Charleston | South Carolina

This past week I visited my brothers living in Charleston, South Carolina. I stayed in my brothers guest studio, which was built in 1680. Yes, 1680 – one hundred years before the American Revolutionary War. The floors were original oaks – amazing.

I do come from a Southern family, but left for California over 20 years ago. I had forgotten what a lovely city Charleston is. It is hard to get too, I guess this is a good thing. I can not think of a single American city that has such a rich, over 300+ plus year history. Walking down the city blocks, house after house built in the late 1600’s to 1700’s. And they are all very, very beautiful.

If you ever find yourself visiting the American South, Charleston is a must, must place to visit. You will be glad you did.

IMAG2880

Charleston | South Carolina

The Wild West

2,800 miles in eight days. Nevada, Utah, Arizona. Turned off the radio after the first day for the remaining seven days of driving because it was just such an incredible, Mars like landscape you just wanted to look out the window in silence – for hours and hours and hours of noisy, bumpy, scary at times, desert adventuring. And really hot. Loved every minute.

Arizona

The Wild West

Anthony Bourdain – a good American

AnthonyBourdainSo I know I am late to the party on this one, but I have been watching a lot of Anthony Bourdain this summer. Having had the great opportunity to travel most of the world extensively over the years, close to one million miles in the air. I now, do everything I can to avoid traveling…but do miss the incredible, life strengthening experiences that can only be gained by leaving home.

Usually I spend time reading the history of the places I visit, think about the people and culture as best as time permits. But instead I think focusing on everyday food is a better way to get to know a place and the people who live there.

Without wanting to travel anymore…but still missing it, it has been a great pleasure to travel again through Anthony. I love his outlook, the way he judges no one and studies both what the rich and poor eat. His incredible wit and down to earth self depreciating American style brings out a very warm and smooth character. One whom I enjoy traveling through and eating with on all his adventures. Thank you Anthony for getting me out of the house again.

Anthony Bourdain – a good American

California Gold Rush

In 1995 I drove six days across the country to work in Silicon Valley, California. It was the best decision I have ever made. A few weeks ago I took a three day history trip to explore the famous California gold fields. I was interested to see close up what the Gold Rush was all about.

To keep it short, I would highly recommend visiting the old gold towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City, California. Spend a day driving highway 49 along the path of the old gold diggings and abandoned mines. Most importantly visit the old Empire Mine in Grass Valley and the Malakoff Diggings – one of the largest hydraulic mines in the world in 188o’s.

Having spent most of my childhood and college (VCU) years in Virginia, I used to enjoy exploring the old Civil War battlefield earthworks around the city of Richmond. Built just after the Gold Rush of 48, these large Civil War fortifications are visible reminders of the lingering effects of a war a 150 years afterward.

I think what struck me most about the old gold fields, was how the use of hydraulic gold mining completely destroyed such a beautiful piece of earth. And for what purpose? A ten year period of California history that we celebrate today, has left this land totally destroyed. Though the earth and people who lived in these mountains before gold was found paid a huge price, this insane destruction of our fragile environment did lead to the beginning of the conservation movement.

bloomfield2Malakoff Diggins

paydirtsmHydraulic Mining Remains

California Gold Rush