Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Stroll Down Blount St.

I had the opportunity to go to North Carolina last week, so naturally, I jumped at the chance.  While my travel buddy attended meetings, my sister-in-law and niece graciously showed me the historic streets of Raleigh.  They are from California, too, but moved here a few years ago.  That famous "Southern Hospitality" charm has rubbed off on them.  It's what made my week here so wonderful.  Everywhere I went, people were just so darn nice.  It threw me off a bit.  I'm just not used to it!

We began our walk with the Executive Mansion, which was built in the 1830's and referred to as the most beautiful governor's residence in America.  Since the current governor still lives here, the gates were closed.  There were a few intimidating men in dark suits walking around, so we gawked a bit and then moved on.
The beautiful old houses along Blount Street represent the best of nineteenth century architecture.  Styles include Queen Anne, Greek Revival, Victorian and Georgian Revival.  Most of them are large with gabled roofs, wonderful cupolas and sweeping verandas.  They all harked back to a more genteel time.  Many of them have been restored; a few remain a bit neglected, waiting for someone with money and a passion for history to come along and save them.  If only I could!
I got a kick out of these signs documenting the residents who used to live here (even if the houses had been torn down).  The names didn't mean much to me, but Bravo to the City of Raleigh for keeping history alive.

Blount Steet and the adjacent Historic Oakwood neighborhood were good places to begin my tour of North Carolina.  While Spanish colonization was going on in California, English colonization was booming on the east coast.  Being closer to England, it was much easier to populate the New World on this side than the other.  While California was still a wilderness with a few missions and pueblos scattered up and down the coast, a nation in the making was going on back east.  The United States of America.  Sweat, bravery, determination and an enlightened constitution ensured its survival.  Its history is short of miraculous.

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