Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kayaking, Biking and Relaxing in Florida

We took another bike ride over to the Gulf side. A very nice ride. We did see a sign that said to watch out for alligators but it was middle of the day and I guess they were sleeping somewhere. Beaches are very nice with white sands like the Caribbeans and clear water as well.

     In the picture above you can see some of the sand dunes and also one of the many high rise hotels in the distance.

On Thursday we moved to our new spot that actually has a better view as there is no one directly in front of us. We are staying here through the 1st.

We did some kayaking, just carrying our boats over to the shore near our camp spot. Always nice.
It was on the weekend and so there were a number of boats on the water including some big ones, one freighter.   So we had some wave action. Just another beautiful day. I saw a school of small fish and we saw a jelly fish as well. Also  saw a fin of what might have been a porpoise but it didn't come all the way out of the water.

Most of the people with kids had left Sunday and so no trick or treaters and so just had a quiet evening.                                                                                                               

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

St Andrews State Park in Florida

We had a long day driving to St Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Florida. It is on the Grand Lagoon and by the Gulf of Mexico. Very pretty campground.

After all the sight seeing and touring we have been doing, we are just planning on doing a lot of relaxing and enjoying the views. The weather is cooperating as well and no rain in sight and in the high 70s. We did ride our bikes around the park. On one ride, we rode to an authenticallly reconstructed Turpentine still and turn of the century saw mill.

We went into town to Walmart for some groceries. Panama City is kind of a kitchy place. Lots of tall hotels all over but more a typical older type beach town. We are off season and so not a lot of tourists in the area but can image it gets pretty busy in the spring and summer. It seems to have lots to do for kids with water parks, etc.
We have the spot we picked for three days but are thinking of staying longer.   We would definitely come back here again.                                                                                                                                      

Monday, October 25, 2010

Charleston, South Carolina

We had a long drive from Virginia but made it to Charleston before dark. Our new spot is Oak Plantation. It is actuallly in Hollywood, SC about 15 minutes from downtown Charleston. Rain was due on Monday but we got rain on our first night, Sunday. It rained on Monday but stopped and so we drove to downtown Charleston in the afternoon.  It is a charming city but still a city. I saw a lot of parking noted on the map we had but didn't realize until we got there that they were parking structures and not just parking lots. We had the boats on and so couldn't park in them. We found some street parking which wasn't easy but it was only two hour parking. We walked around a little and had lunch at another very good restaurant, Queen 82.  We ate out in the open air courtyard which was nice. Even though there was very recent rain, it was warm, in the 80's. We had been wearing long pants and jackets and boots a week ago and now we have had to bring out the shorts again. So sad, huh. :) The restaurant has some low country food and I have been wanting to try grits since I saw shrimp and grits on one of the Top Master shows. And they had barbequed shimp and grits which I, of course, had to try. I had been seeing she crab soup on a number of menus I looked at for this area and so decided to try that as well. I got a cup of the soup and the appetizer size of the shrimp and grits. Both were just delicous. Grits are like a creamy polenta. Very tasty with apple smoked bacon,cheddar cheese and green onions on top of the shrimp and a little glass of sherry for the soup. Joe had a cobb salad with scallops that he said was very good as well.

Courtyard at Queen 82
 Charleston is called the Holy City and has numerous churches. Below is one that had a sign I really liked.

We then continued to tour the area by going to Folley Beach, which is a typical beach town. A lot of the houses near the water are built on stilts. Do you think this is Hurricane territory? Reminded us of Hawaii.

Charleston has lots of water ways through out the city and we traveled over a number of bridges.
Joe had looked up and found there was a Camping World in Northern Charleston and so we headed that way. We took longer than we thought to get there and we had some rain starting as we got there.  Luckily they had the light fixture we needed as the one in the bathroom has been broken for awhile and we were using a flashlight in the evening hours. Bought a few other things as well. Well we got a little mixed up on where we were in relation to the campground and so it was dark by the time we got back and we were just starting to see lightning. Had another thunder and lightning show. A very full day. Tomorrow we head for Florida to stay at a state campground where we plan to take it easy and just relax for a few days or more.        


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kayaking at Waller Mill Park

Yesterday when we got back, one of the people who worked there asked if we had taken our boats out yet. We had mentioned we checked out the James River but we don't decided where we wanted to paddle. He told us about a place that was just 5 minutes away from the campground. We weren't enough aware of it and decided to check it out today. It was easy to find. We did have to pay to enter the Park and a small charge for launching our boats. It was worth it. We had a very enjoyable paddle in a beautiful spot. There was even some fall colors on the trees that crowded the banks of the lake. When we first started off, we went through a tunnel that went under the roadway. We saw a few people fishing at the start of the paddle but didn't see anyone else until we were on the way back. Then when we started to go back through the tunnel, we had to wait for a boat to go through, Then another and another. Traffic jam. Also glad Joe paid attention as you could hardly see the place where the opening of the tunnel is when you heading back.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Jamestown Settlement

Friday, we went to another historic site, Jamestown Settlement where America’s first permanent English colonists and the Powhatan Indians they encountered lived in the early 1600's.In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, 104 English men began a settlement on the James River in Virginia.

Two young costumed girls get in the spirit

Besides the re-creation of the colonist's fort and the Powhatan village, there was also replications of the three ships that the first settlements made their journey across the seas. The ships are not that large and you can only image what the journey was like for the 103 men and boys crowded below deck.

One of the historic interpreters demonstrating how to built a canoe

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Wednesday was another of the rainy days we seem to have at least once no matter where we go. Thursday was a nice sunny daly and  we drove over to Yorktown, another historic site near the York River. We first went to the Vistor Center and decided to take a tour of teh Yorktown Battlefield. On October 19, 1781, a British army under General Charles Lord Cornwallis was forced to surrender to General Washington’s combined American and French army at this site. The guide discussed the battle and showed us some of the weapons used.

We walked on down through the town of York where the last major battle of the American Revolution was bought in 1781. By the early 1700's the town itself was a major port serving Williamsburg, the new capital of Virginia
Yorktown Victory Momument, which was first momument authorized by Continental Congress just a short time after the battle but not erected for 100 years.

House of Thomas York Jr, governor of Virginia in 1781

We continued our walk to the river front and found  a pub  for some lunch.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Williamsburg, Virginia

We got to Anvil Campground Monday afternoon after staying overnight at a rest stop . It is a passport America campground and so is much cheaper than we have been paying lately.  We had just set up when our neighbor noticed our door was open and warned us that there are a lot of stink bugs here. Yikes, we thought we were just about rid of those we got in Washington DC. We quickly closed the door and will be careful as long as we are here. We talked with the neighbors awhile and then went in and had dinner and looked through our brochures of the area to make plans for tomorrow. Colonial Williamsburg is just minutes away from the campground and we decided to start there tomorrow.

We got up early (Not) and Joe did some work and then we made our way to Colonial Williamsburg after purchasing tickets at the campground store. We got 7 day tickets that also includes visits to Jamestown Settlement and York Town, two other historical sites. We are still amazed at all the history of the areas we have visited so far in the east and now the south. Colonial Williamsburg has been restored to 18th century authenticity with many original houses in the area. There are many gifted character interpreters like George Washington, Patrick Henry and many other everyday people of that time. There are many reenactments during the day such as one we saw in front of the actual Richard Charlton's Coffeehouse which in 1765 was a center of political debate. We heard the royal governor, George Mercer, Virginia's appointed stamp distributor and gentlemen of property all converge to discuss the stamp crisis. Also a loyalist mother warns her daughter that her father's loyalty to the British King may make the family a target for the growing violence of American protest. There are also evening programs where you can have a conversation with President Washington or listen to a concert of music of that day.

Governor's Palace

Weapons that were on the walls of the entry way of the Palace

Tour guide who told us what life was like living in the Palace and the city at the time

We walked through the streets walking by some of the 300+ year old historic houses and shops and taverns. We then watched the reenactment I mentioned before.   


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Onto Virginia

We had another rainy day on Friday and so didn't do too much unfortunately. We watched another Ducks game which ended with an overtime loss in a shoot out. At least we got a point. Saturday very early morning, Kristi and Brock left for the airport to return to So Cal. We got up long enough to say our good byes and then went back to sleep. We just relaxed our last day as it was still another rainy day. Took a couple more pictures of the river before we left for Virginia. We really liked this campground and would love to come back again a little earlier in the fall when it is a little warmer but hopefully will have the river running. We don't much, do we? We are getting spoiled with some of the beautiful places we have seen.

We missed the peak of the fall colors in Vermont but had the right timing on our drive through Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania on the way to Virginia.