Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Asheville and Home

After driving from St Augustine back to the Charleston area, we returned to Sullivan's island for the night, where "Girls Weekend" with some of Ann's friends was in full swing. What a delightful bunch of women - so happy I finally got to meet them!

This is Ann's beach house. So comfy and relaxing...

The next morning we drove to the Charleston airport, where I picked up a rental for the rest of the journey home, including a stop in western North Carolina for a visit with my Mom and step-dad. The original plan was for both of us to make the last leg of the trip, but since pet-sitting problems necessitated an early return, it just didn't make sense for Ann to drive the camper all the way to Pennsylvania, only to turn it right back around again.

Route 26 from Charleston to Asheville is SUCH a pleasant drive - beautiful scenery, and very little traffic, even on Memorial Day weekend! I arrived at Mom and Frank's house in the early afternoon, and we had a wonderful several days visit, including a day trip to the Folk Art Center, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. What an amazing place...

...and tempting! So many talented folk artists displaying their work. I was simultaneously happy and disappointed I didn't have a credit card with available funds on it, or something very bad (or at lest very expensive) could have happened.

After a ramble around the Folk Art Center, we stopped for Mexican food at Papas and Beer - which didn't sound like the kind of place you take your Mom, lol - but we were following a recommendation from two locals, so decided to try it. GOOD CALL. Fabulous food, great service. If you're in the Asheville area, it's on Tunnel Road, and I highly recommend it.

After lunch, the drive back to the house took us past Lake Lure - one of my favorite places in North Carolina...

...And also through the little town of Chimney Rock (which is home to the state park and the spectacular monument where "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed). We found a wonderful little antique store right on the main drag, where I picked up, of all things, a vintage jadeite sugar shaker and a couple of hundred buttons to be used in art. :)

I left reluctantly (two years is far too long between visits and three days goes by so quickly) the next morning, and made it as far as Leesburg, Virginia before stopping for the night. The drive back to Pennsylvania was uneventful, save for a couple of road delays, and my welcome was enthusiastic to say the least. I don't know who was happier to see me - John or the dogs, haha! The cats just looked bored, as if to say, "Oh, you're back. Well, as long as you're here, can you feed and/or brush me?"

I'm not sure where the next adventure will take us - possibly west, possibly north...who knows?

All I know is I look forward to it!

Until then,
♥ Carolee

Friday, May 25, 2012

St. Augustine

Hello again! Back with another update...

We've spent the last few days wandering the oldest continuously inhabited city in the U.S., St Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565. Skipping the overly contrived and touristy "Fountain of Youth", we opted today for a leisurely walk down St George Street - which turned out to be quite touristy in it's own way, but still charming. The walk began with a visit to the old City Gates...

Although the city was founded in the mid sixteenth century, the gates were completed in 1808.

Further on down St. George Street is shopping galore, where Ann picked up a unique sculpture, and I picked up a bottle of tangerine wine. :)

Earlier in the week, we crossed the Bridge of Lions (so named for the two fellows standing guard at the entrance)...

...and made our way to the Alligator farm, a zoological park. What amazing animals. Don't these two crocs look like they're in love?

And check out this albino alligator...

How cool is he?

But the highlight was the Rookery, which was filled with fledgelings like these storks...

And these fellows. I forget which bird they are, and if anyone knows, please do comment. :)

This spoonbill was sitting on her nest...

And how about this guy's wingspan?!

Such a wonderful experience to see these species up close!

Last but by no means least, was a visit with the talented Iva Wilcox, who graciously invited us to tour her home and studio. Iva's work is just amazing, and we so enjoyed seeing it in person, and spending some time with her. :)

Tomorrow we head north again (Charleston bound) , where I'll rent a car for the drive home stopping in Asheville to see family along the way.

Until the next update, thanks as always for following our adventures!

~ Carolee

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Another absolutely gorgeous city. We took the trolley tour, which was so interesting, and always a great way to get a feel for the history of a place. It was a little tricky to shoot photos on the bumpy ride, but I managed to get a few.

One of the most beautiful sights in both Charleston and Savannah (and all points in between) has been the  live oak trees covered with Spanish Moss...

And of course the magnolia trees, just sooooo beautiful. Here's a close up...

Breathtaking churches...

Historic graveyards...

And stately homes. This is the Calhoun Mansion, which (if you're as old as I am) you may remember as the Hazard House in the mini-series "The North and the South". Interesting that a Charleston home was used for a Philadelphia set...

Like Charleston, we only had a day in Savannah, and I'm resolved to return one day and spend more time. Until then, it's on to Saint Augustine (from where I'm writing this, and will post about in more detail tomorrow!)

Back soon. :)
~ Carolee

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


What a beautiful city! Ann very graciously played tour guide, and in between oohing and aahing, I managed to snap a few photos.

A bed and breakfast across from the Battery...

An ornate ironwork balcony, typical of so many homes in the historic district...

One of many homes with piazzas. Balconies were built facing the ocean, so as to catch the sea breeze, but homes were taxed based on street frontage. So the front doors open to an exterior patio, rather than to the interior of the home...

Cobblestone streets...

And of course, amazing southern cuisine. I tried shrimp and grits for the very first time, at Poogan's Porch. Sooooooo good....

Ann's breakfast of eggs, fried oysters and grits looked delicious too...

(Not to give the impression that we're eating our way through the south or anything, hehe!)

I'm a day behind with blogging, and as I write this, we've moved on to Savannah - yet another gorgeous city. Next it's on to Saint Augustine, Florida...

Thanks as always for following our adventures, and please do leave a comment if you're so inclined!

Until next time,
 ~ Carolee

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sullivan's Island

Dear John,

I'm never coming home....

(Have you ever seen the movie "Shirley Valentine?") If so, you understand. ;)

Though the weather is a bit grey today, we managed to get some decent photos. This is the infamous "Poe's Tavern", where we lunched yesterday...

Poe spent thirteen months on the Island, as an enlisted man at Fort Moultrie, but despite his short time here,  it definitely sparked his imagination.  Here is how he describes Sullivan's Island in "The Gold Bug":

“This island is a very singular one. It consists of little else than the sea sand and is about three miles long. Its breadth at no point exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the mainland by a scarcely perceptible creek, oozing its way through a wilderness of reeds and slime, a favorite resort of the marsh hen. The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant or at least dwarfish. No trees of any magnitude are to be seen. Near the western extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands and where are some miserable frame buildings, tenanted, during summer, by the fugitives from Charleston dust and fever, may be found the bristly palmetto; but the whole island, with the exception of this western point and a line of hard, white beach on the seacoast, is covered with a dense undergrowth of the sweet myrtle.”

This is the Breach Inlet, between the Inland Waterway he describes, and the harbor...

And the tree which local legend has it Poe wrote about in "The Gold Bug", now on a residential street...

How cool is that?

And here are a couple of shots of Fort Moultrie, parts of which have been rebuilt since Poe's time. Originally built of palmetto logs during the American Revolution, it would have been brick in Poe's time. These sections have been rebuilt since...

Here are a couple of other "downtown" Sullivan's Island places, Dunleavy's Pub and Mamacitas, which are typical of the laid back, small beach town vibe here.

After our ramble around the island, we lunched at R.B.'s in Mount Pleasant (on the mainland)...

Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mango Chutney. Soooooooo good!

Finally, I have to share a couple of Island house photos. The first is what the locals call "The Egg House", built like this, with no resistance, to withstand hurricane winds of something like 150 miles an hour...

And during a phone conversation with John, he joked that I should look for property down here. So I posted this one to Facebook. How's this, honey? It's for sale, haha...

And probably only about thirty or forty times more than we could ever afford, but it's fun to dream, right?

We're here on the Island for another couple of days, then assuming all the planets are in alignment, and no more pet disasters occur (see previous post), it's on to Savannah.

Until then,
~ Carolee and Ann

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

Apologies to those of you looking for a more timely update. Things have been a little crazy, not so much here (the trip is wonderful!) - but at our respective homes. I am writing this from Ann's Beach house on Sullivan's Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, near Charleston.

Ann's cat Nick (a gorgeous tiger striped boy) was rushed to the emergency vet shortly after she left, with an apparent blockage. He's better now, but requires meds every six hours, so our stay here on Sullivan's Island has been extended until we're sure he's OK and can be left with a sitter.

In Pennsylvania, John (my hubby, who as some of you know has multiple health issues) is suffering from an upper respiratory infection, which due to heart and lung issues, can be serious if it progresses. He's on meds, and so far doing well, but we're watching it closely.

And in the meantime, our dog Cosmo (who is pretty freaked out by my absence) bit the dog groomer when she came to pick him up at the house. I feel just awful...Being a herding dog (Australian Shepherd), he's nipped at clothing before but never actually broken the skin. So there's been much time on the phone with John, with the groomer, and with our insurance company.

Never a dull moment, eh?

The upshot of all this is the trip has been cut short, and the Key West leg cancelled altogether. Whenever John is better, and back at work, we'll return, as I just don't feel we can trust Cosmo with pet sitters anymore.

Between now and then, we have the Island, Savannah, St Augustine (where we're looking forward to meeting Iva Wilcox) and finally the Asheville area, where I hope to see my Mom and Stepdad for the first time in two years.

Not the trip we'd originally planned, but a blessing nevertheless - assuming everyone holding down our respective forts continues to manage. ;)

I DO hope to share photos (and more upbeat posts, lol) with you soon, but I'm working on an Apple at the moment, and am used to a PC. So there's going to be a bit of a learning curve with the photo software. Hopefully in the next day or two!

That's it for now. Thanks for following our little adventure, and do leave a comment - we love hearing from you!

~ Carolee

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Journey Amended...

After months of planning and dreaming, it's finally here! The first leg of the road trip of a lifetime...

I write "first leg", as our journey has been amended, and broken into two parts. Family health concerns, mobility concerns (I'm still waiting for a more permanent ankle brace) and the prospect of traveling through the southwest in the heat of summer have inspired us to make some itinerary changes.

We leave tomorrow, May 13th (Mother's Day), and will head south; through Maryland to Virginia, on to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida all the way to Key West, and back again a little farther west, and eventually through West Virginia, and back to Pennsylvania. Estimated time, about a month, possibly a little more.

The larger part of the journey (points west, Pacific Coast Highway from California to Washington, and home again via the northern states) is planned for early April next year. As with this trip, we'll be visiting artists studios along the way, and blogging about the journey.

Here's our ride...
Talk about traveling in style!

Ann has been here in Lancaster County for a few days - despite some last minute glitches, we've been having such a great time, and I know the trip will be even better!

I'll miss John and Courtney, but we'll chat via phone and email, and I know I'll miss the furkids (and vice-versa). But what a journey it will be!!

The next post will be from the road.  In the meantime, thank for following our adventures, and do leave a comment - we love to hear from you!

♥ Carolee

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Journey

To set the mood for the rapidly approaching, and for lack of a better and less overused word - epic - road trip, I decided to set down the series of George R.R. Martin books in which I've been immersed, and pick up John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley" for a long-overdue re-read.

It was a good call. Steinbeck writes:

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

Looking forward to letting the journey take us - to new sights, new experiences, and new friends....

Just two months now!

~ Carolee

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The final countdown...

With just about ten weeks to go, there have been some changes in the first part of the itinerary, and excitement is building. After heading south to Virginia and North Carolina (where it looks like we'll miss Asheville, but it's a semi-regular destination anyway) we'll drive east to Sullivan's Island and Charleston, then south again to spend a few days in beautiful St Augustine...

...Where we're looking forward to a visit with artist Iva Wilcox. From there, it's south again, to the southernmost point in the nation, Key West! Soooooo excited about this!

Next, it's a drive up the gulf coast, north just a wee bit (we're trying to stay off the interstates) and points west.

So many friends to see along the way, so many little towns to visit, quirky offbeat sites to see, so much of this beautiful country to discover! We'll be blogging and posting pics as we go, and do hope that you follow along, and join in the fun by commenting...We'd love to hear from you - and actually hope to SEE some of you, hehe!

In the meantime, it's back to the studio for me. Time is getting short, and there's much to be accomplished before our departure....

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fourteen Weeks!

Give or take a few days, our cross country adventure begins in just fourteen weeks!! Do you know how fast fourteen weeks flies by?

For a while there, with John in the hospital, it was looking as though we may need to postpone. But he's home and feeling great, for which we are ever so thankful. So as of this first day of February, it's looking like we may actually pull this epic road trip off!

There's much to be done, including getting a passport (on my own agenda this week) and a crazy cool vehicle (which Ann has decided to do, and OMG, wait until you see it!!)

We'll be traveling in style and comfort in a (insert game show prize hostess "TA-DAAA" emphasis here) *brand new Road Trek*!!!

How cool is THIS?

I'm giddy with excitement, and while we still plan to alternate between this, and hotels/B and Bs, I have to say - having never, ever camped - I think this is my kind of camping, hehe! :)

There's still much planning to do, but we've determined that the first leg of the trip will be south from Pennsylvania into Virginia, where our first stop will be a visit with fellow PFATTIE and EHAG artist Pam Gracia of Soft in the Head. I'm also hoping to visit EHAG's witchy stitcher, Lori Brechlin's Notforgotten Farm, and see her lovely shop.

From Virginia, we'll travel south to the Asheville, N.C. area, spending part of the journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is always amazing in spring...

The Folk Art Center there is a must-see, and a visit with my Mom over in Rutherford County. And of course, there's Asheville proper, one of my favorite places on earth. Where else can you find a free spirited drumming circle in the center of town every Friday evening?

From Asheville, we'll head southeast to Ann's beach house on Sullivan's island, N.C....How adorable is this little town?

*Swoon*! What a wonderful place to live...

From South Carolina, we're off to points west, but that all remains unplanned. We're hoping to make this tour as "artsy" as possible, visiting studios, galleries and artist and collector friends along the way. If you have a suggestion for "must see" sites across the country, please do share! We'll be staying largely south, then up the west coast, then back via the northern route, but beyond that, we're winging it (and hoping to see some of you along the way!)

Until next time, wishing you many artful adventures...

♥ Carolee