I ended Part I at Saturday night, after we’d gotten some good advice about escaping Bike Week by heading north. On Sunday, after another sticky run and breakfast with the turtles and ducks, we loaded up the car and cruised up to North Carolina.
We started our day at the USS North Carolina, a battleship-turned-museum that now resides in its namesake state. J and I are both museum nerds, so we had a really great time, but I think most people would also enjoy this shipseum (I made that word up, clearly). Basically the entire ship is open for visitors to explore, from the big guns and anchors on deck
to the powder kegs and missile rooms
to the bunk rooms down below.
The whole self-guided tour was interesting and informative, and it made me respect our military even more. Seriously, can you imagine living for months in that ship? And, you know, getting shot at? Wow.
If you’re in the North Carolina area, I definitely recommend that you visit the USS North Carolina. But don’t wear a dress. That made all the ladder-climbing an awkward and unladylike pursuit. 🙂
Once we’d finished at the ship, we ate our PB & Js at a nearby park, then decided to check out Airlie Gardens. Airlie’s website describes it thus: “Celebrating more than a century of gardens by the sea, our history dates back to 1886. Join us then in a self-guided walking tour of these 67-acres of historical gardens of mighty live oaks, tall pines and lakes which are abundant with colorful wildlife. Airlie Gardens, where history, art and nature come together to create a destination spot for garden lovers throughout the world.” The gardens were stunningly beautiful, as was the stainless steel artwork that was their current exhibit. Ready for a flood of pretty pictures?
We really enjoyed Airlie; it was well worth the $9 tickets, as we spent several hours walking the trails and enjoying the gardens.
Once we finished at Airlie, we headed back to South Carolina, stopping for a stroll on a North Carolina beach (so we could bring home sand from both states. We are nerds.) before driving to Little River, a small town north of Myrtle Beach, where we had dinner (fresh fish, of course) at a quiet waterside restaurant — a nice end to a fun day.
The next day was Memorial Day Monday — i.e. the last day of Bike Week — so we decided to spend the day in Charleston. We were kind of stupid about our Charleston day — there were several things we wanted to do that were half-day excursions, so instead of just picking one or two, we didn’t do any. That was dumb, but we still had fun. We ate our sandwiches in Battery Park, explored some old neighborhoods while eavesdropping on horse-drawn wagon tours, and walked Charleston’s Museum Mile — a string of old houses and museums that you can walk while reading information about each.
That picture was across from Battery Park. We also saw the famous Rainbow Row, and I took a marginal picture of it:
When we finished the Museum Mile, we stopped at the Old City Market, where I was tempted to buy this sign:
Instead, we bought some pictures for our house, and then left the market and ate some frozen yogurt before heading back.
We had heard that Murrells Inlet, near Myrtle Beach, was the best place to get seafood, so we decided to stop there on the way back from Charleston. Unfortunately, we didn’t consult Yelp and the restaurant we chose was not very tasty (so. much. oil.), but the views were pretty and we still had a good time hanging out together, so it was a win.
This post is getting long, so I’ll leave off here for now. Check back tomorrow to hear about the rest of the trip (including my new favorite place on Earth).