Almost 13 years ago, my wife and I went down to Tennessee to get married, and decided to drive up into the mountains for our honeymoon. We discovered the Sourwood Inn at that time, and loved the peaceful, scenic area up in the mountains.
Lo and behold, in 2011, when I made the move to my new job in Greenville, we wound up just over an hour away from our honeymoon spot. Naturally, we made it a point to spend another weekend up there and spend some more quiet time in the mountains that first Summer.
So while technically this is not in South Carolina, the Upstate area really has given us plenty of great spots just over the border that we have enjoyed!
As I prepare to leave our old home in South Carolina and head to our new one in Oregon, I thought it’d be fun to share some of the fond memories of the last 3 years in photos. So for the next 10 days, I’ll be doing exactly that, before the photos turn to documenting the drive out West!
The rain that we encountered on Friday afternoon and evening, was predicted to stay for most of Saturday as well, but since it appeared that there might be some breaks between the bands of thunderstorms, we headed to Okefenokee anyway.
I’m glad we did. As our tour guide on Sunday would tell us, this is a National Wildlife Refuge, not to be mistaken with a park. What that means is that it is here for the wildlife, it is their environment and you are just visiting. Now, he told us that as a way to temper down expectations, because he couldn’t guarantee that we’d see anything, though we did.
But, prior to that, by virtue of being in the refuge during rainstorms, we got a really good idea of just how inhospitable and wild the swamp could be. Makes me wonder why anyone decided “yup, this is where we are going to live”, but then again, I am a city kid. This does not scream “let’s go live there” to me.
Then again, the rain meant we really had much of the area to ourselves, and gave us plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and the beauty of the swamp as well. In fact, as we were walking on that very boardwalk you see above, we could hear the alligators in the distance, making their rumbling vibrations in the water to warn off smaller gators. Then, as we took a pit stop during some heavy rainfall in a covered area, we heard it again, much, much closer.
We also were able to get out of the rain for a bit at the Chesser Homestead, and learn more about the people who made this area home. For instance, we learned that the “yard” of the homestead was kept without any growth for a very good reason. Not only did it look neater, but it made it easier to see creepy crawlies and snakes that might be nearby.
We also got very lucky, as we were driving by, we saw a heron on the side of the road, with it’s lunch, and an alligator keeping a very close eye on him hoping for his own lunch, maybe?
Of course, it didn’t rain the entire morning, we did get some views of the landscape and the wildlife without the rain before packing it in and heading to Folkston for lunch. With all the morning rain, we decided to come back in the morning, when it promised to be warm and sunny. More on those stops on future posts.
At the risk of angering friends and family who were dealing with yet another snow storm, this past weekend in South Carolina was nice enough for hiking in shorts and t-shirts.
For us that meant taking a short drive up to Table Rock State Park, and walking along the 2 mike Carrick Creek trail.
This trail takes you along the creek, past waterfalls and rolling waters, up towards some lovely views of Table Rock and back down to Pinnacle Lake.
This time of year the natural shade from tree covering is a bit wanting, but it’s also not as humid as it can sometimes get in the warmer months around here!
As the trail raises up from the creek, it can be a bit daunting, especially when it’s early in the year and you haven’t spent much time on the hills around here, but it’s bit bad. It’s a nice start to working your way up to the longer trails that take you to Table Rock and Pinnacle Mountains, that’s for sure.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, whether we want to bring the camera or just shoot with my iPhone like I did here.
For those of you still dealing with snow, sorry! You’re always welcome to visit! 😉
After our morning excursion up to the town of Erice, we had a free afternoon to wander around Trapani before boarding the ship. Trapani, being a port city that juts out into the Mediterranean, with cathedrals and pedestrian plazas, left us with plenty of things to wander around and see.
After a day of sailing, which included a very relaxing day of checking out the ship, eating way too much, and attending high tea, our next port of call was in Sicily. We pulled into Trapani on Thursday morning to a party cloudy day. Our morning was filled with a scheduled excursion out beyond Trapani though, to the mountain town of Erice. Erice fascinated me because of both it’s mountain views and the way in which this little town has seemingly been preserved for centuries, all the while still functioning as a home to locals.
I knew Erice would satisfy my desire to see the old ways of life in Sicily, but I wasn’t so sure about how it would be for photography. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. There was plenty to see up there.
Unfortunately, since Barcelona was our departing port for our cruise, we didn’t really get to see much of the city itself. What we did see was either from the back seat of a taxi, or from the deck of the ship in port.
However, the lovely weather, great sunset and night time lights did provide a few chances to grab some photos from the ship.
You can see the small set of photos from this stop over on Flickr. Barcelona is definitely a place I want to go back to, based on what little I’ve seen so far of it. Much more to come over the next few days, but I do have about 1700 photos to weed through first… 😉