Thursday morning came bright and early, however I did hit the road a little late, but really turned out to be perfect timing. I made my way to Parris Island where the Marine base is located. My reason for this little trip was that my cousin Beth was graduating from boot camp.
My aunt Becky and uncle Doug and their two other children came out from Idaho for the big day. I have always had a great connection with my Aunt Becky. When we were kids and she was a newlywed she would let us stay with them for a weekend every so often. We always had a great time laughing at her stories. So I figured if they were coming clear across the country I could drive a measly 4 hours to see them. The great thing was that I just happened to have those 2 days off, which worked out perfect. When I got to the military base we actually only had about 3 hours with Beth. Most of the time was spent sitting around talking. We toured where Beth slept, showered, and lived for the past three months; not a way I would ever live. I can't imagine sleeping in a bunk bed with 40 other people every night.
While on base we stopped at their supermarket. Lets just say they have prices so much cheaper than we do. I loaded up on flour and sugar because they had 5 pounds of unbleached flour for $1.25. Talk about a steal and I have never been able to find unbleached flour in North Carolina. When it was time for Beth to report back to her station or whatever they call it, we headed to Hilton Head. Aunt Becky road with me, which gave us some one on one time to just chat. It was so great! We had dinner and then I headed to my hotel room. I did however stop by my favorite diner on the way to the hotel to get my favorite dessert of all time an eclair, but they didn't have any. I was a little disappointed until I tasted their strawberry cheesecake. Pretty much the best cheesecake I have ever tasted and I have tasted my fair share. I stayed at the Hampton Inn again. I must say I have always been a Marriot fan, but I was quite impressed with the Hampton Inn. Dad would have been even more impressed with them because they had a hot breakfast and dad loves breakfast. This morning we went back to Parris Island for graduation. Pretty much they all marched out on this big parking lot like place, a few words were said and lots of commands and that was it.
It was over in less than an hour. It was pretty amazing how they all moved at one command so quickly and efficiently. They must practice for hours and days over three months that they are there.
After graduation Beth was in a hurry to meet up with her husband, they are actually newlyweds. And Becky and Doug were anxious to start their drive to Jacksonville, NC where my cousin Davey just moved to a few weeks ago. Actually he is in the marines too and that is where he just got stationed. So now I have a relative that is within a 4 hour drive. I told his wife that I would have to come visit her when and if he gets sent oversees, which will likely be in January. They have two kids under two, quite the handful. They live right close to the beach, so I'm sure I will make my way there more frequently during the summer months.
The day was still young and I wasn't ready to drive back to the city, so I ventured into Beaufort. I have always heard it was a darling town and boy was it ever. Just what you think of when you think of the south; water, big, beautiful homes, sunshine and relaxation. I had two hours to myself which was such a joy. Not like I don't typically have time to myself, but this was free time, not planned and no one to bother me. I set out looking into shops, but I really didn't need anything and they were all over priced. So I found myself discovering the sights of the town, specifically the homes.
They were huge, alot were actually for sale and vacant.
I have this passion for fall leaves. I don't know why but I do. When I saw these red leaves against the white banister, I couldn't take enough pictures. And the light post with it just added even more.
After my little tour of homes I decided it was time for lunch, I know by myself. Mom can't believe that I do things like this by myself, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do and actually I'm quite use to it. I had asked around town where the best place for lunch was and my hidden carolina's book also gave me the same suggestion; Plums. So of course that is where I went. I sat outside on a porch, which was actually the size of any porch on the back of a house. I was quite close to others enjoying their lunch and I found it quite interesting as I was so close that I was able to listen in on their conversations. I know too close for comfort. But it lead me to think about the people around me and just what their stories were. Since I was in the south and this place was known for their seafood, I had to indulge in a cup of Alligator gumbo and a crab cake po boy with a side salad and the most amazing fresh raspberry vinaigrette. It was so yummy, all of it! Too bad I had eaten cheesecake for breakfast and I was full or I would have had their ice cream which was suppose to be delicious. I chose to sit outside not just because the weather was great, but the view was breath taking. The bridge separates to let the boats pass. Totally cool!
After lunch I decided to walk down the water way and even found myself swinging on a bench that faced the water, as the very warm sun glazed down on me. It was so fabulous.
At one point I almost felt guilty that everyone else was home with children or working. I even told that to a lady who offered to take my picture. She told me to just enjoy it, which is exactly what I did. Seriously, it was just about as relaxing as getting a massage. I couldn't have asked for a better day! I slowly made my way out of town taking a few pictures here and there of a few more southern sights
Jack took me down some tree covered country road for about 10 miles. I had to get a picture of it. .
It was absolutely beautiful with the fall colors. On my way home I stopped by a birthday party for my friend Emma. It was at a vietnamese restaurant. I had the curry which was to die for. There is something about the taste of coconut that I just love. To top off this amazing day I have been able to enjoy watching Boise State pound on Fresno State 51-0! Yes, I would have to say this day was exactly what I needed! Now for a few days of work...