Here are some highlights:
First stop...The Cumberland Gap! I can't imagine a better time to visit. The fall brought out colors that leave you breathless. And of course Mike had to get in on the fun. We only got a few looks on our short hike and photo op. How many gnomes can really boast about being in two places at once?
Truly a beautiful day in the historic city of Charleston. We took a bus tour, taking in the Antebellum houses and cobbled streets. We heard stories of civil war battles and the mysteries of the silver screen. We even hopped on a boat and explored the harbor. Okay, it's wasn't a boat really. More a ferry. And the tour guide was ridiculous, but the scenery was stunning. And there were dolphins and war ships and forgotten forts. Absolutely worth the ride.
Then there was the beach. If you ever get the chance, and an Indian summer, spend some time in Isle of Palms, just outside of Charleston. It's a laid back, lazy beach town that has amazing beaches, unreal tides, and some delicious food. Let's talk about the food for a moment. Who knew about cheesy grits?! I didn't know about cheesy grits. Or shrimp succotash. I've decided to move to the Carolinas and gain 300 pounds.
On another note, I almost swam with a shark. On a nice, leisurely morning stroll on the beach, I was walking just far enough into the water that the waves were crashing around my shins when I look to my left and see a very strange shadow. And then I see fins. And then I realize it's only about five feet away. And then there was some screaming, and running, and pointing, and laughing...and I realized that I had my hand in a fist, prepared to punch the shark in the face like Louie Zamperini in Unbroken. And can you guess who did not actually get in the water at the beach? This girl!
Finally, we made our way to Middleton Plantation, a historic site filled with interesting relics, breathtaking river views, and a story that dates back to the earliest days of Charleston. I got a glimpse into old money and stood dangerously close to an alligator, but I was also transported to another place and time, imagining rice fields and stately gentleman in carriages. And to think, there are so many more to explore. Oh darn! I'll have to find my way back to Charleston again one day :)