2021 in Review

As usual, to escape the cold in Ohio/No. Kentucky, I traveled to Cape Coral, Florida for 5 weeks in late January/early February.  Because I didn’t qualify for the vaccine yet, I again stayed away from people, except for a short trip to see a friend in Clearwater.  It was quite lonely, but I bicycled, walked, and even jogged some.  Went to the beach a couple of days per week to walk, jog, and read.

In March I received both of my vaccines.  So in April I visited Austin and San Antonio, Texas with a friend.  This is the San Antonio Riverwalk.  I spent my honeymoon here with my late husband back in 1994.

I began renting out my spare bedroom/bath to as an Airbnb.  I met some wonderful people – it was like the United Nations – People with roots from the Philippines, Africa, Poland, Mexico, and Jordan.  Amazon employees, traveling nurses, a med student, etc.

I planned a road trip to North and South Carolina to hike and check out waterfalls and some of the towns I’d never been to, like Greenville, S.C. (which I loved), Hendersonville, N.C., (quaint), Bryson City, N.C., Highland, N.C., and Ashville, N.C. (which I had been to).

Lake Janaluska, N.C.

I planned a trip to Alaska for 10 days in July – 2 nights Glacier Bay, 1 night Fairbanks (didn’t see it – just wanted to take the scenic train starting from there heading South), 4 nights Mt. Denali Nat’l Park, 3 nights Anchorage.  This is the view flying into Juneau.

I took a small boat cruise to see a glacier in Glacier Bay National Park

I took the scenic panoramic train all the way to Seward, stopping for 4 nights in Denali Nat’l Park.  I stayed at a lodge located 92 miles (the farthest you can travel) into the park.  And 3 nights in Anchorage.

On the 7 hr. bus ride back to the lodge, we saw some wildlife (I’m not posting all of it).

The guide told us we were so lucky because for the 4 days I was there, Mt. Denali was either in full view or mostly full.

I went hiking with a small group of people…

I went kayaking as a day trip in Seward from Anchorage on the train. 

In September I went to Ft. Lauderdale for 5 days with a guy I dated for a couple of months.  He made me laugh so much, but I found out he was an addict.  I truly had feelings for him after years of looking, and went through some emotional pain.  But, nothing could ever come close to the pain I experience since losing my son.

In October I went to the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana with a friend…

A couple of weeks after that overnight trip, I had hip surgery.  I’ve been walking and doing exercises and it’s healing.  I also got my booster shot in November.

In December, I drove 1 ½ hrs. to Richmond, Indiana to see a friend and spend the night.  We went to the Warm Glow Candle Factory.

I took a solo day trip (2 hrs.) to Columbus to the Franklin Park Conservatory.  It was lovely.  They had Chihuly glass art mixed in with flowers and the architecture.

While I was in Columbus, I went to a place called Otherworld.  It has over 40 rooms filled with lights and interesting displays.

I also spent two nights in the Ozarks in Missouri with a friend.  It was a long drive – 8 ½ hrs. each way. We hiked at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (odd name) and had lunch at J.B. Hooks Restaurant, which had a fantastic view and the food was pretty good.

I celebrated Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law, as usual.  New Year’s Eve was spent alone, grieving for my son.  That’s his birthday.  I’m hoping this coming year will be less lonely for me.  I’ve planned a month long trip to Oahu in late January/February and a 3 month trip to 5 European countries in the Spring.

Fun Activities in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is known not only for their historic architecture in Downtown, but also their picturesque beaches!  The next two photos are from last night.  I posted so many photos yesterday, I thought I’d save a couple of them for today!

Since Alexa was driving, I was able to take a photo while crossing the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge at sunset!

As we were driving across another bridge, I asked if we could stop because the view was breathtaking…

Sunday morning we went to Yoga!  It wasn’t quite what I expected.  The instructor was a lovely lady and she gave us a good workout, but she had very strong views on not killing anything, including animals for the purpose of eating them.  During most of the 1 hour and 45 minute session, she either lectured or played tapes loudly espousing the negative karma associated with doing so!  I still enjoyed it…because I’m learning how to take what I want from situations and leave the rest.  I told Alexa I was in the mood for Steak and Shrimp after we exited the building (hee, hee)!  Actually, I was a vegetarian for about six months a few years ago.  Who knows, I may try it again!

We stopped at Harris Teeter, a local grocery store and purchased produce for a nice luncheon salad.  And we picked out a juicy roasted chicken and asparagus for dinner!  After lunch we drove to Sullivans Island…about 15 minutes from her condo and took a three-mile walk along the beach.  Here are some of the photos from our jaunt.

How did they come up with a fine of $1040?

We both loved the foot prints in the sand.  Not sure why they look raised, but we like it!

Here’s Alexa…I asked her to stand for a reflection shot…

She pointed out all of the birds surrounding a shrimping boat…

There were also a pod of Dolphins very close to the shore, frolicking in the water, that we enjoyed watching!  I don’t have a photo though!

After leaving the Island, we stopped at a Red Box and picked up the movie “Magic Mike”!  We both had heard a lot of positive reviews, but after watching it, felt it was a bit cheesy, although we did appreciate their physiques!

It was a nice Sunday and tomorrow I leave for Savannah!  I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Charleston and with Alexa!  I’m trying to play matchmaker, because she’s single, beautiful, intelligent, and personable!

I Love Charleston

This morning I left Alexa’s home early…about 6:30am and headed to Starbucks, where I savored a Tall Caramel Brule, while checking my e-mails and preparing a blog post.  I turned around and asked a man seated behind me a question about Charleston and we talked for a few minutes.  He was originally from Cincinnati.  The odd thing was that the day before, while sitting in traffic, with my window down, a man next to me in a vehicle asked if I was from Cincinnati.  He could tell from my plates.  Anyway…he said he used to live in West Chester (a suburb of Cincinnati) and moved to Charleston four years ago for work.  I asked if he liked it here and he said yes, especially the weather, but he missed Cincinnati sometimes.  What’s that saying…”It’s a small world”.

My next stop was the Isle of Palms beach…so I could take photos of the sunrise.  It was less than 10 minutes away, but I had to rush to make it.  I pulled into a public parking lot and ran through a condo complex to the beach.  There was a gate and a code was required.  The sun was beginning to rise as I scanned from side to side, wondering how to get to the beach.  I entertained the thought of climbing over the gate, or going through the dunes and jumping a fence, but my common sense took over.  I ran back the way I came and saw a sign that said “Public Access to beach”!  I ran down the path just in time for this…


After taking two photos, my SD card said “Full”!  Frantically I began looking through the photos from my trip to Africa back in May/June and deleted some of them.  (They’re already loaded onto my computer, but I like to have a backup).  Then I was able to take a few more.  Here’s one of them…

Driving across a bridge I had to stop to take a photo…

I parked along the Waterfront and started walking…

There were people scattered around the Downtown area painting…

A cool cat must live here…

The devil’s in the detail…

I think everyone loves cobblestones!

I enjoy stark–contrasting–colorful photos!

I’ve never taken a photo quite like this…I like it!

After walking for a few hours…I made my way back to the car and took a final parting shot…

It was lunch time so I drove to a recommended restaurant named “Taco Boy” and sat outside sipping a margarita and eating fish tacos!  I had driven across the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge coming from Downtown Charleston going to Mt. Pleasant (where Alexa lives) and wanted to take a photo…so I found a spot and used my zoom lens.

And this photo…

Later that evening, Alexa and I went out to eat at a restaurant called “Rita’s” at Folly Beach.  I had Shrimp and Flounder with Grits…yum yum!  Then…we went to a Couchsurfing event at someone’s house.  It was mostly 20 somethings.  Someone even called me “Mam”!  There was a fire pit out back and we stayed for about an hour.

Join me for my last day in Charleston tomorrow before driving to Savannah!

Charleston at first glance

I arrived in Charleston from Asheville, N.C. shortly after noon on November 2nd and stopped at the Visitor’s Center to pick up maps and information.  Finding a reasonably priced place to park can be a challenge.  Luckily, Alexa, the Couchsurfing girl I’m staying with told me about free parking at the Battery, located right on the waterfront.  I began walking from there and was so excited to begin exploring all of the beautiful architecture and landscaping!

Here are some of the treasures I found…

Paths are so intriguing…you never know where they’ll lead…similar to life!

I absolutely LOVE all of the pink hues in Charleston…

This photo is interesting to me because it’s a building with dead vines, a lit lamp, a reflection in the window and in the background to the left…a tree!

The gray, white, and black make a nice combo…

There were lots of large homes to take photos of…but more often than not…I was drawn to other buildings…

The Crape (or Crepe) Myrtle tree is found everywhere in Charleston.  They remind me of camouflage!

If you haven’t figured it out yet…I really like vines growing on buildings!

I love this outdoor lamp!

As I was walking along, a man in a suit saw my camera and commented that there was a lot to photograph in Charleston.  I agreed with him and asked if he was in real estate.  He said no, I’m an Attorney, but please don’t hold it against me.  He sounded just like Forest Gump.  When I showed him my walking tour and my next stop, he said he could walk with me part of the way, to show me where it was.  Like they say, people in the South are extra friendly!

I believe this first church is St. Philip’s Church…it had a nice cemetery!  Charleston is known as the “Holy City” because there are so many churches.  I’m told by Alexa that there are no buildings in Historic Downtown Charleston that are taller than the church spires, by City ordinance!

I had a self-guided walking tour map with me, but mainly referred to it for directions.  I’m not a big history buff, so for me it was more about taking photographs.

Alexa wasn’t getting home from her 2nd job as a dance instructor until 9pm, but I headed to her place to go through my photos, eat some soup for an early dinner and rest.  The combination of driving, walking a lot, and sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings contributed to me feeling tired!

I’ll be taking another long hike through the streets of Charleston tomorrow…see you then!