Carolina On My Mind

My Fall 2009 Travel Season came full circle.  In October, I visited upstate New York and the greater Cooperstown area where James Fenimore Cooper wrote and set many of his novels, most notably, The Last of the Mohicans.  In December, I visited North Carolina and the greater Asheville area where director Michael Mann and cinematographer Dante Spinotti used the vast wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains to double for upstate New York in their epic film adaptation of Cooper’s Great American Novel. 

It was quite a thrill to drive up those winding roads into the mountains to Chimney Rock Park and see that rock-face where Alice Munro (played by Jodhi May) achieved the pinnacle of old-school romanticism by flinging herself off the edge in Mann’s The Last of the MohicansIt’s one of filmdom’s greatest disembodied scenes, and to see where it was filmed is breathtaking.  But that’s not all the trek had to offer, as the path up the mountain also served as inspiration for novelist Ron Rash when he conjured the Pemberton Timber Tract in his neo-epic American tragedy, Serena.  To get stuck behind a logging truck halfway up gave this writer a bit of the old goose-bumps — and was eerily, though roughly 2,500 miles away from Washington State, rather Twin Peaks-ian as well.

Suffice it to say, western Carolina offers much for the seasoned traveler and writer alike.  And, of course, no trip to the Asheville area would be complete without a visit to the world famous Biltmore Estate: the former home of George Vanderbilt, the largest house in America, and the site of over six million visitors a year and numerous film shoots over the decades.  Though the films shot there are legion, my personal favorite would have to be that scene from Hannibal where Anthony Hopkins dines on Ray Liotta’s brain.  Yeah…the place is pretty decadent…and totally awesome.

Without further adieu, here is a selection of some of the photos I captured on my trip:

Written and photographed by David H. Schleicher

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5 comments on “Carolina On My Mind

  1. Sam Juliano says:

    I have to tell you David that these “photo reports” you grace this site with on a reasonably regular basis are utterly magnificent, and I say that not to play cheerleader, but to convey just how impressive the whole thing is. Sometimes I even appreciate these more than film reviews, though your versatility in bringing art, music, food, films, literature and geography to the fold is incomparable. And I really love all those things too, and the infectious cultural slant of these pages.
    The shots here of the ‘Biltmore Estate’ from the foreground and at a distance immediately grabbed me, and I kept clicking back and forth. You can add ‘photographer’ to your multiple talents, my friend! And a master of layout as well. Our friend Broadqway Bob, who loves to take pictures all the time can learn something here.
    In any case I am a huge fan of Cooper, and that trip to Cooperstown is one I must make as soon as I can. I love the way you imagine characters from the films or novels and place them in the geographical context.

    It’s exhilarating.

    Sam, thanks as always for the kind words. The whole Last of the Mohicans thread through my traveling this season was purely accidental (and happily so) — I love seeing those types of location shoots for films, and of course, the landscapes that have inspired other writers and novelists. –DHS

  2. DeeDee says:

    D.H.Schleicher said,”In October, I visited upstate New York and the greater Cooperstown area where James Fenimore Cooper wrote and set many of his novels, most notably, The Last of the Mohicans.

    Hi! D.H.Schleicher,
    Oh! Yes, that is a great novel (“The Last of the Mohicans”) and I also agree with Sam Juliano, these are very beautiful…photographs
    that you present here on your blog.

    D.H.Schleicher said,”Though the films shot there are legion, my personal favorite would have to be that scene from Hannibal where Anthony Hopkins dines on Ray Liotta’s brain.”
    Yikes!
    …Yeah…the place is pretty decadent…and totally awesome.”
    I agree and I agree…

    …By the way, Did you receive my email…pertaining to the CCC?…Believe me that frighten more people from tampering…than Hannibal Lecter deeds!

    DeeDee ;)

    DeeDee, yup, I got the email. Thanks. –DHS

  3. DeeDee says:

    D.H.Schleicher,
    D.H.Schleicher said, “And, of course, no trip to the Asheville area would be complete without a visit to the world famous Biltmore Estate…”

    I must admit that the Biltmore Estate is very beautiful! (And your photographs of the Biltmore Estate are very beautiful too!) …Yesterday, evening I did spent some time looking at every photograph that you took of Biltmore Estate and I must admit that the grey overcast day make it look like an estate in England.
    Thanks, for sharing!

    “…the former home of George Vanderbilt, the largest house in America, and the site of over six million visitors.”
    Wow…over six million visitors.

    DeeDee ;)

    DeeDee, I thought it looked very castle-like and British as well…though apparently it is styled after the French chateaus of the 19th century. It’s kinda like the American Taj Mahal (for Southerners at least) — it was jam packed when I was there, and at 55 bucks a pop for tickets to tour it, the Vanderbilts are raking in money hand over fist with that place. –DHS

  4. DeeDee says:

    D.H. said,”it was jam packed when I was there, and at 55 bucks a pop for tickets to tour it, the Vanderbilts are raking in money hand over fist with that place.”

    Wow…I wonder what is included in the package a tour of the Vanderbilts’ estate and a meal?!? :?

    DeeDee ;)

    DeeDee, a tour, free roaming of the grounds and access to all the other stuff (shops, restaurants), a free wine tasting. –DHS

  5. Candace says:

    Dave, as usual your words and pictures are captivating! I’m just upset that you didnt let me know you were in the state!! Remember me…. yep.. still in the Greater Elon area.

    C – time constraints prevented me from calling up everyone I wanted to see. I literally spent most of the time in the car on the road. I wish I had luxury of a few weeks to be down there. –DHS

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