and go back, or am I close to being done? And on I go ---

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I passed another park…these pink puffball trees were just so vibrant on the side of the road!

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I just HAD to touch them, they are SO SOFT! What kind of tree is this, anyone know?

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UHhhhh…OKAY then! Now I’m REALLY confused! LOL! Where the heck AM I!?

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I know where I am! I am out by the hospital --- I passed this on my drive into town. Would you look at THIS blooming wonder of a sight? I also love seeing the old buildings in the background. And yes, that is a Carolina Blue Sky!

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And yes, I crossed that lawn to get a better picture of the tree. Another week, it won’t look like this at all.

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The dogwoods are just SAUCER SIZED! Do you think it’s THIS pollen that glued my eyes shut in the middle of the night?

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It’s about 5:30pm now – I’ve been walking over an hour. The sun is moving westward as I walked down a street full of stately old mansion-houses. Look at how the light streams on this one!

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What is THIS PLANT!? I got a glimpse along the fence of one of the homes….I don’t know what this is at all!

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But isn’t it interesting in a very texture-y way?

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Oh. My. Goodness. I’m ready for Scarlett O’Hara to walk out onto that veranda -----

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But I guess by 1907 Scarlett would have been an old lady!

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I think we need THIS one for Quilter’s Retreats, don’t you?

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The blooming bushes next to this simple cottage were just SO bounteous!

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Look at the pink dogwood on the far right ---even in their untamed wildness –nature can’t be stopped!

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Houses of many gables always strike my fancy. Let’s sit and stitch out on this porch! Tall glasses of iced tea? Mint Juleps?

I have no idea if I did the 2 or the 3 mile Route. I probably did both. Which makes 5. And somewhere in there was the 1 mile loop, which I never found! LOL! But it was a great way to explore a small North Carolina mill town and enjoy a lovely late afternoon in March. What fun would it have been to just drive 80 miles to the store to buy the pink Barbie machine, and drive straight 80 miles back again? This made my day! It lifted my spirits, it gave me time to think, and I got in 2, or 3, or 5 miles of exercise along the way. I got to marvel at blooming nature, and see glimpses of history. All in all, a much better choice!


  1. What a beautiful walk with all those flowering trees. I'm surprised your allergies didn't flare up along the way.
    So glad Barbie has a loving home. Was her sister happy to see her? : )

  2. The pink puff ball tree is a double flowered cherry. The pricly leaved plant with the dark blue fruit is Mahonia japonica or leatherleaf mahonia. It is a great plant for shade, drought and the birds love the berries. Gets big, though, and pruning them is a nightmare.

    1. Good to know about the Mahonia japonica! There is one outside my apartment building and I always just assumed it was a holly variant because of the leaf shape. It is pretty and I cut a few branches once for the house but they make an awful mess everywhere with stuff shedding, so I just enjoy them from a distance now.

  3. Oh Bonnie thank you so much for the wonderful tour of Belmont. I love NC, my son lived in Carey for 7 years and although I love the fact he and family moved back home to Nova Scotia, I sure do miss the wonderful NC vistas, and quilt shops.
    Congrats on your two new girls.

  4. a beautiful walk in a pretty town! The pink puffball tree we have blooming right now in our yard - its a Kwanzan Cherry tree, just beautiful right now! The one with the 'blue' fruit is Grape Mahonia - the one you picture is huge!
    Enjoy Marilyn and Barbie, both look like great machines

  5. Bonnie, you are the most persuasive person I know about how to have a wonderful, enriching time, going solo. You're probably a little more courageous than some of us (taking off on a 5-mile walk not exactly knowing where you'll end up), but you certainly entertained me. Felt like I was walking right next to you. Thanks

  6. Ok, now I know that my comments on wanting to move to NC are true! I WANT ONE OF THOSE HOUSES!!!!
    I dream of buying a big big big old house, with a wrap around porch, and a huge attic that was left stuffed full of treasures!
    ha! dream on.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Wonderful pictures, looks like an amazing town. And thank you to Sallie on the plant identification. I saw one of those Mahonia japonica or leatherleaf mahonia, and described it to someone as a cross between a holly bush and a grape vine and they thought I was nuts.

  8. Thanks so much for that wonderful tour!! My daughter lives in Greenville, SC, and it looks much like that, too. But OH, THE ALLERGIES!! I live in Helena, AL, and have the same foliage. UGH! The allergies!! As soon as the beautiful dogwoods pop, I'm in miseryville. The south is just beautiful in the spring, but it is certainly the allergy belt of the US.

    I love to read your blog each day. You are just so genuine - like a friend just talking to us. Keep up the good work (and go get some Allegra!).


  9. Lovely tour Bonnie. The pink tree is called a Flowering Cherry in Britain, even though it doesn't have cherries you can eat. We had a japonica bush once, the birds loved the purple berries on it, but they did foul purple, splodgy poos on the path and it trod into the house on the childrens' feet.I know, too much info! I got rid of it ! :)

  10. Thank you for the springtime tour of Belmont. I totally enjoyed it.

  11. Lovely tour! I like that you took the time to take a walk. I would have jumped back in the car and headed home!
    Of course that's because I'd be trying to beat the school bus home lol! You have inspired me to do a little searching for a vintage machine. Hope I can find something affordable just to play with!

  12. Thank you for the lovely photos, never been to Belmont now I know why people like to retire there. Spring is great but boy do we suffer, I had to close my windows and I am not myself.

  13. Bonnie, the plant with the holly-like leaves and the clusters of green berries resembles Oregon Grape.

  14. These tours you take are sooo very interesting. I learn so many things from your blog.

  15. Thank you for that lovely tour, Bonnie. We are in a hail/thunderstorm watch here--two days ago it was 27 degrees, then 75 degrees, now in the 40's. (No global warming, huh? heh heh--think someone doesn't want to see what's goin' on here on our beautiful earth).....I love your ("mature" machines--I have one older "White" (mechanical) and one semi-old Pfaff gathering dust--I think maybe I should have them renovated--esp'ly that Pfaff with the built-in walking foot...Julierose

  16. Bonnie. I have a huge cherry tree like the one you pictured! It is a kwanzan cherry. The blossoms are just beginning to open. I have lots of dogwoods in my yard and surrounding woods but the cherry will always be my favorite.

  17. Thanks for sharing those beautiful homes. Yes the plant is Oregon Grape.

  18. Thanks for the pictures of the old homes. I am an architecture nut who loves old old buildings.

  19. thank you so much for sharing your walk! i loved looking at all the pictures of old houses and nature. yes, that one porch just looks perfect for sitting on, in a rocker, with a big glass of iced tea and some hand work! God bless!

  20. Looks like the day was a huge success!! Great pictures!

  21. Just think...a bigger house with all those porches to drape quilts on. But you need to wait until you officially retire to enjoy your own home!

  22. Beautiful! I love exploring towns like that. Chances are I'll never see this one for real, so thanks for the virtual tour.

  23. Thanks Bonnie! You've given the idea for a great day trip next week when Im on spring break!

  24. Thanks for the pictures and the stroll. Best exercise I've had in a long time! haha Living in the high desert area of southern Colorado, I really miss the South with the wonderful homes and landscapes.

  25. Thanks for taking us along on your walk. As busy as you are, you still have the ability to really SEE things. You are truly inspiring!

  26. Anonymous5:32 AM EDT

    Oh Bonnie! What a beautiful city - the trees, the houses and the time given to show it off as a gracious place to live. In Australia, we rarely get glimpses into this view of your country - makes you want to visit...Thank you so much. Jenny

  27. Love Belmont. Did you visit Belmont Abby? My DS went to a basketball camp there with a son of a good friend of mine who still lives in Gastonia. If God is not a tar heel, why did he make the sky Carolina blue? LOL DD went to Chapel Hill for graduate school. LOL Thanks for the memories.

  28. Bonnie your tour was wonderful. Now I will have to check out Belmont myself. We have had a wonderful spring. It is so warm my DH and I opened our pool and I ripped off my clothes and skinny dipped right away! This is the earliest we have opened our pool in the spring here! Thank you Lord! Marilyn in SC

  29. Loved the tour Bonnie! I love looking at those old huge houses! They would make a great place for a retreat with lots of room for everyone!

  30. Nice tour and pictures. I haven't been to Belmont in many, many years. I lived in Gastonia, and Charlotte both for a few years each and used to go to Belmont often.


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