Monday, May 28, 2012

Southern Belles

We just wrapped up our 11 day road trip covering 10 states (+DC!) and 2200 miles! On our continued quest to visit all 50 states, we decided to take advantage of our East Coast location and Ferris’s inability to run away. 

Here is our crazy itinerary: 
New York, NY to Philadelphia, PA to Wilmington, DE, to Harper’s Ferry, WV to Leesburg, VA to Middleburg, VA to Chapel Hill, NC to Savannah, GA to Hilton Head, SC to Charleston, SC to Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC, to Baltimore, MD to New York, NY. Whew!

With the exception of Philly and DC, all of our stops were new to us, so this was a great chance to learn more about the different states. With few exceptions, most of our preconceived notions (both positive and negative) turned out to be pretty inaccurate. We had low expectations for West Virginia and Baltimore, but those were two of our favorite stops! I’ve heard so many good things about the research triangle of NC – Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, but it underwhelmed us. Downtown Wilmington, Delaware, tax/legal home to just about every credit card company, is sketchier than any block I’ve been on in NYC. One huge surprise was our impression that rumors of southern hospitality are overstated. Also, we encountered plenty of southerners (Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia) who seem to hate babies, and I’m a little sore about that. (Or maybe New Yorkers just really love babies? Or maybe I think Ferris shouldn’t count as a baby since he doesn’t cry?) Who knew! 

Philly, PA: a quick visit to the Liberty Bell on our way to Wilmington! 

Wilmington, DE: “Hi, we’re in Delaware.” – Wayne’s World. This was pretty much it, but with a side of, “Don’t go to that ATM, that’s not on a safe block.” We happened upon a hospitable group of businesswomen who travel to Wilmington so often that they hang out with the hotel staff and take it upon themselves to pour the wine for the happy hour. 
Harper’s Ferry, WV: This little town is home to tons of Civil War history and an entrance to the Appalachian Trail. The landscape of the area was beautiful, with a view of the Blueridge Mountains and old battlefields. We went on a ghost tour and “hiked” to the extent it’s possible with an 11 month old.

Leesburg, VA: We went to a couple of different wine tastings and a jazz festival. This was the first example of baby-hating. I wouldn’t make such a claim without providing examples! We showed up for the jazz festival and were told that children are only allowed within a certain fenced in area. The setup was a little awkward so we drank our wine (individually, since tastings took place outside the family jail) and headed to the next vineyard. 

Middleburg, VA: We spent a few hours wandering around this little town, which had some cute shops. 

Chapel Hill, NC: We drove around Duke and UNC, hung out in our gorgeous hotel room, and ate biscuits for breakfast. Second example of baby-hating: people would glare at us while Ferris smiled in their direction. Third example of baby-hating: Ferris was sleeping in his stroller in a nearly empty restaurant, but the waitress still glared in his direction whenever she found time. 
Savannah, GA: Fourth example of baby-hating: it took ages to find a hotel that allowed children. But Nick did such a great job finding us a gorgeous historical building in the middle of Savannah. Ferris loved Savannah, because it has so many trees!
Hilton Head, SC: We loved Hilton Head, it’s the only spot we could imagine making a point to revisit. Nick golfed, I got a massage, and we hung out on the beach and ate gourmet hotdogs. This was Ferris’s first time in a swimsuit. Heartbreakingly cute. 

Charleston, SC: Nick found another amazing place to stay – an old rice plantation with award winning architecture. We did a little bit of exploring downtown Charleston, but spent most of our time touring the plantation. Fifth example of baby-hating: Ferris was sleeping in the baby carrier, while we signed up for a tour of the plantation house. The guide lectured me that I would need to leave if the baby started screaming. A. He’s asleep. B. I have enough sense to leave with a screaming baby so blanket restrictions and lectures aren’t needed. C. You’re a bitch. 

Raleigh, NC: Admittedly, we just stayed here to break up a long stretch of driving. But Raleigh boasts the best coffeehouse I found along our trip! 
Washington, DC: Nick scored again, although by accident - we went to the wrong Kimpton Hotel, but they let us stay for the same rate, and.... drumroll.... upgraded us to an amazing suite with a jacuzzi. (Does this count as southern hospitality? The hotel manager was born in Minnesota.) The standard fare: walked around the White House, the Washington Monument, and a special exhibit at the Holocaust Museum. 
Baltimore, MD: Ferris went to his first baseball game at Camden Yard! Baltimore was a charming, livable city, and we discovered a lot of cute neighborhoods. When we’re traveling, I try to find the best coffee in the city, since that usually leads us to fun new places. (You know, the type with growly baristas and signs that say, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.”) Despite the baby-hating, we had a fun time getting away from our familiar routines and locations. And thankfully, this trip made us so appreciative of how great Minneapolis is, and how exciting our new neighborhood will be!

Top: Delaware friends, ghost tour, trees!, mint julep, hot dogs
Bottom: beach, plantation grounds, DC, Orioles

Just one more photo of Ferris. This is me trying to show a little restraint. Can you believe the next post pretty much has to be about his first birthday?

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