Monday, April 20, 2015

Charleston Marina

The Charleston marina can be summed up in one word... MEGADOCK! This was a really long dock and by the time we hiked back to the marina entrance, we had covered approx a half mile. 

Alot of cruisers had bicycles on their boats so they could traverse the dock speedily. 
       The sunsets were spectacular!
         And I found art in all forms...
Bish had cooked us up a wonderful vegan dinner in honor of our guests Buddy & Nancy. 
               It was scrumptious!
We were joined for dinner by our friend Phil who was in town for the über keel boat race. He is a former commodore of our yacht club & such a nice guy. 
And then the thunderstorm hit... It was pouring like crazy and the lightening was getting a little close for comfort. There was also a tornado warning. Now that's something we aren't used to on the west coast!
Everyone was caught out in the rain and got soaked. 
But after every storm, comes the best present of all...a gorgeous night sky!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Middleton Plantation

My posts fell behind after our last sojourn here in Charleston ten days ago, but better late then never I say! 

We took a day to tour an amazing plantation... And the group consensus was to head out to the country. (Hello... Uber? We need a pick-up!) to Middleton Plantation. If you ever get a chance to tour this beautiful city, get yourself to Middleton plantation. It was a must see and we couldn't have loved it more!

This area is known as "low-country" & much of southern cuisine is based on this region. (Think fried green tomatoes and hush puppies.) 
Driving on beautiful country roads...
    However, the rain followed us again. 
        And it was pouring buckets!
 It didn't stop the carriage horses though. 
This was a charming little general store on the property of the plantation. 
Finally the sun came out and before I knew it, I was walking amongst these sweet lambs on the property. 
I was in heaven! I wonder if I can talk Brad into being a gentleman farmer? Ha!

Built in 1755, the House Museum interprets four generations of Middleton Family, with extraordinary family furniture, silver, porcelain, rare books and portraits on display. Birthplace of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Middleton Place and the Middletons have played an important role in American history. The property has miraculously remained under the same family stewardship for some 320 years, and today, successfully preserves history for visitors to enjoy. They even have one day each year where they invite all Middleton relatives to a family picnic. 

The original estate burned down in the Civil War, and when this happened the Middletons moved into the smaller home you see in the photo below. It has all of the original family art and furnishings inside. 
Such a beautiful view of the front of the property. 
           And the backyard... Wow!
Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens. 
The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres “the most important and most interesting garden in America”.  
Centuries-old camellias bloom in the winter months and azaleas blaze on the hillside above the Rice Mill Pond in the spring. In summer, kalmia, magnolias, crepe myrtles (gotta love me some crepe myrtles) and roses accent a landscape magnificent throughout the year. 
The Gardens have been planned so that there is something blooming at Middleton Place year-round.
       And cue.. My fave weepy trees! 
      Brad was hollering for the gators...
              And there they were!
Honestly, the sheer beauty of this place was mind blowing! This scene looked like it was out of a Monet painting. 
This cute little abode at the waters edge had a chapel in it. 
Downstairs was open to the elements and it was filled with all of these pots. Not to be confused with chamber pots that is!
We couldn't help ourselves, but work our signature pose. Brad's such a good sport!
Again... My fave trees! Hard to believe this moss is cousin to the pineapple.
And here we are... Out walking the grounds and who knew we had to be on gator watch?!!! Needless to say we walked the other way to give him lots of room. 
This abode was an old mill on the property. Looks pretty nice for a mill in my opinion. 
Buddy thought he'd check out old grandad. Luckily, he turned around quickly!
Brad was busy hanging out the mills window. 
Nancy & Buddy were prepped for inclement weather. 
      And then I found the Clydesdales!
What a scene it was to see these massive horses walking through the fields. 

 They even had their own blacksmith shop where their shoes can be made. 
       This little piggy went to market...
The farm on the grounds of the plantation were just idyllic as can be! You felt as if you were walking through a storybook. James Michner was probably hiding out somewhere...
 Animals abounded and a lot were freely walking around everywhere you looked. 
Everything at Middleton Plantation had been kept in its original state. Below was the wood shop were barrels were made. 
I was most enchanted by the original barn. Postcard perfect!
While this sheep was ready for his close-up. 
And then I found the Clydesdale tack room. The saddles were massive. 
     These are their carriage harnesses. 
It could not have turned into a more beautiful day!
       The cows were sweet as sugar. 
And then I came upon the water buffalo who was scratching himself silly. 
This was his girlfriend bathing the day away. 
Even the duck house was full of charm. The ducks sleep in it nightly in the same pen with the water buffalo below them. 
I took waaaaay too many photos, but loved it all. 
                  Bathe much?
           Farm life idyllic as can be. 
      And then... A turf war broke out. 
                      Take that! 
Can you see the tufts of hair on the corner of their horns? That's from their constant fighting. One of them was quite pregnant, so I hope they can work out their differences before the baby comes!
The sheep were too cute & fun to observe. 
Even the horse carriages were perfectly lined up and made a pretty picture. 
The wild peacocks running around were gorgeous in all their glory. Their colors just illuminate. 
And then I found my horse friends ready for their close-up. 
          Someone needs a shave. 
I was surprised to see that these giants were kept in small 10' x 10' stalls. 
Then Bessie came charging around the corner to get to her feed. 
And I got the opportunity to milk her! One more bucket list item checked off. It was so much fun and I didn't even mind that my sandals were stuck in the mud. Some woman behind me was complaining that I needed to work on my aim. (Udderly rude.) Ha! Funny how I didn't see her trying to milk the cow! It's not as easy as it looks and takes some getting used to. 
I even talked Nancy into giving it a whirl. She loves being hands-on. Haha!
           Buddy was in it to win it!
What a great day we had and the plantation had so many unexpected surprises. Hard to believe we arrived in the south on our own boat. We will cherish all our Charleston memories!!