Following our February 20 visit to the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Di and I drove to Charleston, South Carolina for an overnight. We toured the city on February 21 opting for a city overview on a 16-passenger horse-drawn carriage.
I'd visited Charleston with Dan many years ago, but seeing these stately homes along Battery Row never fails to elicit wonder.
I love imagining myself wearing an opulent day gown, drinking a mint julep and fanning myself while sitting on a veranda watching the carriages roll by. I'm sure life then wasn't as romantic as I imagine.
These days, such mansions require the practical aspect of paying for maintenance and upkeep.
Some of the churches are as grand as the homes.
After our Charleston tour, we drove out of town to Magnolia Plantation. The plantation property was extensively landscaped by owner and minister John Drayton. In 1870, to raise funds to keep the plantation, the grounds were opened for public tours. The original plantation house burned in a fire; this is the house that was rebuilt on the site. The wide verandas on four sides were added later.
After Magnolia Plantation we headed to Hilton Head where we spent the first of five nights in a time share (courtesy of a very dear quilty friend). Each day we commuted about an hour and ten minutes to Savannah.
The day before QuiltCon began, Di and I shared a rainy day of Savannah sightseeing.
As we did in Charleston, we started with a 90-minute narrated trolley tour. Unbeknownst to us, the tour included stops where famous Savannah characters hopped on the trolley and told us about their role in Savannah's history. Our first guest was Forest Gump! Much of the the movie Forest Gump was filmed in Savannah. In the opening scene, a feather floats down from a Savannah church steeple. Also, Forest sat on a movie studio-made bench in one of the squares.
This young lady entertained us with her story of being a seamstress and later opening a school for black children.
Savannah boasts 24 squares, with many of them encircled by beautiful homes. Di and I planned to walk through several squares, but the incessant afternoon rain deterred us from doing that.
This building was erected by Henry Ford and used as a showroom for car sales.
While it rained, we checked out The Chocolat Library on Bull Street, a shop with chocolate truffles made by Adam Turoni who's among the top ten US chocolatiers. I heard a program about it last year while listening to public radio.
A few of the truffles came home with me, though they were a little worse for wear due to the soggy sack, and heat of the car. I knew I should have eaten them right away!
It stocked a variety of nice fabrics, but with quilting cottons all at $12 a yard, neither of us bought anything.
When we completed the city tour, we drove ourselves to Factor's Walk/River Walk on the Savannah River where we both indulged in a warm praline and coffee.
Across the river we could see the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, where QuiltCon was to take place.
Waving Girl statue on the river is in memory of Florence Martus who for many years waved to all the ships coming into Savannah. Read the story about it here.
At 5 pm, Di and I rode the free ferry from the River Walk, across the Savannah River, to the Convention Center, to get ourselves checked-in for QuiltCon that began the next day.
Though the check-in lines were long, snaking back and forth several times, time passed quickly as we chatted with other quilters and moved quickly along in the line. The computer check-in took no longer than typing in your last name and hitting okay. And being one of the first 1,000 to register meant that both Di and I got a swag bag - a Robert Kaufman canvas tote filled with goodies that included a magazine, coloring book, and mini fabric packs.
We rode the return ferry to the River Walk, again passing Waving Girl who was lit up.
P.S. Don't miss reading Di's latest blog post about her experiences! She seems to be having fun!