Friday, June 19, 2009

Our recent trip to NC, SC, and Georgia

Zachary and Lauren at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort

One of Savannah's beautiful squares

BBQ at Disney's Hilton Head Resort

Zachary (on the left) waiting in line for the water slide at the Disney Resort

Hilton Head Island, SC

Lunch at the Salty Dog Cafe, Hilton Head, SC

The Lady and Sons Restaurant (Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah, GA)

Lauren in Hilton Head

Face painting at the Disney Resort

Hilton Head, SC

One of our favorite vacation spots is Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It seems like we find something new to do each visit! We have always flown there in the past, but decided to be really adventurous and drive this time.

On the first leg of our trip, we drove to Asheville, NC. When we arrived, we ate at a seafood restaurant with live jazz music, and then got dessert at The Chocolate Fetish. I couldn't pass up a truffle called "Blossom," with the following description: "A must try for any Chocolate lover, this Truffle offers a rich Dark Chocolate center subtly flavored with lemon zest, a touch of ginger, and a hint of saffron encased in a Dark Chocolate shell and garnished with a candied Violet blossom." It was quite an unusual combination of flavors!

The next morning, we toured the Biltmore House before heading out of town (see pictures below).

With bikes and kayak in tow, we finally arrived at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort. We stayed in Hilton Head for most of the week, but we did take one day to drive to Savannah, GA, to tour the city and eat at Paula Deen's restaurant. Here are some other things we did on our vacation:

* Went on a dolphin watching boat ride
* Kayaked with dolphins VERY nearby (less than a paddle length away at times)
* Went to the beach (and found creatures/items such as a horshoe crab, jellyfish, shells, and sharks' teeth)
* Swam at the Disney resort's pool, which has a very fun water slide
* Attended Disney events (Campfire with S'mores, BBQ, Pool Party, Fireworks, Low Country Shrimp Boil, Magnet painting activity, Beachcombers activity, Marsh exploration activity, Alice in Wonderland's Un-Birthday Party)
* Climbed 114 steps to the top of the lighthouse in Harbourtown
* Fished
* Caught crabs using crab nets and shrimp
* Ate at delicious Hilton Head restaurants
* Rode bikes

On the way home, we stopped overnight in Knoxville, TN, but we didn't stay to see much of the town. Our fine Knoxville dining consisted of Papa John's pizza that night!
We've almost settled back into our routine, although it may not be completely normal for a while due to my upcoming job change! I will soon be working as a nurse practitioner at a pediatrics office three days a week and at a family practice office once a week. I've enjoyed the OB-GYN world but have always loved pediatrics! David continues as one of ten partners in his law firm, specializing in civil litigation. The kayak that we hauled to Hilton Head was David's early Father's Day present.
Zachary's baseball season is in full swing (no pun intended) now. He has already attended baseball and basketball camps since school has been out! Lauren loves her gymnastics class at preschool and is counting down to the start of kindergarten in the fall. Both Zachary and Lauren will attend zoo camp and farm camp in the next several weeks. Summer tends to fly by around here!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Asheville, North Carolina

Here are some pictures from our visit to the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. The house was originally owned by George W. Vanderbilt, beginning in 1895. His grandson, William A.V. Cecil, owns the estate today. They don't allow cameras inside the house but the outside offers plenty of picture taking opportunities!
The house includes 43 bathrooms, a bowling alley, a 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool, and a gymnasium.

There are two Renoir paintings in the breakfast room: Young Algerian Girl and Child with an Orange.
Vanderbilt was an avid reader and had a library with more than 10,000 volumes in eight languages. There is a chess set once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte on display in the library.

We toured the house and the gardens, although we didn't cover all 8,000 acres of the estate! The audio tour kept Zachary and Lauren interested -and busy- on all four floors and in the basement of the house. Zachary's last visit to the Biltmore House was about seven years ago when he was 2 1/2. This time, he managed to restrain himself from dashing under the ropes in an attempt to leap on Mr. Vanderbilt's bed. Lauren was quite enamored with the elaborate canopy beds, but she politely observed them from a distance.