The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘USA’ category

South Carolina Vacation: Brookgreen Gardens

Later in the morning of Friday, February 24, after photographing the sunrise, we drove to Brookgreen Gardens.  This was our second visit to Brookgreen Gardens. A couple days ago we explored the Lowcountry Zoo and the Floyd Family Farm. On this day we walked the Lowcountry Trail, where we learned about rice fields and the slaves who worked and lived there. We parked across the road from the Leonard Pavilion, where we began our self-guided tour of the Lowcountry Trail.

The Lowcountry Trail is 1/4 mile in length. The trail crosses the hillside overlooking Mainfield, a Brookgreen rice field.

Brookgreen Gardens
Lowcountry Trail

Brookgreen Gardens
Overlooks of Rice Field along the Lowcountry Trail

There are four stainless steel figures along the Lowcountry Trail: the plantation owner, the overseer, an enslaved African male, and an enslaved African female. All four figures are the work of Babette Bloch.

Brookgreen Gardens
Lowcountry Trail: the Overseer
Brookgreen Gardens
Lowcountry Trail: an Enslaved African Female
Brookgreen Gardens
Lowcountry Trail: an Enslaved African Male

We did see the plantation owner figure, but I neglected to photograph it.

From the Lowcountry Trail we walked back to the Leonard Pavilion. We explored more of Brookgreen Gardens from this starting point.

The sculpture “Pledge Allegiance” by Glenna Goodacre is located in the Falk Family Garden near the Leonard Pavilion.
The sculpture “Heron, Grouse and Loon”by Elliot Offner is in front of the Leonard Pavilion.

The remaining photographs were taken, as we meandered through the gardens.

“Park Bench Statesman” by Maria J Kirby-Smith
“Gazelle Fountain: by Marshall Maynard Fredericks
“Time and the Fates of Man” by Paul Manship
“Riders of the Dawn” by Adolph Alexander Weinman
The Labyrinth is located along the north end of the Trail Beyond the Garden Wall.
It is a medieval, seven circuit Chartres style labyrinth of shell and natural grass.
The Labyrinth overlooks a tributary creek of the Waccamaw River.
There are several ponds throughout Brookgreen Gardens.
Any of the ponds can contain alligator(s).
Do you see the alligator in this pond?
Look to the right of the sign, between high grass and short grass.

Here is a close-up picture of the alligator!

Brookgreen Gardens alligator
Brookgreen Gardens flowers
“Don Quixote” by Anna Hyatt Huntington
“Sancho Panza” by Carl Paul Jennewein

There are many more sculptures at Brookgreen Gardens, and I am not done sharing some of those sculptures. Stay tuned for one other day during our vacation, when we returned to Brookgreen Gardens.

South Carolina Vacation: Sunrise

On the morning of Friday, February 24, we watched the sun rise from Surfside Beach. 

We first walked to the public beach access at the end of 1st Ave S.  I took a picture of the Surfside Beach Fishing Pier, under construction, before the sun had risen.

The dawning of a new day

We walked north a short distance to the next public beach access, next to River City Cafe, so that we could take sunrise pictures with an unobstructed view.  The sunrise did not disappoint!

Here comes the sun!
Such a beautiful sunrise!
Bob and I enjoyed watching the sun rise.

As we walked back to our Airbnb rental “Nanny & Pops”, we stopped briefly to take a picture of a Surfside Beach art mural.

Surfside Beach SC mural
Close-up picture of me in front of the Surfside Beach SC mural

This day’s activities continue in my next blog post.

South Carolina Vacation: Birthday Celebration

My birthday was on Thursday, February 23.

Bob made breakfast.

Bob made a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, brown n serve sausage and fried potatoes with onions. This breakfast got my birthday off to a good start!

We spent a few hours late morning and afternoon with our friends, Marge and Neil H, at their Garden City Beach rental oceanfront condo. 

Marge and Neil’s condo is located at One Ocean Place.

We chatted with Marge and Neil for a while on their 10th floor balcony, enjoying each other’s company as well as the view of the beach and ocean at our feet.  A short time later we ate lunch, prepared by their grandson Lex.  Lex and his parents, Michael and Andrea, were visiting with Marge and Neil for a few days. Lunch was a salad with a sweet and spicy dressing and a rice, spam and seaweed dish as a main entree.  The seaweed held together the rice and spam.  It was my first experience eating seaweed.  Lex did a great job with lunch … really tasty!  It was great seeing Lex again.  We last saw him several years ago, when he was a young boy.  He is 14 years old now.  We enjoyed also seeing and chatting with Lex’s parents.

Before leaving, Bob and I went for a walk on the beach with Marge and Neil.

The tall building in the background is One Ocean Place.
There were lots of golf carts on the beach that day.
I love these colorful beach cottages.
Neil, Marge, Bob and I on the beach

Spending time with our friends was a great way to celebrate my birthday!

That evening, after dinner (leftovers from the previous night), Bob and I went for a walk in our neighborhood.  We walked to Floral Lake, as we did the previous night.

This picturesque entrance near our rental caught my eye.

At Floral Lake we walked across the footbridge. As happened the previous night, turtles began to multiply beneath the footbridge.

There are lots of turtles in Floral Lake!

From Floral Lake we returned to “Nanny & Pops”’ our Airbnb rental.

South Carolina Vacation: Back at Surfside Beach

From Brookgreen Gardens we returned to our Airbnb rental “Nanny & Pops” and ate a light lunch.  Bob ate our leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and added a few grapes.  I ate a tuna salad snack set, a banana and grapes.  I prepared Suddenly Salad pasta salad for this evening’s dinner.  I needed 1/2 cup of mayonnaise for the salad.  I forgot to add mayonnaise to our shopping list, so Bob picked up a small jar at the nearby Piggly Wiggly grocery store.

During the previous day’s beach walk, we came across a small “river” that crossed the length of the beach.  A man told us there is a lake about 4 blocks from us, and the lake is where the water flows from.  We drove to the lake this afternoon.  We did a lot of walking at Brookgreen Gardens earlier in the day, which caused my arthritic knee to ache. We could have walked to the lake, but Bob thought it best that I not overdo it.  We found the small lake, Floral Lake, easily. There was a bocce game being played, when we arrived, at Martin Park.  From Martin Park we walked across a bridge over Floral Lake. 

A footbridge crosses over Floral Lake.
This was the view, looking left, from the footbridge.

Six turtles congregated underneath us, while we were on the footbridge. 

There is a sign at Floral Lake to not feed the ducks or other wildlife.
It appeared that the turtles were accustomed to being fed!

Tonight’s dinner was at “Nanny & Pops”. Dinner included sloppy joes, baked beans, Suddenly Salad pasta salad and, for dessert, cheesecake.

After dinner we went for a walk on “our beach”, just down from the Surfside Pier.  It was windy and cooler than it was late morning/early afternoon.  The change in weather was so refreshing!

This is the channel from which Floral Lake drains into the ocean.

This blog post concludes our activities on Wednesday, February 22.

South Carolina Vacation: Brookgreen Gardens – Lowcountry Zoo and Floyd Family Farm

On Wednesday, February 22, we ate breakfast at our rental Airbnb, “Nanny & Pops”.  We each had a bowl of oatmeal.  I added diced peaches to my oatmeal.

At 8:00 am we picked up groceries at Walmart that I had ordered online last night.  When we returned to our rental, I put away the groceries.  

Later in the morning Bob and I went to Brookgreen Gardens.  Brookgreen Gardens was created in 1931 by Anne and Archer Huntington. The Gardens is registered as a National Historic Landmark and contains native flora, fauna, and American sculpture. We purchased tickets, good for 7 days, at a cost of $18.00 each (senior rate).  Brookgreen Gardens offers three distinct areas to explore: Botanical Gardens, a large collection of American Sculpture and the Lowcountry Zoo.  We chose to explore the Lowcountry Zoo today.  All the animals at the zoo are native to Lowcountry South Carolina.

Some of the native species that we saw in the zoo included an alligator, a bald eagle, hawks, owls, river otters, ducks, herons, egrets and ibis.

This wildlife column by Anna Hyatt Huntington greeted us, as we entered the Lowcountry Zoo. This bronze sculpture is embellished with wildlife native to the Southeast.
Black-crowned Night Herons
White Ibis
Sun-bathing turtles
The Eagle’s Egg by Ralph Hamilton Humes.
American Bald Eagle
Great Horned Owl
I believe that this is a Red-Tailed Hawk.
An Alligator and a Sandhill Crane
Male Wood Duck
Ruddy Duck
Two Male Wood Ducks and One Female Wood Duck
Whistling Ducks

We visited the animals at the Floyd Family Farm too. The animals at the Floyd Family Farm are considered historic rare breeds and are much more like animals of the 1800s than the hybrid descendants of today.

Red Devon Cow
Spanish Goats

We saw two Marsh Tacky horses at the Floyd Family Farm. The Marsh Tacky horses were brought over the Atlantic Ocean by Spanish explorers and settlers in the 1500s.

Marsh Tacky Horse
Marsh Tacky Horse

Stay tuned for another blog post about the rest of our day on February 22, coming soon!

South Carolina Vacation: Warren PA to Surfside Beach SC

We left home shortly after 6:30 am on Monday, February 20th, en route Surfside Beach SC via Wytheville VA.

We vacationed in Surfside Beach last year at this time, as well. Last year, when we left en route South Carolina, snow was falling, possibly mixed with sleet or freezing rain.  The temperature was 19 degrees.  There was snow on the ground from home and all the way past Pittsburgh.  This time there was no precipitation whatsoever; there was no snow on the ground; and the temperature as we are leaving home was 42 degrees.

We stopped for breakfast in Franklin PA, at Linda Lou’s Family Restaurant.  This was our first time eating here.  The restaurant was recommended to us years ago.  We kept saying someday we would eat there.  Bob ordered a 3-egg Scrambler that contained home fries and bacon.  The Scrambler filled his plate similar to a large pancake. 

I ordered a light Western omelette, made with two eggs,
with fruit cup and wheat toast.

Bob said he was sorry that he didn’t order the same as me, as he wasn’t able to eat his entire meal.  The food was good, no better no worse than other breakfast eateries.  It was noisy, though, with the majority of the noise coming from the kitchen and wait staff.  This isn’t a restaurant that you go to, if looking for a peaceful meal!  We were on the road again shortly before 8:45 am.

We arrived at Comfort Suites in Wytheville VA shortly before 3:30 pm.  The drive there was uneventful.  We did see some rain, but it was spotty.  The most persistent rain occurred, as we approached Wytheville. 

We checked into our room and, then, we left for dinner.  We ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is located about 2 miles from the hotel and easy to drive to.  Bob ordered a 1 piece catfish dinner with hash brown casserole and broccoli.  I ordered grilled chicken with a smoky seasoning, accompanied by hash brown casserole and fried apples.  My dinner came with two pieces of chicken, but I could eat only one piece (the smaller of the two pieces).  Our meals came with biscuits or corn muffins.  Bob chose biscuits; I chose corn muffins.   We each ate only one of our selections.  As we left the restaurant, we talked about sharing our meals in the future.  We are both eating less, and it would be less expensive to share meals.

We spent the night in Wytheville and continued our drive to Surfside Beach SC the next day.

I awakened at 4:30 am on Tuesday, February 21st. We took our time getting showered and dressed.  I read online newspapers and did my Bing searches.  I scrolled quickly through Facebook.  I checked email.  We went downstairs for a complimentary breakfast.  Bob had an omelette and sausage.  I had a waffle and a fruit cup.  

We departed Comfort Suites Wytheville around 7:15 am, en route Surfside Beach SC, after I had photographed that morning’s sunrise.

Sunrise at Comfort Suites Wytheville

We arrived at our Airbnb rental, “Nanny & Pops” around 1:15 pm.  The rental was as described at the Airbnb site. 

After getting settled into the Airbnb, we went for a walk on the beach.  The beach is only 0.10 miles from Nanny & Pops. It was an easy and quick walk to the beach. 

In the background is the Surfside Pier, which is under construction.
The construction is supposed to be completed this year.

We walked only a short way on the beach.  We walked south, until we encountered a small “river” running the width of the beach.  A man told us there is a lake about 4 blocks from us, and the lake is where the water flows from.  There is a way around the river, but we chose to end our walk on the beach at the “river”.  

From the beach we walked to River City Cafe.

We ate a late lunch / early dinner at River City Cafe.

Bob ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger.  I ordered Buffalo Chicken Bites with BBQ sauce.  We shared a side of cheese fries.   Dinner was tasty. 

From River City Cafe we walked back to Nanny & Pops, where we spent the evening relaxing.

A Friday Drive

We went for a drive on Friday (January 6th), leaving Warren PA around 9:30 am.  It was a frosty morning, with a dusting of snow covering the ground and clinging to the trees.

Our first stop was at the Big Bend Recreation Area, at the base of Kinzua Dam where it meets the Allegheny River.

We walked from the parking lot the short distance to this pavilion.
The pavilion sits above the Allegheny River and overlooks Kinzua Dam.
Bob and I on the pavilion
Kinzua Dam

Our second stop was at the Zippo/Case Museum & Flagship Store, located in Bradford PA.

Zippo/Case Museum & Flag Store

Going to the Zippo/Case Store was the purpose for our drive.  Bob purchased a Zippo Butane Lighter Insert.  We wandered through the Zippo/Case Museum.

The Zippo Museum “Throne”
Zippo/Case Museum
An American Flag dominates this exhibit.
Zippo/Case Museum
American Flag
The American Flag contains approximately 3,400 red, white and blue lighters.
Zippo/Case Museum
An American heroes tribute
Zippo/Case Museum
“ZAC” is a 7-foot audio/kinectic ball machine.

We spent the majority of our time in the museum watching “ZAC”.


Our next stops were at Allegany State Park. We entered the park via Interstate Road in Bradford. All of our stops were in the Red House Area of the park.

This snowy scene was near the intersection of ASP Route 2 and Ridge Run Road.
Red House Brook flows under a bridge, located between ASP Route 2 and Camp Allegany Rd.
All the bridges in Allegany State Park are beautiful.
The Thomas L Kelly Covered Bridge crosses over the Red House Brook.
Thomas L Kelly Covered Bridge
Our last stop in Allegany State Park was at the Red House Wetland.

From Allegany State Park we drove to Red Lobster in Lakewood NY, where we ate lunch. We chose from the Dockside Duo menu.  Bob chose Fish & Chips with Mozzarella Cheesesticks.  I chose Parrot Isle Coconut Shrimp with New England Clam Chowder.   Cheddar Bay Biscuits accompanied our meals, as well as Coleslaw.  A slice of Vanilla Bean Cheesecake was our choice for dessert.  We “doggy bagged” enough fish and shrimp for two meals and carried home the cheesecake too.  Neither of have as big an appetite as we used to have.

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