June 9, 2017

Our Weekend in Charleston Part II - Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Our second day in Charleston, South Carolina consisted of us waking up after a gloriously much needed eight hour long sleep. There's always that age-old debate when you're on vacation: should I catch up on sleep so that I can feel fully rested and ready for the big day ahead of me...OR should I screw sleep because sleep is for the weak wake up early so that I can have more time to make the most out of the short time that I'm here? I personally feel like there's no right or wrong answer to this question. Sometimes it's hard to enjoy vacation when you feel so completely drained and exhausted from the work week that's now behind you. Let's face it, working full-time is HARD. But sometimes when vacation has long passed and you're half-way into the following work week you can't help but feel a tinge of regret that you didn't cut your sleep short so that you could spend more time exploring and vacationing, awake.

So yes, we did indeed choose to not wake up at sunrise, but truthfully I woke up around 7 am because I was just SO excited to be in Charleston!! This happens to me everytime I'm in a new city/area, I have trouble falling asleep and sleeping in because I spend so much time daydreaming about what's ahead! I think that the ladies can agree with me on this, that it's nice waking up before the hubs because this gives you a chance to get ready without feeling a little rushed by the guy with uber short hair and a makeup free face. Haha...

Our number one goal for the day was to see Magnolia Plantation & Gardens! But before one can go walking around in 80+ degree weather under the hot sun, one needs sustenance! Thanks to much research on Google and Yelp we discovered that a cute little restaurant with really great customer ratings for BRUNCH was right on the way to the gardens! Three Little Birds Cafe & Catering! Which I assume is named after the Bob Marley tune... the bright yellow sunny interior would agree to this.
Southern diners are the cutest because they always have fresh colourful flowers on the tables, which just brightens everything up! And some of them serve their lemon waters in mason jars. I LOVE BRUNCH! Breakfast is OK, and lunch is good, but when you combine the two...magic happens. Brunch magic. SOUTHERN brunch magic.
Magic in the form of two thick pieces of deliciously fluffy Challah french toast, sandwiching fresh strawberries and either cream cheese or goat cheese (I can't remember!!), a side of bacon, and refill upon refill of hot coffee.
Jarryd ordered the spinach and ham omelette with a side of home fries, which looked amazing! We both found it amusing how they gave me the plain white coffee cup and then gave Jarryd the nice flowery coffee cup. Hehe, love it.

We absolutely LOVED this restaurant! The food was great, service was quick and friendly, and the atmosphere had a bright and sunny disposition! We'd highly recommend the Three Little Birds Cafe.

Next stop, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens! My tip to you guys, before you go to any restaurant or attraction, or even go on a trip in general, always check Groupon.com to see if they have any local attraction coupons! Thanks to purchasing a coupon on Groupon, what would have cost us $56 for admission to the gardens and the swamp, only cost us $35! YAY for deals and saving hard-earned money!
Magnolia Gardens actually has its very own petting zoo, which is always a fun time. Always. It's also cool how half the animals aren't even enclosed in their individual "fences", for instance the turkeys, peacocks, deer, and geese all roam freely within the petting zoo area. All pretty safe animals, I'd say.
There were a bunch of signs telling people to keep their distance from the peacocks; so when I found my face right next to this gorgeous pile of feathers it scared the crap out of me! Who knew there was a peacock sitting on top of a 9 foot cage right beside me?! But for real, I could not NOT photograph their feathers because they're absolutely beautiful. God's creativity is astounding.
"Give fools their gold and knaves their power,
Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall,
Who sows a field or trains a flower
or plants a tree, is more than all."
This was in the "Biblical Gardens" section of the Magnolia Plantation. Beside certain plants and flowers there'd be signs with a verse written on it where these plants were mentioned in the Bible! For instance, next to the Lilly of the Valley flower, there was a sign with the Bible verse from Song of Solomon 2:1, "I am a rose of Sharon, a lilly of the valleys". Very cool!
How romantic is this hidden gazebo? I can just picture a romantic scene from a movie being filmed here. 😍
 These beautiful leaves are called "Elephant Ears", of course. I love the vein-like look on their leaves.
One of the many bridges here at Magnolia! Here's some free advice: a bonus to befriending the fellow tourists you run into is that y'all can offer to take pictures of each other as you go along. We met a lovely family from Tennessee whom we formed this fantastic photography relationship with; we'd take pictures of them, and they'd take pictures of us. Win win.

Beautiful hydrangeas! Seeing these flowers totally make me wanna make hydrangea piped buttercream cupcakes again.
Magnolia Gardens was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family (does the term Drayton Hall ring a bell?), and they are actually the OLDEST public gardens in America! They first opened their doors to tourists in 1870! Woweeee!
The estate. It's so beautiful and uniquely structured.
This is the view from their front balcony. Gorgeous. Can you imagine having all of that land to gaze upon whilst sipping your cup of morning coffee?
And this is the view from the side of the house. SO much greenery.
I seriously love this photo. They have weddings here all the time and this would be incredibly gorgeous, especially for wedding photos. That white bridge is pure romance.

Mom, what kind of flower is this? Help!
I just had to take a photo of this. I know that you Southerners are all "whatevs" and eye-rolley about gators, but I'm from CANADA. Bears I can deal with. Snakes, why not? Cougars, sure. But gators?! Reptiles with zillions of sharp teeth is a whole new world to me; the fact that I could be walking along minding my own business only to have my toes snipped by an alligator is a completely foreign concept.
Spanish moss adds so much to a landscape shot. I don't think this photo would look half as good without that silver moss hanging all around me. Also, as soon as I saw this spanish moss, the first thing I thought of was country music. Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Sugarland...they all sing about spanish moss. Here in South Carolina I truly felt like I was in the south. Makes me wanna put on a cowboy hat again, as if I were back in my country-EVERYTHING phase. I'm serious, when I was 19 I'd wear cowboy boots all the time (the fashionable unauthentic ones of course, because I can't and won't pretend to be a real cowgirl.)
To our delight they had a bamboo garden!! This photo is a big fat injustice because these bamboo shoots were incredibly tall and it really was amazing to see!
"Here's a tree in the middle of a pond--let us build a bridge directly around it." Great idea, really. Why build a bridge beside a tree when you can build "around" it? Also, the expression on Jarryd's face here is GOLD. It's as if he's gazing at nature's beauty for the first time in his life. 😂 But jokes aside, it really is a great candid shot of him.
ISN'T THIS BRIDGE THE MOST ADORABLE BRIDGE YOU'VE EVER SEEN?! It's hard to tell, but it was actually so steep and most likely a hazard that they chained it off.
Seriously, South Carolina oak trees are like no other. I wish they had trees like this in Canada. Heck, I wish they had these trees EVERYWHERE.
Next stop at Magnolia, the Audubon Swamp Garden! We were told that alligator sightings here are frequent so that was pretty much the only reason we decided to pay extra for this (with Groupon of course). We were on a gator hunt!
A swamp really isn't my environment of choice. It's hot, humid, muggy, wet, and the air just sits. But despite all those things, it was a beautiful walk!
GATOR SIGHTING! He was a big guy too--about 7 feet long. These creatures are amazing to me; they can come up from the water and sink back down into the water as if they were never there. They're so stealth. The only way you can tell they were there is the patch of fizzing/bubbling water they leave behind. 
Along with gators, we also saw plenty of turtles (all throughout Magnolia actually) and big white birds--my apologies to all the bird connoisseurs out there, I haven't a clue the names of the birds we saw. Whoops.
So that's all of the photos I have of the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. Would I recommend visiting here? YES! It was absolutely gorgeous, historical, and time-well spent. Would I go again for a second time? Definitely, because I loved it that much! They also offer other activities like a nature-train that takes you all around the gardens and even a rice field boat tour! We didn't do either of those because they all cost extra, but I am happy with what we did do!

This wasn't the end of the day for us, because after Magnolia we had a pretty fun and exciting evening. BUT, that's for another blog post! Thanks so much for reading, friends! I really hope you enjoyed this and that you're even MORE enticed to visit beautiful Charleston.

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