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Do you like to travel?  


Where do you like to go?


For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you are familiar with my annual road trip that I take with my mother.


Each year, we visit a different region of the United States.  We fly to one city, rent a car and end up several states away 8 days later.


Flowering window boxes of Charleston, SC

Whether its strolling through historic Charleston, South Carolina…


Or visiting horse country in Lexington, Kentucky


Visiting Lincoln’s Tomb in Illinois


Sampling the fudge in Mackinac Island


Driving through the Vermont countryside…


Touring old plantations in Georgia…

or


Watching an old Amish farmer fertilize his field with manure…

I never cease to be amazed at the wonderful things that I get to experience.

This year, we are busy deciding where our next trip will take us.

Last year, we visited the Upper Midwest and I was able to tour some beautiful gardens, including the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin.  


I enjoy taking photographs wherever we visit and this garden was filled with lots of beautiful areas, which you can view here.

Next time I will show you the possible routes that we have to choose from.
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Baby Watch Update:

No baby yet.  The good news is that the amniotic fluid level isn’t low as they had previously thought and the baby is gaining weight.

However, they are still monitoring her closely and she has an apppointment this morning, so we will see what they say.

I have my suitcase packed and I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice.  I still have appointments scheduled and am busy designing landscape areas next to a golf course, but I can take most of my work with me, so that is good.


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!

The last state of our road trip was perhaps, the best – Kentucky.


My southern ancestry is from Kentucky and I was excited to explore this state.

Of course, no visit to Kentucky is complete without a visit to a very famous celebrity known for his famous ‘original’ chicken recipe.


We visited the cafe where it all began…


Sander’s Cafe is on the National Register of Historic Places.  This is where he opened his first restaurant and shared his wonderful fried chicken.


There is a small museum attached to a working KFC restaurant.  Above, is the kitchen display at the museum.

After a lunch consisting of Kentucky Fried Chicken and mashed potatoes, we were on our way to the Kentucky Artisan Center, which featured crafts made by the people of this great state.

Then we were off to Lexington, “The Horse Capitol of the World”.  


It was quite accidental that we timed our visit a few days before the Kentucky Derby.

But, we decided to explore the horse culture.  So, we took a tour of horse farms and a race track.


On one of our first stops, we saw this 2-day old filly and her mother.  


She was very curious about us and came right over to the fence.  This little horse has no name and is known by her mother’s name ‘Orange Crush’ until she is about 2 years old, when she will get her own name.


We visited Keeneland, which is the world’s largest horse auction house and is also a race track.


We were fortunate to see some horses running.


We saw the row of jockeys.


This is where I would need to go.  You only need a minimum of $2 to place a bet.


This is the winner’s circle, where I posed for this photo with my mom.

Now, we were off to see more horse farms.


We were able to feed the young foals and their mothers on one farm while talking to one of the trainers.  

This farm has two horses running in the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

Do you know what we fed the horses?

Peppermint candies!


These young foals loved them.


I did learn some things that I didn’t know before.  This little brown foal, will eventually turn gray like its mama.


This was my favorite horse, who was a yearling.  


This 2-year old was just insured for $850,000 because this horse shows so much potential as a race horse.


Also on the farm, was another valuable animal.  Her name is ‘Nana’.  She is a companion for the racing thoroughbreds on the farm.  

Nana helps to calm the skittish horses and travels with them.  

The horse tour was so much fun and I highly recommend it.


After the tour, we headed from Lexington to Bardstown, which was recently voted one of the best small towns in America.


As we walked down the street, I was surprised to see a small saguaro cactus in front of a store front.

Evidently, there is someone in this small town that grows them in his greenhouse.  

We stayed a bed & breakfast that used to be the county jail.


The rooms were very nice and we enjoyed a nice breakfast out in the courtyard.


The interesting part about this was that the gallows used to stand here.

After breakfast, we toured the actual jail cells.


This cell had some very hard bunks and a display of weapons that the inmates had made in the jail.

As we walked down the hall looking into the cells, I was scared to death by an occupant in one of the cells…


Okay, I admit that it was a somewhat fake looking inmate, but at first I thought he was real.

After leaving Bardstown, we decided to partake in another Kentucky tradition – bourbon.

Bourbon is made in Kentucky because of the large amount of limestone and how it flavors the water.

You can tour different bourbon distilleries on the ‘Bourbon Trail’.

We decided to tour Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery because of its close location to Bardstown.



We took the tour and learned about how bourbon is made.  



Toward the end of the tour, we participated in a tasting.


Now, I rarely drink and I have never tasted bourbon or whiskey.  But, I decided to have a taste.


And, after the tasting – I decided that it will probably be my last 😉

After our tour, it was time to start heading to the airport in Louisville for our trip home.

On our way, we decided to stop by a UPS store to mail home some of our souvenirs because we didn’t have room in our suitcases.

Well, I thought that our road trip adventure was over, but I was wrong.

You see, I had asked our GPS to guide us to the closest UPS Store and as we were driving down the road and all of a sudden we were standing at the gates of Fort Knox and showing our ID to the soldier on duty.


We were allowed to go through and went to the UPS Store.  

On our way out, we passed this street sign…


At the airport, we were greeted by roses…


A Dixieland band…


And nicely dressed girls, wearing hats, giving out bourbon balls…


With only two days to go until the Kentucky Derby, Louisville was pulling out all the stops to welcome people.

As I waited for our airplane to arrive, I was surprised to see countless passengers arrive with their hat boxes in hand.


Over 50% of the people we saw, were carrying hat boxes.  As many of you may already know, wearing fancy hats is a Derby tradition.

We did meet some people who had arrived from Michigan and St. Croix just to see the Derby in person.

While I will be watching the Kentucky Derby on television, I was happy to be able to experience a little bit of it.



Please come back for a visit for my last road trip post.

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:



View Larger Map





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!!!