I’ll try to do a quick recap of our trip back from Florida, and get a little caught up here.
Our drive down to Florida was mostly Interstate, so we could get down there quickly. On the way back, we took the back roads, which are always much more fun and interesting! We drove up along the Atlantic coast in Florida, and entered the Lowcountry of South Carolina on our way to Charleston. I was captivated by the area. There were vast landscapes of swamps, punctuated by stands of tall pines and live oaks dripping with moss. We encountered places with rundown homes and trailers, only to see working plantations a little farther down the road...a long lane lined with live oaks, just like in pictures you’ve seen!
On our journey through the Lowcountry, we stopped in Conway for lunch. It was a nice little bistro on Main Street called Crady’s. I had a delicious Turkey Caprese sandwich, and Ken had a Cordon Bleu Panini. The owner came out to talk with us, and she was a very charming lady. I wish we’d had more time in Conway, because it was a river town, and it looked like they had a fairly vibrant downtown and a riverwalk. The owner is also a baker, so we got some biscotti and a toasted macadamia nut turtle to go. Mmm, delicious!
Charleston was a charming, smallish city. We headed downtown for a bite to eat, and planned on walking around the downtown area after dinner, but when we walked out of the restaurant, it was pouring down rain! We weren’t very lucky with weather on this trip, but we know that’s a risk in August. However, we saw enough that I told Ken that I would really enjoy going back to the area for a full vacation. There is a lot of history in Charleston, and I thought the downtown area was very intriguing. I noticed gas lamps like you see in New Orleans, and mentioned that to Ken. Oddly enough, my niece Jen said that she has several colleagues who have spent quite a bit of time in Charleston, and it’s one of their favorite places. She said that it seems to be an amalgam of Cape Cod and New Orleans. That’s exactly how it struck me, too! So yes, we’ll be going back there. It looked like a really neat place to visit!
After that, we headed up to Raleigh, where we met our long-time blogger friend, Sheria. I’ve spent some time in Raleigh before, but it was for technical school, so I saw nothing of the city. This time we got to go downtown, to meet Sheria at a barbecue place of her picking, The Pit. There I learned the difference between sweet, tomato based barbecue that Yankees prefer (haha!) and East Carolina barbecue, where the sauce is vinegar-based. I loved the vinegar-based stuff! It was delicious. (There is also the barbecue we encountered in Memphis, which is more of a dry rub. I’m really enjoying learning about various types of barbecue!) Beyond the food, which was incredibly good, we had a wonderful time talking with Sheria. I believe we talked and laughed and visited for close to FOUR HOURS.
What a pleasure to meet someone we’ve known online for at least five years. I think I was a little nervous about meeting her, and she said she was a little bit nervous about meeting us, but I knew that if you’ve been friends with someone online for five years, chances are good that you’re going to get along in real life. And that was the case! We talked and talked, everything from life in the South to religion to lots and LOTS of politics! Time went by so quickly, and before we knew it, it was almost 10 pm. We agreed to meet up the next day for lunch, so we had a nice time together before we headed out again. That was the morning that Romney announced that Paul Ryan was his VP pick, so we had plenty to discuss! (I’ll be writing more about that soon. I’ve been posting numerous articles on Facebook about it, so that’s another reason I’ve been scarce on blog posting.) It was yet another great experience in meeting one of our blogger friends. We’ve lost track of how many we’ve met, but we have never had a bad experience! Sheria is a true gem, and I am so pleased to call her my friend. I know that Ken feels the same way!
Then we headed north again. The plan was to stay in Charleston, West Virginia, but we went a little farther past that. It had been a while since I’d been in West Virginia, and I feel that it is really one of our most beautiful states. I love the rolling hills and the low mountains of Appalachia. We’ll be heading back to that area (eastern Kentucky, to be specific) soon, for a weekend with my family.
After a lot of driving, we were happy to get home. Sheeba was also happy to have us home, and with the cooler weather, he has been Velcro Kitty, as Kim says! On my lap, curling up with us at night, following us around...he’s our special boy!
One of the cool things from Florida was our visit with my Aunt June and Cousin Greg. I believe I mentioned that previously, that we had dinner together, but I didn’t mention the present she brought me. Her and Greg collected penguins at one point, and although they got rid of most of them, they still had a couple. When Aunt June realized that I collect penguins, she brought me a couple of beauties, which you can see here. One is a gorgeous black and red glass one that sits under a glass dome. The other is a foot tall, and he is made of glass, he is a decanter, and he is a freakin’ MUSIC BOX! That is one handsome, hollow, liquid-holding, music-playing penguin! I was so delighted to see these wonderful penguins, and so grateful to my Aunt June for giving them to me. I have nothing like them, and I will find special places for these beauties. Very unique penguins, and I am very honored to have them. Thank you, Aunt June!
After a week of taking care of business, we enjoyed an evening at our local minor league ballpark with Ken’s Mom, Shane, and Matt, and then we got a pleasant surprise when we heard that our friend Andy and his parents were in town for the weekend. We met up with them for lunch today at a place near Notre Dame and had a very pleasant time sitting outside and eating and talking. Andy is giving a talk at ND on Monday, and I plan on getting directions to the place where he is talking and going to see him give a discussion about aerosols. He is doing well after his graduation, enjoying his new job, and recently made another trip to South Korea for a space camp for kids there. He was still sporting a temporary NASA tattoo. :) I want one!
That is the latest! We’re just enjoying the last month or so of summer, and it’s hard to believe that we’ll soon be heading into fall. ::sigh:: We have lots of fun things planned for September, too, and I hope we have nice weather for it. But why did the summer fly by so fast? ::double sigh::
Enjoy a rather obscure song from one of my favorite '80s compilation albums, "No Wave." This is "I'm Alive" by The Secret.