Sunday, August 27, 2017

Eclipse Chasers: Total Solar Eclipse Road Trip to South Carolina

 It's been a looooooooonnnnnngggggg while since my last post. A lot has happened since then, we purchased a new home, I started a new job (3 years ago to be exact), we've traveled to quite few places, I finally got the Hubs on a BOAT, the nieces have grown into beautiful young ladies, we've lost some of our loved ones, gained a few new ones, and have had a few bumps along the way.

Since then we've been to many different places, I will start with the most recent trip and hopefully get around to sharing the other cool places we've visited.

The last few weeks everyone has been talking about the Total Solar Eclipse that is scheduled to happen on Monday, August 21st, 2017.  The last total solar eclipse was in 1979. One of our friends mentioned he was going to take a trip to South Carolina so he can experience this once in a lifetime experience. After discussing his plans, we did some research and the Hubs and I decided we were in.

Being that we live in Florida and it's approximately a 9 hour drive to South Carolina, we decided to make a road trip out of it. As we began to plan all of the South Carolina hotels were sold out, so INSANE.... so we decided to stay the night in Savannah, GA and then drive to South Carolina in the morning. 

I have been on a handful of road trips and have always wanted to stop at the state line to have our picture taken. Thankfully the driver (also one of the Hubs good friends) and who too loves me "Awe" he was a good sport and stopped at the state lines to take our picture.

"Welcome to Georgia"

Along the trip we learned that our friend, "D" had lived in Savannah a few years ago, and he showed us around. Since we were 6 in total, we decided to stay at a BNB that way we could hangout rather than everyone go to our separate rooms.

Here's a picture of the cute little place we stayed.

Then we decided to go explore Downtown Savannah. We had a drink at Rocks on the Roof Modern Lounge overlooking the Savannah River and the Talmadge Bridge, such a beautiful sight. 
The Georgia Queen Ferry pictured below

After our Margaritas and appetizers we decided to take a tour of the town. My husband and I always love taking the Double Decker Bus Tours and the Old Town Trolley Tours whenever we visit a new town. It's a great way to see places/things that you would miss if you just walked around. Plus we have had great tour guides who not only teach us the history of the town but are pretty fun too. We usually do the entire tour first and then hop off at the destination that we want to explore.

In Savannah they have 2 different Trolley Tours. They have the Old Town Trolley Tour and the Old Savannah Tours  We prefer the Old Town Trolley it's one we've experienced more and the tour guides have been amazing. The one thing I recommend is that you check their schedules as they vary city to city. In Savannah the last pick up time is at 5:00pm and last drop off is at 7:30pm where in other cities I've seen up to 10:00pm. Prices also vary from city to city. In Savannah I believe it was $29 for adults and $21 for children.


Here are some of the places we saw on the trolley tour...

Cotton Exchange

The Historic Philbrick-Eastman House that overlooks Chippewa Square

The Artillery Bar 

This building was pretty amazing, one of my favorites from the town. It's just so pretty. Although we didn't get a chance to check it out this trip, it is definitely on our next to grab a drink here.

Since the Hubs has reserved his spot for a new Tesla, 
a picture of the charging station was a must! 

River Street Market Place it's a cute little open air market on the river.
We didn't get to visit the market place as we spent most of our time listening to the live music and standing in line at Leopold's. Maybe next time. 

We had dinner at B& D Burgers (They say it's the best burgers in Savannah) I've actually had better. I've always been a picky eater, but since the beginning of the year, I decided that I would try out new cuisines and new places. 

So at this place I decided that I wanted to try the Fried Green Tomatoes and the Alligator Fritters. Well I wasn't a big fan of either, in my opinion tomatoes shouldn't be fried, and the alligator fritters are very textured, well I kinda pictured myself chewing on an alligator tail with the bumps and all. Too textury for me. I did build my own burger, regular angus burger with cheese and bacon, ketchup only.  

Fried Green Tomatoes

Alligator Fritters

However the alligator over the bar and hanging in the staircase was pretty cool.

Overall if I had to rate this place and the service I'd give it 3.5 stars. Our waitress was very slow, returned to our table 3 times to ask for our drinks, and yet never brought them to us. Dropped one of the meals and took 15 minutes to bring out another.
Byrd's Famous Cookies since 1924 "May Your Cookie Jar Never Be Empty" I totally loved this place. I'm a lover of all cookies. They have a cute little station where you try their different flavors of cookies, they even had one flavor called "JalapeƱo Cheddar"- Caliente!! My favorite were the Salted Caramel and the Almond Shortbread cookies. Here's their website Byrd's Famous Cookies  in case you're tempted to try them. 

We found a Starbucks where we stopped for a coffee break, and I saw that in honor of the Eclipse they had "A Once in A Lifetime Eclipse Frappuccino" so I asked the Barista about this amazing frappuccino that I almost ordered...he said, oh, it's nothing special, just the vanilla bean frapppuccino with a shot of espresso." Really Dude, you just ruined my moment.
 Leopold's Ice Cream (Just celebrated it's 98th year in business) This place had a huge line in front of it that wrapped around to the end of the street and thought wow, we must really try this place. This place is very quaint and has pictures of the three brothers who originally opened this shop. You can read more on the history of Leopold's Ice Cream shop here.

Where we live in Hollywood, FL there's an ice cream shop called Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor it's actually located in Dania Beach, just minutes north of Hollywood. The lines too are long, but so worth the wait cause they're ice cream is amazing...Anywho, back to Leopold"s, the line moved pretty fast, I'd say we were in line approximately 25 minutes or so.  I ordered the butter pecan ice cream and the hubs had a vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the cookie but it was pretty good.  After our ice cream treat we went back to our BNB to rest for our drive to South Carolina in the morning. Nighty Night Savannah. 

Today is Monday, August 21. 2017 and we're headed to South Carolina from our overnight stay in Savannah, GA to see the Solar Eclipse in it's totality. I remember as a kid camping out in my front yard one night to watch a Lunar Eclipse unfortunately sleep won and I missed out on it. So this time, I was beyond excited. You can just imagine.

    Here's our picture at the Georgia/South Carolina State Line. (Thank you D.)
 Lake Marion, Santee, SC

Well originally we had planned to drive to Columbia SC but after talking it over since we wanted to drive back to Florida after the Eclipse we decided to stop at one of the National Parks in the area. As we were arriving at Santee State Park the traffic to the entrance was backed up so we made a u-turn due to our concern of not being able to exit the park once it was all over.
So we ended up at Lake Marion in Santee, SC. 

The lake was absolutely beautiful, so quiet, peaceful, not that many people and the clouds were slowly moving away, giving us the perfect spot to experience the eclipse.

 Although it was so hot, and when the sun hit your skin was a bit painful.
Thankfully there were many trees to sit under to stay away from the sun, while we waited.

This guy in his paraglider was going to have a spectacular view. I had never seen one of these.

And then it begins.... Here are the pictures I was able to get of the eclipse. 

I must tell you, I knew it was going to be pretty cool, but didn't know how cool it was really was going to be. It is definitely a moment that I will never forget. No matter how much traffic we were in or the 12.5 hours it took us to get back, or the fact that I got 2.5 hours of sleep to get up and make it to work. 

Definitely all worth it. Looking forward to the next one in 2024. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Luray Virginia & Washington DC

Over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend the Hubs and I decided to visit my cousins in Virginia and get lost in their part of the world. They live in Newport News, Va that's part of the Hampton Roads area. This is my second trip to Newport News and it's so calm and quiet here. No honking, no traffic, or road rage. Definitely the complete opposite of Miami for sure. Our first day in Virginia we went out and did a little shopping while my little cousins were in school. After school, we picked them up and took them to lunch at one of their favorite burger joints. They say that this place is always packed and they very rarely get to eat here, so we thought we'd check it out! Their menu was ahhhhmaaaazzziiiiinggg!!! They had a menu of 40 different milkshakes, how can I choose just one?!

  After lunch we continued shopping and then went home to rest and catch up. The next day we were off to Luray, VA to explore the Luray Caverns. This place is incredible! 
 The Luray Caverns was originally called Luray Cave. It is a large commercial cave just west of Luray, VA and has drawn in may visitor since it's discovery in 1878.  The temperature inside the caverns is about 54 °F (12 °C).

 The cavern is yellow, brown or red because of water, chemicals and minerals. The new stalactites growing from the old, and made of hard carbonates that had already once been used, are usually white as snow though often pink or amber-colored. Several stalactites exceed 5 feet (1.5 m) in length.

There is a spring of water called Dream Lake that has an almost mirror like appearance. Stalactites are reflected in the water making them appear to be stalagmites. This illusion is often so convincing that people are unable to see the real bottom. It looks quite deep, as the stalactites are higher above the water, but at its deepest point the water is only around 20 inches deep. The lake is connected to a spring that continues deeper into the caverns. 
Can you see the reflection in the water?
This place was by far one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

After the Caverns we walked over to Car & Carriage Caravan Museum. Here we went back in time and got to see some oldies. Here are a few of my favorites.

This place will take you back in history. There were cars, bikes, carriages, rolls royce, bugattis, cadillacs, way back from the 1700's. Lots of cool stuff to see.

Next Stop... The Garden Maze
 This was by far my favorite from this trip. As a kid and even now as an adult I remember reading or hearing about garden mazes, but somehow thought that they only existed in movies and books. And I got to experience it. As you go through the maze you have to find your way to each goal box. At each goal you stamp your card and receive a clue to your next goal.

Final Stop...Luray Valley Museum
At this museum you get to step back in time and discover the history of the Shenandoah Valley. At the log Stonyman building you will see items from the 1920s. Check out the Hamburg Regular School, the area's first school for African American children. 

 It's crazy to think that they used small chalkboards to write down their notes and lessons.
Other than that they're classrooms are very similar to the classrooms today.

Neon Shoe Lovers

This place had beautiful scenery of the mountains, and lots of green land.
This view is breathtaking.

We ended the day having dinner at Speakeasy Restaurant and Bar at the Mimslyn Inn
This laid back cozy bar/restaurant features pictures of Charlie Chaplin and other famous people, they play live music, and the food is reasonably priced.

If you're ever in Virginia a trip up to Luray Caverns and Attractions is a must see and do!
Best of all, all the attractions are included with your admission to the Caverns.

Day 3~ Exploring DC

We were so exhausted from our trip to the Caverns that we got a late start on our drive to DC the next day. By the time we got there we were only able to visit a few museums and monuments. The little that the Hubs did see he loved and can not wait to go back.  Here are a few of the pictures we were able to take while in DC.