This is the last installment in our vacation posts and I couldn't quite decide what name to give it....The Long Ride Home, The Adventure Home, or I Just Want To Get Home. I decided to call is what it was - The Ride Home. Our trip was wonderful....probably the best vacation to Florida that we've ever had.....full of memories, lots of laughter, great experiences, awesome food, and the shopping....aaaahhhhh.....ok, I'm back on track!
We took the scenic route (again) and visited Savannah, GA; Columbia, SC; Hickory and Cherokee, NC, and realized that we were a bit behind schedule and had to high tail it back home.
After we said our farewells to Grandma N., Papa H. and the stepsisters, we headed toward Savannah. I've wanted to go there for several years now and I couldn't to visit. When I think of Savannah, the things that come to mind are great architecture, huge trees with Spanish moss, Southern charm, the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and (of course) Paula Deen. We tried to get reservations at her restaurant, The Lady and Sons, but they were for 9:00 p.m. and my boys were starving. This is the outside of her restaurant and shop.
The people at her restaurant recommended Paula's brothers restaurant - Uncle Bubba's Oyster House. Before we headed to Uncle Bubba's, there were two things that we had to check out. First was Paula's shop and it was so cute! Her shop had cookbooks, coffee (her husband's line), cooking utensils, bakeware, and clothing. I'm sure there was more, but that's all I can remember right now. I did buy a coffee mug - pink since it's my favorite color - and then bought coffee for Prince Charming. The second thing we did was check out Johnson Square which was one block from The Lady and Sons. It was a small park, but absolutely charming.
This picture of the fountain is from flickr.com.
Here are our pictures from Johnson Square.
So, we were on our way to Uncle Bubba's. It was a little bit hard to find, but well worth the drive. The restaurant was on the water with a great view. The restaurant was decorated with old family pictures and kind of had a 50's theme. The food was great and service was good. Since we were on vacation and trying new food was part of the experience, we tried some southern cuisine - cheese grits. I can't say that I liked them as much as I liked the fried pickles. Prince Charming wasn't crazy about them either. The boys didn't even want to try them once they saw them. After we left the restaurant, we drove back to Savannah and drove around a bit more, and hit the obligatory Starbucks. We crossed the Savannah River on the Talmage Memorial Bridge and the night view of Savannah was beautiful. I wish I had a good picture to share with you, but they are blurry so I will have to share a picture from flickr.com.
We made it all the way to Columbia, SC and decided to call it a night. The next day we headed to Hickory, NC and on the way saw this huge, old, beautiful house. I would love to see the inside of it....I'm sure it has gorgeous woodwork, a large staircase, the porch looks so inviting. If walls could talk, I'm sure there would be plenty of great stories.
We finally made it to Hickory to see Aunt C and Uncle T. They volunteer at Catawba Science Center which reminds me of the Children's Museum in Indianapolis. Here are some pictures of our visit with them.
Uncle T with a tarantula.
Prince Charming likes ferns so I had to take a picture of this display for him.
The Science Center also had a Swamp Things exhibit with several "swamp" animals. Here's Aunt C, Boscoe and George at the entrance to the exhibit.
The also had an alligator in the swamp exhibit.
Aunt C with her favorite nephew :) Ok, maybe not favorite nephew, but some other wild animal.
This is the bobcat from the exhibit. He was the second one that the exhibit had because the first one grew up and needed to find a new home. This guy was so funny. His favorite toy was a stuffed Tigger and we watched him run back and forth in his cage playing with his toys. The boys wanted to take him home with us.
We built tops in another part of the Science Center and guess who's top stayed up the longest? Mine :)
Prince Charming and Boscoe were able to pet the sharks. George wanted to pet one, but couldn't reach them - dont feel too sorry for him though. When we were at the Indianapolis Zoo and he wouldn't leave the small shark exhibit there. I think he was able to pet almost every shark there with the amount of time we spent at that exhibit.
Sims Country BBQ which is a favorite dining/entertainment place for the locals. It's a very family oriented place with an all you can eat buffet and bluegrass band.
Everyone sits at picnic tables - the barn is full of them. At the far end of the barn is the stage for the bluegrass band and the dance floor for the clogging.
Our hosts, Aunt C. and Uncle T.
It was clog till you drop. I'm telling you that these people are serious about their clogging.
Some guys played spoons during the evening.
Prince Charming and I never clogged - we only did the chicken dance.
There was also a large pond by the barn full of huge catfish.
Our next destination was Cherokee, NC. Aunt C recommended that we stop there to see the Cherokee Indiana Museum plus there was shopping! It reminded us of Gatlinburg, TN with all the touristy shops. We arrived at the museum a little late, but did get to look at some of the items in the gift shop. Even though it was a nice place to visit, we thought it had more things to do with motorcycles than indians. There was a fishing tournament going on when we were there, looked like fun, but it was crowded.
The next destination was Tail of the Dragon. Prince Charming heard about this road from friends and it's a world famous road with 318 curves in 11 miles through the mountains. It's a great place to ride a motorcycle but what about a Ford f250 crewcab???? We stopped at Wendy's for our last supper before attempting to tame the dragon. The girls working there said we were crazy to try and drive it in our truck. These are the locals who drive it everyday saying stay away. We started to questioned whether we were making a mistake until we realized how far we'd have to back track to go around the mountain. I think my exact quote was "oh hell no!" so up the hill we went like Jack and Jill. We came across a gas station/store on the way up the hill and stopped to check it out. As we came out, we saw a semitruck coming from the direction we were headed. If he could make it we had nothing to worry about.....right??? Well we did make it and the scenery was great and I was nervious with some of the drop offs so close to the road. The pictures I have posted are a spot at the end of of the curves where the motorcycles would use to turn around and go back. That was it. We made it, we were alive, and we were about to finally get out of North Carolina.
It took us forever to get out of North Carolina and we didn't want to spend another night away from home, so home we drove. And drove. And drove even more. It was so good to get home, see our dogs, sleep in our own beds and know that we didn't have to be in the truck the next day.
We really did have a great vacation. Great memories of time spent with family and new places that we experienced. It was our plan to stop whenever and wherever we wanted and that's exactly what we did. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.