Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Edisto Gardens and Art in Walterboro, South Carolina

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What beautiful sights we have seen today! 

Our first stop this morning was in Orangeburg, South Carolina, lured there by a billboard advertising a garden to visit for FREE!  Not ones to pass up a freebie, we took the back road indicated, and went to Orangeburg.  Our AAA book mentioned that this garden would be particularly lovely in late March.  We may have been a couple of weeks too early, but what we saw was still beautiful.

Edisto Memorial Gardens covers 105 acres in the small city.  The Parks and Recreation Board runs the Park, which can be walked through or seen by car.  "Thelma," our GPS unit, couldn't find the park, and we had to call for directions. 

There were  flowers and flowering bushes.  Some we did not recognize, because they don't grow in Ohio. Crepe Myrtle trees caught Randy's eye, with their shiny, polished-looking bark.  Spanish Moss hung on everything that it could get to, apparently.  Regular moss covered tree trunks. There is a butterfly garden, a sensory garden, and a serenity garden for the 600,000 visitors who come there each year. I will try to let the photos do their job.

The ground was wet from recent rain, and we climbed a small knoll, following a path.  Right in my path I saw a familiar form of an angel, and it took my breath away.  An Angel of Hope* is in the Edisto Memorial Garden, in memory of  children who have died, leaving grieving parents.  I confess that I cried, and let myself feel the emotions that The Angel of Hope brings to me, and a legion of other parents.  I was so grateful for the comfort, unexpected, that surprised me there.

Back onto 77S, we headed for the city of Walterboro.  This is another revisit. 

We fell in love with Walterboro several years ago on a trip to Charleston.  Today we retraced our steps, but in some ways found that what we thought was wonderful then is even more wonderful, now!

Today's fried chicken lunch was a picnic on the porch of a little shack behind the Arts Shop.  A "Low Country" red rocking chair helped to set the scene for our gourmet feast.

Walterboro is the home of The South Carolina Arts Council.  A repurposed home in the historic district of the city houses wonderful artwork by South Carolinians, all for sale. A handmade wooden canoe hangs from the ceiling. Pottery, Glassware, paintings, sculpture and jewelry abounds. It takes quite awhile to see it all, even though the building is small.

 There were sweetgrass baskets, a South Carolina landmark art form.  On our last visit I bought a birdhouse made of a gourd.  Today I was an "art thief" and merely took pictures to share with you.

Members of our wine group will enjoy seeing the impetus for Randy asking for all of your blue wine bottles.  This is the "plan" for your bottles, eventually.  Cheers!  And keep drinking that white wine to help the project!

        This is the site of our picnic.  Doesn't it just look like a place to eat fried chicken????

 We finished our Walterboro excursion with a walk into the historic district where twelve.... count them.....TWELVE antique shops fit in with several law offices, the post office, a vintage barbershop, and a pharmacy with a soda fountain, the likes of which I haven't seen since Bristow's Pharmacy in Atmore, Alabama back in the sixties.  The sidewalks have all been updated with bricking, and palmetto trees have been added since we were there last. Red rockers offer seating outside the front doors of most shops. It's a "Low Country" thing.

The people are key to our love of Walterboro. We were offered directions by strangers, given a discount card use at the grocery store, and enjoyed a lively conversation with a Miss Leona Fennell at Lucas Street Antiques.  She made sure that we went to the Christmas Shop, and even gave details of the cookies we would have to buy when we got there.  Sure enough, once at said shop, yet another delightful woman, whose name I failed to get, entertained us as I shopped for a glasses holder, with stories of Walterboro.  By the time we left, name or not, we were bonded.  I hope she sees her picture here, as I told her it would be posted tonight.
The sign says, "Any money down, Any monthly payment.  No returns."  This fun store was a trip in itself.

We settled down for the night in a town called Ridgeland, not terribly far south of Walterboro. We're in a Quality Inn, where Michael, at the front desk, upgraded our room to a suite by the indoor pool.  Dinner was take-out from Jasper's Porch, behind our motel.  We went totally Southern this time and enjoyed fried catfish and green beans with bacon.  A half-hour power walk on a natural park walkway around a nearby lake was the finish to a lovely day.

I'm about to ease into that Southern drawl thing.  We're calming down and relaxing, at last. It always takes a few days to get into that gear.  We're just about there.  This retirement thing is pretty good stuff.

Photos and article: Copyright: KP Gillenwater 2013

*You can read more about Angels of Hope in a blog post I wrote some time ago at  http://stringsandpants.blogspot.com   and clicking on December of 2011 in the blog archives on the right side of the screen.