Sunday, July 27, 2008

Magnolia Plantation

After a diligent day of house work and continued unpacking on Saturday we slept in a little bit and went to the late service at church and got Sunday off to a great start.

In the afternoon we headed over to the Magnolia Plantation, which is actually just across the Ashley River from our house. Until the end of the month they are running a South Carolina resident special so we were able to take the whole family for $30. We had a great time, the tram tour of the plantation took about 45 minutes and Rick, our guide filled us in on the history of the plantation and early plantation life. Most of the earlier rice paddy's have been turned back into natural swamp areas filled with wildlife. We saw about a dozen alligators ranging in size from about 3 feet up to 8 feet! After the tram ride we walked through the gift shop and then visited the petting zoo. The kids had a lot of fun feeding the goats and pig. They also had a great collection of local reptiles including a canebrake rattlesnake, cotton mouth, timber rattlesnake, rat snake and copperhead, among others.
We saw this small alligator when we were walking across the garden bridge in the picture above.

We're planning another visit in the fall to take a tour of the house and enjoy further explorations of the gardens.

Monday, July 14, 2008


After a brief settling in period our oldest son came to visit from California. For the past few days we've been out visiting Charleston. Some of the sites and activities included a visit to the only tea plantation in the United States, geocaching, a visit to the South Carolina Aquarium, and the Irvin House vineyard. We also spent a day on Folly Island boogie boarding - and with Hurricane Bertha kicking up some decent surf we had a great time.

We also went out to eat at a number of restaurants - Ruby Tuesday which is a family favorite, Pasta Joe's which was unremarkable, Queen Anne's Revenge which is our family's favorite restaurant in the area . . . so far.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Independence Day

This Independence Day our family is in the midst of some major changes. Having just moved from California - where the fun police prevent you from buying fireworks, to South Carolina where fireworks are sold on every street corner we'll be introducing the kids to fireworks and fireworks safety. This is also the first Independence Day that we haven't has some sort of boat to take out to watch the fireworks in . . . well a long time. Earlier in the week we stopped by a local fireworks stand and picked up some firecrackers, roman candles and bottle rockets. A nice assortment for our first year. Our fireworks rules are built around the premise that fuses are unpredictable. This means that we generally don't light exploding things while holding them in our hands, we don't launch rockets at less than a 60 degree angle, and we make sure the expected blast area is clear (of people, animals and flammables).

We invited some of our new neighbors over for a barbecue, everyone brought a little something and as is always the case at events like that there was plenty of very good food, great company and entertaining conversation. Later on all the kids (and Dads) moved outside to fireworks. The tiki torches did a great job of keeping the bugs away and served as a ready source of fire when matches we're uncooperative. The party ended and the fireworks ran out while it was still relatively early so we decided to check out the North Charleston fireworks display. The drive was about 25 minutes and we were able to catch the last 15 minutes of the show from one of the neighborhoods near the park.

All in all a great Independence Day! I missed not getting out on the water but it was relaxing not to have to get the boat ready. Given the choice I'll be out on the water watching the fireworks next year.