Tag Archives: SC

Four Foto… Tuesday? Thanksgiving Break Edition

Yes, I know I’m late again, but it was a busy and exciting week with travel, our job search, and Thanksgiving. We spent the last 10 days in the mountains of western Carolina, first in Asheville (NC) and then in the Greenville (SC) area. It’s a gorgeous part the country, made even better with friends and family to visit.

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Asheville: Last weekend, we hung out with the Freemans, our good friends from AES in New Delhi. Much of the time was relaxing at their house and letting the boys enjoy some much needed kid-time. We also took in some local hot springs, the National Gingerbread House Competition, and a holiday tour of the Biltmore, the Vanderbilt family estate and a masterpiece of 19th century American architecture. The Freemans even joined us for a campfire cookout down at the RV park. A terrific weekend with friends.

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Travelers Rest: The big attraction in this small SC town is my parents! It was great to see them and enjoy a full week of catching up and time together. The boys loved staying at their house and getting pampered and well-fed by their Grammy. We also enjoyed swimming at their clubhouse, fishing and hiking, and a really interesting “guy’s trip” tour of the BMW manufacturing plant in nearby Greer, SC.

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Zip-lining: Another highlight of our time in Travelers Rest was a daytrip to the Green River Gorge for zip-lining. Even though it was late in the season, the day was sunny and perfect for the fastest and steepest zip line in the America! The course took us on 11 zip lines and 4 rappels, all with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. A super adrenaline rush (to aid digestion).

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Thanksgiving: Of course, the main event last week was Turkey Day. Here, you can see the boys (with turkey head attire) helping Poppy carve the cooked bird. Our meal was a classic, complete with all the fixings and followed by lots of football. We have so much to be thankful for this year, but amongst them all, it’s the extra time with family that we hold most dear.

Our time in South Carolina extended into the weekend, but we’ve just arrived at our destination for this week: Cape Canaveral in Florida. We plan to tour the Kennedy Space Center and, hopefully, catch an actual launch. Stay tuned, and I’ll try to get this next FFF out on time 🙂

 

 

 

Four Foto Friday – Deep in the Southeast

This week, we took the opportunity to venture even deeper into the Southeast with several cool side trips in the region. Here are some highlights:

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Beaufort, SC: Just an hour south of Charleston lies the beautiful city of Beaufort. This quaint place is full of southern charm, with historic homes, shaded avenues, and a lovely waterfront. It’s been used as the set of several movies, including Forest Gump. During the Civil War, this area was controlled by the Union and was a focus of the country’s Reconstruction efforts. We visited the home of Robert Smalls, an escaped slave who rose to status of US Congressman following the war, as well as the Penn School, one of country’s first freedmen’s schools.

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Okefenokee, GA: Continuing down I-95 for a couple more hours, we came to the Okefenokee Swamp. It was really interesting to learn about this unique environment (plus, it’s just fun to say Okefenokee!). This National Wildlife Refugee had a nice interpretive center, auto tour, and boardwalk hike. We also took a boat trip into the swamp with a guide who pointed out the various plants and animals.

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Although it was unseasonably cold (high of about 50 degrees) we had good sun and some bright autumn colors. We saw several alligators, egrets, herons, hawks, and a very large but sleepy snake with a big lump in its belly. Cool stuff!

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Congaree National Park: By midweek, we started our inland trek toward the mountains of western Carolina. Along the way, we stopped just outside of Columbia, SC to visit one of our newest National Parks. Congaree is also swampland, but it’s cooler and at higher elevation (thus no gators). We spent our day canoeing through the narrow waterways and enjoying the sights and sounds of a bald cypress forest. We saw a raccoon and heard what we think were wild boars squealing in the distance (really, I’m not just referencing the movies). It was a beautiful place, in a primordial sort of way.

The weekend has us visiting good friends (the Freeman family) in Asheville, NC. From here, we’ll drive the short distance to my parent’s house. They live in the town of Traveler’s Rest, SC which sounds like the perfect place to turn off our engine, enjoy a home cooked meal, and spend time with family. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Four Foto Friday – Sweet Charleston

From Virginia last week, it feels like we’ve taken a much deeper dive into the South this week with Charleston, SC. It’s definitely a city with a fascinating history: proud colonial roots, a prominent place in the Confederacy, and an unsettling legacy of slavery. We’ve also enjoyed the distinct change in climate and surroundings. The air is warmer, the forests are deeper, the pace is slower, and people are even more friendly. We love Charleston!

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Fort Sumpter: This first stop took us to the middle of Charleston harbor, where the Civil War began. The boys have been learning about slavery and the Civil War, so it was powerful for us to see where the military hostilities started. Closer to town, we also visited the Old Slave Mart, which served as an auction ground in the domestic slave trade, and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, which served as a jail to pirates and revolutionary soldiers alike. A carriage tour through the original streets also taught us about the unqiue architecture and many prominent people here in Charleston.

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Plantation: Our tour of Magnolia Plantation captured for us the lifestyle of the antebellum South. We saw both sides of the coin. First was a row of simple huts that housed over 140 slaves (many of whom stayed on as sharecroppers through Reconstruction). Then, we explored the ornate home of the Drayton family who, on slave labor, made their wealth growing lowland Carolina Gold rice. Most impressive were the 600 acres of gardens (camellias and azaleas) and forests (live oak, Spanish moss, bald cypress, palmetto palms, and a variety of marsh reeds). This was at one of many scenic bridges that dotted the property.

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SC Aquarium: Along with the historical sites, we also visited this small but impressive aquarium. In addition to the deepest saltwater tank in the country, this aquarium had excellent displays on the plants, reptiles, and birds of that are found in this region’s blackwater swamps, tidal marshes, and coastal marine environments. We loved the many hands on displays, especially with baby alligators!

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Beaches: Of course, no visit to South Carolina would be complete without going to the beach! We were very fortunate to have several days in the high 70’s… still too chilly for some (Jen) but warm enough to get the rest of us in the water. Folly Beach was great for the surf, while the beach at Kiawah Island was tranqil and lovely. We saw many wild dolphins swimming just off shore, and the boys enjoyed swimming, tossing the frisbee, and skim-boarding. Gotta love beach time in November!