Hubby and I had a great weekend, especially Saturday when we decided to bolt from the confines of this house (after way too much rain!) and explore the nearby town of Beaufort, SC, and then a quick run to Hunting Island, which is not far from there.

Beaufort is an old southern town, with beautiful southern architecture, which has been transformed into somewhat of a military town with Parris Island and other bases not too far away.  So — it’s a mixture of "cultures", if you will.  It’s also somewhat of a tourist town, as many of the shops and restaurants seem to be geared toward those who are on vacation – – i.e. — more "fluff" merchandise (and expensive").  So — it makes it more enjoyable, though we don’t always purchase too much.  I’ve found earrings there — and there’s one store chock full of "Vera Bradley" stuff, and I’ve gotten one or two things there, as well.

We first had lunch at our favorite restaurant, "Paninis".  It’s an Italian place (of course – our fave restaurant genre) — and has this "oh so decadent" mac and cheese that is "to die" for.  We’ve tried other restaurants and pubs in town, but end up back here.  Oddly, they took it off the menu, but when we asked the waitress, it was still there, so we both ordered it, along with this amazing – and rich, creamy textured – decadent – onion soup.

From there we browsed the town some.  This time we actually found something which we are going to purchase – and have on hold until we can get over to get it.  In the recent past, Hubby and I have been looking for a desk for the master bedroom, but have not been successful in finding what we want.  We don’t want it to appear too "office like", because it’s going to be located in our master bedroom.  Yet I want it to be functional and have some storage for things I want to be close by, like bill paying items such as stamps, envelopes, extra check books, odd necessary papers, etc.  I’d also use – and store – my laptop on it when using it in that room.  It would be my desk exclusively -  as hubby has one that’s only for him.  As is often the case with these kinds of things which aren’t easily found, if you’re patient, the item will come to you – – and it did – – by chance – – in an odd shop I would never have pointedly entered to look for a desk!  It’s a custom made desk by the husband of the shop owner, but one of the drawers is "sticky" – – and he’s coming over tonight after work to fix that – and then we can pick it up.

I also found a Vera Bradley purse to use as variety to my "organizer purse", which is rather mundane.  Everything fits nicely in it (though a little tighter) – so I’m happy.  Ok — I know — I keep too much in my purse *g*

From there we headed to Hunting Island.  Because we spent way too much time in Beaufort, there was not time to enter the paying area of Hunting Island, which is where the ocean and lighthouse are located.  It costs a bit of money to get in, and to be there for only an hour or so didn’t make it worth the "price of admission", in my opinion.  I am coming to the conclusion that trying to see both both Beaufort and Hunting Island is too much for one day.  One of these days we need to focus on only Hunting Island — and maybe — like we did with Claire and Terry one year — take a picnic lunch.  If I remember, they have little picnic tables over there.

So – – we just went out on this little "boardwalk" area which is right off the side of the road.  The area is a perfect example of what is meant by "The Low Country", which defines this area of South Carolina where we live.  The boardwalk is over top of the swampy area where one really cannot walk, so it’s the best way of seeing this type of countryside.  Best yet — it’s free to anyone!  I’ve been here many times before, so I’m getting to know certain trees, the nature of the swamp, and other random things to look for….

Of course I took pictures……

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1.  checking out the boardwalk as we exited our car
2.  This photo is taken from inside one of the few gazebos which are placed periodically between areas of the boardwalk.  It shows the swamp and what is referred to as "Pluff mud"
3.  the swamp and the small things that grow from there in the pluff mud, which is the mud of these swamps.  To read more about what that is – go here:  http://lowcountryfoodie.blogspot.com/2006/11/definition-day-2-pluff-mud.html

One of the most interesting things about this walk are the trees — especially the dead ones.  the gnarled, rustic bark – and shape of the trees, weathered by wind and water is fascinating.  It resembles drift wood, in a way, though some of it is still living – or, if nothing else, rooted in the ground.

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1 and 2 — fascinating knot holes in one tree.  I know this tree and always take pictures of it each time I see it.  It doesn’t change – so I ask myself why do I continue to record it???
3.  Another tree (different) showing it’s interesting branches and growth pattern.
4.  Remnants of a long ago tree…

Ray and I decided to take a side path this time — just to vary our usual way.  We found it ultimately didn’t go very far, and was a bit muddy (my shoes show evidence of that), but it added a different dimension to our walk.

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1.  Ray walking the path (in a non muddy area *g*)

2.  More dead wood — so beautiful – yet no man has forced this to be as it is.  It’s simply — "as it is"!

3.  Spanish moss – up close

4.  This dead tree still holds fast to the ground, yet has fallen over.  Oddly beautiful!

5.  The end of that side path.  We can go no further, so Ray is looking out over "The Low Country"

Finally — we reach the end of the boardwalk path…..

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1.  the end is in sight — you can see the last gazebo from this vista
2.  vista from the end.  These little water areas vary depending on how high or low the tide is….   We talked to some other people, and found that the tide was 2 hours after high tide at the time we were there.
3.  under water — view of an oyster, I think.

Then it was time to reverse or steps back to the car…..

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1.  This photo was taken into the light – and the interesting glistening on the swamp vegetation.
2.  Another tree with an incredibly odd growth pattern.  I think this one is alive!
3.  Strange growth pattern on this live tree.  This is another tree I recognize each time we come here – – and I always take a photo of it.  I keep trying to improve the angle each photo I take…
4.  twig embedded in the pluff mud

It’s time to go — but I take one more pic not far from where our car is parked  I just love the bark formations of palmetto trees!  It’s like it’s weaving together to form the structure….

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