Very Special Visit to Surry County with Angie Daoud #29

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Oct 26, 2015 Under Uncategorized

The best way to explore a county is of course with a local. Angie Daoud hit this one out of the park and we had a great day in Surry County.  After the obligatory quick stop at the Andy Griffith statue, we started at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. This was the perfect start for our visit because it gave a great overview of the county and Angie pointed out several interesting highlights. We particularly liked the exhibit about the rock- the world’s largest open face granite quarry.  The Einstein Monument base and the Wright Brothers Monument came from this quarry. We also  liked the model train exhibit with each of the depots starting with Sanford.

Our next stop was lunch at Snappy Lunch where Cobey had the famous Porkchop Sandwich. This was just the beginning of the eating. The kids had a great time picking candy at Opie’s Candy Shop. Angie and I enjoyed moonshine ice cream at the Hillbilly’s Gluten Free Bakery. Claire had her first malt at Walker’s Soda Foundation while Cobey had a shake.  The downtown has some fabulous shops and we of course got socks at Renfro Sock Factory Outlet. Claire loved seeing all the guitars around town. We then rode out of town to see the rock at the North Carolina Granite Corp.

We visited the grave of Chang and Eng Bunker, who were conjoined twins. The last stop with Angie was to Pilot Mountain where we had a great view. It was absolutely gorgeous.


Tags : | add comments

Bellamy Mansion Musem

11235050_10205502955187968_538999169246573655_nWe visited our 17th County- New Hanover. This was a extra special county because my brother joined us and we had special friends John and Pam show us around. We had high expectations with the owners of AllAboutWilmington as our guides. The did not disappoint. We have been to New Hanover several times. We have been to the Battleship North Carolina, Fort Fisher Aquarium and the Wilmington Children’s Museum. We have eaten at some great restaurants in the past including Carolina Cupcakes.  Last Year, Claire learned all about Bonsai trees at the Painted Lady Bonsai. We knew the area had lots to offer.  We wanted to revisit Fort Fisher since we have not been in while, and then see some new things. We took the ferry from Southport and started at Fort Fisher. We watched the fiber-optic battle map first. It had a sign not to push the button that it was only for school groups. We pushed it anyway. 🙂 It is a great overview of the battle there. We walked around the tour trail and read some of the wayside. When we came back in to the exhibits Claire read about a confederate spy- Rose O’Neal Greenhow. She was very interested in the story and wanted to find her grave at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.

Winnie's Tavern The next stop was Carolina Beach State Park. They have a small exhibit about carnivorous plants. We had a very good and informative  talk from Ranger Helms about the plants and his job. We were then off to lunch at Winnie’s Tavern.  It is a little off the beaten path and not a fancy place but it did not disappoint. My brother said the burger alone was worth the trip. You should look it up the next time you are in town! We then headed for Oakdale Cemetery. We stopped by the office and got a map of the famous grave sites. They have some really interesting ones. Along with Rose O’Neal, the designer of the Lincoln Memorial, the first governor of NC elected by poplar vote, and  a girl buried in a run barrel . I love the history you can find in a graveyard.

Cotton Exchange

We headed for the Cotton Exchange.  I am not much of a shopper but I really love this place. I love the history written throughout the plaques all the wall. I love the small unique shops. We got toffee at the General Store and dog treats at the Dog Bakery. We then headed to Bellamy Museum Mansion. There we started out by watching a film of the overview of the house and then a house tour. The house has sparse furnishing but some beautiful architecture detail. The tour was almost two hours. He was very knowledgeable but tour was a little long especially after a full day of touring. He also could have skipped some inappropriate stories with my kids and other kids even younger in attendance.   So the mansion ended up being an plus and minus for New Hanover county.  After the tour, we headed home but there is even more to explore in New Hanover County.

After our day spent in New Hanover and considering the things we have done in the past. New Hanover moved to the top of Cobey’s rankings. He also gave Winnie’s the honor of best burger. Claire ranked New Hanover tied for first with Union, Cumberland and Gaston.  I loved The Cotton Exchange so I am giving it best for shopping so far not that I know much about shopping. And although the tour was long it was my favorite home so far Bellamy Mansion is worth checking out just don’t get the long tour.



Oakdale Cemetery

Tags : , , , , , , , , | add comments

Fallingwater and Fort Necessity

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Tuesday May 20, 2014 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel, Uncategorized


Fishery Truck Today was an example of totally going off the plan.  The plan was to go to the Flight 93 Memorial but I read about it more and threw out that plan last night. It is not complete yet. There is no visitor center and it was an hour out of the way. I gave the kids six choices to do over the next two days and told them they could pick two each. Cobey picked Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. I did not figure out till we punch it into the GPS that is not really in Pittsburgh. (about an hour and half away)   Oh, Well!  We made reservations on the way. We had some extra time so we were looking for something to do.  Sometimes this works out well and sometimes not so much. The first stop was one of these not so well. We ended up at a picnic shelter across from trailer park. We  didn’t stop. The next place was a state park and the cool thing was a truck was there full of fish to stock the river.  He asked Claire if she wanted to see. This was cool since we had been to a fish hatchery before to see it.

Cobey at Falling Water We then went to Fallingwater. Even with our detours we got there early but they took us earlier than our reservation.  There is a short walk to the house.  Our guide was knowledgeable but not great The house is so phenomenal it speaks for itself. Claire fell in love with house. I knew my nature girl would love it because the house brings nature in. Cobey liked Biltmore better.  There is another Wright house nearby but Cobey wanted to go to Fort Necessity and we did not have time for both.

Fort Necessity tells the story of the start of French Indian War and the only surrender of George Washington. There is a small museum, movie and then the fort. The fort is small and the kids were not very impressed. I think they thought they could do a better job in the backyard. We ended up with a short guided tour of the Washington Tavern before they closed. It was good but I would not go out of my way to go to it.  We will see how Claire’s picks are tomorrow.

Fort Necessity


Tags : , , , , | add comments

NCHSA at Fort Caswell

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Oct 20, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel, Uncategorized

Claire caught a Skate


North Carolina Homeschool Adventures went to Fort Caswell.  We had a wonderful time and cannot wait to go back. This year we added a night and had more programming.  The first day they did activities in the sound where they fished for crab, caught creatures with nets and more. The second morning they seined in the ocean,  learned more about ghost crabs and  learned about sea turtles. In the afternoon, they did surf fishing, learned about the water cycle and did gyotaku prints. The first night we went on a ghost crab hunt which the kids loved. The second night we had smores and a bonfire. We ended our day with a tour at the Coast Guard Station which was interesting and informative. We are looking forward to more adventures next year.

IMG_6734IMG_6840Crab Fishing

Tags : , , , | add comments

Claire’s Big Day at Legislature

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jun 19, 2013 Under Claire, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Uncategorized



Hal and Claire In order to encourage the end of session, some home members started a “beard caucus.” Claire wanted to go see everyone one last time this session and check out the beards. I decided to take only and she had the best day. She had huge smile in every photo and was in her element.  The first stop  was of course the Speakers’s office. While we were talking to Will Morales, we saw that the Lt. Governor had a coin. From that moment Claire was on a mission to get a coin so we were soon off to Lt Governor’s office. We were surprised to find Hal Weatherman, Dan Forest’s Chief of Staff with a beard. I guess it was the fashionable thing for that week. Dan Forest was out of the country but Mr. Hal gave her two special coins and pin. She was excited. We also found out that Representative Dean Arp had a coin. We headed back to the Legislative building to have lunch with Susan Tillis. On the way to lunch, Claire spotted Speaker Tillis and chased him down for a hug and photo. She was very excited. I think her day would have been complete but she had more in store. Several month ago, Claire was very jealous when Cobey got to sit on the floor during session. She was not happy because Cobey was closer to the Speaker who she adores. It was a great lesson that life is not fair and we need to be happy for others. She actually pouted for a short time but got over it pretty quick. However, Claire never forgets. Today was going to be her day.

Speaker Tillis and Claire When the Sergeant of Arms came up to the gallery and said the Speaker wanted her to come down. She jumped up with a huge smile and no hesitation. She went down and sat in the seat next to the Speaker. Susan and I could not believe how still she sat. She did not move a muscle. She was down there about for about an hour and did so well. The first bill was a resolution in honor Vollis Simpson who was an artist that made whirligigs. Claire had meet him a few years ago and we had also seen his work in several places. I was glad it was a bill she was interested. She also came back to tell us everyone who was eating on the floor and about Representative Saine’s son who was on the floor. On the way home she told me that the Speaker told her that he knew it was going to hard but she had to sit still. He knows her so well. She said she could only be still if she was near Thom. After session, she wanted to find Representative Dean Arp. She went to the floor and told him she heard he had a coin. He was so nice and walked us back to his office and gave her one. He explained what all the different symbols meant and that it was a prayer challenge coin. She wrote her name in a book. Rep Arp promised to pray for her and she promised to pray for him. It was a sweet end to an awesome day.




Rep Dean Arp and Claire


Tags : , | add comments

Mayan Exhibit/Riverbanks Zoo

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday May 12, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Uncategorized




We made a quick trip to Columbia, SC to see the Mayan Exhibit at the South Carolina Sate Museum and went to a homeschool program at the Riverbanks Zoo. The Mayan Exhibit was a traveling exhibit and I am glad we got to see it before we left since we will be studying ancients next year in history.


Tags : , , | add comments

Many Days Spent in Raleigh

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Tuesday Apr 23, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Politics, Uncategorized

IMG_9437Since the session began in Raleigh, the kids and I have been to the Legislature almost every week, at least once a week – sometimes twice. It has really cut into our travel schedule quite a bit. I usually take an extra kid, or two, or three from our Generation Joshua group.  I have really confused most of the people down there as to which ones are mine. I serve on the board of the North Carolina Coalition of Home Educators which is a homeschool PAC. We have been working on passing a bill to amend the homeschool definition. We want clarification that it is okay for us to have other people teach the kid(s), other than the parents.

The current law says that “Homeschool” means a non-public school in which one or more children or not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents, legal guardians, or member of either household. Some have interpreted this to mean that parents are the only ones allowed to do the instruction. We are currently lobbying to pass HB230/S189 which says the following: “Homeschool” means a non-public school in which one or more consisting of not more than two families or households where the parents or legal guardians or members of either household determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction, provide academic instruction, and determine additional sources of academic instruction.

SandersonThat is the background of what we are doing and why, but the journey has been unbelievable. I can not believe the experiences that the kids have had and the friendships we have formed. The kids now look forward to going each week and we never know what to expect. They have had such a wonderful lesson on how a bill is passed and should learn a college level credit in civics at the end. There have been so many great experiences that I will just hit the highlights. They have had wonderful legislators like Senator Tucker and Senator Sanderson who have taken the time to teach them to lobby. They lobbied Senator Cook and he offered to do a companion bill in the Senate. They have had people like Representative Iler who let them watch as he co-sponsored the bill after they asked. Rep Stone and Sen Rabin and their offices have been helpful the entire the time. There have been countless others that have encouraged them along the way.  Lt. Governor Dan Forest always makes time when we drop by.  He gave us a tour of all the renovations taking place in his office.  Representative Mark Brody has been so helpful from the beginning of the session, showing great support for homeschoolers.

CobeyThe Speaker of the House Thom Tillis has become extra special to our group. Every week he takes time for the kids. He never acts rushed or hurried and often teaches a lesson. The Thom Tillis coin has become a coveted item for all the kids and they bring them each time they visit. One moment I will never forget is when HB230 was being heard on the floor and the Speaker asked Cobey to be the Honorary Sergeant of Arms (picture on right- He is waving at the front). He got to be on the floor the entire time the bill was being discussed. The bill passed unanimously. Another unforgettable moment was last week when Speaker Tillis invited Claire, Cobey, and a few of their friends to have a picnic on the roof of the Legislature. I was a few minutes late because I was in a meeting and when I got there I found Speaker Tillis sitting on a blanket in the midst of a sea of kids. The picture at the top shows what I saw. We count Thom Tillis as a true blessing and are so appreciative of everything he has done for us.

I am so proud all the Generation Joshua Kids have accomplished so for this session. Tomorrow we head back to Raleigh, the bill will be heard in the Senate Education Committee. I wish us luck!!

Cobey as Sergeant of Arms Dan Forest



Tags : , , , , , , , , | add comments

Where has the time gone?

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Mar 10, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Kid's Corner, Politics, Uncategorized


It has been over two month since I posted a blog. Where does the time go? I will probably go back and backdate a few things because I don’t want you to think I have done nothing for two months. I went on a weekend cruise to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday and we have been on several field trips but the majority of our time has been spent in Raleigh at the Legislature. We have gone about once a week since the session began. We have been working on homeschool legislation. There are currently three bills filed dealing with homeschooling. There is a bill to allow homeschool children to play sports in the public school. There is a bill that gives tax credits to homeschool families. And finally, there is a bill that amends the homeschool definition. Non-public instruction has been interpreting our law more and more narrow. They interpret the current definition to mean that the mom has to do instruction in all the core classes, which basically means everything. The kids and I have learned a lot during this process and made some new friends. Claire has becomes buddies with the Speaker of the House and wants to take a present to him on every visit. They know which offices have the best candy and snacks but we can’t give away all our secrets.  Last week we went to an all day training in Virginia with HSDLA on lobbying in DC. The kids are now ready to hit DC.

Cobey and I have also been busy working on Junior Historian projects that were due March 1st. He turned in two photography entries, an artifact entry, and essay entry and a scrapbook for the literary entry. We will find out how he did the end of April but regardless we learned a lot. For the scrapbook we did a Revolutionary War driving tour throughout the region. We learned some great stories.

Tags : , , , | add comments

Chapel Hill Walking TourWe had three programs at Morehead Planetarium. We first went on a walking tour of the campus which was my favorite program. We learned how Chapel Hill and Franklin Street got its name. We learned about several old buildings and the stories behind them. The tour guides were great and kept it interesting.The next program was a Human Body Test. They reviewed all the systems of the body in a fun interactive way. This was the kids favorite part but how could it not be if you set a jelly bean on fire. The last program was a Solar System Odyssey. The best part of the show was the presentation afterwards of the night sky. I really enjoyed that part the most and learned a few things. We ended our day in Chapel Hill with lunch at McAlister’s. The food was good and the service was excellent. They are so friendly and nice there. It was a good day even if we were in Chapel Hill.

Tags : , , , , | add comments

Maymount and the Confederate White House

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Feb 27, 2013 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel, Uncategorized

MaymountWe took a one day trip to Richmond to go to Maymount. I had never heard of it but found it when I was searching for possible trips for the time period we are studying in history. The house was the home of James and Sallie Dooley and was built in the early 1890s. We had a guided tour of the mansion that was very interesting. We learned about the life of the servants and the Dooley’s in the house. The house is beautifully furnished and most of the furnishings were the Dooley’s.

After the tour, we went to the nature center which was part of the property. There is a fee to enter and honestly there is not too much. I would skip it unless you have time and money to waste. We then spent a little over and hour exploring the grounds at a quick pass. I would love to go back in the spring because I am sure it is quite beautiful then. They have an Italian Garden, Japanese Garden and animals to see. You could spend a day touring the house and enjoying the gardens and animals. I hope to back in the Spring.

I was then out voted and we went to the Confederate White House and the Museum of the Confederacy. The tour was very interesting with great stories about Jefferson Davis’ children. The kids loved the story about the toy canon that actually fired and about Davis going to talk to one of the gangs in the area. After the tour, the kids did the audio tour of the Museum of the Confederacy. The museum is small but interesting and I highly recommend the audio tour. The kids got much more out of it because of the audio. They have a kid’s version.





Tags : , , , , , , , | add comments