Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

I have such a passion for the state of North Carolina and all the gems hidden within it. I was thinking about this today as I was trying to find something fun for Harrison and I to do this weekend. I thought, "If I love NC this much, why don't I write about it much?" Combine that with reading the latest issue of Our State magazine and I decided that my little space on the internet is going to see a whole lot more of my NC adventures from here on out!

I have a lot of great photos from the past year or so from around the Old North State, so while I'm waiting for my next opportunity to photography this home of mine, I'll post some retro reviews!

Harrison, Sailor, and I took a day trip to Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in Seven Springs, about halfway between Goldsboro and Kinston. Cliffs rising 90 feet above the Neuse River, and extending 600-yards down the south bank, are the distinguishing feature of this park - a true oddity in eastern NC! The cliffs were formed due to erosion from the river.

The area that the park is on was once a ceremonial ground and a gathering place for hunting expeditions for the Tuscarora and Saponi tribes. The river was used for travel.

The community of Seven Springs was once a resort-town called Whitehall that drew people from all across the country seeking cure from a variety of ailments during the 20th century. The mineral water from the seven different springs (hence, Seven Springs) was said to cure many a disease. Whitehall was also home to the construction of the CSS Neuse, an ironclad built by the Confederate Navy as an attempt to retake the lower Neuse River and New Bern. The ship ran aground and was destroyed to prevent capture.

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is wooded with nice walking trails. We took an interesting loop because a deluge of rain flooded part of the trail! Our detour took us by the 11-acre lake, open Memorial Day through Labor Day for boating and swimming. There is also a large picnic area that would be perfect for family gatherings or as a nice stopping point mid-hike. The trails themselves are pretty moderate, the longest of which being two miles one-way. There is a lot to see if you keep your eyes open, including former naval store trees, rare Galax, eastern fox squirrels, whitetail deer, and even river otters!

There are 35 camping spaces for tents or trailers as well as a pretty new visitor center that is full of fun information about the area, history, and wildlife!

For a quick trip from Raleigh, it was a nice trip that we all really enjoyed!



I have a problem with change. I hate it. I'm a Libra (the scales), and about the only thing I believe about any of that is that I need balance. I crave it. I require it. I seek neutral, the status quo. So when something happens that shakes up the balance I have established, I don't handle it well. There are things I can prepare myself for really well and the transitions tend to go smoothly, but other things... it's not quite as pretty.

I haven't publicly announced it yet, but I started working on June 5th for the Academic Programs office in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State! CALS is the college that housed my major, so I was really excited to be able to work at State, first of all, and, secondly, to be able to work for a office that I had some experience with. So here I am, in my third week of the real world and this change has been pretty smooth so far. It'll probably hit me when everyone is going back to school in the fall, because, honestly, it kind of just feels like a summer internship. Except it's actually my life now. Weird.

Spending this summer away from Harrison... not so smooth. It's strange being away from him because I'm used to my best friend being around to buy me food get food with me and take me on adventures. Even last semester when he was student teaching, I still saw him almost every weekend. I'm really learning to make the most of the times I do get to see him now. It hasn't been uncommon, and it won't be uncommon, this summer to go two or three weeks without seeing him. I know I can't complain too much because there are tons of people out there whose boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses are further away than that or deployed, but it's still tough to get used to (especially when your love language is quality time).

What I've found helps me keep a positive attitude, however, is writing down something I'm grateful for every morning. In the notebook I carry with me, I write my piece of gratitude along with a Bible verse for the day. Holding tight to the fact that God isn't setting us up for failure or hurt is something that keeps me in good spirits, even when I miss Harrison a ton!


Share the Road - With Farmers, too!

The other day, I was stuck a couple cars back from a tractor on its way from one field to the next. I was on my way home from work, and I was definitely ready to be home, but there was something about slowing down and knowing I was done for the day while this farmer still had plenty to do helped me to take a deep breath. It was evident that I was the only one who thought this.

The driver directly behind the farmer was tailgating so close I'm not even sure the farmer could see the car back there. The other cars were tailgating him, obviously in a rush to get where they were going. Car after car passed the tractor, some cutting it way too close for comfort to the oncoming traffic. By the time I was the one directly behind, my turn was coming up so I stayed put. I'm sure the people behind me loved me for it, but I don't care.

It's time for wheat harvest in North Carolina and soon it will be time to plant soybeans. You (obviously) see an increase in farm equipment out on the roads during this time of the year. Those of us who have grown up in sleepy, rural towns don't mind the slow-moving tractors (slow-moving being relative- have you ever been in a combine at 20 miles per hour? You might as well be on the autobahn). There has been, however, an influx of people who grew up removed from agriculture moving to communities that are still farming towns at their heart. This is true for Johnston County because of our close proximity to Raleigh. You can live here for much cheaper with a short commute to work, but along with that comes the culture. And the culture in the summer time revolves around fields of corn, tobacco, wheat, and beans. The "city-folk" sometimes just don't understand that.

Here's the thing to remember: farmers want to get home just as bad as you do. But guess what? They probably don't get to. They'll be out in the field sun-up to sun-down trying to get the crops harvested before the next storm rolls in. Farmers want to get to work just as bad as you do. Farmers want to see their wife or husband or kids just as bad as you do. Just like you have busy times at work, this is their busy time.

So put down your phone. Watch the road. Slow down. Don't tailgate (anyone- especially a tractor). Pass with care. Take a deep breath and find some patience.

Farmers typically will move over whenever they can to let cars behind them go. They respect you on the road, so respect them back. Vehicle-tractor accidents are more frequent than we like to think and they are often fatal for both parties involved. Nothing is too important to put both your life and other's lives at risk. Tractors are heavy machinery, but a vehicle traveling at a much higher rate of speed can easily flip a tractor or sprayer, jack-knife a planter they are pulling, run them off the road, or any other horrific accident you can think of.

I worry every time Harrison is on the road in the combine or pulling the planter- and, if I'm being honest, when he is in the tractor in the field, when he is near the tractor, and when he's doing anything on the farm because y'all - farming is DANGEROUS. I always make sure to say a prayer for him and the other farmers out there doing what they have to do so that we can eat.

And if you're passing a farmer going opposite directions- throw him or her a wave. Kindness goes a long way, especially for the people who bless us with bread and potatoes.

Just for fun- harvesting soybeans with Harrison last fall!
Taylor Jenkins. Design by Berenica Designs.