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Posts from the ‘South Carolina’ category

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.

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 7

Friday, August 26, was the third day of SEVROC.

We got up around 7:00 am and ate breakfast in our room.

After breakfast I sat outside our room, enjoying the crisp air of the morning. I also watched fog rolling over the mountains.

At 8:42 am a heavy fog was still rolling over the mountains.

At 9:00 am a few of our friends left A Holiday Motel to ride up The Rattler (NC 209) to Hot Springs.

They are off, with “Skid” in the lead.
Skid’s blog post will provide details and photographs of the ride.

At 9:30 am Bob and I left en route the Fred W Symmes Chapel. We traveled via Interstate or highway most of the way and arrived at 11:12 am.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel is located in Cleveland, South Carolina. The chapel is also known as “Pretty Place” because of its amazing view.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel
As I walked into the open-air sanctuary, I was filled with awe.
Such an incredible place to visit!
What a breathtaking view!

We left the chapel around 11:30 am and began the second part of our sightseeing journey. We visited several waterfalls, as well as a visitor center for the Pisgah National Forest.

Connestee Falls Park is located about 6 miles from Brevard NC, along U.S. Route 276. We took a very short stroll from the right rear of the parking lot to the viewing area for two waterfalls: Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls. There is a Connestee Falls that is a gated community. You need to drive past the gated community to Connestee Falls Park. There is a realtor’s office next to the park. I tell you this because EVERY SINGLE TIME we have visited Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls, we have turned into the gated community and were turned away!

This wheelchair accessible trail leads to an overlook of the Connestee and Batson Falls.
The viewing platform sits on top of Connestee Falls.
Panoramic view of Connestee Falls and Batson Falls
I zoomed in to capture this picture of Batson Falls.
This video shows the Connestee Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill and joins Batson Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill.

From Connestee Falls Park we drove to another waterfall. Located a short distance from Brevard along Route 276 is Looking Glass Falls. It had started to rain, as we approached Looking Glass Falls. As a result, we didn’t hike down the trail to lower viewing platforms. We viewed the falls from the top viewing platform only.

Looking Glass Falls is 60 feet tall.

From Looking Glass Falls we backtracked a short distance and visited the National Forest Visitor Center Pisgah Ranger Division.  It was pouring rain; glad we didn’t have to park far from the building! I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp for Pisgah National Forest and looked at the exhibits.

This is a replica of the entrance gate that once stood at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
This is the only bear that we saw, while on vacation.

The rain stopped, as we drove through Brevard.

Our next stop was at another waterfall.

Shortly before reaching Highlands is Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls. 

Sequoyah Falls flow over a man made dam. 

Our next stop was at Bridal Falls. At one time it was possible to drive under the falls. The road under the falls has been closed the past few times, when we visited.

There wasn’t much water falling at Bridal Falls.

By the way this was our first visit in the summer in this part of the United States. In the past we have visited in May. Waterfalls have significantly more water flow in May.

Our last sightseeing stop was at Dry Falls.

Bob took this picture of me,
as we hiked down the stairs to the base of Dry Falls.
Dry Falls is 75 feet tall.
Dry Falls earned its name because you
can take a trail to walk behind the falls
and not get wet (well, not too wet).
Bob took this picture of me, when I was behind the falls.
I kept as close to the rock wall, as possible,
without hitting my head.
I stayed mostly dry.

Well, I stayed mostly dry behind the falls. It started to rain again on our hike back up the stairs. We both got fairly wet!

At 3:16 pm we began our drive back to A Holiday Motel. Wouldn’t you know the sun came out a few minutes’ drive past Dry Falls?

We ate dinner at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Waynesville and made it back to A Holiday Motel around 6:00 pm.

Tonight was the “hotel room crawl” at A Holiday Motel.  It had been a long day. We called it a night at 9:00 pm, without participating in the crawl.

Today’s Map

South Carolina Vacation: Surfside Beach SC to Warren PA

On Wednesday, February 16th, We “checked out” of Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage” around 6:30 am and drove to the beach, where we watched the sun rise. 

Bob and I at Surfside Beach
minutes before the sunrise
Watch along with us, as the sun rises!
Surfside Beach Sunrise

This was the first sunrise on the beach that I saw in the week we were in Surfside Beach.  I wasn’t able to get to the beach in time for sunrise the other mornings. A prescription drug that I take with dinner rarely allows me to leave the house before 9:00 am, unless I have the availability of a close by bathroom. Bob saw a beach sunrise the first and last day.  

After seeing the sunrise, we began our drive back to Pennsylvania.  

We arrived at the Quality Inn New River Gorge (Fayetteville, WV) around 2:00 pm.  We checked in and carried our baggage into our room.  Soon afterward we walked to Elliott’s Whitewater Bar & Grill, located on the hotel grounds.  There was a flurry of excitement, as we entered,  I thought there was going to be a bar brawl.  The guy cussing was told to “just go”.  He did, after a few minutes and more cussing.  Someone walked out with him to make sure that he left and didn’t hit anyone’s car!  The bar quieted down after that man left.  Later we learned that the unruly man had been there for several hours drinking Jägermeister and was saying things he shouldn’t be saying to the underage waitress.  The waitress felt so uncomfortable that she asked the manager to come sit in the bar.  A couple of the men at the bar, who had been there for only a short while, kicked out the unruly man.   By the way, the food and service were excellent.  Bob ordered a pork chop with onion rings.  I ordered fish sticks with a loaded baked potato.  Both meals included a side salad.

Soon after dinner we drove to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, where we viewed the New River Gorge and the New River Gorge Bridge.  The Canyon Rim Visitor center is about a mile north of our hotel. We had planned to stop at the visitor center the next morning, but it likely will be raining.  So we visited this afternoon.

New River Gorge Bridge, as seen from Canyon Rim Visitor Center Grounds

We have stopped often at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, but we had never seen this particular view of the bridge. As we were crossing the bridge I noticed a man and a woman standing at an overlook. When we arrived at the visitor center, the first thing we did was look for that overlook. The trail shown in the photograph displayed above leads under the bridge. Bob walked down and back up that trail (steep climb!), but was not able to walk under the bridge. The passageway was locked.

New River Gorge Bridge, as seen from Canyon Rim Visitor Center Grounds

We walked down a boardwalk to an overlook of the bridge. We could have walked farther, but neither of us felt like doing steps.

Bob and I at the overlook of the New River Gorge Bridge

We walked behind the Visitor Center, where we saw the New River Gorge.

New River Gorge
(photo by Bob)

Around 6:00 pm we lost power at the hotel. We had no electricity until 8:11 pm. We never did find out what caused the outage. The power outage did not affect the hotel only. Nearby businesses lost their power as well. By the way, soon after the power went out, we lied down and fell asleep. The power coming back on awakened me. That is how I knew the time the power came back on.

We departed Quality Inn New River on Thursday, February 17th, shortly before 7:15 am. Before leaving, we enjoyed a complementary breakfast of scrambled egg patties, sausage and biscuits; orange juice and tea/coffee; and muffin/danish.  The hot food was served to us.  The remaining foods we were free to pick up ourselves.  The server told us the way they do breakfast is not COVID related.  They do breakfast this way year round.

We reached the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border around 9:30 am.  We still had a 3 1/2-hour drive until we would be back home.  Up to this point we had avoided the forecasted rain! Ten minutes later, at Masontown exit (exit 14 on I-79), we caught up with the rain.  The rain was with us the rest of the way home.

We got off I-79 at the Slippery Rock exit.  We were getting tired of interstate travel.  The slower pace was welcome.

We stopped for lunch at Eat’n Park in Franklin.  Bob ordered a chicken sandwich with cheesy fries.  I ordered a turkey club sandwich with a fruit cup.  We each ordered pie for dessert. 

We were back on the road at 12:35 pm and returned home at 2:00 pm.  We drove a total of 1,750.40 miles, since our departure on February 8th.

This was the first time that Bob and I had ever been to the South Carolina coast. We enjoyed our visit very much — so much, in fact, that we are already talking about going back next year.

South Carolina Vacation: Myrtle Beach

Having recovered apparently from the previous days illness, we decided to drive to Myrtle Beach in the late morning on Tuesday, February 15th. It was about a 15-minute drive.  We parked along 7th Avenue and walked the boardwalk from 7th Avenue to 14th Avenue and back. It was a chilly and windy walk to 14th Avenue. 

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
You can tell how windy it was
by looking at the flags.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
This is the SkyWheel.

The SkyWheel is not a carnival ride, but a modern, safe observation wheel towering 187 feet or about 20 stories in the air. The SkyWheel has fully enclosed gondolas with glass windows and doors for optimal views and photography. The gondolas are heated and cooled allowing for year-round operation in any type of weather. A flight includes 3 revolutions and lasts about 10 – 15 minutes. We didn’t ride the SkyWheel. I don’t care for heights!

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
Beyond the palm tree is Pier 14.

Pier 14 provides opportunities for shopping, dining and fishing. The Pier was closed for the season.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
This is the view from Pier 14.

With the wind behind us, it felt warmer as we walked back to 7th Avenue.

We viewed Pier 14 from the beach.
We viewed the SkyWheel from the beach too.
Myrtle Beach boardwalk
This is a closer view of the SkyWheel.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
The sculpture in front of the SkyWheel
is called “The Goddess of the Sea”.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
“The Goddess of the Sea” sculpture

On our way back to Surfside Beach we stopped at The Market Common. The Market Common is Myrtle Beach’s premiere dining, shopping and entertainment destination. We didn’t go shopping; we didn’t attend any entertainment event. We did, however, dine. We chose the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant for lunch. Bob ordered the Ahi Tuna Salad (togarashi & sesame seed crusted seared Ahi tuna, romaine, cabbage, pickled cucumbers, wasabi vinaigrette, wonton strips, sriracha drizzle).  I ordered the CBLT Sandwich (grilled chicken, bacon, Swiss, crispy onions, tomato, lettuce, fresh avocado mayo, brioche bun).  Both entrees were good; the service was excellent.

After lunch we returned to our Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage”. We would be leaving for home the next day, so we packed. We relaxed too, especially enjoying the warmth of the backyard porch.

Bob and I relaxing on our back porch.

Oh, and I can’t forget the moon. We saw the moon each and every day, while in South Carolina. The moon became more and more beautiful, as the week progressed.

Full moon
Viewed from our backyard

Isn’t the moon gorgeous?

South Carolina Vacation: Super Bowl Sunday and Valentines Day Monday

We went to bed the night of February 12th around 9:30 pm and got up around 5:30 am the next morning.

At 7:15 am, after breakfast (eggs for Bob; oatmeal for me), Bob went for a walk.  He took his umbrella, as it was drizzling. Bob walked to Food Lion and brought back tea bags and chocolates.  When Bob left, I began working on AncestryDNA “thru-lines”.  ThruLines shows how I may be related to my DNA matches. I have a cousin in Canada, who is a DNA match. We are distant cousins, as ancestry says we are 4th-6th cousins. Neither Kelly nor I have been able to figure out how we are related. The research continues…

We ate lunch at a nearby Texas Roadhouse.  Bob ordered pulled pork, rice and broccoli.  I ordered BBQ chicken, baked potato and a vegetable combo of broccoli and carrots.  We shared a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream covered in caramel sauce.  We sat in seating near the bar. Our waitress took care of the bar patrons, as well as those seated at nearby tables. She was very good at her job.

 I noticed the temperature on our way back to our Airbnb.  It was 60 degrees, overcast and drizzling…not a good beach day, but still better there than in Warren.  At the same time it was cloudy and 24 degrees (feels like 15 degrees) in our hometown of Warren PA.

Our friend, Marge from back home, invited us to join her and Neil and Neil’s cousins, at her condo, for some food before the Super Bowl .   We decided to stay at our Airbnb.  We ate leftovers and had chips and salsa, while watching the game.  I watched the game through the halftime show and went to bed.  Bob watched the game to its conclusion and, then, went to bed.

On Valentines Day we met Marge and Neil at 9:00 am for breakfast at Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin in Garden City Beach.  I can’t recall the exact breakfast entree Bob chose, but he selected hash browns instead of pancakes.  Marge ordered Sticky Bun Pancakes (cinnamon swirled pancakes, blended with pecans and topped with cream cheese icing).  I ordered cinnamon pancakes topped with bananas and pecans.  I can’t remember what breakfast entree Neil ordered, but his breakfast included two pancakes.  Bob was the only one who didn’t order pancakes.  The food and service were good; the company was excellent.  

Bob and I had planned to make a return trip to the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk.  We didn’t make it there. We ended up staying at our Airbnb “Seaside Cottage” for rest of the day.  Soon after we got home from Flapjack’s, I got ill. Bob is a sweetheart.  He went to the store and got ginger ale for me.  

We had brought a steak with us from home specifically for Valentines Day. I took the steak out of the freezer the day before. I didn’t think I would be able to eat the steak, but I asked Bob to grill it anyway. I planned to make mashed potatoes and vegetables for side dishes. The mashed potatoes did not get made. I did heat up a can of green beans. I had very little energy. I ate one bite of steak, a few green beans and a corn muffin. I spent rest of the day and evening running to the bathroom.

I did watch two movies with Bob, in between lying down and bathroom runs.  The first movie was called “Turbulence”, and the second movie was called “Safe”. 

In “Turbulence”, there is a shootout on a flight transporting prisoners, and a flight attendant had to outwit a serial killer and land the plane herself. 

In “Safe” Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by Chinese mobsters, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei’s trail.

This was a rough day for me. I pretty much missed out on an entire day of vacation.  I wasn’t able to eat any of the chocolates that Bob gave me for Valentines Day either.

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