Monday, March 28, 2016

Appomattox--the End of the War and our Trip

We started out in Charleston where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, and ended out trip at Appomattox, where General Lee surrendered to General Grant. It was almost 4 years later to the date!

The generals met in the MacClean house to sign the terms of surrender. I always thought they met in a a court house, but that was the name of the town--Appomattox Court House, not the building!

We enjoyed taking a long walk through the surrounding woods on a beautiful spring day.

This pretty butterfly felt like a harbinger of spring, despite the fact that we left part of it behind us in South Carolina.

Happily, the redbuds were in full bloom all the way home to Maryland. It was a great trip, but it's great to be home and be back with Coda (who seemed happy to see us despite the fun time she had with Suzanne and Harper last week)!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Ride

We attended church with the Charleston ward today. We got an easy start to the day, as church wasn't till 10 a.m.

They had a nice Easter program that included several choir numbers and a few extra musical numbers, as well. We also enjoyed the Bishop's talk.

Ed single-handedly drove us all the way to Lynchburg in the afternoon. He was rewarded for his efforts with and Easter pizza from the Waterstone Pizza restaurant in downtown Lynchburg! We'd been hankering for pizza since seeing a picture of  Crystal's Hungarian langos. We didn't want her European vacation to look any more fun than our East Coast Adventure!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in the Rain

We drove out to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens today and had fun trying to see it between rain downpours.

We were happy to wait on the beautiful covered veranda for the house tour. It was built in 1891 after fire destroyed the first two homes. Did you know Charleston didn't grow cotton, but rice? This plantation grew rice with the help of slave labor. Despite major financial setbacks, it has been in the same family for 350 years!

One of the ways they have survived, is by opening it to tourism since 1870. They have beautiful gardens and wildlife, including this very wet peacock!

Today was their annual Easter Egg roll, and we had to share the front porch with about 500 children waiting for the rain to let up so they could go find some eggs!

The rain did stop long enough for us to tour the gardens, including several serene bridges over the streams.

The live oak trees along the Ashley River were dripping with Spanish moss.

The pathways were lined with flowers, as well as azaleas and camellias. We were glad to be here in the spring!

We went back to Charleston, where we had dinner at Poogan's Porch. We tried out the chicken and waffles. When we first moved to Baltimore I thought that chicken and waffles were two meals. Ed had to explain to me that it was a thing! It was very tasty Southern dish, but I'm not feeling good about myself after eating the whole thing!

We did a little shopping after dunner and went back to the hotel to rest up and dry out!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Historic Charleston

We started the day today with a ferry ride to visit Fort Sumter, the site where the first shots were fired in the Civil War.

I didn't realize it was on a man-made island in the middle of the harbor! It is mostly ruins now, but they had a nice ranger talk that helped you get a feel for how everything was in 1861.

A group of fifth graders from Charleston helped the ranger put the flag up.

The flag was at half staff in sympathy for the victims in the Belgium terrorist attack.

Back on the mainland we visited the Charleston Museum that was full of local history, but also had a small Natural History exhibit. We have to post pictures of stuffed animals around the world just for Brittany.

We visited two historical mansions, including the Joseph Manigault home here. We loved the 13 feet ceilings. Why can't we find a house like this in Utah?

The Heyward Washington home also had tall ceilings. Apparently, it is a lot more comfortable in hot climates when you have tall ceilings. They had lots of beautiful furniture in the homes from the 18th and 19th centuries.

We stopped to eat BBQ and catfish at Nick's on Meeting street. We stalled as long as we could, because, believe it or not, our feet were complaining to us!

We were able to give our feet a rest AND continue looking at big, beautiful houses from the comfort of a carriage in the late afternoon. We really enjoyed the historic tales told to us by our driver, as well!

We couldn't resist finishing off the day by buying a couple of hats. We enjoyed trying on a bunch different styles before we settled on these. A fun reminder of a lovely day spent in the Holy City of the South!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Charleston, South Carolina

Before leaving Durham, we had breakfast at David and Rachael's favorite breakfast spot--Denny's. It was a surprise to us that such foodies could eat so much at  a Denny's that the waitress knew their order by memory! It was surprisingly tasty!

After a 5 hour drive we arrived in Charleston. We spent the afternoon exploring Charleston by foot. We took a break to relax at the lovely Waterfront Park.

They had some lovely fountains in town, including this one shaped like a pineapple!

We stopped for dinner at a Greek restaurant, where we ordered a sampler plate. The wall art made us think about planning a trip to the Greek islands.

We did a LOT of walking. We were hoping to get on local TV as we were walking along Battery Park, but could only find the van and camera equipment. The crew seemed to have disappeared!

We got to rest and relax for a half hour in Washington Square while we waited for our Ghost Tour.

We enjoyed hearing some great Ghost stories and stopping by some of the cities haunted cemeteries.

Then, because we got over 25,000 steps today we had no guilt at stopping twice at Peace Pie, a restaurant that serves Ice Cream sandwiches with a layer of pie filling inside. Ed liked the mouse one best, while I liked the salted caramel brownie one best. We also liked coconut cream and key lime. If we're lucky tomorrow we can go back and try the red velvet and strawberry cheesecakes flavors. It's a good thing we'll only be here three days!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Durham with the Bradys

We arrived in Durham early this afternoon and got to see my brother, David's second office at Aqueti, where they make lots of very high tech things, including cameras and x-ray scanners.

He is also a professor at Duke University and took us on a tour of the Doris P. Duke gardens. We were lucky to be there in spring to enjoy the flowering trees and the beautiful tulip gardens.

We dropped by at the big dig downtown where they are building the tallest building in Durham. David and Rachel have purchased a condo on the top floor of it, and will have the pleasure of watching for the next two years as they build it!

Rachael and I had fun going out for our new summer pedicures!

We finished up with a tasty dinner of shrimp and grits at Harvest 18. It was fun eating outside on the patio. Summer and good times are here to stay!

Otter Lake Loop Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We continued driving through the forest today, but entered the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Shenendoah National Forest. It was just as pretty as the Skyline Drive. We stopped at Otter Lake to take a small hike.

We crossed Otter Creek over a cute little bridge.

Halfway through the hike we had to take our shoes and socks off to cross another bridge that was covered with cold water!

Fortunately, neither of us fell in over a number of stream crossings.

The last one had some really great concrete stepping stones to assure we'd make it back dry!

It was a short hike, but had a pretty waterfall at the end. We were refreshed and hopped back in the car to continue our drive to Durham, NC.

Note to self: never buy dark chocolate with cayenne flavoring! We about chocked to death in the car after lunch!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Skyline Drive

Ed and I started our road trip to Charleston, SC today. We decided to drive the long way, via Shenendoah National Park in Virginia. We wanted to drive the much ballyhooed Skyline Drive.

Before entering the park we took a little side trip to the Skyline Caves, where we enjoyed seeing the pretty formations.

They had some rare anthodite formations we had never seen before. They were formed in a vacuum and were never exposed to air till the caverns were opened.

The Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and has 75 overlooks! We stopped at a handful of them to take a few pictures. The mountains were very pretty and the lack of leaves on the trees gave us a good view of valleys on both sides of the road.

We also stopped along the way and jumped onto the Appalachian trail for a short hike. The trees on the trail are marked with a white blaze, just like in Maryland and Pennsylvania!

We're spending the night in Waynsboro, VA, but ate dinner at the Mill Street grill nearby in Staunton, VA.

We chose the restaurant because of the pretty bread pictures on TripAdviser. We were not disappointed! The apple flavored butter and the honey-bacon salad dressing were a unique start to a delicious meal!