First, I can’t believe we have finally reached #76 on our journey. It feels like we might make this goal of all 100 counties before Cobey graduates. I might not have to delay his graduation after all. Several have asked what order we go in! The answer is there is no rhyme or reason or plan. Where we go next may depend on the time of year, what we are studying, or someone may invite us to come check out their county. It just all depends. This all leads me to how we ended up in Duplin. It was one of the counties we had left on the way (sort of) to the beach for Thanksgiving.

20171121_112657We started out at Duplin County Veterans Museum in Warsaw. The museum is located in the beautiful 1894 L.W. Best home. Warsaw is famous for the longest continuous running Veteran’s Day parade. It is evident that the county appreciates and loves veterans. The museum focuses on veterans from the county and their stories. It has tons of memorabilia throughout history. The museum is only open two days a week. It is usually not open on Tuesday but we called about a week ahead of time and they kindly opened for us. I encourage you to plan ahead and check out the museum when you are in the area.

23847452_375166186241673_3435016980061895842_oNext, we had lunch at the Country Squire opened in 1961. I highly recommend this place! It is a very captivating atmosphere located inside an old barn and cabin.  The decor of old cupboards, trees, fireplaces, and antiques give it the feeling of legends and romance. It is  Southern hospitality with a Scottish flair. You have to see it to understand it! The food was very good and reasonable. We also had good service for a large party.  The dinner menu is totally different- more upscale and looks wonderful. I can’t wait to go back and try out it out with maybe a glass of their own wine.


20171121_14525920171121_150337Our next stop was Liberty Hall in Kenansville which was fascinating. The Kenan family is one of the founding families of UNC-CH. The 1800s home is beautiful and I particularly loved the George Washington painting that was upstairs. We have been to many many houses but the stories made this one interesting and unique. The furnishings and history were boarded up and left intact after the death of Mary Lillian Kenan in 1906 until the house was restored and opened to the public in 1965. You can watch a movie and see interesting artifacts in the visitor center. The house is fully furnished and their several outbuildings so plan on two hours for your visit.

We ended with a quick visit to the Cowan Museum located across the parking lot. It is a small museum with a large collection of items focusing on history and science. The items come from of the private collection of George and Illa Cowan. The collection largely consists of 19th and 20th-century tools and technology from that period.  It also has several other buildings and a park.  The kids enjoyed seeing the perm machine and music exhibit. Don’t forget to stop by the courthouse when you are in town. It is a beauty. On your next trip down to the beach, take a stop off 40 and take in a museum or a bite to eat at The Country Squire.


For those following along. Here is what we have left from east to west…. Pamlico, Carteret, Onslow, Jones, Pitt, Matin, Wayne, Sampson, Franklin, Warren, Vance, Robeson, Scotland, Richmond, Guilford, Rockingham, Wilkes, Ashe, Caldwell, Alexander, Catawba, Lincoln, Madison, Jackson

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20171026_120321We started with a great tour at the Person County Museum of History. There is a lot to see on this small property. There are two houses, a schoolhouse. general store, bell tower, tobacco barn and doctor’s office. I was most intrigued by the people of Person County. There is a small exhibit about the Titanic. There was one Person County that died and one that survived.  There was a room dedicated to the story of baseball Hall of Famer,  Enos Slaughter. There were stories of businessmen, men in the service, a Governor and entertainers.  There is an extensive collection of artifacts and information. Take a tour and learn more about the people of Person County.

20171026_13221920171026_12333920171026_131217We had a nice lunch at  Bookland Eats. There were some interesting different choices. I tried the deviled eggs in three different styles. The bacon with blue cheese was the best but the others had too much vinegar for my taste. We also got pimento cheese and hushpuppies which was okay. (not what I expected) I had steak salad which was very good and I really enjoyed. Claire had fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese which looked okay but she didn’t care for it.   The creme brulee was not very good. I would say overall it was good but not great. Prices were reasonable and service was good so I would give it another try.


20171026_144808We ended the day with a tour at Sunset  Ridge Buffalo Farm. The property is absolutely beautiful  We had a great tour guide that told us interesting facts about buffalo and the farm. We have been to a lot of farm tours in North Carolina but this was unique and we were able to purchase bison meat after.

Person County is easy to get to from the triangle but mainly overlooked. Make a point check it one day soon!

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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

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Mt Tabor School 1870



On the way home from the beach we decided to hit two more counties- Columbus and Bladen.  On the way we stopped at the Mt Tabor School from 1870 for a quick photo. (photo above)  Our first top was the visitor center in Fair Bluff where we took a walk on the trail along the Lumber River. They have a nice boardwalk and trail which made for a great walk.


We then did our own car tour of the area. We picked up the brochure at the Visitor Center.  They have some great old buildings including a Trading Post (1802) and Depot (1897). The depot has a small museum but it was closed that day.  There were many more beautiful buildings and one of Claire’s favorite cemeteries.  We ended our visit with ice cream at Elvington’s Pharmacy.



After we went through Chadborn, we stopped at the NC Museum of Forestry.   It is  very small museum inside with some fossils found in White Lake. We were more interested in the things outside.  There is also a short tree trail where the trees are marked and a fossil dig. You can check out tools in the museum. The best part was the Whispering Giant sculptor found in the front.  Peter Wolf Toth a sculptor who immigrated from Hungary made a series of these to honor Native Americans. There are 74 statues with at least one in each state. We stopped at the courthouse in both counties. Neither where impressive.




We started our visit to Bladen County at  the  famous Melvins burger in downtown Elizabethtown.  This was Cobey’s favorite burger.  They put out some hamburgers and watching the system is entertaining. We then visited a graveyard behind an old church and the local park where on August 27, 1791 the Battle of Elizabethtown  took place.  This is were 60-70 Whigs crushed over 300 Tories. They used a ruse of commanding phantom soldiers to make the Tories believe they were much larger and then engaged them during a disorganized retreat.  There is a marker to commemorate this event.


We ended our trip to Bladen County with a stop at Houston’s Peanuts for a snack and then Lu Mill Winery. Claire loved the winery were she got a slushy and jam sample. They have a great gift shop. We also explored the grounds were Claire loved the little church. It was a great end to a full day.






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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

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Amazing Maize Maze – Rural Hill

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Friday Oct 18, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Kid's Corner, Travel

Tillis Team at Corn Maze

Mailbox StationWe had a great time with Susan, Brenda, and the Brown Boys at the Amazing Maize Maze at Rural Hill. We had never done a huge maze before. Susan kept warning us but we did not take her very seriously. How hard could it be? They give us a few rules and a flag in case we got in to trouble and then we were off.   You have to collect 12 pieces to complete the whole map of the maze. We found seven pieces really quickly then we got stuck. We kept going into circles but we finally found all our pieces after a little searching.   It took us almost 2 hours to go thru the seven acre of the maze. It was a great lesson in perseverance and asking for help when you need it. On the way home, Cobey said if someone has taken a path before you, maybe you should go to them for advice and help. Not a bad lesson to learn. Claire can’t wait to go again, Cobey not so much.

Tillis Team at Corn Maze

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Agape Environmental Education Center

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Oct 14, 2013 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Revolutionary War Sites

Agape CenterWe went to Agape twice this fall, once with NC Homeschool Adventures and once with our church homeschool group. We love that place. We have been going ever year for years and years and we still have not run out of programs. When we went with the church group, the kids talked about the food chain, caught animals around the pond and evaluated three different ecosystems. With NCHSA, the kids learned all about trees, habitats and did tree identification. This is a great place for a hike or for a field trip.

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Where have I been? Election 2012

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday Nov 10, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Politics

Well, I just looked and the last trip I posted about was when we went to Detroit over Labor Day Weekend. We have done a few things since then as you can imagine. The kids and have knocked on doors, made phone calls, participated in a sign wave, worked early polls and been to rallies across the state. One of my favorite was when we saw Rick Santorum in Gastonia. I loved his speech which gave a history lesson and have so much respect for him.  I enjoyed the almost three hour drive there and back. Meg Hanna and Cobey counted signs on the way there and watched Obama 2016 on the way back. They had some great conversations that made me smile. We also went to a rally in Smithfield with Governor Chris Christie. This was a turning point for Claire. Before that event Claire like to go to HQ to socialize but did not show much interest in politics.  After the event, Claire was quoting politicians and wanted to go to more rallies. The day before the election we went door to door and she wanted to go to every door. She may be giving Cobey a run for the money.

Election Day was not all what we had hoped for. First, I don’t believe this was God’s will for us because  I don’t believe God’s desire is for us to have a president that promotes homosexuality, kills babies and turns his back Israel. However,  I do believe God is sovereign and allows things to happen like I as a parent allow natural consequences to happen to my children in hopes they will learn a lesson. I can’t help but wonder how bad it will get to learn this lesson The fraud that I am hearing about is disturbing- counties with 141% turnout and precincts that went 100% for Obama. It really makes it hard to put the thing to rest. I am praying that the House of Representatives will slow Obama down or Mike Farris’s plan of states rights will make a difference. I believe if things continue as they are we will have huge wins in mid-term and take back the Senate. I have worked with so many great patriots across this country that I know we are not ready to back down and let our freedoms die. I continue to have hope. I TRUST that God will take care of me and my family. I will be praying daily for Obama. I pray he has a change of heart on some issues and has DIVINE wisdom. We need to be stand guard against the UN Treaties and fight them with everything we can. We need to start working to mid-term elections. We must Pray Fight Work and that is what I will do.


On a much happier note, my state is now red. We for the first time to have a Republican Executive, Legislative and Judicial branch. I am so excited to have Pat McCory as our new Governor and Justice Paul Newby back on the Supreme Court. My friends Jonathan Jordan and Mike Stone will be headed back to NC House. Another friend Frank Williams won his county commissioner seat.  I am pleased to have Kirk Smith as County Commissioner and Mary Wells as a new judge. I will be MOST excited when they officially make Dan Forest the winner of the Lt Gov race. We have worked long and hard on that race. I don’t understand how you can elect Pat McCory as Governor and Elaine Marshall as Secretary of State. It can ONLY be explained by uninformed voters because Ed Goodwin would have served us well. And if hard work and integrity would have won the day then Cathy Wright would be serving in the NC House but it does not work that way. Overall, it was a good day and I think we have a great group to work with. Now to tell you what else I have been up to….



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Junior Historians Exhibit at NC History Museum

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jul 18, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, NC History, North Carolina

On Sunday we took Grandma, Pawpaw, and Uncle Jeff to see Claire’s art piece at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Claire also showed us her favorite gallery and her favorite piece of art.  Then we headed downtown to the North Carolina Museum of History. We wanted to see Cobey’s two contest winners from NC Junior Historians. He had won two first places in the photography category. This exhibit was so impressive and more than we expected. We now understood why it took so long to put together. It was not just projects laying on the tables but it was professionally put together. Cobey’s photos were a printed part of the exhibit.  You could see some projects on computers and others were in glass cases.  After we checked out the  exhibit, we had a nice lunch at Pharaoh’s at the museum. Between all of us we had hotdogs, Cuban sandwich, hamburger,  and salad. Everyone enjoyed their food and  it was priced reasonably. We then went through The Story of North Carolina exhibit. It is a great  exhibit with hands-on parts for the kids. There are plenty of things they can touch that kept them interested. It is a well-put together exhibit that makes you feel you are traveling thru NC history. We then went to the Call to Arms exhibit because Cobey was very interested in that.  The last stop was across the mall to the new wing of the Museum of Natural Sciences. We thought it was way to crowded and decided to come back on a weekday when it would less so. If you have not been downtown to the museums lately, then you should take the time to check them out.

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Camp Arrowhead 2012

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Jul 15, 2012 Under Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner

It was Cobey’s second year at Camp Arrowhead. He had so much fun last year that this year he went for two weeks. He had a wonderful time but I was really missing him at the end. I enjoyed looking thru the photos posted online each day to see if I could catch a glimpse of him. I also took advantage of being able to send a letter online where they would print and deliver it to him. I also requested online for him to reply to the letter. He wrote a letter then they scanned it and  sent it to me. I really liked that this year Cobey tried a lot of new activities. He tried horseback riding  which was his favorite, climbing and kayaking. He also continued to enjoy blacksmithing and woodworking. This year he went on a kayaking trip and he went to Beanstalk Journey where they have zip lines and towers. He was also a Horse Ranger, which means he got up early to take care of the horses. He got the Hemlock Award for his Cabin which means he was the best camper for the session. He came home talking about going back as a counselor.  He also came back with a “battle cry” noise that I could have done without.  It took a few days to break the habit of the hissing noise, well actually we are still trying to break it.  But other than that, I was proud of him and all he accomplished in two weeks.



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