Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Mitford

Have you read the Mitford books by Jan Karon?  No?  I highly recommend them; I really do.  Hopefully, you'll be drawn into the stories and feel like you know all the characters -- in some cases, better than you know your own neighbors. 

The characters in the Mitford books are mostly southern, very human, and oh-so-funny.  These books make me laugh out loud, and I really love a book that does that.  Karon's use of southern dialect is so humorous and realistic; one of the men in the books is always saying "buddyro", which I haven't heard anyone say since I was a child.  Having grown up in the south, the characters and dialect really strike a chord with me.  But you don't have to be southern to appreciate the books; the people and themes are universal.  I imagine if you look around, you can find real-life Mitford's all over the country.

The stories take place in the fictional town of Mitford, which is based on the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  Jan Karon was living in Blowing Rock when she wrote most of the series; in fact,
the first book was printed serially in the small-town newspaper, The Blowing Rocket.

If you liked the books, you might enjoy seeing what some of the real places actually look like; if not, you can just enjoy seeing a really cute mountain town.  Unfortunately, Blowing Rock has become something of a tourist destination, so it's almost impossible to to find a time to visit when it's not crowded.

We took a lot of pictures, so this will be a two-part post.  You can see Part Two of "Finding Mitford" HERE.  The first group of pictures are of the church.

Love these beautiful foxgloves!

Father Tim's church in Mitford is The Lord's Chapel; the real Episcopal church in Blowing Rock is St. Mary of the Hills.

Isn't this a beautiful church?

There was a small, partially enclosed garden on the side of the church, and this is what I found inside...

"I am the Resurrection and the Life..."

This was one part of the wall around the garden...

Pink David Austin roses...  you can see our David Austin roses in this POST.

...and more pink Foxgloves 

Does anyone know what these sweet flowers are?

Shasta Daisies below...

One of the pretty lanterns, with some Lamb's Ear, Hosta, and Daisies.

Fox Gloves and Blue Salvia.

Beautiful Ferns, Siberian Iris (?), and Hostas.

The next few pictures are from Blowing Rock Park (Baxter Park in the books).  It sits right on top of a hill in the center of the little town.

A patriotic wreath for Memorial Day.

There are several antique shops in Blowing Rock, and all are quite pricey.  Wealthy people travel to Blowing Rock from Florida, and many buy vacation homes there.  For some reason, this shop just felt like Andrew Gregory's antique shop in the Jan Karon books.

Another pretty church, the Presbyterian church, is right across the street from St. Mary of the Hills.

Beautiful pink Mountain Laurel...

The last group of pictures were taken on a little side street of the town.

I'll do another post with more pictures soon.  I hope you enjoyed your trip to Mitford!



  1. What a lovely little 'day trip' you provided for us today. Thank you for pictorial adventure. Cherry Kay

  2. Wow...what a fun trip you took!

    I love photographing textured buildings and the wonderful colors of the flowers.

    Wish I could help you on names of flowers. :(

    Have a wonderful summer


  3. Love nothing better than old buildings & the beautiful flowers & shrubs that frame them. Lovely pictures.
    Happy PS
    Wags, Niki

  4. Those are great pictures...what a fun post! I've not read the books yet but I think I'd enjoy them! Maybe I'll check them out this fall!

    HaPpY pInK sAtUrDaY!

  5. thanks for the trip and the great photos .. I'll have to see if I can find the Mitford books.

  6. Yes, I have read all those books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I like anything she writes. Thanks for taking on this grand tour.

  7. What a lovely stroll you took us on! Beautiful pictures! I have the flowers in question and the tag on the them said Balloon Flowers, so that must be what they are! Mine are just about to bloom!
    Happy Pink Saturday!

  8. The foxgloves are wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing, and Happy Pink Saturday.

  9. I love, love, love, stone churches. This whole town looks enchanting with its brick sidewalks and whimsical doorways.

    I've never read the series. My mother has and highly recommends it.

  10. What a charming town! I have read all of the Jan Karon books and it's nice to see photos of Blowing Rock. Happy PS!

  11. What a fun tour! You shared some lovely photos of a charming place!

  12. Hi Denise,
    You are right next door to me at Beverly's so I thought I would stop by and take a peek at your pinks. What a lovely daytrip you have taken us on. The flowers are gorgeous and the churches, beautiful! Lovely photos! Thanks for sharing and HPS.


  13. Hi Denise,
    I've not heard of the Mitford books but did enjoy my virtual visit to Blowing Rock, the gardens looked very English.

  14. This town reminds me a lot of a lakeside town not far from were we live. Love the landscaping in the churches with the beautiful flowers and the Mary statue. Your pics are wonderful. Diane

  15. Thanks for posting the pics of the flowers and greenery. I can't get enough of summer flowers! blessings, k

  16. I so love the Jan Karon books. Thanks so much for treating us to this visit. Such gorgeous photos. Thanks for being a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  17. Such a charming town! You have captured it beautifully!

  18. Wow what a great town! The pictures are just gorgeous!!

  19. I LOVE Blowing Rock. You captured really great photos. I stumbled on the Jan Karon books by accident a few years ago while at the beach looking for a book to read. I was so excited they were about my favorite little town. I think it's funny, I grumble about the tourists, too. When I guess, if i am truthful, I am one as well. But we are in Blowing Rock so much and it is in my home state, I don't like to think of myself as a tourist. I'm just scouting out my next hometown. (Someday.)

  20. Denise, I'm listening to the very first book now on Audible. I've never heard of this series until recently. I'm about half way through the book. Thanks for bring the book to life for me. I'll see if I can locate the other post you fun to see Blowing Rock in person!

  21. I just happened upon this post on your sidebar...I have not read those books...I guess as a new North Carolinian I better get started...Loved going to Blowing Rock(as a Floridian...yes, I was one of those darn glad your hubby wasn't packin'. The photos are gorgeous.

  22. Thank you for the photos. I have enjoyed the books, wish the photos were in a book also.

  23. Thank you so much, I just new Blowing Rock must be Mitford and have been wanting to go there. So fun to see some of the town. Brought me to tears. I love those books and can't wait to go there. Thanks again , so fun . Tonja Murray

  24. That was I have to find Part II. (Wandering off muttering about little peanut worrying about losing weight. ;>)

  25. I loved your post and pictures. I have read the Mitford Series and then reread them again whenever I want to be cheered up!

    The flowers look like Cantebery Bells--very English-garden flowers! The hostas do honor to Father Tim!

  26. I have friends who have homes in Blowing Rock and I love visiting there. I have not been up there for a couple of years but I long to make a trip there sometime this summer. I had already looked into house rentals. One of my friends has been calling me while there and told me , you better get on up here the daytime temps are in the mid 50's and I am sweltering here in N FL. I love the downtown shops too and have bought many things from some the wonderful antique shops there. Your post made me want to get up there ASAP. I do have the entire Mitford series but have not read them and they would make excellent summer reading. I will definitely get them down and begin reading them, you have inspired me to do so. I thoroughly enjoyed your post.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

  27. How lovely! Thank you so much for sharing your trip with all of us! I'm quite picky about the fiction I read, but my daughter introduced me to Mitford. I love Mitford and its inhabitants and have enjoyed revisiting the series over and over. It's a dream of mine to visit Blowing Rock someday. So it was a blessing to "visit" there by means of your photos and commentary.



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