hello Cedar Mountain

Greg’s grandparents, Mimi and Daddy Bob, live on Cedar Mountain outside of Brevard, N.C.  After exploring the city of Brevard during the day, we went to their house for the evening to enjoy some visiting time and a delicious home-cooked dinner!  After being in Charleston for several days, then Charlotte one night, and having to eat out for every meal during our vacation, it was so good to have a yummy home-cooked meal 🙂

But before heading to Mimi and Daddy Bob’s house, we went to the Sassy Goose bed and breakfast to check-in.  This place was so quiet and peaceful.  It sits in the mountains, and we actually had the whole lodge to ourselves since no one else was booked for the night.

Off to Mimi and Daddy Bob’s house.  We loved hanging out with them for a few hours, catching up on everything, enjoying a delicious dinner and relaxing in the mountains.  They were so excited we came to visit, too!!

We loved our time in the mountains!  It was so beautiful up there.  The weather was just starting to cool down, and the leaves on the trees were beginning to change colors.  And then on our trip home the next morning, we found an amazing view spot off the side of the mountain!!  We seriously could not get over this view. It was AMAZING!

 

 And so we conclude our 1st year anniversary trip. 4 days in Charleston, S.C., 1 day in Charlotte, N.C., and 1 day in Cedar Mountain, N.C.  1,000 miles on the truck and approximately 21 hours of traveling on the road.  I’ve always wanted to take a road trip, and this one was so much fun!  And I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else. 🙂

Have you been to Brevard?

After our night in Charlotte, we continued our little road trip onward through North Carolina towards to this tiny little mountain town of Brevard.  Greg’s grandparents live on Cedar Mountain outside of the city.  I wish I could think of a city to compare it to, but it sits in the mountains, has tons of beds and breakfasts, and has a population of roughly 7,500 people.  It is such a cute town.  To get to it, we had to wind our way up over the mountain, and because the weather was still a little dreary and overcast, it was VERY foggy up in the mountains.

 
 Once we got into Brevard, we stopped at a soda shop for some lunch.  It was delicious!  Then we spent about 2-3 hours walking around town exploring the little shops.   We even found Sophie’s twin in the window of one of the shops!
 
 

My favorite was this awesome antiques market.  It was 3 stories.  We could have spent much longer in there, but by this point we were a little bit crunched for time to get to his grandparents house to visit for the evening.  But check out all the cool stuff we found!!!

 
 

 
The only thing we actually walked away with were two of these shutters. I’m hoping to make them into a headboard one day…

 After exploring Brevard, we headed back up the mountain where we had booked a night at a bed and breakfast, and planned to visit with Greg’s grandparents Mimi and Daddy Bob for the evening.

Onward to Charlotte

Our actual anniversary was on Monday, Oct 8th.  And we spent a good portion of the day on the road traveling from Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC to visit our friends for the night.  Renee and I have known each other since the day we were born (our parents were friends before any of the them had kids).  We’ve had traditional Disney World trips with their family for years growing up.  Well Renee and her husband Stephen now live in Charlotte, and since we don’t get to see them much anymore, we decided to take a night to visit them on our little road trip. 

It was a bit of a nasty day.  A cold front swept through, and it was cloudy and a tad bit rainy.  But we arrived just as Renee was getting home from work.  So while we waited on Stephen to get home, Greg stayed at the house to knock out some work, and Renee and I took the dog walking at this lake/state park area near their house.

Then we headed downtown for dinner.  It was so nice getting to catch up with these two.  Life is well for them in Charlotte.  The greatest thing about these friends is because we were such great family friends growing up, it doesn’t matter how much time passes between when we see each other, it’s like time never passed.  We can just pick up where we left off and I love it.  It makes me wish we lived closer together!

Greg was pumped about seeing the NFL stadium.  Also, check out my pretty anniversary gift.  Garnet and diamond earrings.  My birthstone is a garnet. 🙂
 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!

last little moments in Charleston

Well, it has been a BUSY 2 weeks since we got back from Charleston.  So busy that I’m just now posting the last bit of pictures from our trip.  We really had so much fun in Charleston.  The last day or so we mostly just wandered around making the most of our last moments in the city.  Saturday morning we went to the farmer’s market.  It’s just like the Pepper Place farmer’s market, but it takes place around a park downtown.  It was great. It was like a little bit of home in Charleston.

 

We found Lily’s twin.  Which was funny, because when we saw her and made the comment about being our dog’s twin, the lady asked if it could be our dog.  Because apparently this one just appeared at their house the night before and wouldn’t leave.

Greg went to tour a Navy battleship one afternoon (while I got to do some flea-market shopping).  He had a blast.

Our last morning in the city, we ate breakfast at the Hominy Grill.  It was soo yummy, especially the mimosas 😉

After brunch on Sunday, we went to check out the city market.  It’s sort of like the farmer’s market, but mostly crafts and good rather than fruits and veggies.  After that, Greg wanted to catch some NFL football games, so we found the ultimate NFL bar.  We hung out there for a bit, but it didn’t take long for me to get bored of that.  So I wandered around towards the pier.  A cruise ship had come into town, so I went to go check that out.

 

stepping back in time

Probably my most favorite part of our trip to Charleston was our visit to Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, SC.  If I remember correctly, sometime in the late 1600s, the land was given as a grant by King Charles of England to John Boone.  Once a 1,000+ acre plantation, the property was booming with cotton and indigo fields, along with pecan trees, and a brickyard, all of which provided income for the owners over the years. The land was passed down through several generations of Boones, and then later sold to the Horlbeck brothers.  They established a brickyard on the plantation, and built several homes and businesses in the downtown Charleston area using bricks produced from their plantation.  Fast forward to 1950s, the McRae family bought the land and in the late 1950s, opened the property up for public tours.  Over the past 300+ years, the property grew from 600acres to nearly 1,500 acres.  Today, most of the property has been sold off and developed, but the McRae daughter (now in her late 70s) still lives in the home for part of the year, and her brother (who co-owns the property) lives in downtown Charleston.  The only portion of the house that is open to the public is the main level dining room, library, foyer, and “man cave.”  Yep, not sure what that “man cave” would have originally been called, but it’s a tiny brick room off the back of the house with a wine cellar beneath.  I just remember the tour guide calling it a modern day man cave.

Ok, enough talking, let’s see pictures!! This place is GORGEOUS!  48 live oak trees line the drive leading to the house.  They were planted in the 1840s.

The plantation ran smoothly with the help of hundreds of slaves over the years.  Even after the Civil War when slavery was abolished, most of the slaves stayed working on the plantation as it was a secure place to work and ensured a roof over their heads.

And there are still several acres of crops that are grown on the property every year.  They still have a small cotton field, and fields of tomatoes, grapes, corn, cabbage, eggplant, peach trees, and pecan trees.  The pecan trees were planted by John Boone as another large source of income.  There used to be hundreds of them on the property, but pecan trees do not stand well in hurricanes, and so many of them have been wiped out over the years.

And the best part (to me at least), is the movie The Notebook was filmed at this plantation!  The house Ally lives in is this house (or from the outside, at least).  And the river that Noah jumps in when they are hanging out in the canoe, runs behind the home.

The picture above is the old cotton gin.  They were trying to renovate it, and it nearly collapsed, so now the wooden support beams hold it up.  And below is the dock house on the property, and the location where actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were married just a few weeks ago.  (and when we were there, catering companies were setting up for another wedding).

Charleston, the Holy City

We learned that Charleston, SC is fondly referred to as “the Holy City” because the skyline is sprinkled with church steeples.  You probably can’t walk more than 3-4 blocks without finding a church.  And they are beautiful! I wish I had taken pictures of more of them, but somehow I didn’t.

And several of them have cemeteries on the property.  Very very old cemeteries.  We walked around one for a while trying to find the oldest graves we could, and many of them dated to the early 1800s.  Lots of the dates had deaths in the 1860s, which we guessed were probably from Civil War battles.

 

We spent a fair amount of time just walking around town, looking at the architecture and homes downtown.  It’s amazing how “downtown” certainly doesn’t feel like any part of Birmingham’s downtown.  There are a LOT of houses in the downtown area, and they are so stinkin’ cute!!  And it’s so clean.  It was nice.

 
 
 
 

 There are several historic homes in the area that you can tour, so we stopped in one one afternoon.  It was built in the 1800s, and most of the home’s woodwork is all original and the furniture dates to the era as well.  There was no air conditioning in this time, so most homes have lots of windows that could be opened, as well as large porches as added living spaces.

 

 Friday night we decided to eat a nice dinner for our anniversary.  We had looked at the menu at a place called Oak Steakhouse the first night we were just walking around downtown.  We originally thought it was way out of our price range, but for our anniversary dinner we decided it was worth the splurge.  The building used to be a bank for over 100 years, then I believe in the 1950s, it was converted into the restaurant it is today.  It was gorgeous on the inside and the food was delicious!!!  We even decided to order some fudge cake dessert to-go so we could enjoy it from the comfort of our bed back at the hotel.  Totally worth the splurge!

Gone fishin’

Ever since we decided to go to Charleston for our 1 year anniversary, and I saw that they had an aquarium, I knew I wanted to go. I LOVE AQUARIUMS 🙂  Seriously, I even had a little 5-gallon tank in my dorm room for a year at college with several goldfish.  I don’t know what it is, but I could sit and stare into a pretty tank of fish for way too long and never get bored!

Anyways, so the Charleston aquarium is right next door to the pier where the ferry leaves for Fort Sumter.  So we went there when we got back from the fort tour.  Yep, we were such tourist.  Oh wait, speaking of being super-tourists…check out the “dad” socks and coffee in hand.  28 going on 40 😉

This aquarium was very well laid out.  There were two floors, and luckily it wasn’t crowded at all, so I could stand and stare as long as I wanted Greg would allow me to 🙂  He likes aquariums too, though.  There was lots of ooo-ing and ahhh-ing from both of us.  Especially when we got up the escalator and this guy greeted us on the second floor…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Then, if none of that was cool enough, they have this guy.  He’s an albino American alligator.  The zookeeper aquarium keeper (?) told us they retrieved him from a nest along the coastline down in Louisiana that had produced another albino alligator before.  But then during hurricane Katrina, that nesting grounds was destroyed, so they don’t know if the same pair of mating alligators are still together.  This guy is 14 years old, and approximately 7 feet long.  They said he could get up to at least 15 feet long at full maturity.  And it was so difficult to get a picture of his head above water…

Civil War history at Fort Sumter

Friday we got up and first thing we did was head to the bay to board a ferry and go see Fort Sumter.  Some quick facts about Fort Sumter; the first shots of the Civil War were fired here in April 1861.  This is where it all began.  Union troops occupied the fort, and when they refused to vacate, Confederate soldiers fired shots from nearby Fort Johnson.  After 2-days of battles, Union troops finally surrendered the fort to the South.  Fort Sumter originally stood about 50 feet high on all walls.  In 4 years, through the battles of the Civil War, it suffered a lot of damage and now only stands roughly 1-story high.  It is estimated that in that 4-years time, 46,000 shells were fired at Fort Sumter.  It wasn’t decommissioned as a military fort until after WWII.  Since that time, it serves as a national monument for tourists.

Here we are waiting to board the ferry.
 
 This plaque shows the destruction of the fort from its original structure in 1861 to 1863.
 

Charleston bound!

This year for our 1 year wedding anniversary, we decided to take a trip to Charleston, S.C.  To break up the long road trip, we left Wednesday after I got off work and drove to Greg’s parents house at Lake Oconee, GA.  That way we only had about a 4 hour drive on Thursday to get to Charleston.

However, we ran into a bit of a crisis the moment we arrived into Charleston. (Forgive me while I rant for a minute, or two).  We had booked our stay through Hotels.com at the Holiday Inn.  When Greg went inside to check-in, they said we didn’t have any reservations.  Greg gave them my name and his name, and nothing (and apparently they were very rude about it, too).  Well, just a few days before I had gotten our credit card statement and had seen where we had been charged for the 4 nights.  So, for the first almost 2 hours of our arrival to Charleston we were sitting in the parking lot in our car searching both email accounts for any confirmation emails (which we realized we never got), calling the credit card company (who luckily was extremely nice and helpful), calling Hotels.com (who was extremely slow and not the most accommodating, considering the whole thing was their fault in the first place), and basically panicking because we were running out of options.  Obviously, Hotels.com figured out they had to refund our hotel reservations, but we were left on our own finding another hotel we could book for the week (which was hard enough to do online from home 3 weeks ago, for a price that was decent).  So, when we finally realized we didn’t have any back-up plans, Greg just put the car in reverse and drove across the bay to the Courtyard Marriott.  We basically just walked in, tried to briefly explain our crisis, and hoped we could get a decent deal.  Thank goodness the lady at the front desk was very understanding, and she gave us a GREAT deal (better than what we had had in the first place).  So in the end, God took care of us and it all worked out.  But it was super stressful for a while.  I can’t believe I didn’t cry, to be honest.

Whew, ok, rant done.  How about this Charleston sunset…

So by this time it was dinnertime and we were ready to see Charleston.  We headed to East Bay Street and walked around, did some window shopping at the local shops and restaurants.  We ate dinner, then walked around some more.  We ended up walking down to the pier then headed home for the night.  After a long day, we were ready for a comfy bed!

Welcome fall

Fall is here!  I’m so excited.  We are getting closer to cooler weather, which means I can almost bust out the boots and scarves.  And of course I loooove the holidays creeping around the corner.  I’ve been itching to get my fall decor out, so last weekend I packed up my summer decor and filled my house with pumpkins and gourds, cinnamon scented candles and fun little Halloween items.  But first, I needed to get some pumpkins.  Mom, Katie and I went to the Finely Avenue Farmers Market and they have soooo many pumpkins to choose from.  We spent a good hour and a half picking out pumpkins, and man, did we do some damage.

 
 

 Yep, that’s our load in the car.  Kind of outrageous, but they’re so pretty 🙂  And now for a little home tour for fall 2012…