Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chillin’ Out at Port St. Lucie, FL

We took our time driving from Charleston to Port St. Lucie, a distance of 481 miles. Unlike some people (Paul :)) who would make this an easy driving day, we managed to make it in 4 days :)

We chose St. Lucie South Recreation Area, another really nice COE park, on a recommendation from our friends, Bill and Nancy. This is a wonderful, quiet, picturesque park with easy on/off access to I-95 but none of the traffic noise. 20131022_112819

Not a bad patio area :)

20131022_113109

And, not a bad view from Lucy’s front window.

20131021_125414

There are only 9 RV sites and they stay full most of the time. Only 3 are right on the water and unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to snag one of them so we had to settle for this view :)  There are also 3 tent sites (on the water) and 4 mooring sites for boaters to dock, hook up to 50 amp power and water and spend the night.

The park is right on the St. Lucie canal, part of the Okeechobee Waterway. The Okeechobee Waterway is a shortcut for boaters through Florida taking them from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.

owwmap-1024x567

The St. Lucie Lock, the first lock off the Atlantic, is also part of this area and we were able to watch several boats traveling the canal go through the locks.  There is an average 14’ lock lift at St. Lucie.

20131023_101029

This park even has it’s own Butterfly Garden!

20131023_102415

There are a lot of flowering bushes but no butterflies to be seen :(

20131023_102542

We drove over to Jupiter Island one afternoon stopping to walk the beach for awhile and

20131025_131944

driving Beach Rd looking at all the beautiful homes. Most of the homes were privately landscaped so we were only able to get glimpses. Of those we could actually see, I was unable to get any photos as there was absolutely no place to pull over. Apparently, they don’t want you loitering in their neighborhood :) So, about all I got was the gorgeous landscaping on the street and a picture of the 

20131025_120920

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, from their parking lot. This is a working lighthouse and under the direction of Homeland Security. Any visitors must be on a guided tour; no wandering allowed. We postponed our tour until next month when we’ll be back in this area. The lighthouse was closed to visitors this week for repairs. The tours were still going on but you had to just look from afar. That didn’t sound like as much fun, so we’ll go back when it’s reopened.

20131025_123803 

We are looking forward to friends joining us here at Port St. Lucie this afternoon and, in the morning, we’ll all head out to the Florida Keys for a few weeks. Life is good :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beautiful, Enchanting Charleston

We have spent the last week in Charleston, SC. What a beautiful city! Having never been there before, after some exploration, I can honestly say that I could live there. Right down in the middle of it.  I doubt we could afford it, but it’s a really cool little city and one, I’m sure, we’ll come back to again.

We arrived at Oak Plantation Campground in Johns Island last Thursday. This is one of the nicest parks we have stayed in and is the closest park to downtown Charleston.

Oak Plantation

It just reeks of southern charm. Just look at that Spanish moss hanging from the trees. This house belongs to the owners. We settled into our nice spacious site and made ourselves comfortable :)

P1030781

On Friday, we headed downtown to explore and see the sites. We found a convenient parking spot close to the harbor and set off on foot to see what we could see. The Waterfront Park was amazing.

Waterfront Park Area

They even dyed the fountain pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month! How cool is that?

Waterfront Park Fountain

We took in the City Market where they sell all kinds of beautiful things. Some were expensive and some were super expensive :) City MarketWe donated a little bit to the local economy when Rick bought a new baseball cap :)

Palmetto State Cap

We wandered up and down, in and out, much on cobblestone streets until our poor feet cried “Uncle” and we stopped at Henry’s for a refreshing afternoon brew. Henry’s just happened to be across the street from the Market and next door to the candy store :) Perfect location :)

Henry's and It's Sugar

We stayed close to home on Saturday as we had cleaning inside and out to do and we were waiting on our mail to be delivered from our mail service in SD. We were expecting something we had ordered a couple weeks earlier and were looking forward to installing it. Rick gave Lucy a good bath in preparation and then proceeded with the installation.  Before he could even get started, our neighbor, Manny, introduced himself and offered to help as that is what he did for a living.

Lucy

So in Manny’s capable hands, “Lucy”was installed :)

Later that afternoon, our friends Ronnie and Cynthia arrived and joined us for Happy Hour and hot dogs and brats on the grill.

Ronnie and Cynthia had been here a few times before so they took us to Folly Beach on Sunday and then to Southend Brewery in downtown Charleston for dinner.

We took the Charleston Harbor Cruise on the Carolina Belle on Monday despite cool, cloudy weather.

waterRouteMap

It was a pleasant hour and a half tour all along the harbor passing Forts Johnson and Moultrie as well as Fort Sumpter (which was closed due to the government shutdown).

Harbor Tour

We finished off our day at the Water’s Edge Restaurant where we sat outside and watched the tide come in while enjoying half price appetizers during Happy Hour :)

Tuesday was another “close to home” day. Cynthia and I took a run to Costco in the afternoon and left the guys to fend for themselves. I heard Ronnie got to watch and supervise while Rick changed our water filters and replaced the anode rod in our hot water heater. Do you think it was about time???

Anode rod-not much left

We threw some burgers on the grill that night and just enjoyed the beautiful Fall-like weather.

On our last day here, Wednesday, we set out to walk the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, a beautiful cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. 

Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge

This bridge was completed and opened in 2005, one year ahead of schedule and under budget! How often do you hear of that happening? The bridge consists of 8 lanes of traffic and a bike/pedestrian lane separated by a concrete abutment.

It’s 2.5 miles from one end to the other; 5 miles round trip. We parked on the Mount Pleasant side of the bridge and started out. Ronnie and Cynthia weren’t sure if they were going to do the whole thing, but they wanted to at least make it to the halfway point where the views of the harbor and skyline were wonderful. Rick and I intended to complete the whole thing, so off we went!

Bridge Walk

Once we arrived at the end, we turned around and hiked back arriving back at the car in about 2 hours. It was a wonderful walk, one that appears to be very popular judging from the number of people out there. The only drawback was the noise and gas fumes. It was fairly breezy Wednesday so the fumes were not too bad but earplugs probably would have been a good idea :)

From there, we took our last tour of this beautiful city at Palmetto Carriage Works. We joined a few others on our carriage ride through the historic district directed by our guide Ron and made possible by our mule team, George and Thomas :)

Carriage Tour

 

We left Charleston Thursday morning and are continuing our trek south. We plan to wander some all over Florida this winter, but will be in the Crystal River area for the last half of Dec and all of Jan & Feb. Maybe we’ll see some of you down the road!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle