Winter Trip 20-21: Episode 2, Huntington Beach SC, Cliffs of the Neuse SP (NC), and North Bend, VA

Our four nights/three days at Huntington Beach were full of long hikes and longer bike rides. We had hoped to get to Brookgreen Gardens, the United States’ first sculpture garden (founded by Archer Huntington and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington) to showcase her sculpture collection. The property, created from four defunct rice plantations, comprises 9,100 acres with several themed gardens, the Lowcountry Zoo, and trails through several ecosystems.

At the time we were there, however, they were doing a holiday light show in the sculpture garden, and the tickets to see it were hard to come by as well as being expensive. So we were unable to get into any aspect of the property, even though the gates shared a visitor center and parking lot with the State Park.

For those interested in history, there’s a description of the evolution of Brookgreen Gardens at the end of this post.

Of course, seafood remained on the agenda, and since none of us were comfortable eating at a restaurant, we contented ourselves with purchasing fresh seafood and “eating in.” 

Some good trails wound through the woodsy areas around the park, and there was a lot of beach access within walking distance. The weather turned windy and chill, but that didn’t stop us from long hikes and bike rides around the grounds.

On the 31st, I went to the beach and caught a pelican ballet above the choppy surf.

Jack and I took several long bike rides through and around the park, as well as some urban riding around Murrells Inlet, the burgh near the park. On one of the cooler days, we rode our bikes out to a harbor restaurant associated with the Dead Dog Saloon called Wicked Tuna in Murrells Inlet. John and Mary drove over in their van and we had lunch there, eating our meal in the quite cool breezes off the harbor in the “closed” deck of the restaurant out back. We had fun people-watching, but were the only ones back there and had a variety of seafood meals amongst us. The staff was quite accommodating of our need for isolation. It was good food—Jack and I split a huge order of lobster rolls—and Jack had a slice of cheesecake at the end that powered his ride back to camp as the wind blew up the threat of rain. He set a blistering pace, and we made it without getting wet.

One night, we tried out my tripod for cooking with a Dutch Oven over a fire or coals for the first time. Chili was in the pot, and we nearly couldn’t get the pot high enough over the solo stove to keep everything from boiling over, but John and Jack managed it a some length. Next time we’ll wait until the fire has calmed and the coals are what heats the pot.

I took the doggies on several of my long treks out and about. It wind was howling on the beach proper for the most part, but I did discover this “beach art” one one walk:

On another hike, I took a “nature loop” back through the woods to a preserve area called the Sandpiper Pond and saw this really neat tree:

Of course, the dogs loved the walks, even though they much prefer the freedom of romping around our home acreage without restraint.

Our next stop was a one-nighter as a quick layover en route to one of our fave “hometown” campgrounds, North Bend, near Boydton, VA. But to ease the distance between Huntington Beach and North Bend, we stopped for New Year’s Day night at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in North Carolina, near Seven Springs.

We’d never been before and weren’t there long, but intend to go back and spend more time. It’s small and intimate, with a good diversity of hiking trails, and we’d like to know more. Our site was #8, electric only, and the day was overcast, leaving the Neuse River foggy and mysterious.

Our final stop of this adventure was at North Bend, on J. H. Kerr Lake, which actually had lots and lots of shoreline and camping options on both sides of the VA/NC border. We habitually stay at North Bend campground because they leave a couple of small loops open year-round, and while they shut off water at the sites, they leave open (and warmed and regularly cleaned) a bath house for campers to use. All the winter-available sites are “walk-up” and we ended up choosing #84 this time. Not a water site, but we enjoyed some spectacular sunsets through the trees at our “back yard.”

One of the sunsets we enjoyed reflected in such a way as to metaphorically “set the woods afire.” The light had an interesting effect on our Clam screen house, too:

As is usual for us, we took down the bikes and toured the open and closed loops, boat ramps, picnic areas—basically all the paved roadways—to accumulate 10-12 miles of cycling with zero traffic. The doggies and I walked a whole bunch also, and enjoyed winter-ish sunsets and vistas over the water.

As we also habitually do, we rode our bikes down below the dam to watch the bald eagles and osprey. There was quite a lot of activity at that end of the lake the two times we went down there to watch, with young eagles and osprey both sparring in the air for territory—both perching limbs and fishing options. 

While unable to get any photos of the eagle/osprey contests, I did get a shot of this perched great blue heron:

On our final night, we cooked dinner outside, off the back of the truck using the topper light. The Solo stove fire was lit and we enjoyed the end of our winter 2020-2021 adventure doing our favorite things we love about camping: eating well and sitting around a campfire watching the coals. The only things missing were friends with whom to share it.

Slàinte.

Brookgreen Gardens
Founded by Archer Milton Huntington (stepson of railroad magnate Collis Potter Huntington) and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington Brookgreen Gardens features sculptures by Anna and her sister Harriet Randolph Hyatt Mayor, along with other American sculptors. Brookgreen Gardens opened in 1932 having been developed on property of four former rice plantations. It took its name from the former Brookgreen plantation, which dates to the antebellum period.
Development began with the purchase in January 1930 as a site for a winter home as well as a setting for Mrs. Huntington’s sculpture work. Construction of the house, named Atalaya, a Spanish term for “watchtower,” began the following winter of 1931 (Archer Huntington was a noted authority on Spanish culture, and he designed the house after the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast).
Workers alternated between construction on Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens over a two- to three-year period. Mr. Huntington insisted that local labor be employed in its construction to provide work opportunities during the Great Depression.
The outer walls of the building form a square, with the east side facing the ocean. Within the walled structure, there are two grassy open inner courtyards with a main entry court on the west side. The living quarters consist of 30 rooms around three sides of the perimeter. The one-story brick building is dominated by a square tower that rises nearly 40 feet from a covered walkway and bisects the inner court. It is functional in design, having once contained a  3,000 gallon cypress water tank. Water drawn from an artesian well was then pumped into a 10,000 gallon concrete cistern where the sand settled. From there, it was pumped into the tower tank. The height of this tank gave the water enough pressure to flow through the house.
The covered walkway of open brickwork is lined with archways and planters on both sides. Living facilities, including the dining room, sunroom, library, and bedrooms, occupied the ocean-facing side of the house. The southern wing housed Mr. Huntington’s spacious study, his secretary’s office, and Mrs. Huntington’s studio.
The studio, with a 25-ft skylight, opened onto a wall enclosed courtyard where Mrs, Huntington worked on her sculptures. Due to her passion for sculpting animals, she had facilities such as horse stables, a dog kennel, and a bear pen included in the construction. The Huntingtons resided in the house during the colder months of the year, usually from November until March or April.
Heating was entirely by coal room heaters and wood-burning fireplaces. Ramps led from the courtyards up to each entry door, and wood was hauled in using small carts. Grillwork—designed by Mrs. Huntington—and shutters were installed on each window to protect against hurricane-force winds.
After Mr. Huntigton’s death in 1955, most of the furnishings from the house were sent to the Huntington home in NYC. The 2,500-acre tract, including Atalaya, was leased to the state by the Brookgreen Trustees in 1960. Mrs. Huntington died at her Connecticut home in 1973. In tribute to Mrs. Huntington, the annual Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival is held in the Castle during the fourth weekend of September.

Winter Trip 20-21: Episode 1, Lake Wateree State Park & Edisto, SC

Our winter trip of 2020-21 commenced on Day Three of a four-day ice “event” in much of Virginia, and of course, especially along the ridges of the Blue Ridge in Southwest VA. It was not a storm, exactly, but a slow accumulation of freezing-overnight precipitation that made getting Roomba (our Alto camper) out of the garage slightly tricky.

With Yak Traks™, Jack was able to use the hand trolly to get it out and situated so we could hitch up, and as it turned out, we didn’t have any trouble hauling out of the driveway (all uphill and around one significant curve).

But with the weather forecast for moderately mild overnight temperatures (in the higher-twenties to mid-thirties, with daytimes in the forties, we made the leap to the sunny south on December 18. Mischief and Chase accompanied us, and I’d earlier in the week dropped Flash off for Marc to falcon-sit while I was gone. We’d also drained the water pipes in the house and artfully arranged a few electric-based heaters around the house.

It was about a 4-5 hour drive to our first destination, Lake Wateree State Park, near Winnsboro, South Carolina, where we met up with camping buddies, John and Mary. We were in site #7, in their Riverside loop, and J&M were next door. 

It was chilly, but a significant amount nicer than in Meadows of Dan. We enjoyed some good walks around the camping loop, and one nice stroll into the woodsy Nature Trail on the property, which the doggies enjoyed as well.

Even though Wateree was a layover en route to our main destination, it was a place we’d return to—but not in summer. Fishing and motor boats are big around the lake, and I’d bet the insects and humidity in summer would peel your skin. Jack and I didn’t even take down the bikes from the rack, even though we were looking forward to some good flatland cycling.

Lake Wateree State Park is 238 acres around the Lake. It was opened in 1984 and has always been popular. There are 72 camp sites in the River Campground, 14 of which are waterfront. There’s a park store as well.

The lake itself is 13,700 acres, with about 242 miles of shoreline. It is fed from the Catawba-Wateree River system, many of the waters of which originate in North Carolina. The dam impounding the lake was completed in 1920, and is 3,380 ft. long. 

On Sunday, December 20 we moved to Edisto State Park (SC) into site 114 of the Live Oak loop (not the Beach loop). We had a lovely view across the marshland, and watched mud daubing birds work the mud flats at the back of our site. We were able to arrange Roomba to face the sunset over the marsh, so our back was to the loop road.

The bath house is a large pavilion-style structure with a wrap-around porch you climb 4 steps to attain, and the rectangle is divided along its entire length with men’s on one length and women’s on the other, and access to both at each end. The staff keep the bathhouse very clean and disinfected, and masks are not only required, but (for the most part) are actually worn by the majority of the people using the facilities.

J&M were next door in site 113, and their friends, Gary and Diane (in a Airstream Base Camp) set up across from them. There are quite a lot of nice sites in this loop, which everyone “disses” because it’s not beachside. Frankly, as long as you don’t get one of the sites that back up to Rt. 174, where there is lots of road noise, these sites are well-separated from each other, many are quite nicely deep and away from the loop road, and beautifully shady with towering live oaks and palmetto palms to keep things private. At least at this time of year, it was a very quiet and “mature” group staying.

There are, however, feral cats and raccoons in residence. And thousands of squirrels, making the dogs a bit crazy. On the nights we sat outside in the evening, the squirrels, desperate to stock up before nightfall, just pelted acorns and live oak “shrapnel” on our heads. Happily, they went away by nightfall.

On Monday December 21, we all grouped our solo stoves at our site to be sure to watch what was to be seen of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. This was to happen on the Solstice this year for the first time in 800+ years. Even though we were not standing on the planet at the point where the two most visibly conjoined, we were able to see the two in the sky, right beside one another. So although we didn’t get the “Christmas Star” effect, it was pretty awesome.

We had a “shared” meal with everyone having cooked for themselves, but everyone tasting of one another’s offerings. Gary and Diane had done shrimp two ways (sautéed over their propane stove, and roasted over the solo stove), John had made hassleback potatoes in his dutch oven, and I fixed our “famous” chicken pot pie in our DO. It was a splendid kickoff for our week’s stay at Edisto.

The next day (Dec. 22) we got the bikes down and explored the trail system at our end of the park. The paths are pounded sand, and where there are marsh crossings, they’ve built boardwalks. Bikes are allowed on all of the trails, and they all interconnect. Some turned out to be muddier and more root-ridden than others, but overall, it’s a great system for both cycling and walking, of which we did both.

At the end of the longest trail, called Spanish Mound, we saw this “egret condo” where a hand full of birds were roosted as the evening descended.

At that end of the area is a deep water “river” for larger boat access to the Atlantic Ocean.

One of my first (of many) walks was down the Cabin Road—it is not frequented by walkers nor vehicles (the sign says Cabin Guests only beyond this sign, but I went anyway) and is long enough to be worth the effort: about 1.5 miles round trip. One of the mapped trails crosses the Cabin Rd., starting at one end off the Spanish Mound tr., and ending on Rt. 174 near the causeway, which allows vehicles (and walkers) to cross the marsh and get into Edisto proper.

At the end of the Cabin Road, there’s a sign that says “no pets in cabin area” so I turned the dogs around at that point on my first walk. Adding the cabin loop on a bike ride might add a quarter to a third of a mile onto the total “stop at the no pets” sign total above.

The next day Jack and I cycled the trails, ending up at the Learning Center, which was still open at 3:30 PM. We did not go in, however, as it was getting cool and dark and we didn’t know how long it would take us to get back, since we wanted to explore a couple more of the mapped trails.

Driftwood “On the Hoof” — An elderly tree near the trail displayed an interesting growth pattern.

When one of the trails terminated at Rt. 174, we just took the road the short way back to the Park entrance. Riding along Rt. 174 is not terrible, as there’s a narrow bike lane on both sides of the road. Even riding along the causeway isn’t too bad—but again, in the summer it is probably much more hectic/busy (along with being sooooo much hotter). In the end, we’d enjoyed a leisurely 5+ mile cycle.

On Christmas Eve, the whole gang of us rode bikes into Edisto proper, and through the beach loop of the state park, which frankly, we all felt we could live without. 

With the exception of two or three sites at this beach loop, all are chock-a-block cheek-to-jowl with one another, exposed in full sun like the “ball field” effect we found at Kiptopeke (near Asseteague Island, VA). 

But you really can’t beat the proximity to the beach and to shopping that campers there enjoy. Still, I really prefer our Live Oak loop.

Gary and Diane introduced us to a nice community path that goes through a quiet neighborhood, where a couple of folks had set up “birdhouse art” displays along their edges of the path.

Once we ran out of the neighborhood path, we cycled back up the main, four-lane road, where we hoped to meet up with Mary and John, who had separated from us, but no luck. The four of us decided to find some lunch, and fried seafood was on offer at a place called McCrory’s that had outdoors dining. But we took our meals away and crossed the road to the little park and ate in shade and comfort without all the strangers around. While it was a decent meal, it was expensive—maybe not any more expensive than normal for a resort/vacation town like Edisto, but man. I’m not certain my fried shrimp lived up to the $25 price tag.

On Christmas Day, we had to batten down the hatches for squalls we could see coming. “Running before the wind,” we all took a walk on the beach to exercise the doggies off-leash: allowed in most places along that four-lane, which offers plenty of public parking and beach-access points.

And then the storm arrived.

After the squall

And we enjoyed another beautiful sunset over the marsh.

The 26th was beautiful and clear, with blue skies you could see forever. Still breezy on the beach, we took the dogs back out and ran Mischief with the ChuckIt for a while. 

Saw many water birds in the still-choppy surf.

On our last day, we all walked the trails again and we actually saw a dolphin swimming around near that huge home on the deepwater near the trails. I couldn’t capture a photo of it, surfacing occasionally but moving steadily toward big water. That was fun.

Before we leave Edisto, I want to mention a great little fresh produce and more stand called George & Pink’s. There’s a sign for it on 174, and you’re directed down a narrow dirt road that might put off a first-timer. But not us. We carried on and found a great group of fresh produce and got excellent cantaloupe, tomatoes, and some other stuff, including “low country grits” ground locally. There were other items besides produce there, and it was an excellent visit hosted by a friendly lady who might have been Pink herself, but we didn’t ask.

The opposite direction on 174 was our fave for the acquisition of fresh seafood, right up near the road with a food truck that was closed for the season out back. Can’t remember the name of it, but if you see it a built-on, shack-like place with tight parking, that’s it. Beautiful fresh seafood.

Moving day, when we headed to Huntington Beach, was December 28. Had to cross a very cool bridge en route, and Mischief had a pleasant snooze in the back seat.

Winter Grinch Gathering – South Carolina

December 23, Monday: After celebrating Christmas with family on Dec. 21, we departed Meadows of Dan. We had taken the unprecedented step of draining the water pipes in the log house. We ran one electric heater in the kitchen and one in the water stove/pressure tank building. The weather forecast while we were gone was for mild weather until the week of our return (January 6-12). We were unable to engage a house sitter on short notice, so we bundled the dogs and their gear for the trip (I had previously transferred my red-tailed hawk, Blizzard, to my apprentice for the season, so I was birdless for the first time in 28 years).

We’d arranged to meet John and Mary at Hunting Island State Park in SC to be away for the holidays. We left after my third post-op appointment in Blacksburg and I got the go-ahead from the nursing staff there to leave town.

Our first night was a midway point somewhere between Charlotte and Charleston at a Pilot/Flying J truck stop with a Wendy’s attached. We awoke Christmas Eve morning to lots of holiday lights on both sides of our little trailer, as two enormous semis had scrunched in on either side of us, and they left their running lights on. Since we were running our own furnace, we didn’t hear much of the noise of their arrival or engines—just background to our sleep.

Pilot-FlyingJOvernightWeb

Christmas Eve day: The first thing we noticed about Hunting Island State Park was the standing water everywhere. There had been a storm that dumped 7 inches of rain, and much of the park and the campsites were flooded. It was difficult to even see the paved drives because there was so much water everywhere. While all the “waterfront” sites and the premium areas near the beach were useless (with many folks awaiting the reconnaissance of the park ranger to see what sites they might move into) John and Mary’s and our sites were uphill and mostly dry, back off the beach.

The signage around the park is pretty awful, too, and there is but one dumpster at the exit area of the campground. That’s the only place to throw away doggie poop bags, so we set aside a collection/trash bag onsite, hung from a tree—and periodically disposed of the poop as we hiked around.

Our site, #168 presented us with an interesting uphill slope on which it was difficult to level the camper front-to-back. But the site was large enough to put up a dog run, although we elected not to erect the screen house. While the site offered both elec and water, we remained winterized and so used the electric only.

The really great news about this campground was that all over the park the wifi connectivity was robust. When lots of folks are online, of course, there was a dip in power. 

The really bad news was that it was infested with raccoons, and we saw a troupe of them ambling down a tree across the road from us, and into the woods. You cannot leave ANYTHING out for any length of time at all, lest the pests get into it and strew it all about. And, of course, the dogs went crazy when they spotted the beasties (there was also a ton of squirrels, but they were at least not so invasive).

Before dinner and to learn our way around, we took the dogs for a walk along the main road to where John pointed out a long-legged waterbird wading in the creek nearby.

WadingBird0271Web

We strolled over the dune and to the beach—en route, in the looser sand of the dune area, the sand burrs were prolific, and all the dogs picked up the spiny devils in their paws. Riley had an especially bad go of it, as his fur is long. Removal was as hazardous to the human as pick up was to the canine.

The tide was out and we had a nice stroll along the beach (no sand burrs there).

Mary and John (and Riley) had set up several sites along from us, and Christmas Eve evening, we went to their site to share leftover lasagne, which Mary had made to take to John C’s down in NC for a meeting. It was delicious.

Christmas Day: We awoke to see 7 of Santa’s 10 (rein)deer out our front window, taking their leisure after a hard night delivering gifts to the world’s children.

Santas-Rein-Deer0244Web

While we had hoped there would be the option for a seafood Christmas Dinner, with the rains and long drives to get here, none of us was able to get into town to obtain shrimp or whatever. 

We did take a drive out to the Visitors Center, and walked along the beach amongst what the locals call “The Bone Yard.” This strip of shoreline had made the news a short time before we arrived, as the state decided to bulldoze some section of the beach (not where we were) for safety. 

To access the area we crossed a bridge over shallow water (since the tide was out). Under the bridge, we saw a wading waterbird that offered a pretty neat reflection photo op.

WaterbirdReflection3214Web

The Bone Yard was a section of shifting sands in which the carcasses of trees figure prominently in the landscape. Some were freshly drowned, others had been there long enough to have become bleached or bark-stripped. It was an amazing sight, and I took lots of photos. We also saw a very small horseshoe crab shell and a starfish. We really loved that part of the walk.

Our Christmas Dinner was Chorizo/Kale soup with Jack’s special bread, and J n M ate with us at our site. We enjoyed a bonfire and exchanged gifts.

Many, many people bring their dogs here to camp, and one of those Mary had met before we’d arrived stopped in during our bonfire hour and said, “I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but you’re Mary, right? Over at your site the raccoons are getting into your trash and coolers and making a mess. You might want to go back and interrupt them before they do real damage.”

Up they jumped and were able to save everything except some grapes stored in a cooler. They had quite a mess of garbage to clean up, though. Bloody raccoons!

December 26th (Thursday): Shortly after arising and using the bath house, a water main was either shut off or damaged during the staff’s management of the floodwaters. No fresh water anywhere in the campground.

The State Park offered many walking trails through neat mixed woods (palmettos and long-leaf pine) and we found some rudimentary maps around and about. John wanted to try one of the forest trails that would end up at the lighthouse. 

TrailMap0250Web

We were almost stymied by an enormous pool right in the middle of the trail, not terribly far along the walk, but we managed to bushwhack around it.

The second, deeper and wider pool, however, confounded us. We could see no real manageable way to bushwhack around with the dogs (and the ticks were out, too) so we turned around and walked back to the car, parked at an access point off the main road.

So we drove to the lighthouse instead. Once there, first on our agenda was to use their restrooms. 

Lighthouse0275Web

Upon our return, we lounged a while and Jack roasted some game hens on the grill while I fixed some roasted winter vegetables in our Dutch Oven as John prepared some hassle-back potatoes in his DO. Delicious meal, and another campfire (solo stove).

December 27th (Friday): With another camper we had met (she also had a dog and camped nearer the waterfront in a conversion van) named Donna, we headed into town for fresh seafood, lunch, and a visit to the grocery store.

Back when my parents lived on Lady’s Island (nearer Beaufort than Hunting Is.) we frequently visited a little place along the main road called The Shrimp Shack. You order at the window and try to find a place to sit either inside or out. The place was still open, some 20 years after my parents had moved away.

Naturally, their shrimp was the best (I had a “shrimpburger” which is like a crab cake sandwich, only with shrimp instead of crab). But anything you order at the window is bound to be delicious. 

ShrimpShack0278Web

Across the road is a fresh seafood place with shrimp boats moored alongside (another throwback to when my parents lived there, still in operation) and that’s where we got fresh shrimp to skewer and cook on the grill.

After our grocery stop, I took a lovely walk with the dogs as the shadows grew long at the beach. Saw some neat sand patterns, too.

PupsOnBeach0280Web

SandPatterns3206Web

December 28th (Saturday): Fellow Alto owners, Hope and Elaine joined us in the campground coincidentally—with their two beagles. Their 2114 was “perched on an anthill” in a different section of the campground, elevated quite high above the road (and still-pooled rainwaters). 

We walked with them and Donna and her standard poodle along the beach all the way to the lighthouse. The tide was going out on our way to the lighthouse, so we had limited choices to get there. But the sand was wide and firm on our return to the campground. Elaine found several sharks’ teeth in the sand and we all looked for shells and more teeth on our way back to the campground. But she was the lucky one.

We all brought our own leftovers to J n M’s site just as the rain began to pour in the evening. We crammed ourselves under the awning, and for the most part, stayed moderately dry. It was fun spending more time with Hope and Elaine, whom I’d met for the first time this past October at the Watauga Dam informal Altogather. 

Soon after we’d finished our meals, the rain abated somewhat, and we all called it a night. Mary, John, and we were all set to leave in the AM, while Hope and Elaine were staying additional time at Hunting Island SP. J n M had a long drive all the way home, and we were headed more northeasterly to Carolina Beach SP, near Wilmington, NC.

 

Chippokes Plantation Campground, April 5 & 6

One last thing I forgot to mention as a big “pro” on the plus side of our Bike Florida Tour: Oranges.

All the rest stops had them in abundance, and they were cherry red, sweet, and O! so refreshing. So good, in fact, that we stopped at a roadside stand before leaving FL and bought a sack full. Yum.

OrangesWeb

So we said goodbye to FL and headed to SC. Travel was unremarkable, thank goodness. But I did capture this pic of Angela and their Alto2114 traveling along ahead of us at one point.

FollowingAngela3892Web

So Lynches River Campground was our overnight spot on Thursday, April 4, and that’s the campground that is mostly for tenters, with only 2 serviced RV sites. Mark and Angela got #2 (a pull-through) and we got #1 both with electric and water. The bathhouse was rustic to say the least, but it had exactly two private rooms, each with its own toilet, sink, and shower. For a one-night stayover, it was just perfect. Next stop: Chippokes Plantation Campground near Williamsburg, VA, April 5 and 6.

Site1-3894Web

Chippokes is actually in Surry, VA, and is a re-purposed grand farm and mansion, once an actual plantation. Today, it is quite a fine and spiffy Virginia State Park, with hiking trails, the mansion itself, equestrian trails, electric and water, and nice renovated bathhouses. Loop B has the most modernized and level campsites, where Loop A has older, less flat/improved sites.

We linked up with John and Mary at Chippokes, so we had three side-by-side sites with Mark and Angela. Roomba was in the middle, on site #2.

Mark and Angela’s son, Brent, linked up with them (and us), coming down from New York to see his parents while they were relatively close. He spent some of our arrival/set up day in Williamsburg and he and Mary and John all arrived around 5PM.

We all went out to dinner, hoping to catch the pub in Smithfield, but there was a minimum of an hour’s wait there, so off we went to Smithfield Landing where we had a delightful dinner, and all got to know one another a bit better. The walk through Smithfield from the pub to the Landing and then back to our cars after dinner was fun times together also.

The next day, Mark, Angela, and Brent headed to Jamestown, while Mary, John, Jack, and I headed across the ferry into Williamsburg. But first, we went to the Edwards Ham store and picked up some good old fashioned Virginia Ham products. Yum.

We rode the Pocahontas ferry and saw a smaller ferry passing across the river. It was overcast the day we headed into Billsburg, but it never rained despite the look of the sky.

We had a bit of a drive around the campus, telling J&M tales of our college days, and had a quite nice sandwich from Colonial Williamsburg’s famous Cheese Shop.

CheeseShop3901Web

That night, we all fixed our own dinners but joined up to eat at our site. We had shared appetizers and a fire to cozy up to as our final night together after our fun travels with Mark and Angela. Brent also was headed back north the next day, while John, Mary, Jack, and I were headed to Janes Island, MD for our next, longest stop of our Spring Trip.

Before everyone broke apart, I set up the timer on my camera to get a group shot. And Riley also had to have some fun before we bundled off to Maryland.