Awesome local PA places

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Sometimes there are cool places to visit that are in your own backyard. The way the winter has been going, when we got a break in the weather, and on the weekend, we would take a drive someplace. A few weeks back, Sean and I went to Phoenixville, PA. This is on the other side of Chester County where we live. We wanted to grab a few caches, which we did too. I am slowing climbing to 800 finds (Brian and I are doing so, but he doesn’t cache that often) and Sean is almost at 500.

The first place we visited was the Colonial Movie theater. There was a cache right there. We actually got a hint and saw it within a minute. Better than looking in some planters in the front of the place.

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Some of ‘The Blob’ Movie was filmed here. We had visited the location where the original diner use to be for ‘The Blob’. Harry Houdini performed here too.

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We walked down the hill to look for another place and found this renovated building.

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We missed seeing the inside which held items about the history of the steel mill area.

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As we walked to the cache location, another couple came along also geocaching. The man found it first. It was in a weird underneath location. I doubt we would have gone where he did. Pure luck!

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The couple suggested we go up the hill to another cache. We had to walk down an old set of stairs where a train platform use to be. We found that one tucked in a tree. As we climbed the stairs, I wretched an old right sided back injury.

We visited the Morris cemetery. As we drove up, there was a tall bronze weathered statue leaning on a monument. It was a bit creepy of old Mr. Shimer, an area plant lover. He is holding a pot of something, maybe an orchid?

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The cache was right near him in a scary tree.

We saw this beauty too:

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We then drove through Valley Forge National Park. The visitor center was about to close, but we saw George Washington’s headquarters and some log cabins.

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The scenery goes on and on.

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We went to the King of Prussia mall which proved that idea was the last thing on earth that I should have done. I could barely walk. I ended up in a lot of pain. I tried everything and used the heating pad which proved to be worth it’s weight in gold.

The week before we went to Bel Air, MD and enjoyed getting a few caches there. We want to go back and try a seafood restaurant.

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16254603098_e89731af35_zThe Bel Air Courthouse

This one on of the neatest caches we had found for a while. It really stood out with all the leaves off the trees. It use to be activated by motion to say something.

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We are expecting hopefully the last snowstorm of the season tomorrow! I never finished cleaning up leaves and they will be a mess when we get to it again.

Next post will probably be about the Philadelphia Flower show. I will break that into a couple of posts as we saw a wonderful costume exhibit by Gene London.

Some of my photo altering:

One is a building in Phoenixville and the other is a little chapel in the cemetery

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Longwood Gardens seasonal display 2014-15

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Longwood Gardens seasonal display 2014-15

Sean and I went over the the gardens at the beginning of the month to catch their holiday lights and decor before it came down. We went just as the sun was setting. It was a very chilly day. We have had mostly cold, not a lot of snow this year. I am complaining a little, but snow is pretty, but a nuisance.

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The main fountain is getting an upgrade! It will take 2 yrs!

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You can see how gorgeous the sky was that evening

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There was a bird theme this year. I was delighted to see cardinals grace the tree in the conservatory

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Lights in the bottom of the hanging baskets

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Hands down, my favorite display of the hand cut feathers and leaves. There were many thousand of them for the peacock table

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The duo of swans was interesting too.

The next couple are our Christmas decor. I had a pretty candy cane striped Amaryllis bloom too. My bird trees will be up for a few more weeks as we think they are nice to look at on these long winter nights.

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We did a favorite thing tree. Sean loves color lights.

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Some of my mantel decor

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Sean and me

Back to Longwood Gardens

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Pale yellow poinsettia tree

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The bonsai tree had a full size pomengranate

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Steampunk birds!

I like this area of the conservatory. These may be extra blooms or plants they are trying.

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There are always trees for local schools. This was really colorful

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Love how the lights look here. Look up-it’s a wreath!

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I have seen a tree used as art over on the campus of Swarthmore College. It was red too!

My brother makes bird baths, lawn decor out of vases and dishes also.

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The LED lights are interesting in the desert room.

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Penguins-ha ha!

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A gorgeous feather display

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The Architecture of Charleston, SC

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The Architecture of Charleston, SC

We had plenty of time after our tour of Middleton Place Plantation to explore the city. We found a place to park and walked down to the Brown Dog Deli on Board St. The young lady who waited on us happened to be from the Chesapeake area of Maryland. Later a young man who waited on us said he was from New Jersey. Small world! The sandwiches were so big, Sean and me saved half of ours for lunch the next day at the rest stop on the way to Williamsburg.

So we walked around a bit and even drove over to see Waterfront Park. Before that we had done a virtual cache in Washington Park. I still need to email the cache owner the dates from the signs.

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These are places I dreamed of seeing for years! Some were decorated for Christmas, but they were prettier at night.
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We saw several residences with these preservation awards! IMG_9322

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Here I am at the virtual geocache at Washington Park

Here is George watching his park!

Here is George watching his park!

IMG_9331Not sure what this flowering plant was, but I liked it!

IMG_9333 Interesting signIMG_9334 A pineapple is a sign of welcome. IMG_9335 Great place to catch a cruise!

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Fort Sumter, across from Charleston

IMG_9342 The Harbor Club-pretty classy!

Lookie-Philadelphia Alley. We looked for a cache down here, but could not find it.

Lookie-Philadelphia Alley. We looked for a cache down here, but could not find it.

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That night we walked around and did a bit of shopping with the gift card we couldn’t use at the plantation. That was fun! We bought many little things for gift baskets for my family.

We then walked to a nice restaurant that we had a $75 off coupon for from the hotel package. It was pretty crowded. Sean and I got two salad entrees by mistake (one was an appetizer), but we had a decadent desert, like a chocolate mousse cake.

We read about a huge holiday light display about 15-20 minutes away and decided to go! We saw 100s of displays and millions of lights. It was a huge place to drive through. There were even people roasting marshmallow around a fire pit. Also a gift shop to explore.

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I believe the above was sponsored by a place up from near us!

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We never seem to have enough time. So much more to see in do, but we had to head north the next day.

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Southern Charm at Middleton Place

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There was a few plantations to visit and we had to pick just one as it is an expensive day trip. The lady at the hotel said she liked Middleton the best, so we decided to use our big gift card to get in. We had to travel about 15 minutes or so from our hotel. We parked and went to get a ticket. The lady there couldn’t get the gift card to go through. We think she put it in for a $129 transaction (yep) and instead of $100 and then adding the $29. We had to use our Visa to get in.

We had a little walk to the homestead to take the tour. we saw sheep in the front lawn, swans in the long rectangular pond and Camilla blooming in December. There was moss galore.

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Camilla blooming

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View of the Ashley River

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Those are the ruins to the main mansion. You can walk along the river too.

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We also toured this home. It was one of three spared by fire in the 1860s. We saw a lot of the beautiful silver that one of the wives collected from Europe. We saw a pardon from President Lincoln to a wife so she could get home safely to South Carolina from the north.IMG_9268 IMG_9270

This is my favorite photo of the day.

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Who are you looking at yak?

I bet it’s really pretty in the summer too.

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This was the back of the home. Of course the front faced the lovely river.

IMG_9292 IMG_9299 The sheep got out!IMG_9303 I was pooped !

IMG_9305Lots of walk ways to explore.

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Charleston, it was so nice to make your acquaintance!

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Tuesday afternoon we arrived in Charleston. I was kind of expecting more old buildings and more sights of the seaport. I guess its’s the road we came in on. Then within a few minutes, we started to see more grandeur, practically our hotel, The French Quarter Inn. We pulled up to the side door and almost right away, a handsome, nicely dressed gentleman in his 30s, came over and welcomed us. He also started to help us get our bags on the cart. We found out later it was the general manager Brent who had helped. Brian gave him a tip too.

We went up to the lobby to check in. There was a dark wood spiral staircase up the center and also a fireplace, chairs and tables and the area where the food and beverages were served. We were served a glass of champagne! So elegant. Then we went to our room and it was so lovely! There was a huge armoire/entertainment center-about 10 feet or more long. There were two queen beds with lots of pillows. We were given two gift cards and a brass Christmas ornament of the hotel. We freshened up to get ready for the wine and cheese reception. We settled on a restaurant in a hotel within walking distance.

We enjoyed the cheese and wine with the other guests before venturing out for dinner.

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There weren’t a ton of holiday decorations in Charleston. The hotel had some, including a pretty tree with wrapped packages underneath. We actually saw more decorations driving around and heading over to a park the next night.

We ate at the Renaissance Hotel and were the only ones there. We were a little punchy sitting there, but we had a nice dinner. Brian and I had rib eye and Sean a seafood pasta. The waitress disappeared for close to 15 minutes and we wanted to go. Here she was also doing room service!

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We headed back to the hotel just in time for milk, hot chocolate and cookies. The beds were turned down and we had chocolates and a weather report for tomorrow.

I can’t even tell you how gorgeous the bathroom was. All white and black marble. The shower was glass. Wow.

The next day we headed for Middleton Place, a plantation in northern Charleston. Always wanted to see a plantation since reading ‘Gone with the Wind’.

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