It’s been two months!

That was a completely unplanned pause.  I looked back recently and realized I hadn’t blogged in a while.  Maybe it’s because many of the projects I was working on were presents that I didn’t want to spoil.  Also, I feel like most of my time has been planned out ahead of time these past couple months so instead of writing about knitting, I’ve been using that time to actually knit.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

I finished a New Super Easy Baby Blanket for new baby Liam.

New Super Easy Baby Blanket 032I knit a hat for charity for part of my trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

striped beanieI’m still working on my Square Peg. This poncho should be finished in a couple weeks.  Really it should be done sooner but I have some travel coming up and I got a little side tracked (I’ll write about that in a future post).

Square Peg PonchoI went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and bought these super fun yarns.

From Oasis Farm Fiber Mill, I got this skein of worsted weight yarn. I swear I had a Barbie workout outfit that was exactly these colors.

Oasis Farm Fiber Mill WorstedFrom Delly’s Delights Farm, I got this sport weight yarn.

Delly's Delights Farm Sport WeightAnd I also got this yarn from Juanita Breidenbaugh.

One of a kind natural dyed yarnI cooked one new recipe in two months and it was this Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils with Chicken and Potatoes.  It doesn’t look like much but it was so good.

Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils With Chicken and PotatoesI actually ran a 5K for Special Olympics with some friends. I’ve been feeling like I never move so this is worth noting.  I plan to do some more races this summer.

Special Olympics 5KI helped plan and execute a very successful 2nd Annual End of the Mountain 5K. That’s me ringing the bell as they took off.

End of the Mountain 5KAnd I took some pictures of the new babies that arrived recently. 153203Plus a couple bonus shots of their animal siblings since I sometimes can’t resist their cuteness more than the babies.

061247So it’s been a busy but good few months.


Day five in Savannah, GA

On Friday we went down to River Street which was right behind our hotel and walked to breakfast at Huey’s.

River Street Savannah

We specifically went there so that we could have beignets with breakfast. Huey's Beignets

Originally, the plan for the day was to walk around the city following this tour of all the squares. When I was looking for things to do in Savannah I had come across a tour that got great reviews.  And then our concierge in Charleston also recommended the same tour. So last minute, we booked Savannah Dan‘s tour of the city.

Savannah DanThis tour was excellent.  Dan had a great personality and took us to places we wouldn’t have found ourselves.

Lucas Theater Savannah Marshall House Savannah

Houses with things like these stars on their walls likely suffered damage in an earthquake and it holds the walls up.

Fascade Savannah

He explained the moss that hung from the trees and how it was once used to pad furniture.

Savannah Cemetery

This is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  We went inside and learned about the renovations and checked out the beautiful stained glass.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

We visited many squares and learned about the people they were named for.

Lafayette Square

This is the Andrew Low house where the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low once lived.  Her birthplace is nearby and the first headquarters of the Girl Scouts is behind this house.

Juliette Gordon Low House Savannah Buildings

This is James Ogelthorpe, the founder of Georgia.

Olgethorpe Statue Wright SquareHe told us great stories from history and about life in Savannah at various times.  We were with a small group and it was just a lot of fun.  He made recommendations for other things to do in Savannah and he was a great ambassador for the city.

On his recommendation, we decided to take the our of the Owens-Thomas House.

Front of Owens-Thomas House Back of Owens-Thomas HouseThe house was very elaborate and especially modern for it’s time including a complicated indoor plumbing system.  It was filled with artwork and furniture from the various periods the house was in use.

After this tour, we decided to go to Leopold’s Ice Cream.  I enjoyed a cone and Mike had a chocolate milkshake.

Leopold's Ice CreamWe spent the rest of the afternoon reading at the rooftop bar at our hotel which overlooked the river.  And that night we had our last dinner at The Olde Pink House. The food was excellent but I forgot to take pictures.

The next day we flew home.

I loved this trip.  There were so many interesting things to see and learn about and I’m glad we could take the time to go there.

Day four in Wadmalaw Island, SC and Savannah, GA

We woke up on Thursday and drove for about half hour to get to Wadmalaw Island. Our day started at the Charleston Tea Plantation.

Charleston Tea Plantation

We watched a fifteen minute video in the factory that gave a brief overview of the tea growing, harvesting and manufacturing process.

Charleston Tea Plantation Factory

Then we got on a trolley for a tour of the plantation. This is the only tea plantation in the country and they are starting to distribute more widely.

Charleston Tea Plantation Field Charleston Tea Plantation field and tree Charleston Tea Plantation Driveway

We sampled some tea and bought some to bring home before we made our way to our next stop on the island the Firefly Distillery.

Firefly DistilleryThe distillery is at Irvin House Vineyards, the only winery in South Carolina. But we decided to bypass the wine in favor of checking out the distillery since they use tea from the plantation we’d just visited.

Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka

They offer a tasting for just $6 a person and you get to keep your shot glass.  We got to try six different products from a list of various vodkas, rums, bourbon and liquor. Since I was the driver, I really only had super small tastes but a lot of it was really good.  Some of the flavors were a little too sweet for me. We left with a bottle of sweet tea vodka and sweet tea bourbon.

Firefly Distillery Tasting

We arrived in Savannah in the late afternoon and relaxed at our hotel before heading out to dinner at 17hundred90.

17hundred90This restaurant came recommended from one of the people we met earlier in the week and it had a cozy tavern feel.  Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to take pictures of any of our dinners in Savannah.

As I had mentioned before, when researching for the trip, I found that both Charleston and Savannah have a lot of night tours.  Savannah is especially big on ghost tours so we booked one for this night.  We finally had decided to go with the Boos and Brews tour since it was rated the city’s best ghost tour by Southern Living.

Savannah doesn’t have an open container law, so we were to meet the group at McDonough’s Irish Pub & Restaurant to grab drinks and go.  It ended up that Mike and I were the only people on the tour.  I think it could have been so fun if we were part of a group.  But instead, we toured the city in the dark with a woman who told us ghost stories and encouraged us to keep taking pictures to try and capture a ghost.

We were good sports about it and we passed many other tours that also looked lightly attended.  But it was fun to talk with this woman who was born in Savannah.

We saw a cemetery.Savannah Cemetery

Old police cars.

Savannah old police car

Passed through many of the squares.

Tomo Chi Chi Monument

And in reviewing our pictures, I think we maybe got a ghost in Wright Square? Do you see it?  In the tree?  It’s an orb!  I don’t know if it is a real ghost though.  She did tell us a story about people being hung in these trees so I guess anything is possible.

Ghost in Wright Square

We passed by City Hall.

Savannah City Hall

And we ended up at Moon River Brewing Company where we went into the basement and upper levels to hear the history of the space and learn about it’s ghosts.

Moon River Brewing Moon River Brewing Two

I’d totally do a ghost tour like this again but I’d definitely make sure we’re with a group.

Day three in Charleston, SC

On our last full day in Charleston, we started with breakfast at Hominy Grill.

Hominy Grill

Hominy Grill Mug

Mike got the big nasty biscuit which had fried chicken and cheddar on it with sausage gravy.

Big Nasty Biscuit

I had huevos rancheros which was two poached eggs, black beans, rice and salsa on a tortilla.

Huevos Rancheros

And because all that savory clearly needed to be followed by something sweet, we got the ginger pumpkin bread to share.  It must have been broiled or toasted or something.  It was perfect.

Ginger pumpkin bread

After breakfast we drove to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. The biggest attraction here is the USS Yorktown, a decommissioned aircraft carrier.

USS Yorktown

Mike was in the Navy and was on a submarine so checking out the USS Clamagore was the first place we stopped. Although this was a diesel sub, a lot of it the equipment, the layout and the accommodations were similar to Mike’s sub. We spent at least an hour inside as he explained things to me both in terms of his job and what life was like living underwater.

USS Clamagore

The first thing he explained was the Steinke Hood, a device used to save yourself from a sinking submarine. As if the thought of sinking isn’t bad enough, imagine this scary looking thing being your savior.

Steinke Hood

We started in the torpedo room and made our way through the sub.

torpedo room submarine

They had these recruitment posters on the wall.

he joined the submarine service train today while you fight for tomorrow

I learned how the bathrooms worked.

sub bathroom

They named their engines.

engine gonzales engine runner

It’s been a while since these instruments were calibrated.

last calibration in the seventies

This was the center line of the sub hung over the doorway.

center line

Then we boarded the USS Yorktown and visited the Medal of Honor Museum before going all over the aircraft carrier.

USS Yorktown

Ye Olde Torpedo Shop When I got home on leave HelicopterFinally, we visited the USS Laffey, a destroyer which had been attacked by Japanese bombers and kamikazes in WWII.

We drove back to Charleston and spent the afternoon walking through various alleys and streets checking out the homes and gardens.

Charleston wall Charleston building fascade Charleston gate and post Charleston window boxes St. Michael's cemetery Charleston City Hall Philadelphia alley in Charleston Charleston Building

And we stopped along the way for some drinks and something to eat at the Southend Brewery.

Southend Brewery and Smokehouse

That night we had dinner at Poogan’s Porch.

Poogan's PorchMike started with the fried alligator salad with pickled sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and honey jalapeno dressing.

Fried aligator salad

I think my spinach salad was a special that night.  It had brie, apple and tomatoes with a bacon vinaigrette.

Salad with brie and apple

I chose the plantation fried chicken stuffed with smoked gouda, spicy collards and country ham for my entree. It came with whipped potatoes, green beans and a Texas Pete jus.Plantation fried chicken

Mike got the hand cut pork chop which was grilled with apple butter and served with brussels sprouts and smoked bacon sweet potato hash.

Hand cut pork chop

For dessert, Mike got the chocolate pecan pie.

Pecan Pie Poogan

Day two in Charleston, SC

On Tuesday, we had plans to visit Fort Sumter.

Fort Sumter sign

It was a twenty minute or so boat ride out to the island where the Civil War officially began. We passed by Charleston on the ride down the Cooper River.

Charleston from the Cooper River

The park ranger gave us a history of the fort and explained the beginning of the war before we could just wander around and check out the fort.

118 128 157 166 175

It was nice to ride on the boat and I guess it was cool to see Fort Sumter but this was probably my least favorite part of the trip.

After we returned to shore, we were really hungry and ready to get lunch. Mike had mentioned that since we were in South Carolina he’d really like to have some barbecue so we walked over to Nick’s Bar-B-Q on King Street.

Nick's Bar-B-Q

I got the Beef Brisket sandwich with a side of mac and cheese.

Beef Brisket with Mac and Cheese

Mike got the Double Decker which was pulled pork and beef brisket with a side of fries. We each got a corn biscuit which was sweet and cheesy.

The Double Decker

During lunch it had started to rain so we wandered around town stopping in various places. We walked through the Charleston City Market.

Charleston City Market

And when the rain got heavier, we decided to stop in the Confederate Museum.  This place was packed with memorabilia from the Civil War and everyday life.  It was almost overwhelming to look at all the stuff they filled the walls and cabinets with like scraps of material and buttons and papers.

Confederate Museum Charleston

Earlier that day, Mike had also mentioned a desire to get chicken and waffles so it was very appropriate that the concierge at our hotel recommended Lowcountry Bistro for dinner that night.
Lowcountry Bistro

I started with she crab soup.

She Crab Soup

Mike got a special which was a pumpkin and sweet potato salad with a side of greens and blue cheese.

Lowcountry appetizer

Mike had the chicken and waffles – a sweet potato bacon corn bread waffle, crispy half bone-in chicken, pecan butter, bourbon reduction – which was fantastic.

Chicken and waffles

And I decided to get their shrimp and grits which also had fried green tomatoes.  The portion was huge and I maybe got through half. It was good but I am definitely not a shrimp and grits girl.

shrimp and grits

Mike got chocolate pie for dessert and the few bites I had were rich and delicious.  I totally want to get marshmallow fluff now and serve it like this on all desserts.

chocolate pie

While I was researching stuff to do on our trip, I learned that both Charleston and Savannah have a lot of different tour companies and a lot of them have night tours. Many of them are ghost tours, which I’ll get to later in the week, but on this night, we decided to do The Dark Side of Charleston tour.

Bulldog Tours

Our tour guide was Stephen and he took us and four other people around telling us stories of grave robberies, drunken sailors, brothels and corruption. We had a really great group and we all had a lot of fun despite the rain.

Charleston Cemetery at night

Here’s St. Michael’s Church at night.

St. Michael's Church

And this building used to house a very high end brothel.

Former Brothel


Day one in Charleston, SC

Last week, Mike and I took off from work so that we could go explore Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.  We had so much fun and fit so much into the week.  It was the perfect time of year to visit these cities as the temperatures were mostly in the sixties and there weren’t many crowds due to it being a lighter time of year for tourists.

We flew to Charleston for the first three nights of our trip.  When we arrived we went to Drayton Hall.

Drayton Hall HouseWhen I started to plan our trip, I knew we had to visit one plantation. I chose this one because of it’s proximity to the airport and because it was not restored but preserved. There isn’t fancy furniture or really anything but rooms that show their age but maintain their originality.

Drayton Hall insideWe had a great tour of the house and then wandered around the grounds which are right on the Ashley River.

Ashley RiverDrayton Hall from the riverBefore we left, we stopped at the African American Cemetery on the property.

Leave Em Rest

073That night we had dinner reservations at Trattoria Luca.

Trattoria Luca

We picked this restaurant because on Mondays they have a family supper with a prix fixe menu that got great reviews on Yelp.  I think this was my favorite dinner of the trip.

The four course meal was served family style at the table for us to share. It started with an amazing appetizer course.

Salad with apples, walnuts, shaved parmesan and a delicious dressing.

Trattoria Luca Salad

A charcuterie plate with prosciutto, capicola, salami and pickled vegetables.

Trattoria Luca charcuterie plate

Marinated mushrooms with crispy onions.

Trattoria Luca mushrooms

And delicious brussel sprouts.

Trattoria Lucca Brussel Sprouts

And that was just the first course.  After that was the pasta course which was fresh with tomato, onion and a smoked cheese (I can’t remember what kind but it was so good).

Trattoria Luca Pasta Course

The next course was pork which was served with roasted vegetables and a pesto on top.

Trattoria Luca Main Course

And finally there was dessert.  Even our waitress said she didn’t know how to describe this.  Calling it a mousse would imply it was lighter and airy but calling it a pudding doesn’t seem special enough.  It was chocolatey without being too rich and the touch of sea salt on top was the perfect compliment.

Trattoria Luca dessert

This was the perfect end to a great first day.

Why I Haven’t Been Knitting As Much

The past month has been a whirlwind of activity.

I still haven’t finished that super cute baby tunic but plan to this weekend.

So what have I been doing?

Well, traveling like usual for work.  How many people get to go places for work where they see neat things like this?

There’s been a lot of running too.  At the beginning of the month, I ran the Broad Street Run for the second year in a row. I wasn’t that pleased with my performance (four minutes slower when I wanted to be four minutes faster) but I finished and felt like my regular self instead of hurting for days, so that’s an accomplishment.

Here’s me giving my parents a thumbs up somewhere in mile five.

And then I didn’t run this 5K but helped with the planning starting last summer. It was the first ever to raise money for a project in my community and we had 112 registrants (over our goal by 12!).

I’ve also been trying to learn more about my Nikon D3000 and trying to ditch the point and shoot whenever possible in favor of understanding photography a little more.  I’m learning but I’ve got ways to go and I’m enjoying figuring things out while looking at my community in new ways.

When worlds almost collide

I made my dad that DNA Scarf because he’s a microbiologist and spends his time in a lab looking at DNA and other scientific things I don’t really understand. But before he majored in microbiology, he was planning to major in astronomy.  He said that it was after he took his first two calculus classes that he decided it should remain a hobby and not a career.

Growing up, he always knew when really exciting, noteworthy celestial things were going to happen.  We lived on a block of row homes in Northeast Philadelphia and on the those nights, his telescope would come out and he’d set it up by the postage stamp front lawn (which grew the best urban garden before it was even trendy) and we’d look at the sky. The neighbor kids and adults would come over and we’d take turns checking out the sky. Sometimes it was constellations or shooting stars or other rare happenings. And then we’d move it to the back of the house in the driveway to see if the view was better.

And this continued at their house now and if we’re lucky enough to visit when something good is happening, we check it out. Even when we aren’t visiting, he still reminds us to set a middle of the night alarm for amazing shooting star displays. I can’t say that I’ve actually set the alarm but one summer I was away with Jenn at our friend Jenna’s home at the shore and we stayed up to watch the Perseid meteor shower on the beach.

So when they were here this weekend, he told us we had to look for the Venus Jupiter conjunction right at sundown. This exciting show of the planets is visible without a telescope and they are bright. He researched it online and found pictures and we had our cameras ready to go. The hour or so leading up, it was cloudy, then kind of clear, then cloudier and then completely overcast. We missed it.

Even though they went home, Mike and I were ready tonight and the sky was completely clear so we got some decent shots.  We used the Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS and the Nikon D3000. And just like I would expect from my dad, he called just as I was uploading my photos to see how mine came out.

Here are just a few of mine. In my pictures Jupiter is at the top left above the moon and that’s Venus further below.