Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Flat Ainsleigh Project: Charlotte, North Carolina Edition

The Flat Ainsleigh Project is still going! She recently returned from a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit her cousins Emaline and Annabelle (thanks to my stellar sister Allison and bro-in-law Dave). Props for seeking out some particularly touristy things to do. Maybe now that we've seen how well you treat a flat version, we'll actually come in 3-D versions.


Dear Ainsleigh,
We're sorry we've kept Flat Ainsleigh so long. Emaline has loved having her here, and we've had fun showing her around. We had a fun time learning about the history here with Flat Ainsleigh, and hope you enjoy reading about it!

Charlotte was named for Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg, Germany, who married King George III and became queen. Because of this, it's nicknamed the Queen City. Charlotte was first settled in the 1700s where two important Native American trade routes intersected. We took Ainsleigh to "uptown" Charlotte, and took a picture at that intersection, now Trade Street and Tryon Street. The large building in the background is the headquarters of Bank of America.

We went to the Charlotte Museum of History and learned about the history here. I'm sure you've learned about the Gold Rush in California, but did you know that the first gold rush in the United States was here in Charlotte? As the story goes, in 1799 a 12-year-old boy skipped church to go fishing and came across a 17 pound piece of gold, only he didn't know what it was. He took it home to his family, who took it to the local silversmith. The silversmith didn't know what it was, either, and told them it was just a big rock. They used it as a door stop for 3 years before finding out it was gold! That started a gold rush that lasted until gold was discovered in California in 1848.

235 years ago today (May 20, 1775), leaders in Charlotte signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, because they didn't want to be under British rule. The country declared independence a year later. During the Revolutionary War, Lord General Charles Cornwallis referred to Charlotte as a "hornet's nest" of rebellion. He meant it as an insult, but it's a nickname Charlotteans adopted with pride.

Spring!

We saw the Hezekiah Alexander house, the oldest home in western North Carolina. It was built in 1774. It was a very nice house (the fancy woodwork showed that the family was well off), but there were only 3 bedrooms: one for the parents, and 2 for their 10 children. The kitchen was in a separate building. Can you imagine your mom having to go outside to a different building in the snow or hot summer to cook? There was also a separate "spring house," which was the closest thing they had to a refrigerator. To keep food fresh, they built a house over the nearby spring. Since the water was cold, they'd put food in pots and put them in the water.

the Hezekiah Alexander house (built in 1774)

the kitchen

The Dining Room

A bedroom at the house--the bed didn't look comfortable!

an 18th century barn

Ainsleigh enjoys the scenery at the Hezekiah Alexander House.

At the spring house (basically a big refrigerator)

We took flat Ainsleigh to the Q Shack for barbecue and hush puppies. I like Eastern Carolina barbeque best; it's made with a vinegar-based sauce. Early settlers believed that tomatoes were poisonous, so "older" barbecue recipes don't have tomato. This barbeque is western or "Lexington" style, it has a little bit of tomato in the sauce. I've learned that sauces vary by region; as you go west, there's more tomato in the sauce!

barbeque, hush puppies and fries - mmmmm (psst - is everything fried there?)

We went strawberry picking, and the strawberries were fantastic! The fields smelled amazing and the strawberries were nice and juicy. We may go again tomorrow.

Annabelle loves Flat Ainsleigh

Mabes wanted to take Flat Ainsleigh to Target and Costco. I told her that Ainsleigh has those in Colorado, but she thought Ainsleigh might enjoy seeing Target and Costco in North Carolina. I didn't take pictures. I did take pictures of Ainsleigh by the PTL ("praise the Lord") Castle. We drive by it on the way to preschool, and Mabes is convinced that princesses live there. It's actually a remnant of Heritage USA, a Christian-themed amusement park popular in the 1980s. I had no idea this place existed until a year or so ago. It's not in great shape now, and it's kind of weird to be driving through new subdivisions and come across this castle!

That's about it. Thanks for letting us have Flat Ainsleigh, and I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this report to you! Annabelle enjoyed meeting Flat Ainsleigh, and can't wait to meet real Ainsleigh, Dono, and Gemma!

Love,
Allison, Dave, Emaline, and Annabelle

3 comments:

OneTiredEma said...

I'm sorry, I got distracted by all the babywearing gear. Is that a Zolo sling?

Allison said...

I was nervous to send any babywearing pictures for fear I was doing it wrong. And the sling is a Zolo...right Sarah?

Everything worth eating is fried. Well, except the strawberries. But I'm sure fried strawberries would be delicious.

scott davidson said...

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