For the full stories, check out this episode of Fabled.
The city of Ybor is a district covering the historic Ybor neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. The area has is covered in rich architectural, culinary, cultural, and historical heritage that reflects its multi-ethnic background. Uniquely, Ybor was a thriving industrial community founded and inhabited almost exclusively by immigrants. It was founded in 1885 by a group of cigar manufacturers under the direction of Vicente Martinez-Ybor as a separate city yet attached to Tampa in 1887. The original population consisted mainly of Cuban and Spanish immigrants who worked in cigar factories. Shortly after that, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived. They brought a wealth of industry with them, including many retail outlets, farms and grocery stores, boxes, printers, and other companies dealing with cigars and their employees.
We loved every minute of working on this little beauty. We've already taken it out a few times, and it's as cozy and perfect as we'd hoped it'd be.
Many people don't know (we didn't either until we found this one) that U-Haul rented campers out in the 80s. They are similar to retro Burro campers. The entire shell is fiberglass, which means it's held up well over the years. We did have to replace the bolts to the frame because they were rusting, but other than that the shell was in good shape. We removed the old decals--because the 80s, man...that's just not our style.
We're not purists unlike some of our other U-Haul friends. We chose to make it ours, so there's little reminders of what it originally looked like.
I can hardly believe that it's nearly mid-October. We've been busy remodeling a camper, traveling, and trying to find rest whenever possible. We often laugh about how we couldn't imagine life being anymore full--full of joy, chaos, busyness, and obligations--but the truth is, all of that makes life so special and worth while. It's the bustling of engagements, dinners with family, work, and travel that makes this beautiful life wonderful.
Built in 1820 by John Robinson, the Aiken-Rhett House is considered to be one of the best preserved townhouse complexes in the nation. The house was majorly expanded by Governor William Aiken, Jr and his wife in the 1830s and again in the 1850s. The house is a great example of Antebellum life in Charleston with its grand piazzas and large elegant rooms. It stayed in the Aiken family for 142 years before being sold to the Charleston Museum.
The Charleston Museum decided to preserve the condition of the home rather than restore it, which makes this a unique and personal favorite of mine. The walls, floors, and furnishings are tattered and beautiful. It's a must-see for history and architecture lovers!
Those haunting last words from the finale of HBO's hit show Sharp Objects had fans squirming in their seats. The show, based on the bestselling book by Gillian Flynn who is also the author of Gone Girl, is a psychological mystery that will keep you coming back for more.
Broken yet incredibly strong Camille Preaker sets out to document the murders of two young girls in her hometown, throwing her back to haunting memories of her childhood and the mysterious death of her younger sister.
The story is rich in setting, which has had fans wondering is Wind Gap a real place? The short answer is, yes and no. The town and its bizarre and terrifying residents are fictional, but it was filmed in the small Georgia town of Barnesville.
Today Facebook reminded me where I was on this exact day three years ago. I was in Savannah, GA. I've been to Savannah many, many times. It's my home away from home, and if you know me, you'll likely recall me telling you that it's my "soulmate in a place." Because it is. It truly, truly is.
I resent that reminder, though. I was working away, thinking nothing of long vacations. A memory of my husband asking me, while we sat on a park bench, to close my eyes, "What do you see?"
Characters walking cobbled streets many years ago. A party. A fire. A tragedy.
And I wrote.
I want to be there again. Not working away on my computer or busying myself with house work. I want to be in the place that inspires me to meet strangers, both real and unreal. I want to search the city for stories and let dark corridors whisper to me their secrets.
I want to take more tours and walk at night, allowing the southern breeze to pierce my soul. I want the early morning's fog to creep into my life, filling every corner with history and mystery.
I want Savannah.
Last time I was there, I wrote this:
The city of the dead lies silently beneath, like an unsung song underneath our feet like a painting void of color or an undeveloped photograph-- never fully seen-- like an instrument without a string, an undocumented life screams.
I want to document all the characters that fill Savannah's streets. It's time for another vacation.
I recently traveled to the UK on the most epic vacation of my life thus far. We rented a car and drove over 1,000 miles through the countryside up to Scotland and back to London again. It was amazing. I will be going back.
While we were there, we visited the Brontë Parsonage and Museum in Haworth. Imagine if you can, you're an American driving in an oversized vehicle (for the UK) on a teeny oneway street up the hillside with duel traffic. It's foggy, so much so that you cannot capture the amazing scene before you on camera. But your eyes, sensitive to all the greatness in the world, are witnessing the most awe-inspiring landscape of your life. The green rolling hills are speckled with white sheep, water trickles down the side of the road as it mists. Halfway up the hillside, a small pond gathers glimmers of the gray sky and swirling clouds.
Quaint stone buildings, centuries old, line the roadway once you finally reach the town. There's no where to park, barely anywhere to drive. As soon as you hear the "ding" of your car alarm and your feet hit the cobblestone, you're thrown back in time. Not even your phone works.
You take a few steps past an ancient-looking church, an even older cemetery, up to a picturesque home where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote. Your literary heart thumps; you can hardly wait to get inside. Once there, you touch everything they'll allow. Charlotte used this doorknob. Emily leaned against this railing. And the stairs. How many times did they look down at each other from the landing?
I stood in the same room they wrote their masterpieces, and I couldn't help but be both sad and elated.
Sad because they all died way too young.
Elated because I had an opportunity to feel the soul of the place they left behind.
I read Jane Eyre for the first time when I was seventeen and Wuthering Heights a few years later. I could picture the cold, wet hills in the English countryside, and walking through Haworth, I saw what my younger self had only imagined. That's how talented they were. They gave me such a clear picture of something I'd never seen that it was like having déjà vu when I finally did see it.
I love old places for the same reason I love the Brontë's home. Their stories inspire me. If walls could talk, I'd invite them for coffee.