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Duke Chapel

On Saturday Mr. D and I took a road trip to Durham, NC.  We wanted to visit Duke Chapel that is on the campus of Duke University.  It truly amazes me that a long time ago James Duke walked through a forest and had a dream of building a church in the middle of the forest.  He wanted it to be the center of a college campus that was trinity university when it was created.  The construction began in 1930.

According to Wikipedia:

Duke University Chapel is a chapel located at the center of the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, United States. It is an ecumenical Christian chapel and the center of religion at Duke, and has connections to the United Methodist Church. Constructed from 1930 to 1932, the Chapel seats about 1,800 people and stands 210 feet (64 m) tall, making it one of the tallest buildings in Durham County. It is built in the Collegiate Gothic style, characterized by its large stones, pointed arches, and ribbed vaults.[1] It has a 50-bell carillon and three pipe organs, one with 5,033 pipes and another with 6,900 pipes.[2]

The Chapel stands at the center of the university, on the highest ridge of Duke University’s West Campus. Although plans for a chapel were first made in April 1925, the cornerstone was not laid until October 22, 1930. When it was completed in 1935 at a cost of $2.3 million, the Chapel was the last of the original buildings to be built on West Campus. It was first used during Commencement in 1932, and was formally dedicated on June 2, 1935. Stained-glass windows and other details were installed at a later date.[3] The chapel was designed by Julian Abele, chief designer for the Philadelphia firm of Horace Trumbauer.



Side of the Cathedral



Adjacent building to the Cathedral


Another building adjacent to the cathedral. I love the window in this building.



The side door entrance to the cathedral


A view of the side yard from the cathedral



Duke Chapel



Altar of the Chapel



Can you imagine a bride walking down this long isle to get married? I might get cold feet along the way.



These are the inside doors that are an entrance to the chapel

Mr. D and I have always been fascinated with churches and we love to tour the different styles all over the South.  I was as impressed with Duke Chapel as I thought I would be.  No disappointment and I would highly recommend a visit to see the beautiful creation.  I was a little sad about visiting the chapel on Saturday instead of Sunday because I wanted to hear the organ.  To my amazement, the organist was practicing so were able to hear the organ and it was beautiful.

I must say Mr. D and I are not Duke fans.  If you live in North Carolina you have an allegiance to one school and you can’t like two ACC schools.  It just doesn’t happen.  Mr. D is a Carolina fan and I am an NC State fan.  After visiting the chapel, I asked him if he wanted to visit the Duke spirit store.  He just shook his head no and I was glad because I didn’t want to visit it either.

I have visited the campuses of NC State, UNC @ Chapel Hill and Duke. The different schools have their own individual personalities.  NC State is known for it’s engineering and agriculture schools and I always get the impression that their students go to school and study.  They also like to have a good time and don’t take themselves too seriously.  UNC Chapel Hill is a preppy campus and you must dress a certain way and their basketball uniforms are usually designed by Alexander Julian.  My impression of Duke is how studious and intellectual it seems to be.  It is a campus that has lots of shade trees and I saw lots of students all over the campus studying on a Saturday morning.

We also visited Sarah P. Duke Gardens and I will share pictures from that experience soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

Beaufort, South Carolina – Pat Conroy – Shrimp Shack

Today as I write this hurricane Matthew is headed toward the United States.  Please include the people of Haiti in your prayers as that country was devastated by this hurricane.  Also pray that our country including my sister in Wilmington will miss a direct hit from this powerful storm.

I think today is an appropriate day to share a post about our visit to Beaufort, South Carolina as we headed for Hilton Head Island, South Carolina in September.  Beaufort is only a few miles from Hilton Head Island and I really became more familiar with it when I read Pat Conroy’s cookbook.  He wrote about how you must visit the Shrimp Shack that was near his home in Beaufort.  We decided to visit Beaufort and have lunch at the Shrimp Shack. Sadly another reason I wanted to visit Beaufort was to visit the gravesite of Pat Conroy as he passed away in the Spring.


We arrived at the Shrimp Shack and Mr. D looked at me suspiciously and asked what I was going to have.  I have never really liked Shrimp and have eaten it occasionally.  I told him I was having a Shrimp burger because Pat Conroy said I would have never lived if I did not eat Mattie’s Shrimp burger.  It was such a historic event, Mr. D thought it was necessary to take my picture.


Was it good?  Yes it was.  It was almost as if they had taken tiny popcorn shrimp and made a patty out of them and rolled the patty in a crisp corn meal/flour combination.  Of course, it was fried.  There was a sauce on the burger that seemed to be made of mayonaise and other spices but was very mild in flavor. Did I like it?  Yes, it was very good and Mr. D agreed that it was very tasty.  As I could see the shrimp boats from the front porch of the Shrimp Shack, I am positive that was fresh shrimp.  I have learned that what I really disliked in the past was seafood that was not fresh.  I don’t have the same passion for the Shrimp Shack that Pat Conroy wrote about in his cookbook but I would visit again and recommend that you visit the Shrimp Shack if you are in the area.



Our next venture was to find the grave site of Pat Conroy.  I had googled the location before I left home and we had an address. We knew that he was buried in a Gullah cemetery in Beaufort.  Gullah people were black people settling in the low country when they came over from Africa and I assumed it would be a little difficult to find. With our GPS we knew we were on the right road but only saw one cemetery and it did not have a name or any identification on it.  We pulled into the cemetery and saw that it was maintained by the Brick Baptist Church and I had read that the church maintained the cemetery where Pat Conroy was laid to rest.  I saw a newer looking monument and it was his tombstone and grave site.




It was such a beautiful peaceful place.  The only thing you could hear was the birds chirping and the swish of the trees in the breeze.  What a beautiful resting place and it truly told me that Pat Conroy loved the low country and wanted to have his final rest in a quiet out of the way location.



Even though I was familiar with him and knew he wrote many novels including The Prince Of Tides, I had never read one of Pat Conroy’s novels.  As news was received in the Spring of his passing, Mr. D read one of his novels, South of Broad, and told me I would like it.  I did read that novel and it was so different and written so eloquently.  I could relate to the characters because it was set in a place, Charleston, that I am familiar with and during the time I grew up.  I do look forward to reading one of his novels again in the future.

When we arrived at the cemetery there was a couple getting into their car and they were from out of state.  I recognized them and realized they had eaten lunch at the Shrimp Shack while we were there.  I guess I wasn’t the only one fulfilling one of the things they had on their bucket list that day.

I understand why Pat Conroy loved this beautiful place and I pray Matthew will be kind to our coast.  Thanks for stopping by.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – Again

Every September we take a week long beach trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  We started visiting that beautiful place over 35 years ago.  As much as things change, I can honestly say there are so many things that are the same on that Island.  We marveled at how many businesses and restaurants are still there and operating successfully. This picture is of the lake at Sea Pines Plantation.  It was my favorite picture from this years visit.


This year was a little different for us.  We love to ride our bicycles but as I am still trying to recover from my weak thighs due to taking Cipro, I was not able to do that.  However, we rented a beach umbrella and chairs for the week and became beach bums. The weather was great except for Wednesday when tropical depression Julia produced lots of rain.


Another thing that was different this year was deciding not to eat out every night.  When I was younger I thought retired people didn’t eat out so much because they didn’t have as much income.  It is true that I am more budget conscious than I was in the past; however, I don’t have the appetite I had before.


We decided to chose one restaurant each where we wanted to eat.  We celebrated our anniversary at the Quarterdeck Restaurant beside the lighthouse in Harbour town.  We had a wonderful meal and watched the sun set over the harbor.  Mr. D wanted to eat at One Hot Mama’s and I chose New York Pizza as my favorite. We ate at Plantation House Deli for breakfast one morning and that was when it was pouring down rain from Julia on Wednesday.

I brought some things with me to prepare and we would go to Publix’s or Fresh Market and decide what we wanted to eat that night.  All turned out well and we did not feel deprived. I will say that after staying on the beach all day we were tired and were glad that we could stay in.  That is probably an age thing but we had a very nice Villa and a great time.


I am sharing a recipe from one of the food brochures I browsed through while visiting Hilton Head.  It is much too hot here right now to even think of soup.  I am hoping it will be cooler soon.


We did visit South Beach where the Salty Dog Cafe is located and of course we ate at Hilton Head Ice Cream as no visit would be complete without that.

My Mother and Daddy loved the mountains and they would go every year for a week and stay in the same cabin at Maggie Valley and I thought that was the dumbest thing ever.  Now we do the same thing at Hilton Head Island and as I am older and maybe wiser, I think it is about the smartest thing you could ever do.

Thanks for stopping by.


Charlotte On My Mind

On Saturday we returned from our annual vacation and anniversary celebration at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  I was refreshed and rested and looking forward to sharing the experience with you. As I sat down at my computer this morning to write this post, I realized I just couldn’t do it.  I am so saddened by the events over the last couple of days in Charlotte and I am praying for peace and justice.

I will share my Hilton Head experiences with you later on and I do look forward to doing that.  However, Charlotte is a very special place for me and is only about 50 miles from where I live in Conover. My first job after finishing school was indowntown Charlotte right where the protests happened last night.  I met Mr. D in Charlotte and my daughter was born at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte.  There are many good people that live in that city and I am sure they are disillusioned too.

Mr. D and I visited Wing Haven in Charlotte last Spring and I snapped this picture of downtown.


I am lifting up prayers that peace will be restored and justice will be served. This scripture verse came to me this morning and I want to share it with you:  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7 NIV

This final picture is of Wing Haven and the peacefulness and beauty of the garden when we visited in the Spring.


Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.  Thanks for stopping by.

September Means Apples – Apple Pie or Apple Surprise

In September, I think of two things:  Apples and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. First let’s talk about apples. We purchased some at the Farmer’s Market last weekend.  The apples of fall are so crisp and delicious.  I wanted to share a couple of apple recipes with you today.  One of the recipes is a traditional apple pie in a pastry crust.  The other one is an apple surprise that makes it’s on crust.

Both of these recipes come from a cookbook given to me by my friend, Dixie.  The cookbook is entitled Williamsburg Kitchens written by Kay Willard and published in 1968.  I think that makes these recipes real keepers as they are just as relevant today as they were in 1968.

The first one calls for a pastry crust and of course you could use a frozen or refrigerated pastry.  Because, I have learned to make a pastry crust, I do prefer them.  However, I have found that if you are real patient in preparing a refrigerated pastry it can be very tasty.

IMG (2)

The next one is an easy one and I think the smell of a fresh pie or pastry baking is a wonderful aroma no matter how you make it.


Now to the second part of my post.  We always go to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina in September to celebrate our anniversary.  This is the week of our trip to my most favorite place ever.

I look forward to sharing with you when I return.  Thanks for stopping by.

Fried Chicken With Milk Gravy – A Work In Progress

Over the past week or so, I have been nudged into frying chicken.  My California cousin sent more recipes and he included a fried chicken recipe.  I really thought he was very brave to send a cousin in the South a fried chicken recipe.  As I read it, I realized it was very similar to the way I prepare fried chicken.  Then to confirm that I needed to make some fried chicken, I was sitting in a training class at work and the leader said every woman in the South should know how to make fried chicken.  I decided then and there that I would make fried chicken.

Have I made fried chicken before?  Yes I have but several years ago I gave my electric frying pan away.  It was a specialty frying pan and was very heavy and I just felt as if it was quite cumbersome.  I have tried to fry several things including okra on the stove top and it just does not work.  A few months ago, I purchased a new light weight electric frying pan.  I love using it and the consistency of the heat is a great plus in frying food.

I browsed through my California cousin’s recipes and several other cookbooks by Southerners to decide how to fry my chicken.  Here is what I came up with.

Fried Chicken with Milk Gravy

4 to 8 chicken thighs and breasts ( I used boneless breast and cut it half lengthwise)

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 quart of buttermilk

1 cup shortening

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup water

First of all, I washed my chicken and placed it in a shallow bowl and covered it with buttermilk.  I let it marinate in the refrigerator for about two hours.  I drained it and I do believe I should have rinsed it off and patted it dry.  My breading started to come off when I was frying it and I believe it is because the buttermilk was still on the chicken.

I mixed together all of the dry ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag.  I placed the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, 3 pieces at a time. Reserve any unused flour mixture for gravy.

I put the shortening in the electric frying pan and set the temperature to 360.  I used Crisco oil and I am thinking maybe I should have used the crisco solid shortening instead.  I added the two tablespoons of butter to the oil and after it melted, I placed the chicken in the oil. I placed all of the chicken pieces in the oil skin side down.  Then turned to brown on all sides.  I added 1/2 cup of water to the oil and covered the pan and reduced the heat to 220 degrees.  I cooked it for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken was tender.

To crisp the crust, remove the cover and cook at 360 degrees for an additional 5 minutes or until desired crispness.


As you can see from the above picture, the breading did not crisp up as much as I wanted it to.  Also, maybe I should have double breaded the chicken or used an egg wash. When I fry the chicken again, I will rinse and pat dry after marinating it in the buttermilk.  I may also use an egg wash when breading the chicken.  If you have any suggestions, let me know.

I will say this was the chicken was moist, juicy, and flavorful. On to the milk gravy and I will say, I have never tried to make milk gravy before. However, this seemed so easy and it turned out well. The milk gravy recipe is from Betty Feezor’s Carolina Recipes Volume II.  The basic chicken recipe is from her cookbook to but I did make some variations in the spices and she did not marinate her chicken in buttermilk.


After chicken is fried, remove it and all but 1/4 cup of fat.  ( I estimated that the bottom of my pan had a small amount of fat covering the surface).  Set temperature to 210 degrees.  Add the remaining flour from coating the chicken and brown it slightly, stirring constantly.  Gradually add two cups of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stirring constantly.  Cook at 210 degrees about 5 minutes, stirring to keep gravy smooth.


I was very pleased with my first attempt at milk gravy.  It amazed me how similar the recipes for fried chicken were from Dorie Sanders, Mrs. Wilkes, and Betty Feezor.  I will definitely try this again and I am sure I will make Mr. D very happy. It will make me very happy if the breading doesn’t slide off the chicken.  I know I can do this.

Thanks for stopping by.


Almost Heaven – Charleston West Virginia

Mr. D and I traveled to the Mid-West to visit our family in August.  Our midway stopping point is Charleston, West Virginia.  I know I have written many times about Charleston South Carolina and how beautiful it is.  In a totally different way, Charleston West Virginia is just as beautiful.  No there is no ocean or sea breeze but there are beautiful mountains and the Kanawha River that runs through town and right beside the state capitol building. We drove through downtown and there are many shops and restaurants on shaded streets.  One of my favorite places was the Capitol Market that is also located downtown and has a wonderful farmers market.


A view of a college across the Kanawha River in Downtown Charleston



Another view of the Kanawha River



This is a picture of the Capitol Building grounds. It was a hot day and we appreciated the shade.



The statue is of Abraham Lincoln in front of the Capitol and he is the founder of the State of West Virginia



I love this picture of the Capitol Dome showing through the trees. When I think of West Virginia I think of beautiful lush forests.


All of the following pictures are of the Capitol Market in downtown Charleston.  Part of the market is indoors and there is an outside market that sells fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers.  All Summer I have been wanting some wonderful juicy nectarines.  I could not find any in North Carolina and I was totally surprised to find them at this Market.  Who knew that I was going to have to travel to West Virginia to find nectarines.











The picture below is one of many farms that we passed in our travels.  Ohio is a beautiful state and has so many farms.  Indiana has cornfields as far as the eye can see.


In an election year, you can become very depressed with what you hear from the politicians.  After traveling through the Mid-West and meeting so many nice people, I just have one thing to say.  America does have to become great again, it is great and will continue to become even better.

Thanks for stopping by.



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