Driving South

An assortment of moments captured as we made our way from Philadelphia to Milledgeville:

Wednesday 9:02am: The movers arrived in Philadelphia to help us load our U-Pack pod. We’ve narrowed down our belongings significantly, and with Luke’s predetermined layout, were able to (just) fit everything into the crate.

Luke loads the last of our belongings into the pod

Luke loads up the pod

There goes our little pod - see you in Georgia!

There goes our little pod – see you in Georgia!

Wednesday 6:25pm: Our last night in Philly, we headed back to Monk’s Cafe for Belgian beers and food. Delicious!

Monk's Cafe

Monk’s Cafe

Thursday 12:26am: Road construction continued for the second night this week. We’d sold our a/c units, so keeping the windows open was a necessity. Sadly, the city chose this week to strip and repave our street. Doubly painful, they worked at night when there were fewer cars on the road. Jackhammers, the beeping of machines backing up, and the yells and whistles of the construction crew woke us up throughout the night.

Thursday 12:37pm: On the road! Irritated by the constant construction of Philadelphia, we made a pact to state things we’re thankful for during our year-long adventure here. For me, it was a year to discover what I want to do for a career, to set personal goals, and to continue developing the confidence I need to achieve them. For Luke, it was a year to explore the east coast, take advantage of our proximity to the Italian Market, and have meaningful conversations about our future.

Thursday 7:30pm: Dinner at Evening Star in Alexandria, VA. Good conversation with great friends and yummy food. Nights like this remind us how important it is to make time for the folks we care about, and to make a solid effort to be social in our new town.

Friday 11:02am: Stuck in traffic outside Richmond, VA. Laughed together at the lyrics to “How Many Drinks” by Miguel.

Friday 5:30pm: After a long day of driving, we set up camp at Badin Lake in North Carolina. Luke made a fire, and we played Gin while waiting for the thunder to turn to rain.

Badin Lake campground

Badin Lake campground

Friday 9:02pm: Fell asleep to the sound of rain plopping off our tent.

Saturday 5:30am: We’re the first site to wake up at the campground. We had the showers to ourselves, followed by breakfast and coffee around the fire. Ready for the drive to my parents house in South Carolina!

Saturday 6:45pm: A full homemade Southern dinner at Mom and Dad’s, including baked ham, potato salad, fried green tomatoes, crowder peas covered in hot chow-chow, cornbread, and peach blueberry crumble.

Sunday 9:15am: A full homemade Southern breakfast at Mom and Dad’s, including biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs with cheese and green onions, fresh tomato slices, and cantaloupe. With full bellies, we made the final (and easiest) leg of the trip down to Milledgeville.

Saturday 4:32pm: After unloading the car in our rental cottage on the lake, we drove into the downtown area for exploring. A trip to the grocery store on the way home, followed by settling in back at the cottage.

Relaxing at the lake house

Relaxing at the lake house

We’re happy to be in Georgia, and look forward to sharing more of our adventures here with you soon!

Exploring Philadelphia with my Parents

My parents recently drove from South Carolina up to Philly for a week’s visit. It’s always fun to (re)explore your city with new guests, and this was no exception.

By far, our greatest new discovery is the Independence Seaport Museum. The large space houses two floors of Philadelphia maritime history, complete with displays from the Ship Model Society and in-action boat building at the Workshop on the Water. Adjacent to the museum are two historical boats to crawl around on – the cruiser Olympia (launched 1892) and the submarine Becuna (launched 1944).

If you are planning a trip to Philly, we will definitely take you there. Look how happy it makes people:

Dad on the Olympia

Dad on the Olympia

Luke on the Olympia

Luke on the Olympia

Mom on the Olympia

Mom on the Olympia

Dad and Luke on the Olympia

Dad and Luke on the Olympia

Fun!

Fun floor signs!

Another highlight was a walk through Independence Park, followed by a trip to City Tavern. This has become our go-to spot for a sightseeing break. Plus, it’s fun to try the historical beer recipes.

Dad at City Tavern

Dad at City Tavern

We had lots of great meals and wonderful conversations over the course of the week.

Family at El Vez

Family at El Vez

Finally, we took a mini-vacation to Atlantic City for a little fun at the casino. Luke was the big winner of the night (no surprise!) – turns out penny slots are entertaining and profitable!

Luke in the casino, Atlantic City

Luke in the casino, Atlantic City

It was lovely having my folks in town. We are super excited to have Luke’s parents here in May!

Charleston, SC

After a lovely day at Cypress Gardens, we all headed into the historical section of Charleston for a few days of relaxation. The weather was a bit chilly, but the delicious food and drinks, good company, and pleasant walks kept us all sufficiently warm. Here are a few shots of our family outings:

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Luke watching the birds

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Group break along the coast

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Lovely architecture and palm trees

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Greenery becomes architecture

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Pineapple fountain

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Paul and Suzanne on the ocean-view porch swing

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Stephanie on the swing

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A southern feast at Hominy Grill: macaroni and cheese, tomatoes and okra, squash casserole, collard greens, cornbread, and an Old Fashioned

It was a quiet getaway filled with happy memories, sea air, and cornbread. Perfect.

Cypress Gardens

Luke and I spent the Thanksgiving weekend in South Carolina with our parents. It was so nice to have both sides of the family there to celebrate. After two days of my mom’s amazing home cooking, we all piled into the car and drove east to the coast.

I’ve wanted to visit Cypress Gardens ever since reading this blog post. The Gardens were everything I was hoping for and more! Beautiful weather, no crowds (thank you, Black Friday), and an abundance of flora and fauna.

First stop, the Butterfly House. Their winter butterflies were small and striped, and were largely attracted to these two varieties of fun flowers:

Inside the Butterfly House

Onion-y flowers

Back outside, a nice walking trail follows along rows and rows of Cypress trees. I was delighted to learn that these trees grow “knees” that stick out above their roots.

Cypress tree “knees”

Changing leaves and more “knees”

The highlight of the Gardens is definitely the free boat rentals. Luke, Paul, Tom and I cruised through the swamps on the lookout for alligators (none, phew!) and other swampy wildlife. It was magical to traverse through the tree mazes in complete silence except for an occasional oar in the water.

Paddling through the Cypress swamps

How many vultures can you find? Hint: There are a lot. Creepy.

Spanish moss

Our crew – Luke, Tom, and Paul

The main blooming flower for this time of year is the Camellia. While several of the trees were just starting to bud, we found a few that had already come alive.

Camellia in the sunlight

Luke, Paul, and Suzanne in the Camellia Garden

Carla, Stephanie and Tom in the Camellia Garden

A lovely day!

More to come on our adventures in Charleston!