Blog-In Search of Civil War History in North Carolina

Somerset Place-154, Creswell, North Carolina
Plantation House
Somerset Place, Creswell, North Carolina

In early June 2021, my husband Michael and I went on vacation to North Carolina in search of Civil War historical sites. Our first stop was Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina. Bennett Place State Historic Site was the site of the largest surrender during the Civil War. The surrender took place April 17th through April 26th, 1865, between Generals Johnston and Sherman. In the middle of surrender negotiations, the Generals learned of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Lincoln on April 26th  which complicated the terms of the surrender.

Politicians criticized Sherman in Washington, D.C. for being too generous with the terms of surrender to Johnston’s Confederate troops. Sherman and Johnston became close friends after the war. General Johnston was present at General Sherman’s funeral and refused to wear a hat despite the bad weather. As a result, Johnston caught pneumonia and died not long after. Johnston is buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, MD.

For more information visit: (

Bennett Place, North Carolina


The Harper House at Bentonville Battlefield

Our second confederate history stop in North Carolina was Bentonville Battlefield, in Four Oaks, N.C. The Battle of Bentonville occurred from March 19th to 21st, 1865. It was the largest battle fought in North Carolina. At this site is a monument marking a mass grave of unknown Confederate soldiers. There is also a visitor center, a self-driving tour of the battlefield, and a tour of Harper House that was used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops during the battle.

For more information, visit:

Somerset Place, Creswell, North Carolina

The third stop on our confederate history trip was to Somerset Place, in Creswell, N.C. Somerset was an active plantation from 1785 to 1865. It was one of the largest plantations in the area. Now owned by the state of North Carolina, visitors can tour the main house, enslaved buildings, and the grounds. The visitors center provides a historical timeline profiling the members of the landowners and several of the enslaved persons.

For more information, visit:

To see the full collection of photographs from this trip, please visit my North Carolina photo gallery.


Travel Photography

Top Ten International Travel Tips

Erechtheion-Acropolis of Athens
Erechtheion-Acropolis of Athens

You have booked your international trip. You are excited! You are ready to relax and have fun. Some simple planning ahead can make the difference between an enjoyable trip versus a stressful one. Here are my top ten international travel tips to help you have an enjoyable trip.

  1. Get Global Entry Application– to avoid immigration lines and speed through customs
  2. Wear socks going through security. You will have to remove your shoes for TSA screening, so wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off and wear socks (you don’t want to walk on the dirty floor in bare feet).
  3. Plan to watch movies – bring your tablet and high-quality earplugs or check out what the airline has to offer. I calculate the number of movies needed to equal the length of the flight time (generally speaking, for an eight-hour flight, I plan on four movies).
  4. Dress for comfort – regardless of the time of year, the temperature on airplanes can vary, so dress in layers. However, keep your shoes on because your feet expand during the flight, and you don’t want problems trying to get your shoes back on before landing.
  5. Stay hydrated on the plane with eye drops, lip balm, and lotion. Drink lots of water.
  6. Smooth through security by just answering the questions. Don’t engage in needless conversation. If they want to take a closer look at your luggage, be polite and don’t argue. They are doing their job to keep everyone safe.
  7. Keep medications with you, not in your luggage.
  8. If traveling to a remote destination, buy evacuation insurance so you can be medically stabilized and airlifted back home
  9. Travel light – do not overpack!
    • Pack no more than three pairs of shoes
    • Pack one nice outfit for going out at night
    • Leave expensive jewelry at home
    • Don’t use flashy luggage
    • Bring a cross-body purse to guard against theft.
    • Bring international voltage adapters for your electronics
    • Know the dress code before you go: Europeans don’t wear blue jeans; khakis are best. Churches and temples require modest clothing (shoulders and knees covered). Don’t wear your daisy dukes cut-off shorts and a halter top to the Vatican – you won’t be allowed in.
    • Familiarize yourself with the laws of the country you are visiting. Getting arrested on vacation is no fun. For example, I did not adhere to cross walking signs in Thailand and got in trouble (thankfully not detained)

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