Tag Archives: north carolina
February 16, 2012

PV019: The Newbold-White House

This one is long overdue.

To kick off our round-the-world trip, Oksana and I started by driving across the U.S. in our Jeep.  Her brother and sister-in-law joined us from Russia for a good part of that road trip.  While we were in North Carolina, visiting my family, we thought it would be a great idea to show them the Newbold-White House, an historically significant home that just happened to be a part of our family history, as well.

The Newbold-White House is the oldest brick house in North Carolina. It was built in 1730 by a Quaker family.  It passed through many hands over the years until my great grandmother’s family bought it in 1903.  My grandmother, Jean Newbold Griffin – the star of the video above – was born in that house in 1924.  Almost fifty years later, in 1973, she sold the house and property to a preservation society.  Now it’s open to the public.

I got to talking with my grandfather about taking a trip out to the farm.  He set up an appointment with Glenda Maynard, the site manager at the Newbold-White House.

My plan was to sit down with my grandmother and interview her about the house.  What she remembers about it, how she felt about it being restored and put on display, what it means to her now, those sorts of things.  Unfortunately, at 85 years old, she had just been hit by a medical double-whammy. While in the hospital with a case of life-threatening pneumonia, she had also had a heart attack.  She hadn’t yet fully recovered by the time we visited and it was obvious that she had slowed down both physically and mentally.

Oksana and I took Andrey and Natasha out to the house on July 31st (2010.) There, Glenda gave us a tour of the house and land.  She was imparted a ton of historical information about the Newbold-White House, as well as details of its restoration, but unfortunately wouldn’t give me permission to record her.  I was left with a lot of audio from her lecture, but half the time Oksana was translating Russian over the top of it (and the other half of it was about things that happened a couple centuries before my grandmother’s time.)

Later, once Oksana’s relatives had returned to Russia, we bided our time and waited for “a good day” to interview my grandmother.  We didn’t get the opportunity until September 22nd.   (We set up on the back porch of our cottage in Nags Head, on the Outer Banks. Believe it or not, even with the traffic and wind noise, that was the quietest place available to us.)  We had a good talk and I heard a lot of great stories about what it was like to grow up in rural North Carolina in the 20s, 30s, and 40s.  (more…)

July 13, 2011

Thoughts on Uruguay

I want to make sure I do a “Thoughts on…” post for every country we visit, but I’ve fallen way behind.  While traveling, I try to jot these things down as they occur to me, usually on my iPhone.  I still have all my notes for every country, but I wrote down Uruguay’s way back in April.  They’re not as fresh in my mind as they were back then.

Still, let’s try to catch up a bit:


We only visited coastal areas in Uruguay – Montevideo, Punta del Este, Punta del Diablo, and Cabo Polonio – so I didn’t get to see much inland, but what I did see reminded me strongly of North Carolina.

Most of the roads between cites were two-lane blacktop and the view from the bus window was of nothing but flat farmland.  On the red dirt roads to Cabo Polonio, the view was split between farms and groves of pine trees.  Out on the highways, they even had the occasional John Deer dealership, complete with tractors and harvesting equipment lined up for display.

The beaches were uncannily like the Outer Banks, too.  The same color sand, the same tall dunes, the same tall beach grass.  I even spotted some sea fleas in the surf.  Aside from the occasional penguin or sea lion carcass washed up on the shore and the rocky point, everything on the beach was so familiar that the first thing I did when I got back to civilization (i.e., internet access) was look up the latitude for Cabo Polonio.  Sure enough, it was at almost the exact same level as Nags Nead, NC, just in the southern hemisphere instead of the north.  Makes sense that things were so similar: Same position on the globe, same Atlantic Ocean joining them together.


July 9, 2009

A Trip to DC and NC

The laptop on my lap in this picture was never turned on

Oh, I had such productive plans for June!  Oksana and I were taking a trip back east to visit my grandparents and because this year we were staying with them in the country – as opposed to their cottage on the beach – I thought I would have all the time in the world to work on my website(s), edit videos, and so forth.  I should know by now that my vacations come with a particular mental state that isn’t conducive to work.

Am I disappointed?  Heck no.  Oksana remarked that just a few years ago, she wouldn’t have been able to appreciate a “boring” vacation, but this year, that’s just what we needed.  It was great to just get away from it all, read a book, and hang out with the grandparents… even if it did mean I had bury the nagging feeling that I wasn’t getting much done.