Quick Trip to the Coast

Sunday, December 10, 2017

While we still have a couple of weeks until Christmas, I feel like it's all happening tomorrow!  One of my all time favorite things about the holidays are the lights!  There's just something about it being chilly/cold outside, wearing layers of warm clothing, grabbing a coffee and going to look at all the Christmas lights.  My love of lights is what took me to Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC to see Night of a Thousand Candles.

Our trip began at Huntington Beach State Park.  It was raining and cold but we put on our rain gear and off we went to explore Atalaya Castle.  This is a beautifully unique castle and was built in a U shape for Archer and Anna Huntington.












After a quick bite to eat and checking into our hotel (I've fallen in love with Holiday Inn Express!), we got ready (and by ready I mean added another layer of clothing under our rain gear) and headed to Night of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens.

Night of a Thousand Candles!  Night of a Thousand Candles!  Where do I start?!?!?!  If you haven't been you need to drop everything that you are doing, purchase your tickets in advance and head to Murrells Inlet next weekend to see all the lights (& sculptures!)!  Warning:  Photo overload below.












Night of a Thousand Candles was from 3p-10p.  We arrived when it was still light out so I could see and read about the sculptures.  These sculptures are a dream and a talent I can't even comprehend!

Saturday morning we drove over to All Saints Church to visit the grave of Alice.  Have you heard the story of Alice Flagg?  Well (short version) she falls in love with a man who she is forbidden to marry, she becomes secretly engaged to him only for the ring to be discovered by her family.  She is forbidden to marry her one true love (the man is instructed to leave & never come back and her engagement ring is thrown in the ocean).  She dies a short while later some say from a broken heart.  She still haunts the coast looking for her ring.  Of course, being so close to her grave I had to visit.
I had read/was told that if you were wearing a ring and walked backwards around her grave 3 times, on the third time Alice would tug on your ring.  Well of course this didn't happen, but it was fun(ish) to do.  We walked around the rest of the cemetery and it is truly beautiful.


We made a quick drive through Pawleys Island Historic District...



Since we weren't far, we decided to head to Georgetown to explore a little before heading back home.  Georgetown is such a great place!  We started with the Georgetown Visitor's Center, where Susan (such a nice lady) talked/joked with us, told us about some great things to do while in Georgetown, and where to get some yummy lunch.  Our next stop was to the Georgetown County Museum.  This museum is full of great artifacts from different time periods in Georgetown's history.  This museum is a must see when visiting Georgetown.  We then decided to walk through the historic district where it is full of cute shops and places to eat.  When we were parking the vehicle, I noticed that there was a Tomlinson's.  There is a Tomlinson's where I grew up but haven't been to the store in years so I thought it would be fun to make a quick stop just to look around.  Well I didn't make it past the entryway!  A book signing was taking place at Tomlinson's and guess who the author was?????  Sherman Carmichael!  Have you read his books (Eerie South Carolina, Forgotten Tales of South Carolina, Strange South Carolina, Legends and Lore of South Carolina, and UFOs Over South Carolina)?  I had read all of them except UFOs Over South Carolina (we purchased the book and had him sign it at the book signing).  We had a great hour long conversation with him talking about the supernatural, the unknown, time travel and our unexplained experiences.  It was a pleasure meeting Sherman and having the opportunity to have such a great conversation with him.  If you haven't read his books you need to!  After leaving Tomlinson (even though I could have seriously talked with Sherman for the rest of the day), we stopped into Castaways for a quick bite (get the burger, you won't be disappointed!) for a late lunch then hit the road back home.

While it was a quick road trip, it was jammed back full of fun and really great people meeting!

Happy Travels,
Amber

Thanksgiving in the Outer Banks

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How is it that Thanksgiving seems like a holiday that took place months ago?  Christmas seems to be the entire month of December not just December 25th!  Anyway, with 4 days off from work for the Thanksgiving holiday it was only natural to decide to travel!  We packed our bags, braved the Thanksgiving traffic, and headed to the Outer Banks.  Roanoke Island (The Lost Colony) has been on my 'to see' list for years & to say I was excited was an understatement.  Our first stop was Manteo, NC (Roanoke Island).  This little town is adorable.  Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is the location of the Lost Colony & in case you were wondering, yes they were opened on Thanksgiving Day and we weren't the only people visiting.  Even the gift shop/museum was opened!!  After bundling up and getting our maps, it was off for a short/easy hike to explore Roanoke Island.  The hike led us down to the water and it was well worth braving the cold...



While we were enjoying the view of Shallowbag Bay, I couldn't help but think of the people who had traveled the long journey from England to this new world in the 1500s.  And then later, when the men returned to the island to find everyone gone, how tragic this entire experience ended for all involved.
Beginning of the hike.
Reconstructed Earthwork Fort

While at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, I purchased a Passport to the National Parks.  Have you seen these books?  Do you have one?  Do you think I nerded out?  Come on, do you even have to ask?!  This book is amazing!  I noted that I had actually visited 32 of the places listed in the book BUT since I don't have stamps for those visits so of course I just added them back to my 'to-see' list.  It is so much fun!  In four days, I got 9 stamps...let the fun begin!

Friday morning we headed out to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.  This is such a great site!
 Reconstructed 1903 Hangar



Wright Brothers Monument

We went back into Manteo to visit the Elizabethan Gardens (they were closed Thanksgiving Day but are connected to Fort Raleigh).  Beautiful gardens!  The gardens include 10 acres and are operated by the North Carolina's Garden Club. 
 Entrance to the Elizabethan Gardens

 Queen Elizabeth
 Virginia Dare



Within the gardens are greenhouses to tour and purchase flowers.  I fought the urge to purchased every single plant (leaving the Spotted Leopard plant was difficult).  Oh, I almost forgot to introduce you to our tour guide, I mean really does this get any better?!




After touring the gardens, we walked around Historic Manteo which is an adorable area filled with local shops, beautiful views of the river, a book store that sells Jane Austen action figures, and local breweries.  It was wonderful!

As nice as Manteo was (& as much as I wanted to stay another day), we ventured down to a few places located in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  First stop was Bodie (prononouced like the human 'body') Lighthouse.  The still functioning lighthouse is 156 feet tall and was built in the 1870s (2 previous lighthouse attempts prior to the one pictured).  And in case you were already clicking the 'order now' button to purchase your passport book, there are also lighthouse stamps that you can add to your book (and of course I got my site stamp & my lighthouse stamp).




Rodanthe was our next stop.  Have you seen the Nicholas Sparks film Nights in Rodanthe?  I knew that being this close, I had to stop & see this house.  I knew that the house had been purchased, restored, and moved about mile BUT it just wasn't how it appeared in the movie.  Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful house just not how I had pictured it while reading about it or watching Richard Gere and Diane Lane in Nights in Rodanthe.

After spending some time walking the beach and picking up shells, we loaded back in the car and headed to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
 198.5 feet tall and built in 1870

(all bundled up!)

We left the Outer Banks on Sunday morning.  As a person who loves to travel, it saddens me a little that I was actually ready to get back home.  While I loved the Manteo/Roanoke Island area of the Outer Banks, the other areas I visited in the Outer Banks just felt a little disappointing.  While I am not a beach person (give me the mountains everyday), I appreciate the beauty that is the seashore just not the Wings stores (& other stores like them) taking away from the simplicity of the area.

On our drive back home, we saw a sign for a visitor center.  This visitor center was located in what felt like the middle of nowhere.  As soon as we got out of the car, I notice a sign for a museum.  Of course, we visited.  The Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge museum is small but very informative (and I got another stamp in my book! Yippee!!) We met and had a nice conversation with a couple of great volunteers!  After what felt like 103 days on the road, we finally made it home (safely) and are ready to go again.

Have you visited the Outer Banks?  Thoughts on what happened to the Lost Colony?  Did you order a passport book?

Happy Travels,
Amber