The mantra of our six-day road trip south started out as "We can always just drive home if we're miserable." By the second day of the trip it had changed to "Let's quit our jobs and hit the road for good!"
We had a great time on this trip. We spent three nights down at Emerald Isle (southern tip of the Outerbanks) and two nights in Charleston, SC. Here is my road trip top 10 (in no particular order):
1. Whole Shells. Growing up near the Oregon Coast, I always thought finding whole shells along the beach was a myth invented by Hollywood. But they really exist, at least in the Carolinas! It was so much fun to go shell hunting. The shorelines would literally be overflowing with intact, beautiful shells. Sometimes I would pick one up and think, this must have been bought at a store and then dropped by the North Carolina Dept of Tourism! We brought some home to keep...I wish I would have brought enough to fill my entire house with them!
2. Southern Food. We ate hush puppies and grits for the first time. Ed ate a lot of oysters and crabs and such 'cause that is his thing. We found this place in Charleston called the Glass Onion with amazing southern comfort delights. I want to drive all the way back for more cornbread and deviled eggs, please.....and mashed potatoes and collard greens.....yum!
3. Dolphins. I had no idea we would see dolphins on this trip. We first spotted a few in the water on the ferry back from Shakelford Banks. We saw more on the Charleston Waterfront. When we went to Folly Beach (near Charleston) there were three dolphins playing within a few feet of us in the water. Spectacular. We were told they hang out in the area until July when the water gets too warm.
i missed getting a shot of the dolphins, but got a cute one of Noe
4. Historic Charleston. Charleston was so beautiful that I was *almost* convinced that the Civil War really was "a war of northern aggression," as they like to claim. How could this beautiful place have ended up on the wrong side of history? It reminded me a bit of Georgetown, but with palm trees. I couldn't keep my eyes off the beautiful houses and churches. There was a lot of Easter preparation going on at the churches. We walked through the old cemeteries at the Catholic churches and snuck into a beautiful stained-glass sanctuary at a Presbyterian church. I would have loved to attend Easter Services there.
Serena, is this the water fountain where you and Barry got engaged?
5. The Lighthouse.
I was all pumped up about exploring lighthouses on this trip. So when we saw signs for a hiking trail that was supposed to lead to a historic lighthouse, we jumped out of the car and hiked. This is as far as we got. I decided against the mile swim.
6. Wild Horses at Shakelford Banks.
Look behind Asher and you will see the "wild" horses
One day, we took a ferry out to a small island that was home to dozens of wild horses, left by the Spaniards back in the day. I was expecting groups of them to randomly run past us as we walked the island, 'cause they're wild, right? But we actually had to hunt for them by following the horse poop. We finally found a group quietly eating grass. Ever since television and the Internet came along, I guess wild horses aren't as active as they used to be!
7. Mini Golfing. Dude. The South does their mini golfing right. At Emerald Isle, we took our very own train to the first hole. There were cascading waterfalls and no clowns or cheap windmills. The boys got into it (although Noe preferred to kick his ball into the hole if we didn't watch him). I had a great time because I was with my cute little threesome.....I could skip the golfing. And golfing also deserves a mention because it cost us $36 for 18 holes. Yes, you read that correctly. For that much, I was expecting a high-five from Tiger Woods for my holes-in-one.
8. Car Talk. Ed and I had so many great talks on this trip. Mostly when we were held hostage along long stretches of highway. Since most of our conversations take place on Facebook chat or are prefaced with the phrase...."You have exactly three minutes to talk before I have to go to X" these days, to have long stretches of conversation was pretty fabulous. We learned that we are both in our thirties now and have two children, among other things...
9. Piggly Wiggly. This is a real grocery store! I always thought it was a place that people invented to make fun of Southern folk. An' I seen it with my very own eyes!
10. Technology. Finally, a special shout out to the iPads and other new-fangled technology contraptions that helped make the long drive a pleasant experience for all.