Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Raleigh, NC March 26-30, 2016

We stayed at Raleigh Oaks RV Park.  We enjoyed this park very much.  While there, we enjoyed playing at their pickleball courts.  We also took advantage of their welcoming jacuzzi.  We took a drive into downtown Raleigh on Easter Sunday.  Most everything was closed, but it made parking a breeze. 

We also passed a new milestone.  We've visited over half of the states.  North Carolina makes 26 states so far! 

Nice long pull-thru sites with full hookups!

Raleigh is the State Capitol of North Carolina.  

We enjoyed a great cup of coffee and a tasty Breakfast Burrito on Easter Sunday.  

The Neuse River Trail is an awesome place for a walk or bike ride.  We only had time for a walk of a couple of miles, but it's actually about 28 miles long.  

A view of the Neuse River from one of the pedestrian bridges 

Molly is still enjoying the RVing lifestyle! - Every stop means new views to explore and enjoy.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Asheville, NC March 22-26, 2016

We stayed at Foothills Family Camground in Forest City, North Carolina.  It's about 60 miles southeast of Asheville.  It's a nice rural campground with nothing but peace and quiet.  It was really nice to relax for a few days.

Our campsite was nice and spacious with great views.

While relaxing here, we made some Dutch Oven Lasagna.  Eating great leftovers for days....

The Peach Trees were just coming into bloom.

We toured the Biltmore House in Asheville.  With over 135,000 sf of living space (twice the size of the Hearst Castle), it's the largest privately owned home in the USA.

The Biltmore is still owned by the Vanderbilt descendants, and it's located on over 8,000 acres of beautiful hills, valleys, lakes and rivers.  The house has 250 rooms, including 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces.

This is one of the garden areas overlooking the conservatory.

Lots of flowers blooming at the Biltmore Gardens this Spring.

Here is Linda standing in front of the waterfall.  The Biltmore Bass Pond is located on the other side of the dam wall.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Charleston, SC March 19-22, 2016

After visiting Savannah, I thought the architecture couldn't be beat, but Charleston is every bit as nice.  As with most cities, it can be a bit busy at times, and parking can be a problem, but still worth visiting.

We stayed here at Lake Aire Campground - just outside of Charleston in Hollywood, SC.  It's a nice RV park with large grassy sites.  Also convenient to Charleston

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was founded in 1676.  However, the house pictured here is the 3rd to be built.  The first was destroyed in an accidental fire...the 2nd was burned during the Civil War.  The interesting thing about this house is that it was originally built in nearby Summerville before the Revolutionary War.  Then in 1873, they disassembled it, and floated it down the river where they rebuilt it at this location!

Azelea blooms near the bench add a colorful accent to this setting

Cypress roots pushing up through the ground at the lake in Magnolia Gardens.  We also saw an alligator here in the lake.

Beautiful, tall bamboo gardens here.

Another noteworthy item about Magnolia Plantation and Gardens...It's the oldest public gardens in America.  They opened their doors to the public in 1870.  The Plantation still remains in the Drayton Family - Eleven Generations!!

To avoid parking problems, we took a Water Taxi from Mt Pleasant to Downtown Charleston.  We also got to see some dolphins following us as we crossed the Cooper River.  The beautiful Ravenal Bridge is pictured in the background

The famous Charleston Pineapple Fountain is the focal point here at Waterfront Park.  

Historic area south of Broad Street.  So many different buildings.  Many of the streets are very narrow and some were cobblestone, making it a quaint place to walk and take in the beauty.

One of the many small Church Cemeteries located in downtown Charelston

One of the many homes on brick-lined Church Street.  I'm not sure I can even afford to stand in front of the house...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Savannah, GA Mar 16-19, 2016

We reserved our campsite at Savannah Oaks RV Resort, but we weren't even thinking about St Patricks Day.  Apparently, it's the 2nd largest parade in the USA.  New York is #1.  We were lucky to get a place to stay! 
Savannah is a beautiful city with some of the most gorgeous architecture we have seen.  Many of the Savannah mansions have been converted into museums, restaurants and inns.  

We had a pretty nice spot at Savannah Oaks RV.  The Oak Trees were draped over the RV with the Spanish Moss hanging from the branches

The St Patricks Parade was a very big deal here.  More than 300,000 people attended.  It was a lot of fun visiting the city during this celebration.

There was no lack of vendors selling their Irish-Themed goods

Savannah is comprised of 22 open squares surrounded by historical homes and local boutiques.  This is the fountain at the largest square.  It's Forsyth Park.  

Another Savannah Square

We visited the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.  It's not the oldest, but it's the largest at 160 acres.

We had dinner with Rachel (Ken & Ruth's daughter).  She also took us on a walk around the city and into Forsyth Park.  It was nice to see her again.  Rachel is attending Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).  The campus includes 67 buildings in Savannah.  Many are on the squares of Savannah, which are laden with monuments and live oaks  

We went on a kayak ride on a fork of the Ogeechee River.  It's a blackwater river, which is a slow moving channel flowing through forrested swamps or wetlands.  Luckily, we didn't see any alligators or snakes...Linda wouldn't have been too happy...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

St. Augustine, FL Mar 13-16, 2016

While in St. Augustine, we stayed at the Elks Lodge RV Parking area.  Only water & electric (no sewer), but it's situated in a great location on Anastasia Island.  We were able to ride our bicycles to downtown St. Augustine (about 3 miles).  It made for a perfect place to stay while visiting the area.  Our only regret is that we weren't able to stay here longer.

This is Flagler College, once home to the Ponce De Leon Hotel which was built in 1888.  Henry Flagler was a millionaire and co-founder of Standard Oil Company.

Crossing the 'Bridge of Lions' into St. Augustine.  This is where things start to get a little bit crowded and busy.  St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied city in the country, founded in 1565. When they laid out the city, I'm sure they didn't expect to get over 5 million tourists each year!

St. George Street, a pedestrian-only walkway.  This is a popular area for shopping and tourism in St. Augustine.  We could spend hours on this street alone!

One of the photo stops on the city tour was to see the 60 Live Oaks lining the beautiful Magnolia Street

We rode our bicycles through Anastasia State Park.  They have lots of great rustic campsites, along with kayaking and birding trails

There is about 4 miles of pristine beachfront in Anastasia State Park.  It's a great place to walk and hunt for seashells.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fort Lauderdale Mar 10-13, 2016

We made our way to the Atlantic Coast and our first stop was in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  We stayed in a Broward County park.  It's called Topokeegee Yugnee Park.  I guess you can see why the locals call it T.Y. Park...  It's really quite beautiful here, but a bit too humid.  80 degrees here is way different than 80 degrees in Vegas.

A nice 2-mile path that goes around the lake at the campground.  The park is loaded with these full size live oaks.

This is the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk.  It runs alongside the Tarpon River.  This is one of the areas that you can catch a ride on a Water Taxi.

This is one of many canals that have been built in the area.  Many beautiful homes and buildings with boats and yachts of all sizes can be seen in the rivers and canals.

Spring Break has begun here at Ft Lauderdale Beach.  It was also a surprise to me that the sand was not white like it was on the Gulf side of the state.  Still, it is a gorgeous beach with plenty of people-watching opportunities
This is the lake here at the campground.  The scenic fountain is lit every night around dusk.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fort Myers, FL Mar 6-10, 2016

We originally intended to stay 2 nights here...and 2 nights near St Petersburg.  We ran into complications, and decided to drive a few more hours...and spend 4 nights here in Ft Myers.  We're glad it worked out this way...Siesta Bay RV Resort is an age 55+ resort with all the amenities.  Don't know how we qualified, but maybe they thought I was Linda's dad...(haha)

Even though we were in Overflow parking, it was a nice and grassy site...but already too many mosquitos and bugs here.  I can't imagine how the summer would be!

We spent one evening in the Historical River District of Ft Myers.  With it's brick lined streets, charming shops and restaurants, and it's location on banks of the Caloosahatchee's a nice place to spend some time.

Sunset overlooking the Caloosahatchee River

A visit to Sanibel Island provided us with some terrific views of the beaches and tropical foliage and trees.  If we ever return, we would love to bring our bicycles to the island.  The streets were too congested with traffic, but it would be an awesome place to bring a bicycle - Lots of bike paths!

These beaches are loaded with seashells.  It's a good place to find some colorful shells - especially at low tide.

The ironwork to build the lighthouse on Sanibel Island was brought over by ship in 1856.  However, the ship sank just 2 miles offshore!   In 1856, hard hat divers recovered all but 2 pieces of the steel to complete the structure.  

Sanibel is home to many different species of birds

Edison-Ford Winter Estates
Thomas Edison built his winter home here in 1885.  His good friend Henry Ford later purchased the home next door.  The properties have since been turned into a museum and botanical garden.

Henry Ford's Winter Retreat in the background

I've always admired Thomas Edison.  He is standing in front of a huge, old Banyan Tree.  These trees have one Central Trunk, but all the other trunks are actually prop roots that grow downward from existing branches...They grow right into the ground!

This is the lab where Thomas Edison, Henry Ford & Harvey Firestone worked on trying to find a source for rubber that could be grown here in the USA.