From Sea to Sea

When we planned the itinerary for our May trip, it seemed logical.  Nothing really amazing, just a practical way to attend two family events in a limited amount of time. Our initial flight took us to Charleston, South Carolina and to a rented house set up on a hill the second row in from the ocean in Folly Beach.  From our porch each morning and night we saw, heard, and smelled the awesome salty breezes of the Atlantic.   It was our first visit to Charleston, a city of refined southern charm and beauty.

We took a harbor cruise to see Fort Sumter where, 150 years ago, the shots were fired that started the Civil War.  The War, as true southerners still call it, was to be over in a few months time.  It lasted four bloody years.  Back in Charleston we rode on a guided tour in a mule drawn carriage through the city’s historic district and passed by stately old homes.  As we rode near Battery Park, we observed a solemn celebration of Confederate Memorial Day celebrated each year on May 10th, the day Stonewall Jackson died.

In an awesome marketplace, we watched artisans weave Sweetgrass Baskets and string stone beads for necklaces.  A pretty young student (thanks, Abby!) guided us through the grounds of the beautiful College of Charleston.  We toured Middleton Place, a rice plantation on the banks of the Ashley River.  Everywhere, we ate fresh seafood – at a rural dive, at a crab shack near the ocean, and at our beach house.

At the Public Library and the old Court House, I scrolled through spools of old microfilm to copy family history.  We shot pictures of the house where my husband’s great-grandfather once lived, and then said a prayer at the church he attended. At Magnolia Cemetery we found his grave, and said another prayer.  Nearby lay the dead of the sunken Hunley, yet another reminder of The War.   Back at Folly Beach the ocean called.  We strolled barefoot over smooth sand letting the warm waters of the Atlantic wash over our feet.  Reluctantly, we said goodbye.

From Charleston we flew across green mid-western farm fields to Chicago’s O’Hare Field then on to the brown desert sands surrounding Las Vegas. A myriad of languages and accents sang out at airports.  The final leg of our journey took us to the wonder of San Francisco, a vibrant diverse city as beautiful as Charleston but different.  So different.

On Saturday we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael to attend a joyful college graduation on the peaceful grounds of Dominican University.  On our trip back to the city, at the top of a winding hilltop we gazed on the magnificent Bay that leads to the Pacific Ocean.  Early Sunday morning we strolled a few blocks to watch the fun of the Bay to Breakers race.   Serious runners, walkers, and costumed party-goers run 12 kilometers from the San Francisco Bay to the waters of the Pacific Ocean. This year is the 100th anniversary.   And everywhere, we enjoyed gloriously fresh food – fruits, veggies, crepes, seafood.

I’m on overload  now.  In ten short days we traveled from sea to sea.  Soon comes the return to the reality of daily life.  The best part of course, has been visiting with loved ones.  Aside from that has come a deeper appreciation for this land. Travel does that.  America is vast and her stories are boundless.  So much still to discover, and record.

23 thoughts on “From Sea to Sea

  1. Oh, yes, you’ll be exhausted after that first day back in reality, but what wonderful memories. And imagine, sea to sea and back again in a little over a week. How amazing is that! For some of the early settlers just one trip west took a year or more!!

  2. How fascinating and fun Deb! Sounds like it was worth all the traveling to be at these special occassions. BTW your blog is so well written, and ALWAYS interesting, so it’s one of the few I actually make time to read.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Roni. The trip was so sensational, and so good to be with distant family members for even a brief time.

  3. Deb
    I so enjoy reading what you write. you are a true wordsmith / artisian! i love the way you weave thoughts together.
    Your trip sounds absolutely delightful , than you for sharing it with us! See you soon!

    • Thanks dear sister. Looking forward to showing you all the photos and to chatting with you about your recent trip and mine. Soon! 🙂

  4. Deb,

    What a wonderful trip. I could see every place clearly through your descriptions. The only place I haven’t seen is Charleston, but you made me want to go there.

    Lovely blog.

    • Thank you, Sandy. I’d never thought much about visiting Charleston…didn’t know much about it until my sister-in-law starting talking about it. Now I’m so glad we went. A gem of a city! Hope you go. Thanks again for stopping in.

    • The picturs are anizamg, of course Courtney is my daughter and I am biased but she is just beautiful. Paris you have so much talent, I so look forward to every new set of pictures you post!

  5. Deb,

    What a wonderful trip. I traveled to the same cities, but not in the same order. I live in SC, and being a huge tennis fan, I love going to Charleston. It’s only a 3.5 hour car trip for me and when we say, we’re going to the beach, everyone knows it’s Charleston.

    Two years ago, my DH had a convention in San Francisco and I LOVED the city. And I got to see Alcatraz in an unconventional way (See

    As for Las Vegas, well… you know the saying. Apart from the shows, I thought it was so decadent, it was indecent.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Carole, thanks so much for your comments. Your post about the gardens at Alcatraz was quite interesting. Glad you mentioned it. Thanks for stopping in!

  6. I really enjoy reading your blogs, Deb, because they really show “you” through your writing and descriptions of the lovely places you visited. I live across the way from San Francisco in Alameda and don’t get over there as much as I should. It’s great to hear that someone who visits has a positive experience. Thanks for the pictures and story.

    • Patricia, I love the Bay area in and around San Francisco. You’re fortunate to live where you have close access to it. Our oldest son lives out there so we’ve visited a few times and plan to return again and again. I find the weather especially fascinating, as well as the vibrancy of those who live there. So young, so pleasant. Thanks so much for your comments, and for reading Stringing Beads. 🙂

  7. Loved hearing about your trip. I’ve been to San Francisco in February. I remember it was cold. I thought I freeze to death on Alcatraz before I could get Hubby out of there. We got the last boat back. I’ve driven down Lombardo Street, then we went around again so Hubby could. We video tape us doing it. Spent a wonderful day in San Jose with Mrs. Winchester who didn’t like Hubby’s camera, so she broke it. Don’t think I’ll ever forget that.

    Now Charleston, that’s the one place I never got to that I’d love to see. Being a Civil War buff and totally interested in pirates and privateers, I think it would be a great place to visit. You made it sound lovely.

    Glad you had a wonderful, exciting trip beside seeing family.

    • Pat,

      The Bay is definitely cold! When we were out there in 2008 for a longer visit and RWA National, we took a catamaran cruise on the Bay. Whew! Lovely, invigorating, and cold! I loved it though! When we have time, I’d love to hear more about Mrs. Winchester. Sounds like an interesting character.

      All Civil War buffs need to go to Charleston to see Fort Sumter and some of the Plantations. It really is a lovely city…even the airport where we spent way too much time when our flight was delayed. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I loved the descriptions. I want to visit Charleston–you just convinced me I really want to do this. I have been to San Fran–very different area. We rode around in the “go-cars.” Those tiney little yellow “tourist” cars about the size (and engine power) of an overgrown motocycle. It was an adventure–at one point I was pushing in up a hill (my husband was driving) carrying a hot cup of Starbucks.
    Sounded like a wonderful getaway. Hope the “happy aura” lasts for several weeks after returning to NJ

    • I’m so glad and hope you go to Charleston, Judi! It’s a city well worth seeing. The go-cars in SF must have been quite an adventure. Just riding the cable cars up a steep hill had me hanging on for dear life! 🙂

      Our trip was sensational. Doing everything possible to hang on to the feeling! Thanks for stopping in.

  9. WOW, Deb! What a fabulous ten days you had in the South; I’ve never been to Charleston, but after reading your post it is now on my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.

    • Good to hear from you, Rose! You’d love Charleston. It is so charming, filled with friendly people and historic sites back to pre-revolutionary times. We were there at the perfect time of year, I believe, for the weather. Early May…highs of 84 and lows in the 60’s. Hope you can get there!

  10. Very interesting. I didn’t realize that the South recognized Confederate Memorial Day. When did SC and/or GA actually recognize the National Memorial Day?


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