Carolina Road Trip Days 5 & 6
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Carolina Road Trip Day 7 & 8

June 18th:  Another early morning headed to the Isle of Palms for a 5 hour boating expedition with Barrier Island Eco Tours.  Upon arriving, we were a little unsure of how fun this trip was going to be:  we had Captain Rob, who resembled a pirate more than a traditional captain; his 2 dogs journeyed with us on the boat; nor did we sign any liability wavers.  It just seemed TOO laid back!  But despite the initial impressions, Pirate Rob was very knowledgeable about the surroundings and don't get me wrong, you know I'd welcome dogs ANYWHERE!  The boat ride was about 30 minutes through the salt marshes to a deserted island called Capers Island.  The boat ride included some stops to dolphin watch and learn about any fish or crab that was caught in the cages along the way.  We didn't keep anything that was caught; it was just a great hands-on learning opportunity!  Pirate Rob knows an awful lot about marine biology!  We were on what was called an "All Inclusive Island Fun" tour that allowed us the option to do as many of the following as we wanted:  beach comb, kayak, crab, and/or fish.  When we arrived, the the first thing we did was walk along the beach.  We were the only 12 people on this beach and it was like no one had ever walked on it before!  The sea shells were amazing!  As a little girl, that was all I'd do at the beach was collect sea shells. 

We were limited to three shells per person.  Matt and I found 12 gorgeous shells and we finally narrowed it down to 5 that are now in our home.  And I actually found a sand dollar, something I've hoped to find for years!  We crabbed, rather unsuccessfully; watched everyone fish where baby shark and sting rays were caught; and we kayaked.  I'll admit, I freak out a bit when it comes to the ocean (hence my keen ability to collect shells).  So I wasn't much fun on the kayak.  Matt will graciously not elaborate, but just let your imagination run.  I was not fun.  The expedition ended with a bar-b-que and the boat trip back where we watched 3 dolphins swim for awhile.

We made it back to Charleston in time to go on one of Charleston's infamous carriage rides with the Carolina Polo and Carriage Company.  Danny was a great horse and even gave me a kiss on the arm when we were done. 

The city tour was fascinating, seeing mansions built long ago by plantation owners and wealthy merchants; the famous French Quarter; and getting to understand some of the 300 year old history of Charleston.  I love history.  The U.S. is a baby when it comes to history compared to other places in the world, but it still awestrucks me to be in a place of historical significance in the U.S. and hear the stories.  Afterward, we enjoyed our final meal in Charleston at Bocci's, a great Italian restaurant.  The pictures of St. Phillip's sign and the Hat Man are two of the most interesting sites we saw along our carriage ride. (click on pictures to enlarge...and check out our blog from the 23rd-30th to vote for your favorite picture!)

June 19th: 
Returning home.  It was a 12-hour travel day with two lay-overs, one in Charlotte and one in Dallas.  We made it home safely, but to a sad thing and two good things.  The first good thing is that our brick edging for the flowerbeds was installed while we were away, and it looks beautiful!  The bad thing is that many of our plants in the flowerbeds have died because of too much rain, and our backyard is currently a swamp.  The rain is not expected to let up even this coming week.  We need to fix some drainage issues, too.  It's made me very sad.  But the REALLY wonderful news is that after we landed in Austin, we bee-lined it over to Chris and Jill's home, our good friends, where we got to see their little boy, Harrison, and little Miss Hadleigh Estes Rutland, born Friday, June 8th, weighing over 10 lbs.!  We got the call from Chris on the 8th and coudn't wait to get our hands on Hadleigh!  Harrison is such a good big brother! 


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