Among the Palmettos
I would like to say a great deal of planning and prep had been used in the weeks and months prior our annual escape. And yes, some internet work, hotel booking, and maps took shape, but with our minds wrapped up in so many things…well…. Jackie offered a list of possibilities. I picked South Carolina. I had never been to South Carolina before. Seemed a good enough reason, don’t you think. We usually fly on these long trips, but Jackie had a sight that called her, the Biltmore Estate, so a road trip. The dip in gas prices took a bit of bite out of that cost, and so we left on a foggy Saturday morning in March’s mid.
Those that drive this broad country know just how large a piece of real estate it is, and first days come before a person has grown accustomed to long hours in the saddle. I felt grateful to reach our first hotel in Morrisville, TN after ten hours behind the wheel. We spent our Sunday in Asheville, NC, joined in the afternoon by Jackie’s nephew and his family that had driven some distance to meet us. A great time of good weather, family fun, as we wandered Biltmore Village, and too much great food, made a time we will cherish.
Now if you haven’t been to the Biltmore…well…these words won’t really cover it. We have all heard the phrase, “No expense spared”, in the case of the Biltmore Estate, it fits. An example: the third room we were shown, the Biltmore has 255, could very nearly hold our house…three times. That is set side by side, on the floor. That room, a banquet hall, had a vaulted ceiling that towered seven stories overhead. The space was beyond imagination. But then everything about that house was bigger than life…or at least any life I ever hope to live.
Now here was the rub. We waked into this beautiful grand place, with me carrying a camera, of course, and were met by a sign that told us that photography in the building was prohibited…oooohhhh!!! My mind was wrapped up with which angles I would use and how the light played, the magnificent architecture, windows, and art everywhere…and…oooohhhh! How my fingers itched. But I was good…frustrated but good. I photographed outdoors, a lot.
Now if you are going to the Biltmore, I offer two hints. 1: buy your tickets before hand, and 2: plan to use the day. This is one place you should not rush through. You can wander around the house on your own, providing you move along the marked route going the marked direction. No peaking in the closets here. But the edifice is an amazing use of Indiana limestone, thousands upon thousands of tons of limestone.
We ate lunch in a horse barn. Actually it was the Stable Restaurant, a nice place, situated in a building with gift shops, a book store, and a sweet shop. We spent the remainder of our visit strolling the gardens and grounds on a beautiful afternoon.
Charleston was our next stop, as we officially roamed the Palmetto State. The town was old
and by and large the traffic
was crazy. We spent our day there
wandering the historical district, seeing the old grand homes and stately
churches. An interesting place we intend
to return one day. A visit to Patriots
Point nearby offered us the opportunity to move about the three warships
there. The USS Yorktown CV-10, an
aircraft carrier, impressed us with its size.
The USS Laffey a destroyer was much smaller, but not nearly as compact
as the submarine USS Clamagore whose crewmembers slept among the torpedoes.
|Charleston's Pineapple Fountain is a symbol of welcome|
to visitors of the city.
Southward next to Beaufort, just across the water from Hilton Head Island. Beaufort is the second oldest town in the state. Like to guess which is older? Well, Charleston of course. Our hotel was downtown, in the historic section. We found ourselves surrounded by large old homes on the waterfront. A short drive south to Hunting Island brought us to the only lighthouse on this getaway. The Hunting Island Light was built to be moved, which it was only fourteen years after its first construction. The beach is shrinking even today and it might need to be moved again. It was a rainy morning so the pictures will not be impressive, but I did climb to the top and braved the rain on the catwalk.
A drive up and around and over some bridges took us at last to Hilton Head Island. For the most part Hilton Head is an exclusive area and we did not have the time to spend the money to become “included” in that corner of the world. All the same it was fun to get just a “taste” of the place.
Our final destination in the Palmetto State was Myrtle Beach. The weather had cleared…no, the weather was fantastic, in the seventies with blue skies and sun. Our hotel on South Beach…I mean it was on the beach with a grand view of the Atlantic. Walking on the beach made the perfect climax to our week away. When we watched the sunrise Saturday morning, we knew, sadly, we must leave the palmettos behind and begin the long drive home to where winter might have left the calendar but not our world…entirely.
We enjoyed our time in South Carolina, the Palmetto State, and hope to return…soon!
|Could we go on vacation and not play a bit of Put-Put?|