We’re back from the land of gated communities, a Walgreens on every corner, and fashion challenged men wearing sandals and white socks.
Now, lest you think I’m not a fan of ‘The Sunshine State’, it’s also a nature lovers paradise, with miles of unspoiled, pristine beaches, wildlife at every turn, and magnificent sunsets.
I thought it would be fun to give you all the highlights and ‘best of’s’. You know, like Trip Advisor! And I know you’re on the edge of your seats waiting for more details than I gave you in these posts here, here and here. ;).
(If you’re new here or if you haven’t read any of those posts, you may want to check them out.)
We left on December 22, and after two stops, one in Delaware and one in North Carolina, we arrived in chilly, rainy Charleston on the 24th in time for Christmas Eve. I was so annoyed I hadn’t brought a winter coat. It was freezing! But no matter. Once we ended up at dinner, all was right with the world. Which brings me to my first ‘best of':
Charleston Grille is the quintessential southern restaurant. High ornate ceilings, architectural details galore and impeccable service all topped off with a pianist and jazz singer situated a few feet from us (our table was situated just beyond the white drape). A fabulous place for any special occasion, or just perfect if you simply feel like a splurge.
We spent Christmas day at Magnolia Plantation, another must see if you’re in the area, then after taking a carriage tour of Charleston the morning of the 26th, we headed to Savannah for three nights where our stay was highlighted by…
Do you believe in ghosts? If I didn’t before, I certainly do now. Did you know Savannah is the country’s most haunted city? Did you also know that many spirits are not visible to the naked eye, but become visible through the lens of a camera? We went to a couple of the places that ranked very high for paranormal activity, and while I was about to take a picture, I saw a fairly large white, translucent orb pass very quickly in front of my lens and disappear up the stairs. We heard many interesting stories about the history of Savannah and why it’s so haunted. Definitely something to consider doing if you’re into that sort of thing.
We left Savannah for St. Augustine on the 29th where it was still cold and windy, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating New Years Eve outside, with the help of outdoor heaters and a band that was good enough to keep us moving and warm ;).
January 1st brought us to Lake Worth, where we were happy to finally unpack everything and get settled. It didn’t take us long to discover this next place!
BEST ICE CREAM SHOP
I’m sure some of you are familiar with Kilwins. They seem to be in several areas that we visited, but have you tried their hot fudge?! Don’t let the picture fool you. It’s hidden beneath all that whipped cream. Trust me. I hold them personally responsible for the five lbs I gained on this trip.
Since we were in Lake Worth for a while, we had plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas. We took the hour drive to Miami and visited a mansion that was recommended by the person we rented the house from.
BEST MANSION TOUR
Located facing picturesque Key Biscayne, my picture (the second one) does not do this place justice so I grabbed one from their website. Think ‘Downton Abbey’, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the inside of the house is like. And don’t get me started on the grounds!
Now here is a twist for you. Here’s one place I DO NOT recommend you go to. If you’re ever in South Beach and are looking for a place to eat or have a drink or two, stay away from Ocean Avenue, or to be more specific, La Baguete. I won’t go into details, but you can go here to see my review (and my reviews of tons of others places. I got a bit carried away with Trip Advisor while we were away) and go here to see the reviews of MANY others who were sucked in
We also took the 10 minute drive north from Lake Worth to Palm Beach and visited one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever seen.
Our next stop was Key Largo, where we did a day trip to the Everglades and I was able to get some great wildlife pictures.
In case you’re wondering, this wasn’t taken with a telephoto lens. I was pretty close, but with so many tourists around, they don’t seem to care. Did you know they can move up to 30 miles an hour?? That’s ok. I can do 31.
We also did a glass bottom boat tour (can you say seasick?) and took a short drive to Islamorada just south of Key Largo to visit Theatre of the Sea.
BEST FAMILY FRIENDLY ADVENTURE
After Key Largo we spent a week in Englewood (near Venice) in an RV camper trailer located about a ten minute car ride to the beach.
BEST BEACH EXPERIENCE
I told you a little bit about this in this post, but in case you missed it it is a popular gathering of drummers, dancers and hula lovers and it’s just a whole lot of fun, but not nearly as much fun as Fisherman had catching this monster! It took nearly a half hour just to reel him in, and boy, did we stuff ourselves with his catch that night! :/
Our next stop was in Madeira Beach for a week where we had a unit just steps from the beach, but it was way too cold to enjoy it. Of course, as soon as we left it warmed up. We then went to Sanford to visit a friend and do some RV shopping, after which we headed home, but not before getting stuck in some white knuckle driving conditions in North Carolina. This has been an unusual winter for most of the country. I hope it is just a fluke and not a trend…
In other news…
We arrived home to find a leak in one of our bathrooms originating from a skylight and our refrigerator has checked out for good, but it’s good to be back and sleeping in our comfy bed and catching up with everyone. After we’re finished with the humdrum tasks that come along with not being home for two months, we’ll get busy planning next year’s adventure, which hopefully will be in an RV and for three months instead of two. We saw one that we liked, but it was a bit more than we wanted to spend. We’re going to keep our eye on it via their website, and if it comes down in price we’ll make an offer. Fingers crossed!