Road Trip Day 4: Charleston

Road Trip Day 4: Charleston

Yes, really. This is still about the 4th day of our road trip.

We’d gone to South of the Border. We saw a plantation. And now we’d finally made it to Charleston, with a little bit of light to spare. Charleston wasn’t in our original plan, so we didn’t really know what to expect, or what to see when we got there. So our first stop was an art gallery to see what local artists were painting or photographing in their town. And that is seriously how we decided what sights we should get in in the remaining time we had. It actually wasn’t a bad way to sight-see. If we hadn’t done that, we’d never have learned about rainbow row or the pineapple fountain until well after dark.

When it finally did get too dark, I kicked back with a deep-fried soft shell crab and a mint julep. Heaven. I love the south.

Photos from Charleston:

I am completely enamored with the antebellum architecture in Charleston. For some reason, this is how I imagine Anne of Green Gables to have lived, although with more yard. I wished for houses like this when I was a kid.


Part of the famous rainbow row

And of course, I had to take a photo of the pineapple fountain

Warm, beautiful light to end the day




Road Trip Day 4: The South…continued…

Road Trip Day 4: The South…continued…

Once we finished entertaining ourselves at South of the Border, we got back on the road to discover the south. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like to have this as your home:


This is Drayton Hall, the only plantation we had time to visit on our trip. And to think this place was built in the mid-1700s. I don’t think I can ever fully comprehend how wealthy people lived back then.

We arrived at the plantation just in time to take a tour, on which our guide referred to slaves as “enslaved peoples with origins in Africa.” I’m not sure if he was trying to be politically correct, but whatever the reason, it was definitely distracting. Regardless, the plantation was pretty impressive.

Oh, to be a southern belle and live the plantation life! Although, if I really did live back then, I’d probably be working in the kitchen…

Some photos from our tour:

The amount of detail that went into building this home was amazing

All the bricks were handmade, and on some you can even see fingerprints

To this day, the Drayton family has Thanksgiving dinner at Drayton Hall, which has never been updated with indoor plumbing or electricity. One of their other family traditions is marking the height of the children

Stairs used by the “enslaved peoples with origins in Africa”

Later they added a reflection pool

And if all that wasn’t enough, the drive was beautiful

Road Trip Day 4: Meet Pedro

Road Trip Day 4: Meet Pedro

Daaa…Daaaa..Da-nuh! Like a behemoth, it appeared on the horizon. Slowly, slowly, and then bam! There it was in all its glory. After miles upon miles of taunting billboards, we had finally arrived.


We were at South of the Border.

Before our roadtrip, I had never heard of South of the Border, but a friend mentioned it before we left. And now I was there to witness it in person. Right across the South Carolina border is an abomination called South of the Border. We started seeing billboards for it soon after leaving Durham – billboards that cracked politically incorrect jokes about a guy named Pedro, who you could find at South of the Border. I don’t even get why this place exists, but it does and I had to go there.

I tried my best to get shots of the entertaining signs driving at 80 mph.

Only one more mile…

And we finally arrived!

The amount of junk you can buy at this place is amazing

Edwin got this shot of me with my new friend, Pedro

And just in case we missed it, there was just one more billboard to send us off

Road Trip Day 2: Stonewall Jackson Shrine

Road Trip Day 2: Stonewall Jackson Shrine

When I’m a passenger in a car, I tend to be like the father-in-law from Forget Paris and read road signs out loud. Most of the time I keep it to myself, but since it’s just been Edwin and me in the car, I’ve let my sign-reading demon loose and have started announcing everything to Edwin. Entering X county, leaving Y county. 15 miles to the border. I read all of them to him like I know what’s going on in the world that’s passing by.

On Monday, we drove into Virginia and I felt like our cross-country adventure was truly starting. As we made our way to the North Carolina border, I announced to Edwin, “Stonewall Jackson Shrine”. To my surprise, he asked me if I wanted to go. Really? Is this what people do on road trips? So after some hesitation on my part, I thought why not and we pulled off the road to head into the unknown.

It turns out the Stonewall Jackson Shrine is the location where Stonewall Jackson died. A stone marker indicates the date of his death, but his actual gravesite is in Lexington. At the shrine, we saw the bed that Stonewall actually died in, including some of the original bedding. Also preserved in that room is the same clock that he listened to as he died, which is still tick-tocking to this day.

The shrine was our random event of the day. If we didn’t see anything else that day, I would have been content. But to top it all off, along the road to the shrine there were several farms. Real farms! I felt like such a strange tourist, but I couldn’t stop taking photos of the farms and of a man on his tractor.

Random photos from the day:

As promised, more state signs

At the Stonewall Jackson Shrine


The bed where Stonewall died




Road Trip Day 1: Maryland Welcomes You!

Road Trip Day 1: Maryland Welcomes You!

This past Sunday, Edwin and I started our cross-country road trip by visiting some family in the D.C. area. It was a drive that we were familiar with, and an easy way to begin our two weeks on the road.

By pure luck, we happened to arrive in D.C. while the cherry blossoms were in bloom. Even though we arrived rather late in the afternoon, we managed to make it to the Jefferson Memorial in time to catch the “golden hour”. The weather was warm and the paths were crowded, but we managed to enjoy ourselves and make some good use of the light.

While waiting to get a clear shot of the Jefferson Memorial, I overheard some other photographers sharing tips. One of them said that you could gauge when the sun was about to set by holding out your hand, turning your palm sideways facing in, and seeing how many fingers fit between the sun and the horizon. Each finger represents about 15 minutes. I’m not sure if I agree with his tip, especially since I have skinny fingers, but it seemed to work for him. I’ve tried it since, and I think I’ll just go by the time on my watch instead.

The last time Edwin actually saw the sights in D.C. he was in junior high. So after we got our fill of the cherry blossoms, we did a quick tour of the nation’s most famous landmarks. In the aftermath of the past election year, D.C. has definitely given me a new sense of wonder.

Photos from the day:

The Maryland state sign. I’m starting to get pretty good at taking photos of signs through the car window. I plan to be obnoxious and take a photo of every state sign that we see.

Cherry blossoms!




And finally, Edwin contemplating the our nation’s capitol