Ah Honey Honey…Adventures in Savannah

If you’re looking for a unique tasting experience in Savannah, you must buzz on over to The Savannah Bee Company.  This little gem of a store is in the historic district and needs to be added to your list of things to see and do while in Savannah.  There is something so special about eating local foods when you travel.  We loved that you can sample every single type of honey they sell, my girls sampled over ten different types of honey.

honeyThe truly unique thing was that each honey has a different flavor and color because of the different flowers the bees visited.  Part of the samplings was raw honeycomb, which was my older daughter’s favorite.  During the tastings the honey purveyors were able to tell you about each honey and if you liked it or not were able to recommend your next tasting. They even had bar stools you could sit on to get a more in-depth experience.  If you prefer to sample on your own, they were incredibly perceptive and just let you move at your own pace.  Our top choices were: Tupelo Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Savannah Honey and the raw honeycomb.  My only regret was we couldn’t get more honey into our suitcases.

 

The store is not just a place to buy the golden goodness, it is also a place where you can find amazing skin care products, books about all things bee as well as unique gift items.  Their logo is fantastic and can be found on any number of really neat products, shirts, tank tops, yoga bags, or canvas totes.  This store knows how to impress parents as well. A bee hive play area for small children with little stuffed bees, is sure to impress any budding beekeeper.  While the kids played, we shopped and enjoyed some sweet tea made with their everyday honey making this one of the most relaxed shopping experiences we have encountered.

The store owner, Ted, is so passionate about bees and education as well.  Every person who we encountered knew so much about honey and bees it was remarkable.  You could tell that everyone who works there is incredibly passionate about bees and educating people about their products.

Savannah Bee 1

Not going to Savannah anytime soon?  Don’t worry, many local stores sell their products and you might just be surprised at how close you are to tasting some delicious Savannah Bee Company honey.

Advertisement

Boiled Peanuts and Sweet Tea

Ocean

We just returned from a trip to South Carolina.  We used to live there many years ago for a very short period of time before we got incredibly homesick for family, foggy mornings and mountains.  However, both my husband and I have started to look back on our time in SC in a very romantic way.  We talk about the huge moon rises we would watch on the Isle of Palms connector, the sound of cicadas and of course our love affair with the food.

Now that almost a decade has passed we made a return to our beloved South Carolina.  It was an amazing trip, we learned some very important things in the first few hours of it.  Number one: babies don’t like to sleep on the red-eye.  Number two: when your baby doesn’t sleep on the red-eye, people around you get moody.  Whoopsies…lesson learned.  Number three: spending time with family and loved ones is really what it is all about.

We stayed with family on Pawley’s Island and loved every minute of it.  I had nightly cooking lessons by my husbands great-aunt, and surprisingly enough neither of us needed to diet when we returned…even though many sticks of butter, pounds of side pork and fat back were used in the making of our suppers.

Another thing that we learned or I suppose confirmed is that the ocean does really have a restorative power to it.  We were able to walk across the street to the beach daily and enjoyed building sand castles and playing in the surf.  Even when the petite encountered a jellyfish and got a pretty substantial sting on her leg – she still rallied and wanted to go for swim in the waves the following day.  We had such a fun time exploring places we used to go to all the time and ones we thought the petites would like the best.

We stayed in Pawley’s Island which is a slice of heaven, there is no place that I have seen that has such deep blues and such stunning greens, the sunsets that can literally take you breath away.  In the afternoon storms roll in and just for a moment it becomes so dark it would appear to be night, but then the sun shines through and blue skies prevail.  It is one of my  favorite places.  Of course like most places it is the people who you are with that make it so incredibly special.

toes in the sand

For our small day trips we drove south to Sullivan’s Island.  We used to go there all the time to different bars and restaurants.  This time we stopped in at Poe’s Tavern.  It is a super cute little restaurant and bar, themed with fun Edgar Allan Poe things, after all Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie where he spent 14 months, it is said that during this time he came up with the idea for The Gold Bug about a mystical beetle who leads people to treasure.  They have some really fun swag and when we lived there I never ended up buying anything, so our trip was mainly to get me a Poe’s shirt…mission accomplished.  The beach at Sullivan’s Island is also really gorgeous, same goes for the beaches at Isle of Palms.  All very close to fun bars and food.  Yum.

We also of course wanted to drive by our old neighborhood and check everything out, I couldn’t believe how much things had changed in 10 years, at numerous times I had to ask where we were, and was totally lost and confused.

In Charleston there are just so many incredibly fun places, we only spent a little bit of time there, but we did go to some pretty fun places that you might want to check out if you happen to find yourself in Charleston.

Battery and White Point Gardens – this is a great place to walk along nad see the water, check out the ships and just explore a little bit.  If you are a history buff this is a great place to start, there are civil war cannons along this defensive seawall.  You are able to see Fort Sumter in the distance, if you walk along the promenade you will have views of some spectacular mansions.  In White Point Gardens you can rest under the shade of gorgeous oaks and even sit in a lovely gazebo.  It is a fabulous place to start your Charleston adventure.

IMG_8009

 

From there we drove to the City Market, we were in search of a few things.  My husbands great aunt had been referencing this cook book called Charleston receipts that was put together by the Charleston Junior League in 1950, it has 750 recipes in it and is one of those southern staples.  I just had to get my hands on one of these, so we headed to the market in search of the book.  (I will say you can buy one on amazon for a little bit less than the market, but you don’t get to say that you bought this awesome cookbook at the oldest city market in the south).  This market is amazing, they have so many fun things, you can buy sweet grass baskets here (although if you are driving north up 17 you would most likely find a better deal on the side of the road at one of the little basket stands.  If you are heading south, I got a great basket at Carolina Cider Company in Yemassee on the way to Savannah.  The market is also a place where you can haggle a bit, I’m not talking flea market haggle, but if you feel comfortable you can try to get a “deal”.  We also found that there was a vendor who was selling maps, old newspapers and Harper’s Weekly’s.  This is a really fun place to stop in and browse.  We ended up purchasing a reproduction of a Charleston map.  Read more about my map fiasco here.  This is a very busy place, you could easily spend hours here checking everything out.  They have something for just about everyone, it is a must stop.  The market is open everyday of the year except Christmas.  Monday-Sunday 9:30-5:30 and Friday – Saturday 6:30-10:30.

If you’re not going south to Savannah, you need to stop in at the Savannah Bee Company at the Charleston location – 216 King Street.  I am a bit obsessed with the Savannah Bee Company.  This store, brand and mission are phenomenal.  When I was first reading about the things we could do, I read a trip advisor review about honey tastings and I thought that would be really fun for our daughters, 5 years old and 1-year-old.  Who doesn’t love honey and our little hardworking buzzing friends?  So we checked it out, there were samples of all of their honeys that they sell.  It was delicious, I have never tasted so many different types of honey.  It was also a really neat place for us to show our daughter all of the hard work that bees do and why they are so important.  So this store, has an incredibly cute logo too, did I mentioned I am a bit obsessed?  They have all sorts of fun things, check out their website and you will want to order stuff right now.  You must taste the Tupelo Honey, it was my favorite and all the more special because the Tupelo tree has a short blooming period 3-10 days, so it is a rather special honey if you ask me.  Yum.  If you end up going let me know what you think?  Oh and what you ended up buying.  Also, if you are going to Savannah too, go to the shop there instead it is bigger and has more to offer, a play area for little ones so you can shop and taste in peace.

Charleston Museum – 360 Meeting Street.  This museum is great.  We took our girl there although they were not really interested in the main museum there is a part called Kids Story, where they get to try things out.  There is a little house they can play in with costumes (mainly for older kids 6-9 I would guess, they were pretty big on our petite 5-year-old), a ship where you can change and raise the flag, a lighthouse where you can push buttons and turn the light on.  It was great, they loved to play in the house with the tea set and had a fantastic time.  The museum is a great look at Charleston through the ages, they have one exhibit of guns that I found to be really interesting.  I was a little disappointed with the lack of exhibits and artifacts from the days of slavery, there were just a few things.  I am not sure if this is because there is The Old Slave Mart Museum or not.  We weren’t able to go to The Old Slave Mart Museum this time around, but I would love to go on our next visit.

Kids Story

Kids Story

raising the flagCharleston Museum 1

There are so many amazing places, you could easily spend a week touring through Charleston and not eat it all or see it all.  I think part of the fun is in just walking around and taking in all of the incredibly history in this city, from the churches, gorgeous old homes, vendors in the market.

Main places we didn’t get to this time but would like to go:

The Old Slave Mart Museum – an incredibly important museum, this building was actually used as a slave auction building.

IMG_8057

Fort Sumter – a delight for any civil war buff.

Philadelphia Alley – rumors are that this area is haunted…that there were many duels and that sometimes ghosts can be seen.  So fun!

Philadelphia Alley

Middleton Place – gorgeous rice plantations with grounds that are stunning, just check out the reviews from other travelers, sounds amazing right?

I am sure I am missing a ton of places…I realize I didn’t even mention all of the shopping…too many fun places and we only went to a very small fraction of them.  This is really just a half day in Charleston, like I said before, you could spend a week there and still not touch all of it.

If you’ve been to Charleston, what’s your favorite place to visit?   Please tell me all about it in the comments.  I’d love to hear all about it.

Erin

 

 

Historic Charleston: In Search of a Map

I have a thing for maps, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll notice a trend.  Before we left for South Carolina, I called around to find out where you could get a print of an antique map in Charleston.  I called the Charleston Historical Society and the Preservation Society of Charleston.  Both of the lovely ladies I spoke with recommended the same place: Carolina Antique Maps & Prints.

This is the map I desired

Antique Map of Charleston SC, by C.N. Drie 1872 Print $25

When we planned our day trip to Charleston this was one of my main places I wanted to stop.  So off we go with our two children in tow.  Ironically enough, I cannot read a map to save my soul; truly ask my husband.  This is silly on so many levels, mainly because while we were driving I kept saying we are close, just park here.  Since my stellar map reading skills are so honed we ended up literally parking right in front of the store even though I couldn’t see it.  Here is where silly turns to hilarious in a matter of seconds.

A Plan of the Attack of Fort Sulivan, near Charles Town in South Carolina. William Faden

A Plan of the Attack of Fort Sullivan, near Charles Town in South Carolina.
William Faden $13,000

We open the door to this cute little map shop and walk in.  The woman running the place welcomes us, my husband, 5-year-old daughter and 14 month old who is covered in snacks from her car seat.    My husband while holding tight to the 5-year-old looked at a map that was $13,500.  While I flipped through a folio of maps that were ranging between $800-$1300.  My husband and I glance at each other while flipping, doing that silent look of knowing that only spouses can do.  Knowing that you have no business being in this place with these children.  This is when things just got ridiculous.  The lovely lady asked me if I was looking for anything special.  To which I, with reddening cheeks, say yes, I was told that I could get a print of an antique Charleston map here.  She says oh yes, what price point are you looking for?  I respond under $100 and she almost laughs and says that nothing in the store is under $200.  Then she lets me know of a linguistic, possibly regional error that I have made.  The word “print” does not mean “reproduction” which is clearly what I am looking for.

I do want you to know that Carolina Antique Maps & Prints, has some of the most gorgeous maps I have ever seen.  However, if you are looking for a “reproduction” of an antique map of Charleston, go to the market, I found one for $25, and we didn’t even have to break into the girls college fund.

 

If you like maps too, check out my etsy shop.

 

Day Dreaming of Adventure on a Friday Afternoon

Adventure Awaits

As a stay at home mom there are moments where I think about the time before I was a mom.  Before I had obligations, before there were schedules to be kept, meals to be planned, laundry to be done, petites to be fed.  I sometimes, in my more pessimistic moods, think about how when I was in college I didn’t study abroad.  Now, one of my biggest regrets.  I had lots of friends who chose to do this, one dear friend who studied in Lyon, France and on the weekends went to amazing places all over Europe.  I think about my friend and the places she went and the experiences she had, pictures she must have taken.  Now, I see friends on Facebook who live in Europe and just love looking at their amazing pictures of all of the fabulous places they go to.  One thing that I know for sure is that when my daughters come home from college talking about studying abroad I am going to do all that I can to encourage them to take risks, to seek adventure and have an amazing time.  Also, to expect Mom and Dad to visit often.

But for now, as a stay at home mom, I am daydreaming on a Friday afternoon of the next great adventure.  Most likely our next trip will be to Disneyland, although super fun and an adventure in of itself, I am talking trip of a lifetime, more bucket list than mouse ears.

When my husband and I take long car trips we always talk about the places we are dying to go.  Our top five.  Most of the time the places overlap.  The places that are always the same, Ireland – we both will always hold a special place in our hearts.  Spain for my Hubby and the more I see for me too.  France and Italy for me.  But sometimes we have random new places, like Morocco or South Africa.  It just depends on the mood.  We also love the south, we lived in South Carolina for a short time and would love to go back.

For tonight the top five places I want to go right now:

  1. Scotland
  2. The South – South Carolina and Georgia
  3. Spain
  4. Italy
  5. Ireland…always and forever

Okay, now the fun part, I want your opinion, tell me where I should visit next or at least really spend a lot of time dreaming about.  Or if you have a different option I

I so wish I could promise that whatever gets the most votes is where we will go, but with two petites running around, we don’t have that kind of flexibility, but wouldn’t that be amazing!

Happy Weekend.

 

Traveling with Young Toddlers

Traveling with babies ItemsOne of my dear friends is traveling with her petite to Hawaii in a few days, I was trying to remember what all we packed for our little one when we traveled to California when she was 13 months old and then to Ireland when she was 16 months.  There are a few things that really saved us on our travels:

Stacking cups were great for her because we could put snacks in them and then hide things under them as well.

AquaDoodle book is a must for any kid who is on a plane or in the car it is great.  At 4 years old she still uses it in the car.  It was one of the best purchases we’ve ever made, just don’t lose the water pen.

Easter eggs are great too, buy them now, I always seemed to want them when it wasn’t near Easter.  They are great to put little snacks in or you can put beans in them and make shakers.  Plus they are fun for the kids to open, its like a little present.  Try to find the eggs where they shells are attached that way you wont have to try to find tops or bottoms.

Colorful Post-its these are fun to stick onto the tray table as well as window.  They are also fun to pull off of the little stack, not very environment friendly though.

Blue Painters Tape this stuff is awesome, same idea as post-its, fun to peal on and off of the tray table and windows

Cheerios we used these in the eggs when the petite was 12 months, then used them with pipe cleaners when she was 16 months, she enjoyed putting them onto the pipe cleaners and then eating them

Fruit/Veggie Squishies these are a must for traveling babies, they are the perfect size to take on the plane and virtually mess free.

Toddler or Baby Crayons these are awesome, you can color on small notebook pages. Really easy for little hands to hold onto.

Window Clings I just saw this one on Pinterest, and thought it would be a good idea to have these little cute clings to decorate the window.

Some other items to pack, an extra shirt for you especially if the petite will be sitting in your lap.  A scarf/pashmina for nursing in private.  Extra set of clothes for the petite and binkie if they will use them.

I am sure there are a ton of other ideas out there for traveling with toddlers, if you have a suggestion for something that you do and love please let me know in the comment section.  All of the stuff I listed above can be found at Target, the only thing that I have to order online was the AquaDoodle and you can find it here.

Traveling with a little one can be very overwhelming, I find that the more planning I did the better things turned out and who knows the petites might even just sleep the entire time.  🙂sleeping

Happy Travels.

 

Erin Go Bragh – Trip Planning

After I posted yesterday I got to thinking about our trip to Ireland, romantically thinking, about how incredibly wonderful it is.  My hubs and I both agree that you can walk out of the airport in Ireland and be good to go.  Meaning, Ireland is a place where you feel safe all the time, you feel welcome all the time, no one ever gets pissy with you – even if you don’t know how to maneuver the roundabouts, are trying to sort out how to drive a stick shift in a parking lot, or accidentally bump someone’s car as you are trying to get the hell out of the busy streets of Dublin.  In my last post I shared my top 5 (okay, really six) places that I loved the most.

Now, I want to share about the planning and prep-work that we did to get ready for our amazing travels.  I hit the local public library and checked out every book they had on Ireland, literally every book.  I have the library fines to prove it.  I watched all of the Rick Steves episodes about Ireland – in the end deciding I am not sure I like Rick and his ambiguous accent.   After religiously pouring through the travel books, I decided, to buy these three books:

51ZwWi3RndL__SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_ 51yPwmHan0L__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ untitled

So as you can see I love the DK Eyewitness Travel books, they are very visual which I like, it also gives a little snippet of historical info which I find to be super helpful.  The reason that I would recommend these books above the others, are mainly for the maps, visuals and accuracy of the information in them(as long as you get a recent one).  The back roads book was so helpful in looking at the different ways one could drive around and points of interest along the way – I loved seeing the potential of our trip(this was the book that got me the most fines).  The Dublin Top 10 may not have been necessary, but we had used one of the DK Top 10 books when we traveled to Washington DC and it was so helpful, gave a lot more detail of places to eat and have a pint etc.  Another reason why the DK books worked well for us is that we chose a B&B package where you paid all up front and then got a little travel book of all the B&B’s that qualified.  So we didn’t need a book that would offer places to stay…if you are looking for a travel book that will offer advice about places to stay these are not the books for you.  Books that give advice about where to stay that I really enjoyed are, wait for it: Rick Steve’s Book, they have a lot of staff working to make their guides awesome – and unlike the reruns of his trip to Ireland from what seems like the 80s, seriously, with the backpacks, I can’t handle it –  thankfully the books are up to date.

book5

My personal travel guide

But here’s the real deal, when you’re traveling you have limited space, so you’re not going to bring a library with you that will take up space in your suitcase when you consider how much room you’ll be needing to bring back bottles of Jameson.  At the time, I read a blog that said you should take the books apart and make your own book.  EEK!  As a book lover, taking a book apart is…well it’s not going to happen.  So, I opted to copy the pages that I thought I would need and made my own book (see below), I took notes on places that were of interest to us all in this little composition style notebook.  I personally loved having this as we would pull up to places, I could spout out what I knew about it and write down other notes about the places we went.  I also kept lists of the things we wanted to see, and then marked them off as we saw them.  It was great.  But I am a bit of a nerd, and I loved putting together this special book.  If this is not your thing, the books listed above will be great, if I had to buy just one book, DK Ireland would be my go to guide.  In thinking about it, we have been other places and I have not done anything like this again, I think I did it because I knew how special this trip would be to us, how it was our dream adventure that I would never want to forget.

book1book2book4

The next time you come, you’ll be home.

When my petite family went to Ireland in 2011 we didn’t really know what to expect, it was our first trip overseas and we were so excited.  We had planned out our self driving tour of Ireland – two weeks to cover the entire country, Irelandeven though our travel agent really advised us not to move so quickly.  Little did we know that what he said would mean something else when we returned.  It was not about seeing everything, it was about being in the moment and being able to take the time to get acquainted with this remarkable place.  In retrospect it was perfect for us to get a small sampling of so many different areas, because in all honestly, once we saw the lovely fields and all of the green we were sold.  We were greedy and took all that we could get of this amazing place.

Top Five in Ireland

I couldn’t commit to finding just five attractions that I liked the best so we are going with places…here goes…

In Dublin, we did all of the touristy things, we got a pass to ride the hop on hop off, best deal, when we did take a cab – the asshole, not an Irishman took us on a long journey through the city, when we were essentially a handful of blocks away.  Boo!  I think my top three of Dublin would be 1. Kilmainham Gaol; 2. Long Room @ Trinity College; 3. Jameson Distillery Tour – I was an official taster.  Awesome!  My Hubby’s top three were 1. walking the streets over the bridges of the River Liffey (although there were some super sketchy people as the sun went down – I am a bit of a wuss though) 2. Jameson Distillery – he wasn’t a taster 😦 3. Trinity College seeing the amazing long room.  You could spend a ton of time in Dublin and still not see everything.

In Wiklow, oh my goodness, when you think of Ireland and see the green fields and the lochs with the misty mountains in your mind, IDSC_0576 am pretty sure you’re dreaming of Wicklow. After leaving the grit of Dublin it was our first “country” experience and it did not disappoint.  Go to Glendalough!  Seriously, go, right now, I think I might have even cried I was so overwhelmed with the immense beauty of it all.  The pictures cannot capture it all.  The old monastic settlements just standing there for you to walk through, there is a loch to go and stand and look at the gorgeous beauty of it all.  In fact it is so lovely that tons of movies have been filmed in Wicklow – Braveheart, PS I love you, Becoming Jane, there is a whole website about doing film drives in Wicklow.  Had I known this before hand the hubs and the petite and I would have been reenacting FREEDOM!!!

Cobh and Cork, so if you happen to be one of the 35 million people in the US who claim Irish heritage odds are your DSC_0063people last touched the shores of Ireland in Cobh pronounced “cove”.  Before we left I had done a ton of genealogical work about my Irish ancestry, I even have relatives still in Ireland (stay tuned), so it was an important stop for me to see what my great grandpoarents last saw.  It is a gorgeous little town.  On to Cork, see how I really have six favorites, but I put two together…sneaky…Cork is awesome, I loved it there, made my hubby go shopping with me at this totally fun store Oasis, the open air market was awesome – we picked up goodies to eat on the road so much fun.

County Kerry, I would move here in a millisecond, seriously, I would pack up the petites and go to Kerry, more DSC_0424specifically Portmagee felt like home.  My family is from Portmagee, has lived in the same parcel of land for hundreds of years, and some still live there, we had the opportunity to randomly meet them, but that’s another post.  Kerry is like Wicklow in the sense that it feels like the purest form of Ireland.  I was so nervous and excited to roll into Cahersiveen and then into Portmagee, for me it was all about where my people had come from and how even generations ago impacts who I am today.  What made Portmagee so amazing was the PEOPLE!  What amazing people, seriously, you felt like you were meeting old friends.  People say that kind of thing all the time, and I had previously thought yeah right, strangers aren’t that friendly – no in Ireland they are – okay maybe just much more so in Kerry.

Clifden, I used to have this calendar, you know how you buy a calendar of places you’d rather be then where you are, well I DSC_0079ripped out a month and saved it like 10 years ago and it was Clifden.  The place looks like a postcard.  We splurged here and took our 16 month old out to a fancy dinner, haha, she was so good, previously she would fuss a bit because she wanted “real food” – as in not boiled veggies.  We stayed at this B&B that was our favorite in all of Ireland, Ardmore House.  As I write this I am thinking of the place we stayed the night before, the B&B house dog was so cute and the petite wanted to see it, she also wanted to see the cows (working dairy farm – should have known better) and the dog jumped all over me and covered me in shit.  I mean I smelled, well, I smelled like cow shit. Sorry I digress.  Okay, back to Clifden, some of my favorite pictures from Ireland and memories are from this lovely place.  Behind the B&B were cliffs, what?  Cliffs in Clifden – say what?  So I laid down in the grass by the cliffs and it was just this completely serene moment I will never forget.  And my hubby actually captured the moment, how sweet is that?

Ireland is all everyone says it is, so amazing, we miss it, it is a place where I felt like I was at home, in fact after chatting with a local historian in Portmagee about my family he looked at me and said, well dear, the next time you come, you’ll be home.  Until then…