'scene' along the way, a second look, butterflies, flowers, gardens, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

Model trains…

Not too long ago I was at the Nature Coast Botanical Garden when the model train was running. The conductor said that his grandchildren were coming soon so he had to hurry up and finish his work on the train village. I think he did a great job. And the last time I was at the botanical garden the shrubs had just been cut back, so there were very few flowers and not so many butterflies. My how things have changed in a few weeks.

The village is next to the waterfall these days.
And this little house along side the waterfall looks inviting.
I love the church garden.
The flowers are lovely.
And so are the butterflies.
Cactus buds reaching for the sky.
This one is past it’s prime.
A natural bouquet.
I must be drawn to pink flowers.
And lastly a zebra butterfly, there were many of them.
Amazing artwork, blessings, connections, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, food, friends, Just do it, leap of faith, life, making memories, perseverance, photography, second chances, strangers become friends

Life goes on…

As unlikely as it may seem, the day may come when there is a new someone special in your life, and you want to introduce him to your kids. Not that I was worried, but really didn’t I expect to have one of the most fun nights ever. Belly laughs that just wouldn’t quit.

See? Laughing!

There were crabs on the menu at Frankie’s Raw Bar, and this New Englander who found herself in Baltimore for a few decades wasn’t going to miss a chance to eat steamed blue crabs. I consider it a failure, however, that I failed to recognize that it was not Old Bay seasoning, gasp, that they were doused with, it was J&O seasoning instead. My son didn’t pick up on it either, but he didn’t eat crabs in Baltimore for as many years as I did, so he had an excuse.

My daughter-in-law took us on a tour of the back rooms and garden of the place, where we found many surprising things…

This door looked like a potential ‘through the looking glass’ moment, but we didn’t enter to find out.
There were sea creatures in crates, coming or going? Who knows.
And not so sea creatures.
Some possibly escaping.
Beautiful pieces everywhere.
And stained glass pieces to boot.
And what felt like a secret garden.
New life…
And a froggie too.

Life is funny, but when it hands you a gift just take it and be grateful…

'scene' along the way, flowers, fun, gardens, Just do it, life, live and learn, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Succulents…

I’ve certainly raved over photo ops that come to me in the past, but this one didn’t come to me. No, I had to walk across the street to see it. And I heard it before I saw it. The fountain gurgling caught my attention. A sweet little succulent garden. I’ve been offered cuttings, but my track record with plants isn’t great. Fortunately for my kids and pets I’ve done better with them.

This last one is the flowers that really caught my eye. So sweet, love them.

'scene' along the way, adventure, bugs, dragonflies, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, fun, gardens, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Newhall Audubon Preserve…

My young cousin and I had a conversation the other day about taking the detours that you see along the highways of life. She says she always takes the detour if she is traveling with time on her hands. I always feel like I spotted them too late to take the turn, or I think I have nowhere to pull the car over safely. There are missed photo ops that have been living in my head for many, many years. And while I missed a great potential shot the other day, I later hung a right at Newhall Audubon Preserve, a quick but worthwhile stop. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. I need to do that more often…

I confess that heading down a path like this by myself doesn’t always feel safe. Other hikers are a welcome sight.
The views are often lovely.
I didn’t walk the path around the little lake.
There were no big fat bumble bees, just tiny little ones.
Oops, one fat bee.
Loblolly pines are amazing. So tall and straight, I’m sure they were prized for timber. But taking a picture is almost impossible, except from this angle.
So very tall.
This isn’t the butterfly I had in mind, but he’ll do.
I loved seeing this dragonfly’s shadow.

After a short while I got back on A1A, knowing that just beyond the beautiful houses I was seeing on my left as I drove south, there was the ocean. I passed up one beach access turn off, I guess I hadn’t quite learned my own lesson, but I took the second one. I was catching on…

The ocean has my heart.
adventure, Charleston views, exploring new places, flowers, gardens, history, Just do it, learning, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Middleton Place…

When I told my Uber driver that I was planning to go to Magnolia Plantation he immediately said that I should go to Middleton Place. I have friends who would have planned ahead and learned some of the history of both of these places, which of course I didn’t do. Middleton Place was every bit as beautiful as the day before, possibly because the two gardens are only a few miles apart and full of azaleas. This is the country’s oldest landscaped garden, is what the brochure said, and it’s also a National Historic site.

Welcome to Middleton Place.
Landscaped paths, but which way to go?
I affectionately dubbed this Swan Lake, though the brochure calls it the reflection pond.
More paths, definitely landscaped.
Do I know them? No, but she was cute…
I was surprised to see that you open the gate and walk into the sheep’s territory. I was looking at this live oak before I noticed the sheep, but I took the picture before I realized how many more sheep, and live oaks, I’d see.
Maybe I’ll go this way.
If I got the story straight this is the Wood Nymph, and it’s the only statue that survived the Civil War, and it survived because they buried it to keep it safe.
After a while I have no idea where I am, I just explore the view.
A couple spent a long time trying to point this alligator out to me, but I didn’t notice it until I walked a little further along the path. I suspect it’s not real, it’s too perfect. And I remember an incident where my friend and I went out of our way to take pictures of swans that turned out to be made of plastic. The swan in this post is most decidedly real, just sayin’.
The Middleton Oak. It is estimated to be between 900-1000 years old. Three major limbs have had to be removed. That it was allowed to remain in an otherwise formal garden setting was most unusual for the times. The signage said that this oak served as a trail marker for Indians long before our country was founded.
All that remains of the main house. The paved path at the top of the stairs marks the central hallway of the house that was in burned by Union troops in 1865, and then leveled by the Great Earthquake of 1886.
A wedding would take place here later on. What a great venue.
The views never end.
I couldn’t choose the best view.
Beauty everywhere.
Weavers in action.
I took a close up picture of the House Museum, but I liked this view better.
This little boy told me that his father taught him that if you approach a kitty slowly and put your hand out then he’ll know you are his friend.
My last picture of the day. I might have gotten excited to see the horse and not paid attention to where I was walking, or not, but either way no harm was done.

I hope there will be many more visits to this area in the future because both of these gardens deserve another visit or two, and there is more to see in the area also. I bought a tee shirt in the gift shop that says Middleton Place, because that is/was my kids’s last name, and it was mine for 10 years or so. I mentioned that to the clerk and she asked if I was a descendant, if I had said I was I wonder if I’d have gotten a discount…

adventure, birds, butterflies, Charleston views, exploring new places, flowers, fun, gardens, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens…

The last time I was in Charleston missed the turn into my cousin’s development, but that meant I drove right past this gem of a place. I knew I’d want to visit when I came back this time. It was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, and consequently endured and survived our county’s history as the country was born, and as it struggled with the American Revolution as well as the Civil War. It’s said to be the oldest public garden in the county, opening in 1870, and continuing today.

The beautiful wisteria caught my eye when I arrived.
And this bench was a pretty sight also.
But the peacocks were calling me. You could hear them throughout the garden, so I went to the little zoo before I went exploring.
Nature does provide us with beautiful creatures.
Three of them were strutting their stuff, but this gal didn’t seem to be impressed.
Come walk with me.
Such a pretty view.
I loved this pond with it’s beautiful reflections.
And this red bridge with cascades of flowers dripping from it.
I took so many pictures of this bridge.
Come around a bed in the path and you come upon another pretty scene.
I thought of ‘Tiptoe through the tulips’,except they are azaleas. They really were a little past their prime, but still so amazingly beautiful.
You might need a rest by now.
There was a $20 charge for the gardens, in which I walked 2 1/2 miles. But for an extra charge you might want to tour the house, or take this boat tour, or walk the Audubon swamp tour, and/or more. I can return once more using my ticket, so I want to go back, but I don’t know which tour I want to choose.
There were lots of these fat bumble bees around, and I was happy to see them since they’ve seemed scarce anywhere I’ve been lately. And they gave me a reason to concentrate on the flowers themselves.
This was a very long distance shot from the wildlife observation tower. The horses were the only wildlife I saw.
The family tomb.
Another pretty path to lure you in. I’m sure I missed more paths than I actually walked.
And after walking paths with lots of helpful signage, I eventually was off by myself, on paths with no signage, and hopefully not lost, but I found a butterfly…

I’ve hardly put a dent in the pictures I took today. It was a good day.