Hazelnuts Creperie Part Deux (Charlotte, NC)

A trip to Charlotte is not complete without a stop at Hazelnut’s Creperie in Uptown. I have tried many of their savory crepes – some of my favorites are the Curry Chicken and the Basil Pesto. This past weekend I sampled a sweet crepe for the first time.  The Banana Split Crepe was definitely worth the extra calories!


Beyond the delicious variety of breakfast, savory, sweet, and vegetarian crepes at Hazelnut’s, you experience wonderful service and see the heart that the owner, Asi Agajan, puts into every crepe.  See him in action here in my earlier post.

If you love crepes and love supporting small businesses, check out Hazelnut’s the next time you find yourself in Charlotte.

Stolen Moment at Galilee (Tabgha, Israel)

In my travels, I rarely take photographs of others, it always seems that to take a photo would be an intrusion into another’s world.  Even so, I have been guilty of intruding on several occasions . . . One such time occurred as I stood along the bank of the Sea of Galilee, watching a nun walk slowly out into the water and back to shore, gently holding up her tunic.

Nun by Sea of Galilee

As I watched her path into the sea and back, I imagined her growing up in Paris, and then sometime after World War II deciding to follow her call to become a Franciscan nun . . . her travels eventually bringing her to call Tabgha home.  I pictured her praying daily just up the hill in the 4th-century Church of the Primacy of Peter.  I couldn’t resist stealing a brief moment from her with my camera to capture the moment for myself.  I can still feel the slight breeze coming off the sea, the lovely sound of the water lapping against the stony bank, and the sounds of children’s laughter as they played next to the church.

16th Street Baptist to the Sistine Chapel

I have visited many churches, temples and synagogues during my travels.  In honor of Lent, some of my favorites through the years . . .

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Montreal, Canada)

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

The effect of the light and the intricacy of the scenes portrayed in black walnut is breathtaking. For detailed photos of the Crucifixion, Last Supper, and more go here.

I also loved the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacre-Coeur, which was restored after a fire, in 1978, with beautiful modern linden wood and bronze altarpiece.

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Embrace Your Inner Artist at Wine and Design! (Carrboro, NC)

Chapel Hill-20130130-00987 Chapel Hill-20130130-00981 Chapel Hill-20130130-00983 Chapel Hill-20130130-00975Paint a picture of the Old Well?  Me, who struggles to sketch anything beyond a stick figure and was recently given coloring advice from a 4-year-old?  Actually, it is completely possible courtesy of the amazing teachers at Wine and Design in Carrboro, NC.

I recently joined a group of friends for a Wednesday evening class on painting the Old Well surrounded by blooming flowers.  All you need to bring is yourself and your choice of beverage and snack.  Everything else is provided for you from the canvas, to paint, apron and step-by-step instruction as you paint your masterpiece.

Don’t want to paint the Old Well — or like me looking for another painting option?  Visit their online calendar to see what paintings are coming up soon and reserve your spot in the class.

NC People: A Gift in Tillery (Halifax County, North Carolina)

One of the greatest gifts a person can give another is to share their story.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Tillery, North Carolina.  Beyond the natural beauty to be enjoyed everywhere you looked, I had the privilege to hear the stories of several members of the Tillery community and experience great cooking at the Resettlement Cafe.Halifax-20130119-00896

Tillery Plantation was farmed by 150 slaves at its peak and descendants of those slaves as well as other farmers from across North Carolina and the Southeast formed the Tillery Resettlement Community in the 1930’s as part of the New Deal Resettlement.  “Persistent racism in the administration of [USDA] programs” led to some farmers of Tillery losing their land and today none of the 300 original families or their children are farming in Tillery.

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Do What You Want, and Say What You Feel in 2013

As 2013 knocks on the door, I find myself again reflecting on a passing year and setting expectations for myself in the coming year.  I shy away from “resolutions” that cannot be kept and are soon forgotten.

However, I do find value in setting goals for myself to accomplish throughout the year.  One of those goals this year is to follow the wise words of Dr. Seuss.  Each day of 2013, I will strive to:

Always do what [I] want and say what [I] feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.


It is so true and I wish sometimes I had started implementing the life lessons shared by Theodor Seuss Geisel when I first enjoyed his books as a child – it would have saved me a lot of guilt and worry.  But, better late than never!  For more stellar adages from Dr. Seuss go here.

I wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that you will follow my journeys on NC & Beyond in 2013!

Thai Cooking! (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Experiencing local cuisine is key to learning about the culture of the place you are visiting whether you find yourself in North Carolina or Thailand.  While exploring the Sunday evening market in Chiang Mai, I met Yui and learned about her cooking classes.  One of the best spontaneous decisions I have ever made was deciding to enroll in her course the next day.  I took her full day course, but there are also half-day options.

Scan 5My classmates for the day were a group of Australian tourists.  In addition to learning Thai cooking and appreciating Yui’s humor I got to see Thailand from the Australian perspective as they shared their travel stories.  The cooking classes are held at Yui’s home on the side porch where she has individual cooking stations for each student and a large dining area where everyone gathered to try out each dish as it was finished.

A highlight of the day was a field trip to the market for a guided tour with Yui.  She gave us tips for shopping in a Thai market and offered suggestions for alternative ingredients that would work well if we could not find something in American or Australian grocery stores.

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Good Eats: Queen City Style (Charlotte, NC)

I managed to try a good number of new eateries during the month and some change I called Charlotte home.  Hazelnuts Creperie was so yummy I blogged about it about five minutes after I ate there, check out that post here.

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I was fortunate enough to try many other great places, often times thanks to recommendations from locals.  In no particular order, some of my favorites:

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Human Rights Advocate: Andrea Gittleman of Physicians for Human Rights

Proud to call her a friend, Andrea Gittleman is doing amazing work in the D.C. Office of Physicians for Human Rights as their Senior Legislative Counsel.  Before joining PHR, Andrea worked as an Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellow with the Burma Lawyers’ Council in Mae Sot, Thailand, where she coordinated an international advocacy campaign for criminal accountability in Burma.  As a law student, Andrea spent time interning and giving pro bono service through New York University’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, Legal Momentum (the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund), the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch.  She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania, West Africa.  Learn more about her work and PHR here.
Andrea recently published an article exploring the impact of foreign investments on Burmese communities.  Read the full article here.  She agreed to share her insights and advice with others considering human rights work.

Kayaking in Big Canoe! (Big Canoe, Georgia)

Special welcome to my first readers from the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates!   Hope you keep reading!

To begin, YES there is an actual town in Georgia called Big Canoe.  Several years back, I took a road trip down to Big Canoe from Chapel Hill, North Carolina with several friends from school.  Many of the group were transplants from New York and New Jersey and one particular friend, N., referred to the trees surrounding Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill as a “forest” so I should have known this would be more of an adventure for them than myself.  To give you an idea of their comfort level traveling outside Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh, I took them to Hillsborough for dinner one time and that was too many country roads and trees for them!

We had a great time kayaking that weekend.  It was a low impact kayak trip, perfect for first time kayakers with lots of spots along the way to get out and stretch your legs and nothing more than Class 1 rapids on the Chestatee River.  Great experience  renting our kayaks from Appalachian Outfitters – Canoe and Kayak Trips.  Highly recommend you check them out for kayak or canoe rentals if you find yourself in the greater Big Canoe metropolitan area.

Want more kayaking options, right here in North Carolina?  Check out my earlier post on kayaking in Eastern North Carolina here.


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