MARDI GRAS - NEW ORLEANS, LOUSIANA

Mardi Gras, that maddest of all mad days when every man may be a king, or, if he prefers, a tramp or a clown or an Indian chief, and dance in the streets. 

New Orleans City Guide (WPA, 1938)

If you didn’t come to party, take your bitch ass home,” shouts the man selling t-shirts on Bourbon Street. He adds, “I have size sexy for the ladies.”

The main street for Carnival Season partying in New Orleans has a distinct aroma—a mix of sweat, crawfish, Daiquiri puke and just-starting-to-rot garbage. All around the senses are assaulted with beads thrown from above, shoes getting stuck to the sticky wash that covers the street, drummers drumming, people shouting and bursts of purple, gold and green. Mardi Gras has been taking place in New Orleans since before 1835. It is a time for the loud, the grotesque, the strange and excess. While this might sound awful, it is intoxicating. The season has lasted all these years because it is what you make it.

Everyone has a different experience because no one is in charge and the celebration spreads throughout the city. If you came to party, you will find one on Bourbon. I saw lots of tits, a couple asses, hundreds of hollow plastic legs dangling around people’s necks filled with red liquor, people tumbling after one too many and too many crazy outfits to count.

The balcony people taunt the crowds below. Some put fancy trinkets on fishing wire to yank the items out of greedy, eager hands. They lay in wait to judge who is deserving of the beads. Sometimes it requires a dance or a flash and sometimes they take pity on a cute nine-year-old who is getting quite an eyeful.

Just one street over, there is the opportunity for family friendly fare. Royal Street, which turns into St. Charles when heading Uptown, is filled with jugglers and street musicians, and is also the main parade route for the bigger parades. Smartly, the first couple rows of people have chairs and right behind, people set up ladders with elaborate boxes for children to sit in for a better view. There is definitely alcohol, but people try to keep it together a little more here.

Quintron and Miss Pussycat are playing at the Spellcaster Lodge with Jello Biafra in attendance and Big Freedia is bouncing at VASO. There are fancy balls with high society that are by invitation only and parades that are solely for the people who know where they start and stop.

It can also be a time for the political. Different Krewes head different parades, all with unique themes for the year. The Krewe d’Etat is known for its biting satire and this year was no different with floats criticizing the sex trade and prison system. The Zulu Parade, that goes through the neighborhood torn apart by the freeway, celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela this year.

For me, Mardi Gras was cruising the city by bicycle and taking in the sites and sounds. The majority of the time it was a delight. Walking and making photographs, I was moved to tears during the Talladega College Marching Band’s version of Get Lucky and was surprised to find how amazing it is to make eye contact with someone on a giant float and catching the beads thrown right at me. And I already miss the smell.

Mark Twain said: “I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.” 

* * *

Tammy Mercure is a State Guide to Tennessee. She was named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine.

Follow on Tumblr at tammymercure or on her website, TammyMercure.com. Support her work at TCB Press.

RELIGION - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Soon after the war, the Negroes, who had been members of white churches, began establishing their own congregations. They had no funds with which to build and found that sites were difficult to obtain. For a time they were forced to meet in any available building…
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941)

Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a vital role in rural Alabama life. Traditionally, the church served as a central meeting place and social nucleus for country dwellers. Today, a disproportionate number of churches dot the verdant landscapes surrounding small, one-stoplight towns.
In winter the scant foliage reveals even more of these worship centers, which seem to materialize out of the wilderness. You’ll find these squat, whitewashed structures on backwoods roadways, perched atop remote hillsides, and nestled at the end of quiet dirt roads.  
Though many congregations long abandoned their traditional church structures for newer buildings. The old edifices are rarely demolished. Relics of a bygone era, the abandoned buildings slowly fade into the landscape. Ravenous kudzu vines devour their facades.
While there has been a great deal of progress in Alabama as far as race-relations are concerned, most places of worship remain fairly segregated along racial lines. Even in the smallest towns, churches with majority white congregations are situated a short distance from black churches of the same denomination. These divisions are holdovers from slavery and segregation. Most parishioners see their fellow church members as a sort of extended family; historically, this extension rarely crossed racial boundaries.
During segregation, church was one of the few places where black Alabamians felt safe and free to cultivate an identity. For many African-Americans, church served as a community headquarters for mobilizing against Jim Crow laws. Worship services allowed them a brief reprieve from the troubles of the world around them. These sanctuaries were also home to some of the first black schools.
With the music and message alternating between uplifting and woeful, the order of Sunday services haven’t changed much since the 1950s. While today’s services are shorter and, thanks to air conditioning, more comfortable, the devotionals at a number of black churches are still slow, meditative sessions of mournful humming and call-and-response singing. The spirit and tone of many devotional songs were carried over from the fields. While most slaves were punished for talking while they worked, it was common for overseers to allow singing.   
After devotion, the spirit of the service grows more and more uplifting. The choir sings songs of promise. The sermon—which starts with the reading of a few verses— crescendos into a high-energy show of jumping and shouting. Churchgoers stand and match the minister’s enthusiasm. They wave their hands, jump up and down, stomp their feet, shout things like “amen,” “yes,” and “preach!” This type of enthusiastic service still occurs at a number of churches across central Alabama. These services, like the old worship structures speckling the rural landscape, attest to how closely linked the past and the present are in the increasingly complicated palimpsest that is the American South.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Hale County, Alabama.
 * * *
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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RELIGION - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Soon after the war, the Negroes, who had been members of white churches, began establishing their own congregations. They had no funds with which to build and found that sites were difficult to obtain. For a time they were forced to meet in any available building…
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941)

Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a vital role in rural Alabama life. Traditionally, the church served as a central meeting place and social nucleus for country dwellers. Today, a disproportionate number of churches dot the verdant landscapes surrounding small, one-stoplight towns.
In winter the scant foliage reveals even more of these worship centers, which seem to materialize out of the wilderness. You’ll find these squat, whitewashed structures on backwoods roadways, perched atop remote hillsides, and nestled at the end of quiet dirt roads.  
Though many congregations long abandoned their traditional church structures for newer buildings. The old edifices are rarely demolished. Relics of a bygone era, the abandoned buildings slowly fade into the landscape. Ravenous kudzu vines devour their facades.
While there has been a great deal of progress in Alabama as far as race-relations are concerned, most places of worship remain fairly segregated along racial lines. Even in the smallest towns, churches with majority white congregations are situated a short distance from black churches of the same denomination. These divisions are holdovers from slavery and segregation. Most parishioners see their fellow church members as a sort of extended family; historically, this extension rarely crossed racial boundaries.
During segregation, church was one of the few places where black Alabamians felt safe and free to cultivate an identity. For many African-Americans, church served as a community headquarters for mobilizing against Jim Crow laws. Worship services allowed them a brief reprieve from the troubles of the world around them. These sanctuaries were also home to some of the first black schools.
With the music and message alternating between uplifting and woeful, the order of Sunday services haven’t changed much since the 1950s. While today’s services are shorter and, thanks to air conditioning, more comfortable, the devotionals at a number of black churches are still slow, meditative sessions of mournful humming and call-and-response singing. The spirit and tone of many devotional songs were carried over from the fields. While most slaves were punished for talking while they worked, it was common for overseers to allow singing.   
After devotion, the spirit of the service grows more and more uplifting. The choir sings songs of promise. The sermon—which starts with the reading of a few verses— crescendos into a high-energy show of jumping and shouting. Churchgoers stand and match the minister’s enthusiasm. They wave their hands, jump up and down, stomp their feet, shout things like “amen,” “yes,” and “preach!” This type of enthusiastic service still occurs at a number of churches across central Alabama. These services, like the old worship structures speckling the rural landscape, attest to how closely linked the past and the present are in the increasingly complicated palimpsest that is the American South.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Hale County, Alabama.
 * * *
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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RELIGION - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Soon after the war, the Negroes, who had been members of white churches, began establishing their own congregations. They had no funds with which to build and found that sites were difficult to obtain. For a time they were forced to meet in any available building…
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941)

Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a vital role in rural Alabama life. Traditionally, the church served as a central meeting place and social nucleus for country dwellers. Today, a disproportionate number of churches dot the verdant landscapes surrounding small, one-stoplight towns.
In winter the scant foliage reveals even more of these worship centers, which seem to materialize out of the wilderness. You’ll find these squat, whitewashed structures on backwoods roadways, perched atop remote hillsides, and nestled at the end of quiet dirt roads.  
Though many congregations long abandoned their traditional church structures for newer buildings. The old edifices are rarely demolished. Relics of a bygone era, the abandoned buildings slowly fade into the landscape. Ravenous kudzu vines devour their facades.
While there has been a great deal of progress in Alabama as far as race-relations are concerned, most places of worship remain fairly segregated along racial lines. Even in the smallest towns, churches with majority white congregations are situated a short distance from black churches of the same denomination. These divisions are holdovers from slavery and segregation. Most parishioners see their fellow church members as a sort of extended family; historically, this extension rarely crossed racial boundaries.
During segregation, church was one of the few places where black Alabamians felt safe and free to cultivate an identity. For many African-Americans, church served as a community headquarters for mobilizing against Jim Crow laws. Worship services allowed them a brief reprieve from the troubles of the world around them. These sanctuaries were also home to some of the first black schools.
With the music and message alternating between uplifting and woeful, the order of Sunday services haven’t changed much since the 1950s. While today’s services are shorter and, thanks to air conditioning, more comfortable, the devotionals at a number of black churches are still slow, meditative sessions of mournful humming and call-and-response singing. The spirit and tone of many devotional songs were carried over from the fields. While most slaves were punished for talking while they worked, it was common for overseers to allow singing.   
After devotion, the spirit of the service grows more and more uplifting. The choir sings songs of promise. The sermon—which starts with the reading of a few verses— crescendos into a high-energy show of jumping and shouting. Churchgoers stand and match the minister’s enthusiasm. They wave their hands, jump up and down, stomp their feet, shout things like “amen,” “yes,” and “preach!” This type of enthusiastic service still occurs at a number of churches across central Alabama. These services, like the old worship structures speckling the rural landscape, attest to how closely linked the past and the present are in the increasingly complicated palimpsest that is the American South.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Hale County, Alabama.
 * * *
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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RELIGION - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Soon after the war, the Negroes, who had been members of white churches, began establishing their own congregations. They had no funds with which to build and found that sites were difficult to obtain. For a time they were forced to meet in any available building…
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941)

Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a vital role in rural Alabama life. Traditionally, the church served as a central meeting place and social nucleus for country dwellers. Today, a disproportionate number of churches dot the verdant landscapes surrounding small, one-stoplight towns.
In winter the scant foliage reveals even more of these worship centers, which seem to materialize out of the wilderness. You’ll find these squat, whitewashed structures on backwoods roadways, perched atop remote hillsides, and nestled at the end of quiet dirt roads.  
Though many congregations long abandoned their traditional church structures for newer buildings. The old edifices are rarely demolished. Relics of a bygone era, the abandoned buildings slowly fade into the landscape. Ravenous kudzu vines devour their facades.
While there has been a great deal of progress in Alabama as far as race-relations are concerned, most places of worship remain fairly segregated along racial lines. Even in the smallest towns, churches with majority white congregations are situated a short distance from black churches of the same denomination. These divisions are holdovers from slavery and segregation. Most parishioners see their fellow church members as a sort of extended family; historically, this extension rarely crossed racial boundaries.
During segregation, church was one of the few places where black Alabamians felt safe and free to cultivate an identity. For many African-Americans, church served as a community headquarters for mobilizing against Jim Crow laws. Worship services allowed them a brief reprieve from the troubles of the world around them. These sanctuaries were also home to some of the first black schools.
With the music and message alternating between uplifting and woeful, the order of Sunday services haven’t changed much since the 1950s. While today’s services are shorter and, thanks to air conditioning, more comfortable, the devotionals at a number of black churches are still slow, meditative sessions of mournful humming and call-and-response singing. The spirit and tone of many devotional songs were carried over from the fields. While most slaves were punished for talking while they worked, it was common for overseers to allow singing.   
After devotion, the spirit of the service grows more and more uplifting. The choir sings songs of promise. The sermon—which starts with the reading of a few verses— crescendos into a high-energy show of jumping and shouting. Churchgoers stand and match the minister’s enthusiasm. They wave their hands, jump up and down, stomp their feet, shout things like “amen,” “yes,” and “preach!” This type of enthusiastic service still occurs at a number of churches across central Alabama. These services, like the old worship structures speckling the rural landscape, attest to how closely linked the past and the present are in the increasingly complicated palimpsest that is the American South.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Hale County, Alabama.
 * * *
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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RELIGION - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Soon after the war, the Negroes, who had been members of white churches, began establishing their own congregations. They had no funds with which to build and found that sites were difficult to obtain. For a time they were forced to meet in any available building…
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941)

Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a vital role in rural Alabama life. Traditionally, the church served as a central meeting place and social nucleus for country dwellers. Today, a disproportionate number of churches dot the verdant landscapes surrounding small, one-stoplight towns.
In winter the scant foliage reveals even more of these worship centers, which seem to materialize out of the wilderness. You’ll find these squat, whitewashed structures on backwoods roadways, perched atop remote hillsides, and nestled at the end of quiet dirt roads.  
Though many congregations long abandoned their traditional church structures for newer buildings. The old edifices are rarely demolished. Relics of a bygone era, the abandoned buildings slowly fade into the landscape. Ravenous kudzu vines devour their facades.
While there has been a great deal of progress in Alabama as far as race-relations are concerned, most places of worship remain fairly segregated along racial lines. Even in the smallest towns, churches with majority white congregations are situated a short distance from black churches of the same denomination. These divisions are holdovers from slavery and segregation. Most parishioners see their fellow church members as a sort of extended family; historically, this extension rarely crossed racial boundaries.
During segregation, church was one of the few places where black Alabamians felt safe and free to cultivate an identity. For many African-Americans, church served as a community headquarters for mobilizing against Jim Crow laws. Worship services allowed them a brief reprieve from the troubles of the world around them. These sanctuaries were also home to some of the first black schools.
With the music and message alternating between uplifting and woeful, the order of Sunday services haven’t changed much since the 1950s. While today’s services are shorter and, thanks to air conditioning, more comfortable, the devotionals at a number of black churches are still slow, meditative sessions of mournful humming and call-and-response singing. The spirit and tone of many devotional songs were carried over from the fields. While most slaves were punished for talking while they worked, it was common for overseers to allow singing.   
After devotion, the spirit of the service grows more and more uplifting. The choir sings songs of promise. The sermon—which starts with the reading of a few verses— crescendos into a high-energy show of jumping and shouting. Churchgoers stand and match the minister’s enthusiasm. They wave their hands, jump up and down, stomp their feet, shout things like “amen,” “yes,” and “preach!” This type of enthusiastic service still occurs at a number of churches across central Alabama. These services, like the old worship structures speckling the rural landscape, attest to how closely linked the past and the present are in the increasingly complicated palimpsest that is the American South.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Hale County, Alabama.
 * * *
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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RELIGION - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Soon after the war, the Negroes, who had been members of white churches, began establishing their own congregations. They had no funds with which to build and found that sites were difficult to obtain. For a time they were forced to meet in any available building…

—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941)

Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a vital role in rural Alabama life. Traditionally, the church served as a central meeting place and social nucleus for country dwellers. Today, a disproportionate number of churches dot the verdant landscapes surrounding small, one-stoplight towns.

In winter the scant foliage reveals even more of these worship centers, which seem to materialize out of the wilderness. You’ll find these squat, whitewashed structures on backwoods roadways, perched atop remote hillsides, and nestled at the end of quiet dirt roads.  

Though many congregations long abandoned their traditional church structures for newer buildings. The old edifices are rarely demolished. Relics of a bygone era, the abandoned buildings slowly fade into the landscape. Ravenous kudzu vines devour their facades.

While there has been a great deal of progress in Alabama as far as race-relations are concerned, most places of worship remain fairly segregated along racial lines. Even in the smallest towns, churches with majority white congregations are situated a short distance from black churches of the same denomination. These divisions are holdovers from slavery and segregation. Most parishioners see their fellow church members as a sort of extended family; historically, this extension rarely crossed racial boundaries.

During segregation, church was one of the few places where black Alabamians felt safe and free to cultivate an identity. For many African-Americans, church served as a community headquarters for mobilizing against Jim Crow laws. Worship services allowed them a brief reprieve from the troubles of the world around them. These sanctuaries were also home to some of the first black schools.

With the music and message alternating between uplifting and woeful, the order of Sunday services haven’t changed much since the 1950s. While today’s services are shorter and, thanks to air conditioning, more comfortable, the devotionals at a number of black churches are still slow, meditative sessions of mournful humming and call-and-response singing. The spirit and tone of many devotional songs were carried over from the fields. While most slaves were punished for talking while they worked, it was common for overseers to allow singing.   

After devotion, the spirit of the service grows more and more uplifting. The choir sings songs of promise. The sermon—which starts with the reading of a few verses— crescendos into a high-energy show of jumping and shouting. Churchgoers stand and match the minister’s enthusiasm. They wave their hands, jump up and down, stomp their feet, shout things like “amen,” “yes,” and “preach!” This type of enthusiastic service still occurs at a number of churches across central Alabama. These services, like the old worship structures speckling the rural landscape, attest to how closely linked the past and the present are in the increasingly complicated palimpsest that is the American South.

Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Hale County, Alabama.

 * * *

April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.

Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.

ALL THE WAY IN - HILLSDALE, NEW YORK

Nestled between the Berkshire Mountains to the east and the Catskill Mountains to the west, Hillsdale exists in a world of its own. Far away from most things, it is a rural escape for many and home to few. Wikipedia accurately describes the area as “rolling hills, open farmland and wooded tracts,” and that’s exactly what you see when you set out in any direction from the intersection of Routes 22 & 23 in the center of this hamlet.

Or you can stay awhile and discover the real beauty that is off the beaten path on the dirt roads that seem to outnumber the paved streets. They criss-cross the landscape for miles and miles, daring you to press your luck with a guess to turn right or left at the numerous forks in the road, leading you to the next hidden gem that could be an abandoned house or a fallen down barn. You’re purposefully lost and don’t care while the GPS taunts you to continue further in the direction you intended, but the road ahead turns muddy and seems suitable only for farm vehicles. And the odd, handwritten sign tacked to the tree like a warning instructs to “Leave the road open to the back, we are all the way in.” You realize your luck has been pressed sufficiently for today while you head back the way you came and wonder what that life would be like… all the way in.

There are numerous places to pull your car over to take in the view for a few minutes, only to realize five minutes later that not a single other car has come along. So you sit awhile longer and another 10 minutes pass before one does. The next time it happens you sit almost 25 minutes before you see another soul. You could sell this silence. You’re tempted to just sit and try it again in the exact same spot—make a game of it, but there’s so much more to see and little time left to see it.

The sun in the sky is low and blinding most of the day—it has trouble rising over that mountain just like you do, but when it goes it’s gone, and then the night is black when you step outside and ease your car down the mountainside through this year’s first snow to join the locals at the Hillsdale House Inn and Tavern—one of the few common gathering places available. Everyone knows each other and when they don’t there are introductions made. A few sit alone on stools frittering dollars on the lotto, making small talk, but mostly it’s a lively bunch on Thanksgiving Eve and more than one patron confesses that the amount of libation consumed is in direct correlation to the fact that no work is required tomorrow—the rare day off in a town where second homes are common but the locals don’t know much leisure. Some of these folks have been at it awhile, and just like the scenery on the empty roads you are tempted to sit and see how long it can last.

You finish your dinner at the bar and drive again through the ink black, making sure to accumulate enough speed to maintain momentum up the snow-felled mountain. Finally the crunch of snow is under your feet again and that’s when you realize there is a life outside the city, where you can see the stars for the first time since you don’t remember. You step inside to the warmth of the woodstove and hope it’s still burning. You’re all the way in.

* * *

Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and works in New York, but prefers small town life and his home state of Maine. Any chance to get rural is a mental vacation. Follow Klein on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear. His curatorial collection of Americana, rural life, other artists and ephemera can be seen on Tumblr at Tons of Land.

FROM THE TOP OF MT. TAMALPAIS - CALIFORNIA 

The road below is impossible to see as of now. We have been carving up the side-winding roads of the Marin Hills in Marin County, California for what seems like forever. Each turn and straightaway reveals a completely new landscape and perspective than before, dwarfing the city of San Francisco off in the hazy distance.

Mount Tamalpais, also known as Mount Tam or “Sleeping Maiden,” is the highest peak in Marin County. The summit, which is 2,574 ft above sea level, offers a spectacular aerial view of San Francisco, Oakland, Marin County, the Pacific Ocean, and the Bay. The Mount serves as a symbol of Marin County, which is known for its national parks and inclination to preservation. Tamalpais is joined by many other recreational areas in Marin, altogether providing nearly 40 miles of publicly accessible open space.

This is the Mount where Alan Watts, the great British philosopher, peacefully died in his sleep in his hillside cabin. The Mount that Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac hiked in the late ’50s with poet Gary Snyder, leading Kerouac to write his pseudo-buddhist novel The Dharma Bums. From the peak of Mount Tamalpais, you certainly get a glimpse into the splendor and mysticism of the landscape. As I stood anchored between the large boulders at the summit peering down at the now specks of San Francisco, I was reminded of my favorite Kerouac quote—presumably inspired by Mount Tam and other hiking adventures: “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple,” Jack muses within the pages of The Dharma Bums. Looking down at the green and blue world below Tam’s great heights solidifies his statement, for atop Mount Tamalpais all is right, and simple.

* * *

Shelby Pollard is an independent visual artist, writer, and musician.  He was born in a rural southern Illinois town, but now calls Chicago home.  He is a lover of all things truly American, a beard enthusiast, and a whiskey advocate.  You can find his work at chicagodailyart.tumblr.com, hear his music at minorcharactersmusic.com, or follow him on Twitter.

VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 
On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.
The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.
* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCraw. He is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
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VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 
On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.
The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.
* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCraw. He is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
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VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 
On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.
The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.
* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCraw. He is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
Zoom Info
VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 
On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.
The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.
* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCraw. He is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
Zoom Info
VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 
On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.
The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.
* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCraw. He is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
Zoom Info
VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 
On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.
The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.
* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCraw. He is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
Zoom Info

VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH

Vernacular architecture is an art of improvisation; buildings determined by the culture in which they exist and constructed using the materials available in the local environment. These structures stand as monuments to the individuals that built them, reflections of their character (in much the same way that a photograph is a reflection of the photographer) and of the landscape in which they are set. 

On my journey through the American South I immersed myself in lore and legend, and ghosts were a recurring theme. Being interested in landscape, it seemed relevant that a ghost’s tendency is to haunt a specific place; for it is place that defines us and shapes our vision. Place captures our imagination. There are places that we feel so attached to that we cannot bear to leave them behind.

The isolated, rural structures were a frequent lure on the road; the buildings occupied by those who drew their livelihood from the very land on which they lay and of these it was the more desolate that interested me particularly. They had a certain presence, but one that I couldn’t quite articulate.

Since returning home I’ve revisited Wright Morris’ seminal 1946 publication, The Inhabitants, and stumbled upon this quote—  

In all my life I have never been in anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house. Sometimes I think only vacant houses are occupied. That’s something I knew as a boy but I had nobody to tell me that that’s what an Inhabitant is. An Inhabitant is what you can’t take away from a house. You can take away everything else — in fact, the more you take away the better you can see...

These are the places that haunt me.

* * *
Alex Howard is a photographer from Suffolk, England. In January and February of 2013 he traversed the Southern United States in the company of American photographer Maribeth Keane, and under the brief guidance of State Guide Michael McCrawHe is currently working on a book of the photographs that he shot in the USA, and exploring his native East Anglia. Follow on his website alex-howard.co.uk and he posts on a group tumblr at locigroup.tumblr.com.
This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
PASSAIC FALLS - PATERSON, NEW JERSEY
Jon Creamer shares a “waterfall of special beauty” for Field Assignment #8 - Waterways:

What brought me there in the first place was an interest in Paterson, or William Carlos William’s long poem of the same title…
From its Author’s Note….
"The Falls let out a roar as it crashed upon the rocks at its base. In the imagination this roar is a speech or a voice, a speech in particular; it is the poem itself that is the answer."
Wasn’t so much roaring the day I was there , still, it was something…

* * *
Jon Creamer is a teacher and photographer, currently on sabbatical from the Groton School in Groton, MA, based in Providence, RI between his travels. More of his work can be seen at his website and on tumblr at years-of-indiscretion.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PASSAIC FALLS - PATERSON, NEW JERSEY
Jon Creamer shares a “waterfall of special beauty” for Field Assignment #8 - Waterways:

What brought me there in the first place was an interest in Paterson, or William Carlos William’s long poem of the same title…
From its Author’s Note….
"The Falls let out a roar as it crashed upon the rocks at its base. In the imagination this roar is a speech or a voice, a speech in particular; it is the poem itself that is the answer."
Wasn’t so much roaring the day I was there , still, it was something…

* * *
Jon Creamer is a teacher and photographer, currently on sabbatical from the Groton School in Groton, MA, based in Providence, RI between his travels. More of his work can be seen at his website and on tumblr at years-of-indiscretion.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

PASSAIC FALLS - PATERSON, NEW JERSEY

Jon Creamer shares a “waterfall of special beauty” for Field Assignment #8 - Waterways:

What brought me there in the first place was an interest in Paterson, or William Carlos William’s long poem of the same title…

From its Author’s Note….

"The Falls let out a roar as it crashed upon the rocks at its base. In the imagination this roar is a speech or a voice, a speech in particular; it is the poem itself that is the answer."

Wasn’t so much roaring the day I was there , still, it was something…

* * *

Jon Creamer is a teacher and photographer, currently on sabbatical from the Groton School in Groton, MA, based in Providence, RI between his travels. More of his work can be seen at his website and on tumblr at years-of-indiscretion.tumblr.com.

THE TWIN CITIES – LEWISTON-AUBURN, MAINE

The general traffic bridges and two railroad bridges join Lewiston, on the east bank, with Auburn on the west. Strong as the bridges have been in binding Lewiston and Auburn together, there have been occasions when they have, in a sense, separated rather than joined the two cities. Many residents of one city work in the other, and during the strike of 1937, the bridges became barriers guarded by militia and police who sought to prevent strikers of one city from entering the other. Again, the bridges have often been the scene of pitched battles, usually induced by high-school rivalry, between the youth of the two cities.

Maine: A Guide ‘Down East’ (WPA, 1937)

The cities of the Androscoggin River, Lewiston and Auburn, sit facing each other across this lengthy waterway that runs from northern New Hampshire to the Gulf of Maine. Once the textile heart of the state, this joint community still has the bones and the buildings to prove it. The brick mill buildings mostly sit vacant along the river as they have almost my entire life. A few new occupants here and there, but it remains nearly unchanged for several decades now.

The two cities are not terribly distinct from each other and have always been spoken about in the same breath. So much so that they’ve discussed merging into one to save on town resources. Lewiston by itself is Maine’s second largest city, but it feels less like a city and more like numerous hard working towns across the country. You wonder how it still survives after industry closed its doors on it. Clothing and shoe factories all gone save one.

Despite being the second largest community in the state, in less than five minutes you’ve traveled from the center to the outskirts—where asphalt crumbles and side roads turn to dirt. Hay fields and corn stalks are plenty, now desiccated and pale, waiting for the weight of winter to pull them down. Next to you is the river which you can watch as it leaves town like everyone else did.

* * *

Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and works in New York, but prefers small town life and his home state of Maine. Any chance to get rural is a mental vacation. Follow Klein on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear. His curatorial collection of Americana, rural life, other artists and ephemera can be seen on Tumblr at Tons of Land.

NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info

NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO

Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.

After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.

The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.

Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.

Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.

Guide Note:

* * *

At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.

AMERICAN GUIDE WEEK - NOVEMBER 18-24, 2013

We’re just a little over one week away from #AmericanGuideWeek! The Valley News from New Hampshire/Vermont says you should join in, so what are you waiting for? 

BE A GUIDE. SHOW AMERICA TO AMERICANS. 

Between Monday, Nov. 18, and Sunday, Nov. 24, tag your Tumblr photos, illustrations and writing that describe the America you live in and the America you travel through — people, places and things. This is a collaboration, folks: a living, Tumblifying documentary about the USA. You’ll be reblogged or featured on The American Guide.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT, TRUSTED GUIDE: 

Your A/G editors unearthed the actual mimeographed manual that the WPA sent out to each state research office in charge of producing the original guidebooks.

So, stay tuned all next week as we release the top 10 “how to be a WPA Guide” instructions — to use as your guide for #AmericanGuideWeek. 

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Illustration by Guide to the West, James Orndorf - www.roughshelter.com

LAKE WARAMAUG - NEW PRESTON, CONNECTICUT

North from New Preston Village on State 45 is Lake Waramaug (L), 0.6 m., one of the most beautiful natural bodies of water in the State. Bordered by many summer residences, hotels of the better type, a private country club, and, agh the head of the lake on the west shore, a State Park of 75 acres offering camping, bathing, fishing, and picnic facilities, this pure lake is a favorite vacation spot for New York and Connecticut people.

Connecticut, A Guide To Its Roads, Lore, and People (WPA, 1938)

Chief Waramaug summered in this area and used it as his winter hunting grounds. While he supposedly had a 20,000 square foot longhouse, your weekend accommodations are no less noble, and involve refrigeration. Currently an 8-mile drive takes you around the 680-acre lake. While you make that loop you’ll pass through the Connecticut towns of Kent, Washington and Warren. You’ll pass new homes and old, some teardowns and renovations, some 1900 Adirondack classics still relevant, some artistic and beautiful studios built on the grandfathered foundations of old boathouse footprints. Not a longhouse in sight, but you can camp at the state park on the lakeshore.

You can make a day trip, just a half hour off the I-84 east-west corridor northeast of Danbury, to a place that feels a bit like somewhere else—someplace not so close. Or you can celebrate your parents’ 50th Anniversary in style, only do it two plus years later because of hurricanes and the erratic schedules of all involved.

This would be true for probably any lake, that when you go there you don’t want anything to take you away. You just want to be on the lake. Or on the porch staring at the lake. Although if an emergency room visit for stitches and a tetanus shot is required because someone manhandled that metal canoe a bit too roughly, then you’ll make that trip, too.

On that last day (not so ironically it is Labor Day), when you see your 12-year-old niece snapping early morning pictures of the lake with her new iPhone, you know you’re not the only one that could chuck it all for a simpler life.

But you leave it all behind for someone else and their security deposit.

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Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and works in New York, but prefers small town life and his home state of Maine. Any chance to get rural is a mental vacation. Follow Klein on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear. His curatorial collection of Americana, rural life, other artists and ephemera can be seen on Tumblr at Tons of Land.