Two young 50-something females. One big adventure exploring the Americas. Have liquidated everything they own and packed a Saturn Vue with bare necessities to set out on this journey. Planting seeds at each juncture symbolizing their new growth. With an open mind and heart, ready to get a true view of this world.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Gardens

The start of our 3rd week on our adventure opens with a beautiful spring day. As we prepare to continue our journey northbound, we take a moment to plant our sunflower seeds. It had been determined we should definitely plant in Cindy's beautiful yard, our home away from home these past few days. She found the perfect spot she thought they would flourish best and the planting not only signified our stop here but also foreshadowed our next.

Brookwood Gardens just south of Myrtle Beach had been earmarked as a detour point as we made our way to the outer banks. Research had indicated it was a lovely spot, with gorgeous gardens and sculptures. What we found far surpassed our wildest dreams. This place is amazing! I hope the pictures give you a taste and ensure a visit if you are ever in this area.

Upon checking in, we were told our ticket was good for a week. Only a couple of hours had been reserved for this spot, but once here, we quickly understood how you could come back again and again. There is no way to see everything. We ended up spending all afternoon and actually closed the place down. There was that much to see!

The gardens go on and on. One turn takes you into a little sanctuary and then another and yet another. You can get lost here! Every nook had a hidden gem. As beautiful as the flowers were, the sculptures were a whole other thing. Absolutely incredible! Walking paths led to acres of viewing.

Beyond the garden walls were the old rice plantations and a trail through here was equally breathtaking. The walk took us along the meandering river, which offered a pontoon boat tour, as well. If only time had allowed....

Several canopied trails detoured you to further treasures. One trail surrounded us with live oaks while the other magnolias. We had these trails completely to ourselves, and literally strolled back in time. Each archway exit opened to another scenic fountain, sculpture or garden.

Further exploration led to a low country trail that offered an archeological tour of old slave quarters and rice fields. Metal sculptures here depicted the different characters of the time, the owner, overseer, and slaves. It was a haunting trip, incredibly well done.

Following the trail from the low country, we were guided into the natural habitat zoo area. Yes, there was more. A swamp sanctuary aviary was nothing like we had ever seen. Several nests of baby night herons were creating quite a ruckus, the newbies all screaming for attention and food from momma. Needless to say, we sat and gawked here for quite a while. (Ashley, I don't believe you would have ever been able to leave!)

Otters, deer, fox and eagles were also found as we continued this path, each with a special retreat especially designed for their best comfort. The area encompassed a good mile of walking and viewing, amidst forest and swamp areas. As well done as the Natural History Museum in Tallahassee is, this was worlds beyond. A real find and the perfect close for this miraculous place.

With our delayed departure, we found ourselves in 5 o'clock traffic in Myrtle Beach, quite a bit different from the serenity we'd experienced all afternoon. Verification we were making the right decision to head further north for our stop for the evening!

As sunset was completing, driving into Wrightsville Beach, we found our serenity again. A picture perfect spot. A tiny area dotted with clapboard cottages and plenty of water! A lovely place for a stay. The Holiday Inn Resort was very nice and provided just what we needed for a night's rest.

The oceanfront dining room was seating for the first time this year outside and we jumped at the chance. We had the veranda to ourselves, and with the waves crashing just below us, had a wonderful meal. Kelly, our server, guided us well. Appetizers were perfect portioned for a small meal. The grilled scallops melted in your mouth and the shrimp and grits had just the right amount of spiciness. A glass or two of wine and salads perfected the meal. We were tired from our day of travel and walking, so the beds were definitely calling. And, we couldn't wait until the morning to see further what this little town would offer.


  1. Ah yes,"swamp-sanctuary-aviary" has Ashley written all over it!

    The garden photos and descriptions are wonderful, but you lost me at the thought of a combination of "shrimp and grits." I'll pass.

  2. I was thinking I should tell you not to miss Wrightsville Beach and here you are!
    The gardens look beautiful! My yard is starting to show signs of Spring. Yay!