Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anniversary Trip to Charleston, SC

It’s about time that I blog about our trip to Charleston, SC. My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on August 12, so to make it extra special we decided to take off work and head down to Charleston. The drive was about 5 hours long and seemed to go by so slowly, but eventually we got there. We booked a hotel right in downtown so that we could walk anywhere we wanted to go. After checking in, it was about time for dinner so we walked down the street about a block and I saw these Irish flags. If you haven’t noticed by now, anything having to do with Ireland gets me giddy and excited. You can thank my grandpa for that.

As we got closer, the sign said “Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub”. So that settled it. We were eating dinner there.

My husband ordered the safest thing on the menu: Shepherd’s Pie. I have made Shepherd’s Pie a couple of times for him at the house and he really loved it. Their recipe was very different. They had mostly meat, hardly any vegetables, and the mashed potatoes were put on top in 3 scoops. They brought this out in a miniature skillet. It looked delicious.

"Shepherd's Pie" from Tommy Condon's Irish Pub in Charleston, SC

I decided to order fish and chips. I know, very risky. However, I have never ordered “fish and chips” at a restaurant before so I figured this was my chance, and it would be the closest thing I could get if I actually were in Ireland.

"Fish and Chips" from Tommy Condon's Irish Pub in Charleston, SC

The portion of fish was quite large and I ended up not eating any of my chips. Overall, the dinner was pretty good.

The next day (the day of our anniversary), we headed over to Magnolia Plantation. It was about a 20 minute drive from historic downtown Charleston. Here were toured the gardens, the house, and the swamp. They had a “Biblical Garden” which I had never seen one of these before so we checked it out. Of course that is my husband by the sign.

We then kept walking along the extensive paths and came to a bridge over the swamp. I’ve always been scared of swamps because you never really know exactly what is lurking beneath. For those of you who are not familiar with the Southern states, South Carolina is the northern part of Gator Country. And Charleston is located pretty far south in South Carolina. Almost near the border of Georgia.

All that green stuff on the water’s surface is called “duck weed”, in case you were wondering. Close up, they look like teeny tiny lily pads. I thought it looked pretty cool because it made the swamp look all that more swampy.

So, like most historic houses, there is no photography allowed inside. So here is a picture of me outside on the back porch up against the ivy.

Next we went to the petting zoo they had on the property. There weren’t any exotic animals there… just your average farm animals. And of course, a deer. She was the highlight of the petting zoo. I had never been close to one, much less touched one, but she was so gentle. Very shy though. Her eyes were amazing and the picture doesn't do her justice.

Then of course I had to have a picture with the goat resting on the bench.

There were also some not-so-shy peacocks.

After our fun at the petting zoo, we took a boat tour over the old rice fields. Yes, I said RICE fields! Charleston, South Carolina is famous for their rice, which is called “Carolina Gold” for two reasons. First, it has a golden color; and second, it brought much gold (money) for the plantation owners. This particular type of rice originated in Madagascar and was brought over with the slaves. So anyway, here is a picture of the rice field/swamp. Look closely and you can see the top of the head of an alligator.

There were approximately 300 alligators living in the swamp/rice field and about 500 alligators total living at the plantation.

After the boat ride we walked through the rest of the gardens and came across some ginger!!! And not just any ginger, but WHITE ginger! The best kind! So here I am with my white ginger.

Magnolia Plantation was a neat place to visit, but it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner. Instead of going somewhere fancy for our anniversary dinner, we decided on Bubba Gump’s. Why? Well, we ate here on our honeymoon, except it was the one in Kona, Hawaii. My husband and I ordered the exact same thing we ate while on our honeymoon, and enjoyed the very same dessert (a giant warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and chocolate on top).
On our honeymoon at Bubba Gump's in Kona, Hawaii (2005)
Third Wedding Anniversary at Bubba Gump's in Charleston, SC (2008)

We’ll skip Wednesday because it was raining and Aaron was not feeling too well so we didn’t do much.

On Thursday, after checking out of the hotel, we headed on over to Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC. This was my most favorite part of the trip. The plantation was gorgeous. This was the driveway as we are heading toward the house.

Those are live oak trees with Spanish moss. The trees have been there for about 300 years, planted by Mr. Boone himself. In case you’re wondering why this driveway looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same driveway that Patrick Swayze rode his horse up and down in the movie The North and The South. Another movie that was filmed here was The Notebook. So it’s a very popular place for Hollywood films.

Here is a picture of me with a baby horse that was born in June 2008. She was a cutie!

And here is my husband standing in front of the house. I wish you could see him better. One of these days I’ll figure out how to take a better picture outside!

So, that’s it! It’s great to be home!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now that I've hit the big 2-3...

In an effort to consolidate blog posts from various blogs I have had over the years, this post was transferred to this blog on October 27, 2015. They contain records and milestones of my family to look back on in later years.

Yesterday morning, my husband and I packed up and headed to New Bern to meet up with his parents, and from there we all headed to Harker’s Island to take a ferry over to Cape Lookout. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have lived here now for 4 years and had never been to Harker’s Island.

A couple of things really fascinated me on this trip, and I wish I had taken my camera. The first was seeing horses eating grass on a tiny little island in the ocean, separated from the larger island that I now know is be called Shackleford Banks.

Shackleford Banks horse (via Google Images)
The second fascinating thing was how gorgeous the Cape Lookout lighthouse appeared when standing on the beach on the ocean side of the outer banks and looking inland. It was breathtaking.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse (via Google Images)

After our Cape Lookout trip, we headed back to my in-laws house, showered, and went out for a lovely dinner. The next morning (which happened to be my birthday), we had a quick breakfast and my mother-in-law took me out to tour Tryon Palace.

Tyron Palace in New Bern, North Carolina (via Google Images)
I had wanted to see the palace ever since I found out it existed (only 3 years ago) and so for my birthday, we went there. It was fun doing the whole tourist thing and learning about the history of early North Carolina. I particularly liked how the people who worked at the palace doing the tours were in character. I got to meet "Governor Tryon" himself and he even asked me if I wanted to play the harpsichord in his Council Chamber (hardly anybody else was touring the place that morning so there was a lot of interaction with the palace people). I chickened out because I hate performing anything… music or speech. So he played a little tune instead and it was lovely. I was disappointed to hear that the palace is a reconstructed version of the original, since the original burned down. However, I guess I shouldn’t be disappointed in history since there is nothing I can do about it anyway. Having a reconstructed palace is better than having no palace, right? The “palace” was pretty cool though. When we headed into the kitchen house, the people in there were in character too. There was this one older woman who was supposed to be working with the laundry upstairs but hung out with the cook all day. I can’t remember her characters name but she was so gossipy. She kept snickering to me about the Isaac fellow who works across the hall and how he’s engaged to a girl of a prominent family and she doesn’t like Isaac because she thinks he is against the King, etc. Her gossiping was really making me uncomfortable and I had to keep reminding myself that this was all just an act and part of her being in character. I can’t imagine having to be around a real person like that all day.

For lunch, my mother-in-law and I met up with my husband and my father-in-law for lunch at a Japanese place where they cooked the food right in front of you. It was really neat to watch and the food was delicious. When the restaurant found out it was my birthday, they came out with a pink frosted cupcake with a candle in it and sang me happy birthday in English and in Japanese to the beat of a drum. That part was strange, but whatever. The cupcake was still yummy.

It was an enjoyable weekend getaway for my 23rd birthday.
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