Mt. Airy, North Carolina
|After leaving Maryland and Virginia we headed to Mt. Airy, NC, the hometown of Andy Griffith, also known as Mayberry, USA.|
|Andy Griffith's childhood home.|
|The entire set used in the TV series was duplicated throughout the town. One can take town tours in the police car.|
The Blue Ridge Parkway
This National Park is a beautiful highway stretching over four hundred and fifty miles and spanning several states. We really enjoyed the beautiful scenery but also the bluegrass music and folk culture we found in the towns along the way.
|This photo illustrates why the Blue Ridge Parkway is named as it is. Notice the many layers shown in this landscape and the unmistakable shades of blue.|
Asheville, North Carolina
This city has many attractions but none more famous than the Biltmore Mansion built in 1889 and still owned by the Vanderbilt family. This "house" is the largest house in the United States at 178,926 square feet of floor space. We enjoyed a tour of the mansion itself with the original furnishings, the gardens and the farm that supports it today. It was a special treat to see it decorated so beautifully for the holidays.
|We celebrated John's birthday with lunch at Cedric's Tavern located on the grounds and named for one of the beloved dogs in the Vanderbilt family.|
|Cedric and his Master|
Charleston, South Carolina
We spent more than three weeks enjoying the Southern hospitality of Cathryn's dear friends, Maggie and Virginia in Charleston and shared many good times with them. We arrived the day of the annual Charleston Cup horse race which took place at the Plantation of Stono Ferry where they both reside.
|The steeplechase race takes place directly behind Maggie's backyard!|
|Maggie's beautiful Southern home|
|Ms. Maggie downs her Charleston Cup hat and boots for the race.|
|Maggie, Cathryn and Virginia warming up after a wet and cool race.|
|More good times.....mounds of oysters at an oyster roast we attended. John is loving every bite and becoming a fine oyster shucker!|
|Downtown Marketplace that dates back to the early 1700's|
|The carriage rides|
|The balconies that are typical of this city's style|
|The iron gates like this one have been used for centuries in Charleston and lead to beautiful hidden gardens like the one below.|
|Large old live oaks and spanish moss are seen everywhere.|
|This is all that remains of the original plantation house called Middleton Place.|
The remains of Fort Sumter, a man made island built to defend Charleston Bay, remain today. The Battle of Fort Sumter, April 12 - 14, 1861 was the bombardment and surrender of the fort that started the American Civil War.
Thanksgiving In Charleston
|We were delighted to be invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with some of Maggie's friends in the neighborhood. Jim and Danni, our hosts, put out a big spread and we all had a great time together.|
|Maggie, Cathryn and Virginia at Thanksgiving. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives.|
Annie At The Beach
|Annie at Edisto Beach near Charleston|
|Annie has learned to surf the waves!|
That's all for now. We are heading south to Florida and unknown warm locations along the Gulf Coast for the winter. Happy Trails until we meet again.
John, Cathryn, Annie and Dexter