Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Weekend Travel Inspiration: Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

When you go on vacation, what is your preference --
a relaxing beach vacation? 
Or an "on the go" sightseeing vacation?

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
  
Years ago, I would have said "beach" in a heartbeat.
But now, I'm more inclined to go where there are things to see.

So when Mr. Goo Shoes and I planned a 2-week beach vacation,
I was afraid I might go a little stir crazy. 

I needn't have worried.   


Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
 
After a lot of deliberation, we decided to spend our vacation 
on Kiawah Island, off the coast of South Carolina...

Low Country.

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Although we could have flown there in about two hours,
we decided to make it a road trip, so we could take our dog, Sadie.  
We took our time on the 800-mile ride down,
stopping for a night in Old Town Alexandra, Virginia,
and then, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 

Usually, I research a place like crazy before going,
but this time, I guess I just assumed it would be 
the beach and nothing but the beach...
with a day trip to Charleston, thrown in. 
I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a lot more to the Kiawah area than just golf and sand!

Still, the main reason we went was for the beach, 
and it did not disappoint! 

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

When the tide was out, the beach was insanely wide,
and the sand was hard enough that you could ride a bike on it.
Beach etiquette wasn't an issue here...
you know, when someone parks their chair right on top of yours?
Don't you hate that?
Unlikely to happen here, at least during low tide.

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Although there was a lot of rain,
we were lucky that it never disrupted our plans,
and we were able to spend some time on the beach every day. 
My afternoon activities went something like this:
Read book...
Catch up on Words With Friends...
Play a few rounds of 2048...
Have a little snooze.
Aaaah, what a life!

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We did manage to tear ourselves 
away from the beach and do a few other things.
In fact, Kiawah is really as much about nature...
as it is about golf balls and beach balls.
One afternoon, we went on an "Alligator Adventure" tour, 
booked through the Kiawah Nature Center. 
And, oh, yes, we did see gators galore!

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We were standing within 20 feet of these swamp thangs...
Pretty exciting stuff, if you're from the NY area...
we don't get to see things like this, like y'all do in the south. 


Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The activity one evening was a Sunset Cruise down the Kiawah River.
We lucked out, as there actually was a sunset!
All of the other nights, it rained.
OK, it wasn't exactly luck.
I was glued to my weather ap plotting the best night to go.

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We were on a small motorboat with just eight other people.
Being novices, we brought only our cameras.
The others? 
They brought cocktails and hors d' oeuvres.  
Harrumph. Next time.

The real entertainment was outside the boat, though,
where the dolphins and pelicans put on quite a show for us.
Between Mr. GS and me, we didn't get one decent dolphin shot. 
Pelicans followed dolphins, waiting for them to stir up the fish...
in hopes that one would fly up in their direction.
And they did. 

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Bird-watching was another popular sport.
I could do a post just on the gorgeous birds of the Low Country.
  We went on a tour called "Back Island Birding," and saw some magnificent species.
Between taking pictures and listening to the guide,
I couldn't manage to write down what this gorgeous bird was,
so anyone who can help me out, please do.
A brown heron, maybe?

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 We saw blue birds, mockingbirds, turkeys, white egrets, blue herons, 
ospreys, pelicans, blue grosbeaks, green herons, anhingas, 
and the one bird I most wanted a photo of...
the painted bunting (top right corner).
I should have been more specific,
and said I wanted a clear picture, but hey. It's something. 

Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The famed Angel Oak Tree on John's Island was another destination.
It's enormous canopy, and low-lying limbs were a spectacle to behold. 
I thought it would reach out and grab me, like in the Wizard of Oz.

Angel Oak Tree - Johns Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Angel Oak Tree - Johns Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

There were several Plantations to visit,
and we chose the Magnolia Plantation, just outside of Charleston. 
Can't you just see some handsome soldier
riding up on his horse, returning from the war...
to his beautiful southern belle, who is waiting for him on the porch?
Sigh. 
Just like in the movies.

 I asked Mr. Goo Shoes if he wanted to tour the inside of the house.
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
I'm kidding!
He did NOT say that! 
I just had to use that line :)  

Magnolia Plantation,  SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Actually, I wasn't interested in going inside.
I wanted to walk around the magnificent grounds --
 named one of "America's Most Beautiful Gardens."
Oh, and I wanted to go to the gift shop.
Beggin' your pah-don, but, a girl's got priorities!

Magnolia Plantation,  SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
 

This is one of the slave cabins.
It was a good distance away from the main house.

Magnolia Plantation,  SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Also on the property is the Audobon Swamp Garden, 
considered to be one of the most important
ecosystems of its kind in the US.

Audobon Swamp Garden at Magnolia Plantation,  SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

If that isn't enough,
it is also where Swamp Thing was filmed.

We enjoyed walking around...in a eerie kind of way...
checking over my shoulder for swamp monsters,
and seeing lots of different types of beautiful birds.

Audobon Swamp Garden at Magnolia Plantation,  SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
   
Kiawah turned out to be the perfect vacation destination.

An ideal mix of relaxing on the beach,
and plenty of sights to see.


Kiawah Island, SC --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 And I haven't even told you about Charleston yet...and the food!
Oh, the food!

The Charleston post will have to wait.
After all, 
"Tomorrow is another day."

And this post is way too long already. 

45 comments:

  1. This was an enjoyable post...I think my favorite would be that river cruise and that magnificent tree! :)

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    1. Thanks, Deb, those were two of my favorites, as well, and we did enjoy that alligator adventure!

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  2. What a fascinating island. I know it from House Hunters on HGTV! I would have been in the gift shop too...........

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    1. We actually saw the house! One of our tour guides drove us to it. I was in a crowded van and couldn't get a photo. We couldn't go back because it was in a gated part of the island.

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  3. I feel as though I have been on holiday too Amy! I'm not a beach person but this place certainly packs everything in for all tastes. Take care xx

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    1. It was a pleasant surprise, to arrive and find out what there was to do, Chel. It's not an action-packed place, but it had just enough to do.

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  4. I would have went inside the house! lol

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    1. If we had spend the entire day there, I would have. But when I looked at the photos online, it didn't look all that interesting, so I decided to skip it and head to the gift shop!

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  5. I enjoyed your post! I haven't been to Kiawah Island, but we have stayed at Hilton Head Island, which I loved. I also loved Charleston. I am like you, I love vacations where you can see and do lots of things, but I also love the beach.

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    1. Hilton Head is the popular one, I suppose, but most people I talk to never heard of Kiawah. I would like to get to Hilton Head some day. Everyone who goes seems to love it!

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  6. Kiawah Island was never on my radar as a travel destination, but you have made it sound like a good mix of relaxation and just enough activity that you won't get bored. I hope that some nice person on the Sunset Cruise shared some of their nibbles with you. And I myself have also never taken a good dolphin shot. I can't wait to read about Charleston.

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    1. Exactly, Michele, it was far from action packed - very quiet, actually, but just enough interesting things for us to do. Yes, they offered to share their nibbles! (We politely declined, having just come from dinner!)

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  7. A wonderful tour of Kiawah Island, which I had never heard of, Amy! So much to do, indeed, and what a variety of activities, which all sound very entertaining, although the alligator sights would have been substituted with the interiors of the Magnolia Plantation for this tourist - those critters completely creep me out!

    Poppy

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    1. Most people haven't heard of it, including my husband! But I knew people from work who had been, and loved it! It was a pretty quiet island, but there was just enough to keep us busy when we wanted to do something.

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  8. What a wonderful tour of Kiawah Island.. I would have loved the sunset cruise with the dolphins and the birding tour.. Your unknown is called an Anhinga.. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing your trip! Have a happy week!

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    1. Thanks, Eileen, I really enjoyed my first birding tour! Thanks for identifying the Anhinga!

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  9. Amy, Wow that looks like a fantastic vacation. First, how did you get all the alligators to smile? And that top alligator looks like a puppy wanting to play ball with you...simply precocious! I love all your photos from the beach to the wildlife. Thanks a million for linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration!

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    1. We just said, "say cheese!" and they did! Thanks for hosting Weekend Travel Inspiration - it's bringing me lots of new readers!

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  10. Kiawah Island might have to go onto our "Escape19" list!! It looks amazing. I prefer a beach vacay but the farmer likes the sightseeing kind - this one would have pleased us both! Yup, I would have had to check out the gift shop too! The painted bunting took my breath away - so sweet!

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    1. Yes, it would please you both, as it has just the right mix. Some of the things we did were off the island, but nothing was more than 45 minutes away. The painted bunting was the best bird that I sighted - I only wish it had been closer!

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  11. Such incredible photos! Love the beach photos!

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  12. I like a vacation where one can travel around and explore the area. When working, we both enjoyed an all inclusive island where you can totally relax and veg out but now that we're retired I couldn't sit and do nothing for an entire week again.
    Great scenery and critters on your trip.

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    1. That's exactly how I felt, Judith. When I was working, my only requirement for vacation was a lounge chair!

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  13. Oh my gosh I would love to play with my Golden Retriever, Phoenix, on that beach Amy! I definitely want to go sight seeing when I'm on vacation and South Carolina is absolutely on my list to see! :)

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    1. They are SO pet friendly on Kiawah, and the neighboring island, Seabrook. Our dog loved it, but we couldn't let her loose, because she's not a good listener :)

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  14. Oh wow--Kiawah Island looks like a wonderful place to visit! We vacationed in the Outer Banks in NC recently and enjoyed it, but it was somewhat short of sightseeing venues beside the wild horse tours. The beach on Kiawah Island looks amazing and so did that tree!

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    1. I went to the Outer Banks years ago, and loved it! This was nice, too, as it was generally quiet, but just enough things to keep us busy when we felt like doing something.

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  15. Wow - what an amazing trip. Your photos are just glorious!

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    1. We really had a great time...it was different than most beach vacations we've taken.

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  16. Oh, I loved spending some time in Kiawah with you! The birds, the aligators, the dolphins... Perfect! Newt time, I'll remember to have wine for that sunset boat trip!

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    1. I'm glad you came along, Magali! Yes, next time you can bring the wine (something nice and French), and I will bring some hors d'ouevres!

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  17. What a beautiful spot you chose to vacation in Amy !
    I would have wanted to see the inside of that house thought :)
    There was a time when beach destinations were boring for me - I only wanted to sight see when I travelled - now?
    Laying on a beach sounds heavenly and divine...............
    Did anyone offer you a glass of wine on that boat tour ? I probably would have asked LMHO
    xoxoxo

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    1. It was great, Suzan! Lots of time to lay on the beach, and just enough other stuff to do. If we were going to spend the entire day, I would have gone into the house. But when I looked at the photos online, it didn't look all that exciting...plus I wanted to get to the gift shop which was HUGE! Yes, they did offer us wine! We felt funny saying yes, so we politely declined :)

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  18. wonderful post. great images. Angel Oak tree is one AMAZING tree...so beautiful.

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  19. So many fond memories! We spent 2 summers on Kiawah, flying to Washington and driving down stopping in Monticello and St Petresburg with its original Tiffany windows. Asking my daughter if we should go again I just received a big smile! Ohhh and the dolphins and alligators!

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    1. Ah, finally someone who is familiar with Kiawah! Ooh, I would have loved to have seen those Tiffany windows!

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  20. I do love a beach vacation. We just returned from ours, on the opposite side of the country - the Oregon Coast. Loved all your photos - looks like you had a wonderful time!

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    1. I would LOVE to go to Oregon! I have it on my list of places to go!

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  21. How gorgeous! I have never been there OR Charleston. Must get to SC!!

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    1. Yes, you must, Claire! Drive-able from you, I'd guess!

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  22. Oh my goodness, what a vacation you had. Never seen this area but it is on my "bucket list."
    JM, Illinois-U.S.A.

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  23. Same here... Never been to this part of the country... would love to see it! Your photos are great.

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  24. Love your post..........start a WWF game with me.......I "challenge" you! my UN is Diveloonie.

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