We left Sunday morning for Kiawah Island, home to the Kiawah Golf Club and the 2021 US Open.We had two destinations in mind. First we were going to see the Angel Oak on Johns Island. We got to the site and it didn’t open until 1 pm. So we drove over to Kiawah Island to a place called Beachwalkers Beach. You are supposed to be able to walk about a mile down the beach and watch dolphins feed almost any time of day. There is one problem. There are limited parking spaces and if the lot is full the city will turn you away. No parking anywhere else! We missed it. So back to Angel Oak. It is an oak believed to be 400-500 years old. It is unreal. Because developers began to encroach on the surrounding land, protests brought the city in and now it is protected. The pictures just don’t do it justice. As they say you had to be there.
After that we came back to Charleston and strolled down Meeting Street to the park passing old colonial mansions along the way. They are so majestic and well preserved. I love the secret gardens and fountains that were visible through the iron gates. One can imagine the grand parties and the beautiful ladies and gentlemen who attended them.
We finished the night at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub. What’s a pub without a Smithwicks beer, right? Another fun day.
Charleston is a fascinating city. We drove from Myrtle Beach down highway 17. We stopped at Huntington Beach State Park and visited Atalaya, the home of Anna and Archie Huntington. Archie was a philanthropist and writer. Anna was a twentieth century sculptor known for her realistic animal sculptures. They built the modern castle on land that had been a rice plantation. It’s a fascinating work of art. Anna loved all animals and she was a breeder of Scottish Deerhounds. There were also stalls for the horses, and even pens for the occasional bear. Anna would only use live models for her sculptures. It’s difficult to get a proper perspective of the house without being there. It’s like a giant labyrinth.
We entered Charleston over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It’s a suspension bridge that crosses the Cooper River. It’s quite impressive. It is a cable-stayed bridge that’s 575 feet high. The total length is 13,200 feet!
After settling in at the hotel we went for a walk to see what was nearby. Old Charleston reminds me of New Orleans. It’s a beautiful city with lots of old churches and historic buildings. The harbor park is beautiful and you can see Ft. Sumter in the distance and the USS Yorktown across the bay. We had dinner at Old Towne Grill & Seafood. It’s a Greek restaurant so of course we ate there. The owner was actually visiting Greece so I didn’t get to practice my Greek. The food was incredible! The avgolemeno soup was the best I’ve ever eaten. (No offense to my Annoula). I bought a large jar of their spices to bring home. Dan had moussaka and I had the gyro plate. We got Greek potatoes as our side. We did not leave hungry! I almost forgot the mention the dolmathes for an appetizer, along with a delicious Greek white wine.
We ended the night at the market. On Fridays and Saturdays they have local artisans and there were three buildings full of paintings, jewelry, stained glass and many unique items. Oh and the pralines…..well I bought a pound of them. They told me they would be good for 14 days! We’ll see if they make it home. I bought this lamp, can’t really explain how they put it together. The lighthouse painting is done on reclaimed tin from the area by an artist named James Trimm. He paints only with his fingers and fingernail.
What a great first day!
We came out of the resort restaurant Monday night and the ocean was this beautiful pink! The sun sets around 8:30 in Myrtle Beach. Of course the beach faces the east. I had my phone and snapped these photos. They were not altered in any way! I took the elevator to our condo on the 17th floor and looked out to the west. This glorious fireball sun was behind the clouds. Quite a contrast from the soft, silky pink on the other side.
I should note that the pink sea photos were taken at 8:36 and 8:37, and the fireball sun was taken at 8:41 pm.
copyright Toni Hooper 2018
We went into Gatlinburg to see our timeshare at Laurel Point. Our building was destroyed in the fire. Robin and Robbie waited outside while we went in to the office. We couldn’t have been inside more than 10 minutes. When we came out Robin had captured this photo while a bear leisurely strolled past the pavilion! Later that night I made a night sky photo. If you look closely in the upper middle of the photo you can see the Big Dipper, also known as Ursa Major, the big bear.
Note: Dan and I are now in Myrtle Beach. The bear sighting happened last week in Smoky Mountains. Slow internet or slow blogger?
Wears Valley, Tennessee
Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains
Sunlight through the trees
Warm gentle breeze
copyright Toni Hooper 2018
Spectacular view from Eagle’s Nest in Red Rock State Park
Wednesday we headed out to start our exploration of Sedona. This part of Arizona is magical. The rock formations can be seen from anywhere. We started the day at Red Rock State Park. We took the two mile hike up to Eagle’s Nest. Two miles may not seem very far but it was quite the climb on a dirt and rock trail with dozens of switchbacks, but worth every step.
Next we drove to Crescent Moon Ranch and took the trail that runs along Oak Creek to Cathedral Rock. Again not disappointed!
Starving after a day of hiking we went to Rimcon to eat. Mexican food Arizona style. Yum! Steak tacos and Navajo pizza!
Sedona is a great place to see the stars and there are billions visible. It’s what they call a “dark city” and that just means they have low city lights so that the night sky is more spectacular. I’m getting in some practice on my astrophotography. Needless to say I’m quite the beginner, but what better place to practice.