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Well, I made it home after visiting five states in 8 days.  


One of the things that I enjoy most about my annual road trips is discovering the people, places, history, food and gardens of the different regions of the United States.


My road trip, this year, took me to parts of the South.




I walked through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina and seeing historical places where events of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War played out.


I peeked over ornate gates to see hidden gardens in this beautiful city.


This native Southern Californian who grew up along the Pacific coast, dipped my toes in the Atlantic Ocean on Tybee Island.


I enjoyed visiting many of the 22 historical squares of Savannah, Georgia where many of the buildings survived the Civil War.


I found that Spanish moss really does hang from the trees down South, although it isn’t Spanish or a moss.
(It is actually a bromeliad and related to the pineapple).


An unplanned visit to the University of South Carolina yielded discoveries of beautiful gardens, including this herb/vegetable garden.


Smaller highways led us to small towns with tiny police stations.


Driving through North Carolina proved that spring has indeed sprung with the vision of flowering dogwoods everywhere.


Small roadside markets in Tennessee tempted us with their wares including boiled peanuts, toe jam and frog jam on our way toward the Smoky Mountains.


The gardens of the University of Tennessee had much to delight this horticulturist, including their kitchen garden.


A visit to Kentucky horse country led to the unforgettable experience of feeding thoroughbreds peppermint candies (with their trainer’s permission, of course).


Discovering the world of horse racing was very exciting even though I wasn’t betting.


I spent the night in a jail.  Seriously, it was a bed & breakfast that was located inside the old county jail in Bardstown, KY.  
I did sleep in a regular bedroom and not this jail cell 😉


The last day of our Southern journey took me to a bourbon distillery where I tasted my first and last bourbon.


On our way to the airport in Louisville, we took an unexpected detour to Fort Knox as our GPS guided us there in our search of a UPS store to mail home our souvenirs.

The South is a wonderful place to visit and I made a few other discoveries while I was there:

– Southerners are the friendliest people.  Strangers wave to you on the side of the road as you pass.  When they ask you how you are doing, they really want to know.

– Their regional dishes have names like ‘Kentucky Burgoo’ and ‘The Big Brown’.  But, the servers are happy to explain to you what they are.

– Sweet tea is very sweet.

– The food is fabulous and fried chicken is served just about everywhere (after all, Col. Sanders created his ‘Original’ fried chicken recipe in Kentucky).

For those of you who followed along with me on my journey, thank you!

If you have been following my road trip, I wanted to show you a side trip that we made on our first full day:


We visited a small island off the coast of Georgia called Tybee Island.


Located just outside of Savannah, Georgia – Tybee Island is a barrier island and faces the Atlantic Ocean.



The walkway to the beach was flanked by dense growth.  I even saw some Lantana growing wild.  It is considered invasive in many humid climates.


As we walked out onto the beach, I couldn’t wait to get my feet into the water.



The beach was beautiful.

I love visiting the beach.  I grew up on the Southern California coast and spent many a summer trying to get my fair skin to tan.  (It didn’t work and now I am religious on putting sunscreen on).



It always surprises me how much warmer the Atlantic is then the Pacific ocean.




Up the beach was a wooden swing.  I have never seen one at a beach before, but I thought – how perfect!  If my husband had been there with me, I would have sat with him and watched the tide come in.




I like how these footprints in the sand lead through the grasses, don’t you?


Growing up on the West coast, I am used to seeing the sun set over the ocean.


However, I have never seen the sun rise over an ocean before, like many East coast residents do.



Near the beach, was a large concrete building, which was a ‘severe weather safe site’.  


I could only imagine the hurricane and tropical storms that this island has had to weather over the years.




This post, shows how high the storm surges are for the different levels of hurricanes.  


It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?


There is great shopping, dining and places to stay on Tybee Island along with beautiful beaches.  I only wished that we had had more time to visit…


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Our road trip has been going very well, besides a solid day and a half of rain.  I’ll post more about our adventures in North Carolina and Tennessee soon!

It’s time to hit the road again…


Every year, I go on a trip with my mother, exploring different parts of the United States.  We fly into one city, rent a car, travel from town to town for 8 days and then leave from another city.


I love traveling and like to explore and learn about other regions of our country.  As a native of Southern California and current resident of Arizona, my regional experience has quite a western slant.  So, what better way to learn more about the people, food, customs and gardens in other regions then to ‘hit the road’?


Half of the fun of our annual road trip, is planning on where we will go.

First, look at maps of where we had already been.  Then we try to plan our route so that we see new areas.


Three years ago, we visited the following places:


We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, visited colonial Williamsburg, our nation’s capitol, Pennsylvania Amish country, Philadelphia and NewYork City.


Two years ago, we visited parts of the Midwest:



View Larger Map





We began in Michigan, visiting the town of Holland, then traveled onto Indiana Amish country, seeing Lincoln’s house and tomb in Springfield, viewing the Mississippi River in Hannibal, MO – the inspiration for Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and finishing up in Joplin.


Last year’s trip focused on the Northeast:



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We began in Columbus, OH, visiting a friend and then traveling on to Ohio Amish country, Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes of NY, the beautiful mountains of Vermont and left from Manchester, NH.


This year’s trip is focused on exploring areas further down South: 



View Larger Map



We are beginning our journey in Savannah, GA.  Then we are traveling through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.


I have been to North Carolina and Georgia before, but the other states are new to me.  I do have some southern roots from the state of Kentucky and we might try to visit some old family grave sites.


For those of you who have read my blog for some time; you know that I do like to ‘take you along with me’ on my trips.  


I will be blogging from the road and sharing with you my adventures.


We leave on Wednesday!!!