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.

On the Road to DisneyWorld: The Shelton Winery, Pilot Mountain, and Statesville, North Carolina

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On the road again!  We're heading for Disneyworld !  Randy has never been there, and after just a bit of persuasion, I convinced him that we need a trip before summer, and Disney is the place to go, and we need to get there before the kiddies get out of school for Spring Break. I actually need to go there.  Seeing the Electrical Parade and Small World one more time are on my Bucket List.  I think I added that, "No one should die without visiting the Magic Kingdom and being in the Happiest Place on Earth," and that pretty much was the closer. (He is not dying, and neither am I...........but it was a great argument.)

Today was rather uneventful, as we only got into the car and drove.  A stop at our favorite grocery store, Reisbeck's in Cambridge, Ohio, got us our first bag of fried chicken pieces and a loaf of soft cinnamon bread. We had a picnic at a roadside rest. If you haven't "traveled" with us before, you need to know that fried chicken seems to be the main bill of fare on our roaming trips.

We "had to" stop at Tamarack, the West Virginia arts and crafts center.  It is impossible to drive by this circular building of handiwork.  There is a glass coffee table with some metal sculptures as a base that we "visit" each trip by.  We like to bet on whether it has been sold or not.  Today it was in its regular place. At over $18,000 it is no small wonder.  We did enjoy seeing some beautiful woodwork.

Tonight we are at a very lovely Sleep Inn at Princeton, West Virginia.  We've stayed here before, we realized, as soon as we got off of 77S.  This time we decided to investigate the town a bit..............our thinking is that if we have landed here twice now, there might be something we are supposed to see, so we'd better find out what it is.

A short drive to "downtown" led us to an area named Mercer, where a truly lovely reconstructed railroad station serves as a railroad museum.  This apparently is a gem of this city.  Even though it was closed, we could envision visitors crawling into the train car and sitting on the benches by the tracks. 

Several blocks of very old buildings lead up to this railroad spot, and they are all vintage, too.  It looked as if some attempts are being made to fill them with businesses and shops, but a tattoo parlor is creeping into that area.  With some great little shops, it could be a tourist attraction.

Downtown has a wonderful old Post Office, and then a new one that they actually use, apparently.  There is a huge court house with a street acting as circumference.  It looks like a set for a John Grisham movie.  Many wonderful old homes, some very well cared-for, and some not, fill the streets downtown, and one small historical sign told the tale of some little girls stolen by Indians and retrieved eighteen years later after the Battle of Fallen Timbers.  Other historical signs mentioned the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and Indian Wars, showing us that Princeton is a very old town.

Humorously, my favorite building was a small beauty shop which bears the name "Curl Up and Dye."

Monday, March 11, 2013

We were back onto 77S by 10 AM, into Virginia shortly, and then into North Carolina shortly after that.  The two tunnels were the only interruptions to our peaceful drive.  Photos we shot out the front and side windows show grayness.  Even though it has been warmer than the winter we've just endured, there was a chill in the air today and not much sun. Yes, the driver did hold the camera some of the time......

Shelton Winery Entrance
We revisited one winery in North Carolina, The Shelton Winery.  It is a class act.  We've been there at least three times now, and have watched it grow from a small wine-making business with a tasting room and store to truly beautiful vineyards that cover the hills surrounding it.  There is now a wedding area and a bistro.  A patio with umbrellas is new since we've been there, and with spring coming to North Carolina, the daffodils are blooming by the ponds.

A few pictures will be worth the thousand words that I will spare you.  Randy did the tasting routine while I walked around and took pictures and admired the tee shirts and corkscrews. We came away with a bottle or two for friends.



We continued south to Statesville, North Carolina.  Statesville is known as the place that's halfway to the beach, from Ohio.  It is a meeting place of interstates, so it is a hotel stop.  This time, we read the AAA book which told about some great old houses that are in the downtown area.  We decided we would have lunch in the city and investigate those houses.

We ate lunch at Uncle C's BBQ place on West  Broad Street. If we're not eating fried chicken when we travel, it's barbecue.  Randy ordered a plate of barbecued brisket.  "Disappointing" is the best word I can think of to describe it.  Don't eat there.

The vintage houses in downtown Statesville did not disappoint us, though.  Again, I hope that my pictures can do the job that words cannot, and I will post the ones that we liked the best.  Downtown Statesville has a lovely college, uphill from the town center, and there are neighborhoods nearby in all directions. 


My favorite thing today I have saved for last.  When we were leaving the Shelton Winery, I noticed
the mountains in the distance, and we realized that we could see Pilot Mountain  way out there!We've driven by it many times on our way to Ocean Isle or the Outer Banks, but being further west this time, and seeing it from afar was a whole different sight.  That mountain really lived up to its name, as its unmistakable shape was visible from such a distance, and we could tell where we were, just then.