Charleston Charm

While the munchkins were hanging out with Grandma & Grandpa, Eric and I escaped away to the romantic city of 
Charleston, South Carolina.

We arrived later in the evening and after stuffing ourselves with plenty of shrimp and fish & chips at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co., we made ourselves comfy at the Hampton Inn Historic District.  I highly recommend the Hampton if you're staying on the peninsula.  It was so clean and comfortable and close to everything!

The next morning, we walked right on over to Liberty Square where we headed to the Ft. Sumter National Monument Visitor Center.

I love how I look like a total tourist!  Camera and visitor guide in hand.

We rode the ferry out to Ft. Sumter, where the first shots of the civil war were fired upon.

It took about half an hour for our ferry to make the 3 mile trip out in the harbor.

Do you see Eric peeking out of one of the cannon windows?

There he is.

Look at those guns!

This gives you an idea of how thick the walls were.

Here's a shell that has been embedded since the civil war!

On display in the museum was the original flag that flew above the fort back in the day.

After our morning ferry ride, we headed down King Street to the end of the peninsula and Battery Park, but not before stopping into this absolutely cute (which interprets to very pricey) macaroon boutique.  Yummy!

The azaleas were in full bloom while we were in Charleston.  Gorgeous!

Battery Park and White Point Gardens did not disappoint.  It is so beautiful and surrounded by such historic charm.  

We left the peninsula and headed up north to the Inn at Middleton Place.  I really liked the woodsie surroundings nestled right by the Ashley River.  The rooms looked like contemporary tree houses to me.

The best part of staying at the Inn was the complimentary admission to tour Middleton Place plantation.  It even had its own back path entry.  I can not tell you how beautiful Middleton Place is.  It is absolutely breathtaking in all respects.

It was raining the evening we checked in, but that didn't stop us from touring the grounds.  We had the place to ourselves.  
Talk about "oo la la" romantic!  

Above that terraced hill and between those butterfly ponds was once the plantation home, but it was destroyed during the war.

This is where the home site used to be and look at that view.

I could use a reflecting pond like this one.  
I guess my pool will have to do.

Get a load of that tree!  They braced up one of the branches to hold the weight.

The next morning we toured the "flank house" that was rebuilt in the late 1800's.  Originally, there were two of these, one on either side of the main house.  I can't imagine what the main house looked like.  The Middleton descendants have sent in a lot of heirlooms that adorn the house.  Awesome.

Later in the day, we drove down a few miles to Drayton Hall.  This wasn't a plantation, but a very impressive "country" home that somehow survived the war and dates back to the Revolution.  It is rumored that during the Civil War the Drayton's posted "Small Pox" signs on the property to keep people away.  
Smart move.

Is that not the most picturesque setting ever?

Look at those panels and railing.  I see some remodeling in our near future.
Everything in the home is original.  They have had to make some things structurally safe, but overall it hasn't been touched.

I love that ceiling and no one is allowed on the 2nd floor above it.  They don't want to lose it.

Here I am sporting another typical tourist shot in the back yard.  I so loved this property!

I didn't so much like the critter sunning itself by the reflecting pond.  Yikes!  

Later that day, we headed over the Arthur Ravenel bridge to Mt. Pleasant, SC.

We ended our evening on the beach on Sullivan's Island.  
It was a beautiful night.

We strolled along looking for shells for the kids.  Cheap souvenirs!  Eric tested the water and it was warm.  I wouldn't have guessed.  I plan on bringing the kiddos back here.  They would love, love, love it.

Sullivan Lighthouse 

Ships passing in the distance.

You know I had to throw a kissy pic in.  Come on.

Our last morning, we hit the Boone Hall Plantation.  This plantation has the longest drive of oak trees ever!  They are hundreds of years old and gorgeous.  I guess I'll be doing some landscaping in the near future too.

The movie, The Notebook, was also filmed on the grounds.  

This tree is perfect for my kiddos.  I would never get them out of there.

The original plantation home was destroyed, you guessed it, in the war.  What's that about anyway?  Whatever.  

There is a nice home you can tour that was built in the 30's, but  the most impressive structures were these original slave homes that were labeled "Slave Street".  Since they were brick, they somehow survived.  Only the skilled trade slaves had use of these.

There was also a performance by locals to explain "Gullah" culture.  It was impressive.

We waved goodbye to the amazing Low Country and headed back to our tinies.  It was a great trip.

If You're Gonna Go, Go Big

I've been to a few rodeos in my day and I was ashamed to admit that I had never taken my tinies to such an event. I am proud to say now that I have redeemed myself and boy did I ever. If you're going to go to a rodeo, I say why not go to the biggest rodeo in the WORLD!

We started off the day at the carnival.
First stop, the petting zoo area.

The rest of the day was filled with ride after ride.

See if you can find in this post just what Seth won from the dart contest?

We could not pass up the Pig Races!
Come on, who could?

Traveling around the country racing for Oreos.
Now that's the life.

While walking around the Livestock Show, we discovered that my little brother is famous.
And here I always thought he was a spoiled rotten, little brat.
Go figure.

What's better than spending the day at the carnival with your cousins.
Not a whole lot.

Later that evening, we headed over to Reliant Stadium for the Rodeo. Yeehaw!

Here's a little taste of what we saw.

Highlights for me were the Mutton Bustin' contest...
Now that's entertainment.
And finishing off the night with The Band Perry.

Speaking of "finishing off" things. How bout them Texas sized dogs!

And speaking of "Texas sized" bout them Texas sized crowds! There was a record number of over 70,000 people at the rodeo. I'm pretty sure all 70,000 were trying to leave on the same shuttle bus as us! Yikes.