Charleston: Charm & power outages…

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina (Photo credit: Dougtone)

It has often been said that “all good things must end,” and that’s exactly what happened with my brief foray into wearing shorts and short sleeves in brilliant 70-degree weather that one day in Savannah. Hoping for more of the same weather once we reached Charleston, our hopes were dashed upon the rocks (I love being melodramatic this morning!) when we awoke on Tuesday to be greeted by cold and drizzle. Dedicated and intrepid folks that we are, though, we made the twenty-minute drive from our hotel to the Visitor Center on Meeting Street in Charleston so we could chart our course for the next two days, crappy weather notwithstanding.

The kind lady at the information counter advised us that we should probably do whatever it was we wanted to do now because the forecast for tomorrow was calling for freezing rain. In short, today would be the lesser of the two evils. And so we purchased the combo tour, which included a harbor tour and visit to historic Fort Sumter, followed by a lengthy Gray Line bus tour around the beautiful city of Charleston.

Once both tours were concluded, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Hyman’s Seafood Restaurant. The grouper medley special prepared three ways was outstanding, and there was definitely more than enough to fill us up!

From there, we hopped aboard the free public trolley and rode the mile-long route back to where we were parked at the Visitor Center. Before we realized it, we were back on westbound I-26 heading back to our hotel, wondering what kind of weather actually would be coming in. Sometime in the night, all of the bad stuff they’d been predicting finally arrived.

Looking outside from our hotel room window at the freezing rain. The pines are heavily laden with ice in Summerville, SC.

Wednesday was  freezing rain, causing countless pine trees to snap under the weight, taking out power lines and bringing things in the entire surrounding area to a halt. For a while, before the power left us, I managed to get some editing and revising done on my book The Good Luck Highway. After that, we spent the better part of the day without power. 

When the power did come back on–after several false alarms—we decided to take a drive to see if there was any place to get some dinner. Of course, that was no easy task since all businesses in our area were still without power. Finally, driving back three exits toward Charleston, we managed to find a brightly lit Cracker Barrel, the most popular place in the world!

English: View of the house at Middleton Place,...
English: View of the house at Middleton Place, near Charleston, South Carolina. Now the plantation’s house museum, this structure was originally the south wing, but became the main residence after the original main house was destroyed. The low wall left of the house indicates where the original main house once stood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday was better and the storms had moved on out, leaving behind much damage and many areas still struggling to get power back. A morning stroll through the City Market and a humbling visit to the old Slave Mart were the morning’s wanderings. From there, we drove out to Middleton Place, a true southern plantation, and walked the grounds and had a guided tour through the house. We both agreed that on a pleasant spring day, the time there would have been so much more enjoyable. As it was, it was still pretty impressive.

Dinner for our last night in Charleston was at the Shem Creek Bar and Grill, another place that had been recommended by friends and/or family. Located in nearby Mt. Pleasant, the large sprawling restaurant and bar served up all sorts of wonderful seafood dishes. I had the Shem Creek Sauté, a wonderful mix of mussels, clams, and scallops sautéed in olive oil, shallots, and spicy Cajun sausage, then tossed with linguine and topped with fried oysters. A couple of cold Budweisers to go along with it, and the meal was magnificent!

Our long, tiring, fun day over, we found our way back to the hotel, ready to hit the sack since the early morning would arrive all too soon.  After breakfast, we’d pack up, load the car, check out, and point our Malibu west on I-26 for the weekend in Waynesville, North Carolina. But I still missed being able to wear those shorts some more!….CortlandWriter

Official seal of Waynesville, North Carolina
Official seal of Waynesville, North Carolina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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If it’s February, it must be time to travel…

January (Photo credit: Deadly Tedly)

The end is near…

…Yes, the end of January, that is, and this means that the wife and I are about to embark on our annual February vacation/road trip.

This year, the weather being what it has been, the two of us are most definitely in the mood to load the car and set out for points south.

That is exactly what we plan to do late next Tuesday evening, when we’ll leave our tiny hamlet here in northern Illinois and set sail for Stone Mountain, Georgia, our first stopping point on this year’s adventure. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the recent snow, icy roads, and howling winds will not rear their ugly heads again on the night we want to get out and on the road.

We’ll spend a couple of days in and around the Atlanta area, with plans to visit Margaret Mitchell’s home and The World of Coca-Cola before heading east to the A H. Stephens State Park, named after Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy.

Why this park, you ask? It seems as though Carolyn, my wife, recently discovered, in her many extensive and exhaustive ancestry/genealogical researches, that A.H. Stephens was a second-cousin, twice removed.

That being the case, it will be way more meaningful and fun when we tour the

English: I took this picture at Liberty Hall i...
Liberty Hall in Crawfordville, Georgia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Confederate museum and Liberty Hall, Stephens’s home. We also have reservations for a two-night’s stay in one of the cottages located in the park, and I’m very much looking forward to that.

Then it will be on to Savannah, Georgia, a place we stopped at briefly one time years ago on our way to our home at the time in Titusville, Florida. I recall it being a beautiful, historic spot, and I will enjoy the two days we plan to spend there learning more about the place. And if the weather is as typically moderate and pleasant as I’ve heard, that can’t be all bad, either.

On the road again to Charleston, South Carolina, for a few days and to find out, first-hand, what everyone has forever told us about Charleston being one of their very favorite places to visit and spend time. The historic stuff alone will be well worth the time and money we’re investing in this February’s trip. I’m eagerly awaiting that part of the journey.

And it can’t be a February get-away without spending some time in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina at Carolyn’s brother’s house in Waynesville. We’ll make the relatively short drive there when finished immersing ourselves in all things Charleston. Our weekend with her brother and his wife will be fun and relaxing before we make the drive from there back to northern Illinois.

At each of these wonderful places along the way, I plan to get plenty of writing done in the evenings: updating this blog, working on the current WIP, and sending e-mail. Last year’s February genealogy “field trip” to Athens County, Ohio, Coalwood, West Virginia, and Waynesville, coincided with the start of Gwen Hernandez’s online Scrivener for Mac class. During the course of that trip, I completed several of the first lessons that Gwen would post each day. I found it to be lots of fun working through the lessons in a different location each morning.

Now that February is creeping in (and not a moment too soon!), it’s time to dig the Eddie Bauer bag out of the closet, get the clothes laid out and packed, and begin to get serious about hitting the road. Leaving northern Illinois for a couple of weeks will be just what the two of us need–if the weather “gods” see fit to smile on us!

I’m looking forward to writing about all of this as the miles and days unfold beginning next week. Stay tuned…CortlandWriter

Cortland, IL
Cortland, IL (Photo credit: moominsean)
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