Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Audrey's 5th Birthday Adventure

Hubby and I attended a fundraiser for Shriner's Hospital because some friends were playing the music for the event.  I participated in the silen auction, and won four tickets to the Children's Museum of NH in Dover.   

I thought it would be a great idea for Audrey's 5th Birthday Adventure.   Audrey graciously allowed her sister to come on the fourth ticket.

We began our adventure with lunch.  I let Audrey choose the restaurant, and she decided on Friendly's.  Great choice!  Mini hamburgers with fries...

Elise literally ate the cheese off the cheeseburger bun and that was it!

And "Monster" ice cream for dessert......for everyone including Pepere and  me!

The waitress was agreeable to putting their coloring sheets up on the wall.

First stop at the Children's Museum is the Yellow Submarine....Pepere liked that!
You can "steer" it while watching out the window for sharks, etc.   While Elise was steering, Audrey commentated...."Elise! Turn the wheel!  You're going to hit the rocks!"   And she learned you can drive right through the seaweed!

Next was the Post Office.  We took turns being the Postal Worker and the one who rings the bell for service.

There was a room with all kinds of soft sculptures so you could make your own creation.

Pepere shows off his muscles

Audrey shows off the flower Pepere made for her.

I regret I did not get a photo of the sand table.  There was a light above it with a sensor that apparently measured the height of the sand.  When  you made the sand into a mountain, it looked brown with a topographical type map of the sand.  If it was hollowed out, it looked like a lake.  Fascinating for the kids AND the adults!

Audrey was impressed with the dinosaur's teeth!

Audrey designed and built this tower  herself!

Pepere "helping" Elise with her tower.

Puppet Theater

They had lots of cute puppets there!

I also missed taking photos of the Magnet Area and the "Cantina" that was a play restaurant with plastic food for serving.

This area was very cool.  The wooden pieces on the wall have sensors behind them so when you press on the wood they make a musical note.

Elise instructs Pepere to dance

And finally at the top of a long ramp was a "cave" that Audrey loved because when  you pressed a button, it emitted purple lights displaying heiroglyphics.

Both girls were fantastic all day and listened very well.   At the very end, after each girl had another turn driving the submarine and I'd said it was time to go, Elise suddenly went deaf!!  LOL   She didn't cry or throw a tantrum, she just crossed her arms and pretended she couldn't hear me saying it was time to go.  

It's always an adventure for Memere and Pepere just as much as it is for the grandkids!  And we enjoy it as much as they do too!

Thursday, July 12, 2018


The final stop in our whirlwind South Carolina Tour was Charleston.  We stayed at a Doubletree right down in the Market District.   Very expensive!  Out of the four places we visited, Charleston came in at #4 on my list of favorites.   

It was a short walk to the very lovely waterfront.

There was a long walking area all along the water.

Along the way we passed this great restaurant, so we went back for dinner that night.  The best scallops I've ever had!  And more Hush Puppies!

We weren't far from the Aquarium so we walked over.....

It was kind of odd because they had a lot of displays of animals and fish made out of Legos.  I don't know if the displays are there all the time, or if it was a special exhibit.

Parts of the Aquarium were outside.

It was a small Aquarium but very nice.

The second day we took a boat ride......the weather the whole time we were down there was just spectacular!

We passed by Fort Sumter.  

Hubby "force marched" me to the other side of Charleston to see a cafe with records in it........thank goodness for public transportation on the way back!   

We had dinner at TBonz....yummy!

And breakfast both mornings at the Broken Egg Cafe......yummy again!!

The Marketplace was a series of historic brick buildings that had been converted into an open-air marketplace reminiscent of Quincy Market.  I cannot believe I got no pictures of it!  There were buskers every night and you could take a horse and carriage ride as well.

I felt that the highlight of our visit in Charleston was going to the Boone Hall Plantation, the oldest continually working plantation in the country (founded in 1681)   At the entrance are two rows of oak trees....with the quintessential Spanish Moss hanging....that were planted in 1743.   

We had a very interesting and entertaining tour of the Plantation House, where our guide explained the history of the house and the inner workings over different periods of time.

Big beautiful tree in the back of the house

Gardens out front

Of course, plantations in those days were worked by slaves, and this plantation had a row of old slave houses with a timeline of history as you went into each house.

Outside the last house was a seating area, and a wonderful African American woman came out and sang, talked and gave us a history lesson on life on the plantation.   It was amazing!

We left the plantation and went straight to the airport to head home.

The flight home went like this:   
1.   Leave Charleston for stop in Baltimore at 7:30 pm
2.  Circle over Baltimore for 1/2 hour because of thundestorms
3.  Run low on fuel so fly to Raleigh to refuel.
4.  Sit on the ground for 45 minutes while they refuel.
5.  Fly to Baltimore where, thankfully, our connecting flight had also been delayed.
6. Get ready to board in Baltimore, where we are informed it is an "Honor Flight" so we wait 45 minutes while they board 50 World War II vets in wheelchairs.
7.  Hubby and I are not only the last ones on the plane, but the last ones in the entire airport.
8.  We do not get to sit together.
9.  Pilot announces that Manchester NH airport is fogged in so we cannot take off until we can be assured we can land in Manch.  Sit on the plane for 30 minutes.
10. Co-pilot announces we will take off just as soon as a new pilot arrives  (??????)
11.  We wait another 30 minutes.
12.  Finally take off and land in Manch at 3:30 am where it is literally 50 degrees colder than it was in South Carolina!

The flight home was the ONLY bad part of an absolutely wonderful Southern vacation!  Beautiful weather, fantastic food, great sites and entertainment, and a week to spend alone with my Hubby.  Perfect!!

Sunday, July 8, 2018


The third stop on our South Carolina Tour was Savannah, Georgia.   Our first time seeing moss hanging from the trees and Hubby was just delighted!

We stayed in the Historical District of Savannah.   Our Bed and Breakfast was a whole row of  buildings reminiscent of the Back Bay in Boston.   There were beautiful curved staircases leading up to the second floor apartment.  I had been told our room had been upgraded, but it was still stunning to find that we had a whole apartment, literally big enough to have a party for 50!  It was all decorated in a very Victorian style.  

Besides living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom, there was a back stairway leading out to a semi-private patio.  Very nice for coffee in the morning.

And there was a beautiful covered porch where we were able to enjoy a home-made breakfast each morning.

It was hot as Hades in Savannah (with no convenient beach nearby to cool off!) so we took one of the many hop-on, hop-off trolleys to navigate our way around the city.  It turned out to be a delightful way to go, as the trolley drivers are unscripted...meaning you get a different spiel from each driver as you get on and off different trolleys.

On this trolley several characters came on and gave us a little history lesson.

A Pirate

A Plantation Owner

The city is laid out in a grid pattern and on each intersection is a little "square" with grass, trees and benches.  Many of the squares have statues of historical significance.   This one has a statue of the "Waving Girl".   Florence Martus began waving at every single ship as it entered the Port of Savannah when she was a young girl, and continued unabated for 44 years.

One of the things we enjoyed  was a riverboat cruise on the Savannah River aboard the Savannah Queen.

We bought the dinner cruise but probably should have just stuck with the regular cruise, because we really wanted to spend more time up on the top deck!

The views were stunning as the sun set.

There was a single guitar player up on deck so we even got a chance to dance.  It was a lovely cruise!

One of the things I wanted to do in Savannah is visit the home of Juliette Low.   She is the founder of Girl Scouts of America.   Girl Scouting runs in the ex Mother-in-Law gave me a patch from when she was a Girl Scout, I was a Girl Scout as a girl and a leader as an adult, my daughter Jamie went through Girl Scouts and earned her Gold Award, and now my granddaugher Emily is a Girl Scout as well.

Tag has a chat with Juliette in the garden.

It was interesting to find out things about Juliette that I never knew....she was an accomplished artist and made some lovely wrought iron pieces like this one displayed in the garden.

We also got to eat at Paula Deen's iconic original restaurant, "The Lady and Sons."  I was surprised that the restaurant was just a hole-in-the-wall diner type place.  But the food, of course, was outstanding.   Right across the street was the Jazz Club, where Hubby was turned away for wearing slippers!

Our final stop before we left Savannah was Tybee Lighthouse.

Again, we were able to climb to the top for a spectacular view.

Hubby and I just loved Savannah.  It was probably my favorite of the four places we visited.  Despite the heat, we left Savannah reluctantly to make our final drive back to Charleston.