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Visiting the Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden

Charlotte is and has been home to some incredible talents, especially writers and landscape architects like Elizabeth Lawrence. Considered one of three of the most important people in horticultural history of the Southeast, Ms. Lawrence poured her heart and soul into the grounds surrounding her home and shared her knowledge with others in her books and newspaper columns.

Elizabeth Lawrence house sign

The Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden is another wonderful destination in Charlotte that is not often spoken of, but should not be missed. As of this writing in 2024, I’ve lived in Charlotte for twelve years, and I’ve never heard of it until I happened across a blurb on a website. Perhaps the secrecy is deliberate, as once you’ve been, you understand how unique and special it is to be able to visit it.

Owned by the Wing Haven foundation, the Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden is included in the admission price at Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary. Just ten houses apart, the stroll in the individual gardens and a visit between the properties takes one back in time to an era of quiet solitude in the garden where time spent is refreshing to mind and spirit. You’ll undoubtedly find yourself both invigorated with new ideas for your own gardens as well as need of a nap due to the restful environment and bit of walking exercise.

Locally and nationally considered a historic landmark, the property exudes with the spirit of Ms. Lawrence. The home has been left as though she has just stepped out for a quick visit to the plant nursery for a few supplies. Her writing desk had me drooling, as I share her need for a window while I work. Everything was just beautiful, and I understand how delightful it must have been to sit for hours at that desk writing as she looked over her garden.

Elizabeth Lawrence desk overlooking garden.
Just look at this space!!! I love everything. EVERYTHING.
Bookcase Elizabeth Lawrence house
Even the bookcases are perfection.
Elizabeth Lawrence watering can
Elizabeth Lawrence watering can. Metal. Can you imagine how heavy it would be with water, too?
Even the door stop is out of a storybook.

From the Smithsonian Institution where the property is included in the The Garden Club of America collection:

Established in 1949 by Elizabeth Lawrence, the property has no lawn. The entire property, only 75×225 feet, includes a parking area, driveway, and house. The remaining space is plantings and pathways. A narrow path between a bamboo hedge and a fence covered with garden tiles provides the garden entrance. In the back, intricately designed partiers are outlined with stone. Numerous seating areas and small statuary are found throughout the garden. Designed for privacy in a neighborhood of close neighbors, Elizabeth Lawrence used the garden as a laboratory and sat at a desk overlooking the garden. The garden was renovated in 1986 and is maintained by a devotee of her work. According to the Garden Conservancy, the structure of the garden remains “essentially the same and as much as sixty percent of Lawrence’s own plantings continue to prosper.” The Friends of the Elizabeth Lawrence Garden, with the Garden Conservancy, was formed to preserve the garden.

Persons and organizations associated with the property include: Elizabeth Lawrence (former owner, 1949-1984), James Sommers (former owner, 1984-1986); Elizabeth Lawrence (landscape designer); David Wagner, AIA (remodel architect); Steve Del Vecchio (gardener); Mecklenburg County Master Gardeners (volunteer project); Charlotte Garden Club, affiliated with Mint Museum (volunteer in garden); and Friends of Elizabeth Lawrence (foundation for preservation).

https://sova.si.edu/record/aag.gca/ref12967?q=elizabeth%20lawrence&t=W

Check out her great reads:

Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence–A Friendship in Letters

No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence

A Garden of One’s Own: Writings of Elizabeth Lawrence

Through the Garden Gate

The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens

Gardens in Winter

A Rock Garden in the South

Lob’s Wood

Birds of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County North Carolina

Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: Discovered Letters of a Southern Gardener

Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence

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Visiting Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Tucked in the hustle and bustle of Charlotte, Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary provides a return and connection to nature that is wrapped in a story of love and commitment. Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson lived an incredible love story that forged an urban oasis for nature and nature lovers. The grounds of the garden feel intimate while encouraging visitors to slow down and enjoy the sounds and sights all around. This secret garden feels like a portal to another time, as one can focus on the sound of the breeze in the branches above, the industrious work of the birds and squirrels, and the scents of the blooming flowers that awaken senses of delight that may have been in hibernation for far too long.

The home that Edwin built for Elizabeth, to her specifications no less, continues to stand with authority and grace on Ridgewood Avenue, a testament to the shared dream they had of their future together and the importance of creating space for the event the smallest that nature offers. The three acres feel much larger, as the paths encourage visitors to take a turn this way or that, for either side will not disappoint. You’ll lose time meandering around the plants, finding yourself remembering gardens and people of your past. It feels too special to rush and yet, time passes quickly without notice. Every part of you engages in this tour of the gardens, and you may find yourself both refreshed and tired from the stimulation of your senses. It is that “good tired” one feels when the only activation of the nervous system has been pleasant and fulfilling.

Read the Journals of Elizabeth Clarkson, dating from February 1933 to November 1951.

Don’t forget to visit the Elizabeth Lawrence Home and Garden (check out my visit), as it is included in the admission of Wing Haven.

Elizabeth was a concert pianist, and her performances at the piano were a delight in their home. The piano takes center stage in the front room, as it is the first thing one sees upon entering the home. The window to the back tucks into the wall, allowing Elizabeth to roll her piano outside to play for visitors on the back lawn. A bird caregiver, she often played the piano with birds resting on her arms as she danced upon the keys. One would expect nothing less from this dynamic duo who gave their all to the animals and land they loved.

Back of the house. Elizabeth would roll her piano out onto the patio.
Side of the house reflected in the koi pond.

One of my favorite items to look for are the quotations that are sprinkled around the property.

Discover more about this hidden gem in our beautiful city of Charlotte! There are a number of books available about the property and the Elizabeth Lawrence Home and Garden down the road.

Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence–A Friendship in Letters

No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence

A Garden of One’s Own: Writings of Elizabeth Lawrence

Through the Garden Gate

The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens

Gardens in Winter

A Rock Garden in the South

Lob’s Wood

Birds of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County North Carolina

Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: Discovered Letters of a Southern Gardener

Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence

Clemson has a beautifully written garden profile available for reading.

Price: $10 for ages 11 and older; 10 and younger are free; an annual membership is also available

Be sure to keep up with their events, as they host many of them, including FREE Admission days like the one coming up on Earth Day!

Wing Haven is a 501(c)(3) organization.

“Wing Haven’s purpose is to maintain and develop its
properties located in Charlotte, North Carolina as a garden and bird sanctuary for the use, education,
and enjoyment of the community and to stimulate interest in horticulture.” Wing Haven Foundation, Inc.

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See You at the Mother’s Day Finders Keepers Market at NoDa Brewing Company

Where:

NoDa Brewing Company

2921 N Tryon St, Charlotte, North Carolina 28206

Finders Keepers Market Information

When:

May 14, 2017

1:00 – 6:00 pm

Come out and pick up a signed paperback of Manual Exposure and my handmade items: embroidered hoops, original coffee mug designs, Cozy to Go! cup wraps, earrings, necklaces, greeting cards, key fobs, and more!

Bring Mom along and let her choose her favorite things!

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See You at the Finders Keepers Market at NoDa Brewing Company

finders keepers market

Finders Keepers Market Jeannie M. Bushnell

 

Where:

NoDa Brewing Company

2921 N Tryon St, Charlotte, North Carolina 28206

Finders Keepers Market Information

When:

April 9, 2017

1:00 – 6:00 pm

Come out and pick up a signed paperback of Manual Exposure and my handmade items: embroidered hoops, original coffee mug designs, Cozy to Go! cup wraps, earrings, necklaces, greeting cards, key fobs, and more!

Mother’s Day (May 14, 2017) is just around the corner, and Bushnell Unscripted Handmade items make wonderful gifts.

finders keepers market

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Traveling Author: Epicentre Studio Movie Grill

Epicentre Studio Movie Grill seats

Charlotte has some great movie theaters, and one of my favorites is the Studio Movie Grill at the Epicentre in Uptown Charlotte.

Check out my view from my sweet seats in the theater.

Movie time! #theaccountant #Charlotte #movie

A photo posted by Jeannie M Bushnell (@jmbushnell) on

What Makes it Unique

Studio Movie Grill has the first-run movies you want and alternative/retro movies you can’t wait to see on the big screen. The in-theater dining includes the old popcorn favorite, but they have a full menu to order from, including a black bean burger for your veggie friends! There is a full-service bar, too.

As the video below shows, you push the little button on your seat table and an SMG team member appears at your seat and takes your order. You now sit back and relax in the reclining seats and enjoy the movie. Your food arrives hot (unless you order something chilled) and freshly made. The servers are not a distraction during the movie, and surprisingly enough, the smell of the various foods being eaten are not bothersome. Unless your bladder alerts you, you won’t have to leave your seat for a refill or to purchase the food. All transactions are brought to your seat.

Discounted Tickets

Studio Movie Grill frequently runs a promotion on Groupon for $5.00 movie tickets. If you are like me, and you consider movie tickets to be a nice treat, then you will want to scoop up the frugal ticket price when you see it on Groupon. At 51% off the regular price of a ticket, you will find yourself treating your friends and family to a night on the town and a movie.

Please note, food is not included in the Groupon ticket price, and you cannot use the Groupon discount toward food.

There are restrictions on the Groupon ticket purchase.  For example, the tickets are not valid for movies at 5pm or later on Friday – Sunday. They cannot be used for Special Event movies, Crowd Sourcing, or Film Series Movies. There are extra fees for 3D movies. See the link above for additional restrictions.

Buy Tickets in Advance or in Person

If you are attending a movie where you may be running late, or you anticipate the theater will be full, then you may want to redeem the Groupon tickets online and reserve the exact seat that you want (a $1.50 convenience fee/seat applies).

Otherwise, have your Groupon ticket ready to redeem at the counter, and you can pick your seat from the ones still available. You will know going into the theater what seat number you will be sitting in. Pretty cool, eh?

Parking

Parking in Uptown isn’t scary at all once you realize that SMG validates parking (up to 4 hrs)  in the self-parking area of the EpiCentre parking deck for guests of Studio Movie Grill. Valet parking will not be validated.

Be sure to check out the other restaurants and stores at the Epicentre. Fun events happen every day of the week, and if you are still hungry after the movie, you can swing into Five Guys and feed your french fry addiction. I know I’m not the only one who loves a potato.

Studio Movie Grill Experience from Studio Movie Grill on Vimeo.

Location and Phone

210 E Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202

704-972-1062

 

 

Check out some of the views you can see at the Epicentre!

uptown charlotte
uptown charlotte epicentre

#Charlotte sky is dark and cloudy. #sky #clouds #night

A photo posted by Jeannie M Bushnell (@jmbushnell) on

 

 

This post contains affiliate links that help to support me and my french fry habit.

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Traveling Author: Bechtler by Night Scavenger Hunt

Jeannie M. Bushnell Draws her version of a sam francis self portrait

Photo of the Firebird at the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina

As someone still new to the Charlotte scene, I’m always searching for fun and affordable events to attend within the city. One of my favorite places to find information that fits within those parameters is the Charlotte on the Cheap list that Jody Mace compiles. One of the events that she recently listed is Bechtler by Night.

The Bechtler museum is in Uptown Charlotte and open Monday through Sunday. I’ve had plans to make it out there before, but something always comes up, and I find the hours are just not workable for me. I’m obviously not alone, as the Bechtler by Night event exists for those like me who can’t seem to make it to the museum during the regular business hours.

Once a month, on the third Friday of the month, the Bechtler museum opens from 5 pm until 9 pm for a night of art appreciation wrapped in fun activities and prizes. The event makes for a wonderful date or outing with family and friends.

Unsure of what to expect when we arrived, my friend and I found a bustling museum entry filled with people in line to receive their bingo cards and sheets for a scavenger hunt. If you are one of the first 100 people to return the completed scavenger hunt and bingo card, you will be offered the chance to draw from a raffle box and win a prize!

As you walk through the museum hunting for the answers to the questions on the scavenger hunt page, you find yourself reading the descriptions for the art and looking at the art in an entirely new way than you have before. As a lover of museums, I’ve frequented my fair share, but this event encourages us to take the time to really read about the artists and the works rather than just scan the room and do a quick glance at each piece as we pass them by without a notice of much else.

The current exhibitions feature Sam Francis: Rapid Fluid Indivisible Vision (on view until March 7, 2016) and The Art of the Print (on view until June 19 2016). This was my first introduction to Francis, an Abstract Expressionist artist, and I found myself enamored with his techniques and works.

On the back of the scavenger hunt sheet, you are asked to draw a quick sketch of your favorite work of art in the museum. I chose a self portrait of Sam Francis. The obscure sadness just called to me.

Jeannie M. Bushnell Draws her version of a sam francis self portrait

I applaud the museum for creating an event that invites patrons to engage with the art in a new way. The modest size of the collections at the museum are ideal for this type of event. The museum is not expansive like The Smithsonian, and this helps prevent the patrons from feeling overwhelmed by the game. My friend and I were two of the lucky ones to finish the scavenger hunt before all the prizes were awarded, and we won two passes to the museum! Other prizes included items from the museum gift shop and tickets to jazz performances at the museum.

I thoroughly enjoyed my night at the Bechtler museum, and I can’t wait to return for future nights of Friday fun at the museum.

More information about Sam Francis at the Sam Francis Foundation.
Here are the future 2016 dates for the event:

March 18
April 15
May 20
June 17
July 15

Price: Free

Parking: Don’t fret – if you park at the Levine Center for the Arts Parking Garage, you will pay $5.00 and the museum is just a scant walk across the road. More information about parking can be found on the Duke Energy Center page.

Food and drink: Check out a menu and times for The Modern Cafe at the Bechtler

Normal Museum Hours and Admission:

Monday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed for major holidays (New Year’s day, Thanksgiving day, Christmas day)

Check out their regular admission prices, but please note:
Active-duty and retired military personnel,
National Guard, Reserve and their families get in Free!

Check out what people are saying on Yelp!

bechtler museum outside from the inside

The first image is of the Firebird, a permanent fixture in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art collection.

Blue Balls art print by Sam Francis:

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Manual Exposure Reader Review: Forest

Reedy Creek Park Image with Amazon Reader Review

Continuing with my series of reader reviews with my original photographs, I’d like to highlight a 5 star review written by Melissa Ann for Manual Exposure. For those who haven’t read Manual Exposure, I believe this review provides great insight into the book.

I receive a number of questions wondering about the level of sex in my book. Melissa says, “I consider the book to be quite steamy without being too much. It isn’t erotica, but it also isn’t innocent. Intelligent and sexy, you need to read this book!”

I love that! Yes, there is some sexual content in my book—I do not fade to black. I can’t decide for you if there is too little or too much sexual detail, as every reader as their own personal preferences. I feel I’ve tackled the scenes honestly, and I want you experience the passion between my characters.

Thank you for a beautiful review, Melissa! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book and took the time to leave such a compelling review.

This photograph was taken at Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Reedy Creek Park Image with Amazon Review

Check out this sunset photograph and another reader review of Manual Exposure!

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Snow Day in Charlotte, North Carolina

Photograph of Jeannie Bushnell Snow Charlotte

Snow days in the South are much more fun than snow days in the North. My sixteen years in Illinois were filled with snow and ice storms that felt unending. As a native Texan, I’m happy to be located in a place where snow doesn’t wear out its welcome, but visits often enough to keep the magic and love of snow alive. The local news has forecast 7-10 inches of snow for our area, and the snow is definitely sticking and packing on the streets. Stay safe and warm, and bring those pets inside!

Find out more about Winter Storm Pax.

Photograph of Jeannie Bushnell Snow Charlotte

Play

Update: Check it out!! We did get a lot of snow–almost ten inches!!!

Snow in Charlotte