A Trip Through Eastern Carolina: Lake Matamuskeet and Aurora

In mid-October 2007, I took a day off to ride past one of North Carolina's great wonders and the site of what may have been the goofiest argribusiness scheme in US history. Along the way I found some great animals, plants, distinctive architecture, took a couple of ferry rides and dug for fossils at the Aurora Fossil Museum.

Tricolor heron wading in Lake Mattamuskeet.
Tricolor heron when concerned about having its picture taken.  How I wish 400 mm lenses were as sharp as 70-200s.  (Of course, a tripod might have helped.)
One of the big reasons for this trip.  Lake Mattamuskeet is one of the largest lakes in the country.  In the early 20th century, some "can-do" guys with a bunch of money thought, "let's drain it and plant the former lake bed!"  So they built this amazing pumping station.  (The foreground is a pond, not the lake -- the lake goes on for about 50,000 acres, although it's never very deep.)  They went bust, but this 12 story tower still rises above the pumping station.  Silly though the idea was, there's still something stirring about this station  in this October sunset.
Octagon House in Engelhard, NC. Built in 1857 by Dr. William Sparrow.  The first American to tout octagonal houses was Thomas Jefferson, and he liked the design so well that he built his second house, Poplar Mountain, in an octagonal shape.  Octagonal houses became popular in the US in the 1850s with the publishing of a book about the supposed benefits of the octagonal shape by an Orson Fowler.  The central chimney serves four fireplaces.
Octagon House by sunset.  Engelhard, NC
Hmmm... could the cotton in the foreground have attracted tree-boring weevils?  Another fetching sunset item in eastern Carolina, and time to go home.  A neat trip and one that I recommend to everyone!
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