Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Travel Log: Southern Adventures

Since I'm currently on vacation and am enjoying a bit of quiet time at the beach house before everyone else begins to get up, I thought I'd write a brief travel log entry rather than my usual thematic entry for a Thursday.

So far, despite intermittent rain all week (that's been downright torrential at times), we've managed to fit almost everything in that we've wanted to do and have just worked around the rain.  I've checked the hour by hour weather forecast on far more times than I care to count, but I digress.  We still have two more full days here, in the Charleston, SC area, to fit in the rest of the things that were on our "things to do while we're here" lists.

Monday, we drove into Charleston and enjoyed shopping at the open air market that is formally known as "The Old City Market".  There has been a market on this site since 1788 and the current buildings date to 1841.  A wide variety of vendors here offer everything from locally made sweetgrass baskets to candied pecans and salt water taffy, as well as a large variety of souvenir items.  A number of shops line the streets on each side of the open air market, one of which is Black Market Minerals, a favorite stop for my boys.  Of course, we had to stop in here so they could each purchase a small selection of fossils and unique rocks to add to their collections.  They also sell a number of different gemstone beads and beading supplies which I know a number of my friends would find hard to resist (those of you reading this - they also sell them online).  After lunch in Charleston, at California Dreaming - my Mother in Law's favorite, we headed back to the beach house to change clothes and head to the beach during a brief break in the rain.  At the beach, we found a number of seashells and enjoyed hunting for them until we heard the clap of thunder and decided it was time to head in for the day.

Tuesday morning, we drove back into Charleston and took the boys to the South Carolina Aquarium while my in-laws enjoyed a boat ride over to Fort Sumter followed by a horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown Charleston.  The highlight of the aquarium trip for the boys was the new rare albino alligator they have that was rescued in the wild and then raised in captivity.  The aquarium also now has an interactive feature where the kids can "drive" an underwater exploratory robotic device inside one of the large tanks that house a number of tropical fish.  Needless to say, this was also a huge highlight of the trip for my guys.  The aquarium also has several shark and a sea turtle in it's largest tank which is always a must see.  After a successful trip to the aquarium and a visit to the gift store there, we headed back over to the open air market and enjoyed lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp, located alongside the market.  After lunch, the boys noted that it had stopped raining and seemed like perfect beach weather, so we headed back toward the beach house and stopped only at Rosebank Farms along the way.  While they initially grumbled about my desire to stop for corn on the cob and green boiled peanuts, they quickly stopped complaining when they saw the assorted farm animals they could visit.  The rabbits and ducks had both just had babies, so we especially enjoyed visiting them.  Once they discovered they could buy bottles of Coca-Cola, they were begging me to bring them back again while we were here this trip.  After a visit to the beach, we enjoyed a meal at our beach house, made from fresh local ingredients, including the corn I'd purchased.

Wednesday we drove to Savannah, GA, which takes just a little over 2 hours from Seabrook Island, where we're staying.  We enjoyed the River Street Shops, had lunch at Bella's Italian Cafe, then the boys headed to a toy store with my in-laws while my husband and I headed to Bonaventure Cemetery.  Those of you who know me well, can only imagine how thoroughly excited (geeked even) I was to be here.  There are few places more romantic to me than old cemeteries, with their marble monuments surrounded by plants that have resided next to them for decades, and this is especially true of Southern cemeteries filled with old oak trees draped with Spanish Moss.  Bonaventure sits on the site of a former plantation and was been a private cemetery from 1846 to 1907, when it became a public cemetery.  The cemetery is most famous for being featured in the novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" which later became a movie, but the statue of The Bird Girl that was featured on the cover of the novel is no longer here, having been donated to a museum to protect it after the book's popularity risked its safety.  There are still several phenomenal statues throughout the cemetery and I took a little over about 36 pictures on film and countless pictures with my digital camera here.  Once I'm home, I'll sort through all the pictures from the trip and will share them in my Flickr photo stream

Today, the weather forecast is for sun, and a high of about 88 degrees so for now, the only plans for the day involve visits to the beach.  Here, on Seabrook Island, we never know what the day will bring, though, and that's part of the fun of vacationing here.

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