Sunday, July 19, 2009

Highlights from the South

As previously mentioned, my mom and I just spent the last week or so on a road trip. The primary purpose was to visit Kate and Panda in their new home state, but also some time together before I move. There's a lot I could share, but I'll keep it to the one or two highlights from each day. Sorry - this is going to be a long one...

Day 1 - Driving
From Peoria to Indy - nothing but hard rain. Stopped just short of Louisville. Southern Indiana is way more "southern" than I ever realized.

Day 2 - Asheville, NC
Drove through sunny skies. Visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville ( at 3:30, before gates closed at 4 but late enough so that our one day tickets turned into two day passes. By the time we left, we were 1 of 3 cars in the parking lot and had it to ourselves. It was awesome. We found the hummingbird below in the gardens - it was so tiny!

Day 3 - NC to SC
It looked like more rain and opted to explore downtown where we could easily duck inside if needed. Lesson of the South #1 - These are not early morning people. There is nothing to do before 10am. Luckily the Urban Trail along the sidewalk is available 24/7. We had great cubans for lunch at a local cafe and mom fell in love :).

The drive to Charleston was easy. We arrived for dinner and drinks with Kate & Panda. Lesson #2 - every menu seems to have fried pickles and fried green tomatoes.
Katie wore stickers from the restaurant out as we walked around looking for a bar. An old man accosted her, only to give her a $25 gift certificate to go back to the restaurant!!
Day 4 - Charleston, SC
Now knowing we could sleep in, we did. Wonderful waffles were made for a late breakfast and we shopped along King Street. Got a couple items, nothing big. Eh, I spoke too soon - Katie's ice cream sundae was huge!! Must have tired her out - a 3 hr nap ensued (for mom as well) before Panda braved it and woke her up. We went for dinner, bought a few movies and watched Bella.

*From the pics you'd think all we did was eat, but trust me, there was plenty of walking to be done.

Day 5 - Charleston, SC
Again, slept in as much as possible. Visited one of the plantations, Drayton Hall ( It was pretty empty for us in the morning, which was really nice. Saw creepy spiders and had to quickly turn back on one of the trails around the marsh. I got a quick nap this afternoon - then we headed for the beach. Sorry, cameras did not come out here. We had a fun couple of hours, the water was sooo warm and sand so soft. My water toys have found a new home :). Ended an early evening with the Dark Knight.

Day 6 - Driving to DC
Dropped Kate off for work in the morning and headed out of town. Long drive, but we arrived in time for dinner with J&A. Spanish tapas - it was wonderful! Needed our sleep for a big day tomorrow.

Day 7 - The Mall, DC
We started off with a tour of the Capitol Building; although, it was just up to the dome, the old senate gallery and the visitor's center. Note to self: reserve tour through congressman's office to go to the senate and house galleries. The new visitor's center was pretty cool though, learned some new stuff, like you can a request a flag flown at the Capitol through your congressman. Then we walked to Native American museum for lunch, down to the Washington Monument and then the memorials: WWII, Korean War, Lincoln and Vietnam War. I think the Korean is my favorite monument in DC. We walked around the White House - no appearances. Went back for ice cream and J&A took us to dinner in Georgetown. After dinner, we got a night time tour of the monuments and got to see the all important Iwo Jima.

Day 8 - DC
Slept in a little, checked out and headed for the National Cathedral ( If you haven't been, I highly recommend. We had a tour, went up to the observation deck and stayed for the organ demo. Found our way back to a metro stop and headed out of DC right at 3:00, just getting a taste of afternoon rush hour. We continued through Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to our stop for the evening.

Day 9 - Driving
Checked out and headed for home. Made it to Peoria by ~5:00 or so and Mom continued on. Got myself read to head to TX the next day! :)

Hope you enjoyed travelling along with us. I'll try to share more of the pictures later.

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