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Sweet South Getaway

Cotton grown in patch at Anne Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC

I am home from a whirlwind trip to Charlotte, Fort Mill, Charleston, and Folly Beach. My sister and her family have lived there for well over a decade. About six months ago, I won an Orbitz contest at Facebook. I got free airfare anywhere in the lower 48. Without hesitation, I chose this trip. What a great decision.

Sunrise, Anne Close Greenway

I had never been in the south, aside from Florida which seems like it’s own planet. I had never seen the Atlantic Ocean. I know, seems crazy to the 70% of the country that lives within 100 miles of the Atlantic, but that’s how it is when you are born in raised in the Wild West. I’m a West Coast type. You should have heard our rap-off comparing oceans.

Winter cabbage in my sister's garden, Fort Mill, South Carolina

Anyway, my sister’s home is crazy-lovely, with lush gardens still in bloom. I was astonished by the greenery and trees, everywhere. I was also struck by the history. What a special place.

Cemetery dating to early 1800s around the corner from sister's home

The people were very, very friendly. We went on a hike on Friday morning to the Anne Close Greenway. Everyone we met said, “HELLO!!” in big friendly voices with big friendly smiles. I thought Colorado was friendly with our nods of acknowledgment.

Cupcake from Cupcrazed, which won Food Network's Cupcake Wars

I enjoyed being called “Baby” as in, “Would ya like your receipt, baby?” said in silky smooth drawl. Yes. Yes I would.

Coleus, Nathaniel Russell House Garden, Charleston

I tried a lot of new things. I had sweet tea, which is really sweet. Don’t let the name fool you into thinking it’s just hyperbole. As someone who drinks coffee black, I wasn’t a fan. I ate grits and shrimp. I had never had grits and was surprised to see they looked like Malt O Meal. I was expecting something with more texture and definition, something that lived up to the word grits. It was cheesy and so rich, I couldn’t finish. But delicious.

A longtime favorite quote, posted outside a famous Charleston Cemetery

Loved the twisty, gnarled trees and green everywhere

The best part was simply relaxing with my sister, my niece, my brother-in-law, and their small horse of a German Shepherd, Baron. We had a lot of laughs and ate amazing food. I’ve never been so far away from home, but I felt right at home.

Charleston Unitarian Cemetery was stunning, lush, bursting with life, oddly

Me, dipping my toesies in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time

My sister

My niece

Jellyfish. I thought the kids would be interested.

Of course, with every new experience, new food, new sight I wished our whole family could have been there together. I had to picture the kids romping on the beach, chasing each other, collecting shells, squealing. Maybe someday.

A message for my 9 sweethearts at home

Flying home

Thanks to my sister and her family for sharing their home and showing me the sights. It was a lovely getaway.

(edited to note: all photos were taken with my phone)

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