Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mountain Laurel at Keowee Toxaway State Park in SC

This afternoon I took a walk along the Natural Bridge Trail here at Keowee-Toxaway State Park. To see the blooming mountain laurel. What a sight!

Here's a short video:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

High Tea at Laura’s Tea Room, Ridgeway SC

Last week we had High Tea at Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway, South Carolina. Yes, “high tea” at Laura’s Tea Room deserves capital letters. It’s a remarkable experience. We visit Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway fairly often. But usually time permits only soup and a sandwich at the downstairs cafe. While that’s well worth a drive to Ridgeway, High Tea upstairs is nothing short of spectacular.
150204 Laura's Tea Room (2)
So, schedules cleared and reservations secured, up the stairs we went to the impressive second floor tea room proper. My wife selected a hat and sat down to chat with a special tearoom guest while we waited for our table. We’ve met her here before, but have been asked not to mention names …..
On Wednesday Carol Allen and her crackerjack staff provided a special menu. You can see it here on the right. High Tea Menu Chuck full of goodies. Click the small image to open it into a more readable size.
Can you imagine? “Cherry green iced tea”? I couldn’t. Fortunately my wife -- she of more eclectic taste -- gave it a try and encouraged me. Well! It was good. More than good, really. A perfect beginning for this special meal.
Now, if “Spring Cherry Green Iced Tea” hasn’t surprised you, check the “Pot of Mango Chili Tea” just below it. Mango Chili? Oh my. I had a cup. But Junko finished the rest. Even said she enjoyed it.
Now, I’m no fanatical consumer of salads. They’re fine. Usually. I’ll eat them when served. But mostly to be polite. All the while looking forward to more substantial offerings. Most sit-down-type restaurants start you off with some sort of salad. Ho hum.
saladWell, if you share my indifference to any dish that requires a “salad” label, click on the photo above. take a close look at the salad Laura’s Tea Room serves with High Tea. This was really good. The lettuce was fresh. Seriously fresh. As was everything else! So, when you go for High Tea, don’t ignore, or just pick at, the salad. It’s part of the experience.
Same with the soup. Perfect flavor. I can’t imagine that any part of that cup of soup ever saw the inside of a can. It sure didn’t taste like what I was raised on.
All of this leads up to the Main Event: Savories and Sweets. They’re listed on the menu above. Too many to summarize here. All sorts of things.
Savories and Sweets
You have to see it – and taste it – to believe it. Nothing there from a box. All prepared right in the Tea Room kitchen downstairs the night and morning before.
So, there you have it. If a confirmed meat-and-potatoes fellow like me can look forward to High Tea at Laura’s Tea Room it will suit anybody.
Sometimes it’s possible to get in for High Tea without a reservation, but not usually. Call ahead and let the staff know how many will be in your party.
Reservations are at 803-337-8594. And visit the Tea Room Facebook page by clicking here. Carol keeps it up to date.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Winter Visit to Edisto Beach State Park SC


Edisto Beach State Park is about right for my tastes any time from about late November to early April. I know; I know. Normal people …. Well, Tastes vary. And I meet a surprising number of campers who visit Edisto only in the winter. So ….

The photo above is of the site of the Park’s Bache Monument out behind the Nature Center. An important historical marker. Named after a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin. Alexander Bache invented the “bar of invariable length” that finally allowed accurate geographical measurements. Read all about it here.

Here’s a short video compilation of photos I’ve taken at and around Edisto during winter visits. Enjoy.

Should your web browser fail to display the video above properly, click here to go directly to the YouTube iteration.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Edisto Beach State Park in the Winter

South Carolina's Edisto Beach State Park is beautiful even on a rainy winter day.

Click each photo for a larger image

Just outside my campsite.

There's something about this place. Come have a look for yourselves.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Time at Laura’s Tea Room Ridgeway, South Carolina

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (24)

Last Sunday we visited Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway, South Carolina, to see the Christmas decorations. Had lunch too, of course. I don’t know how Carol and her staff find the time to do all of this.

The photo above [click it for a better view] is the first floor viewed from near the door. Here’s where you’ll have lunch if you don’t have time for high tea upstairs.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (3)

Every table’s a treat. And some of the special designs are even for sale! We try to sit at a different table each visit.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (5)

Fair warning. If you eat downstairs, all through lunch you’ll tempted by must-have gifts lining the shelves and counters on both sides of the first floor. So don’t choose the downstairs cafĂ© just to save a few dollars. That’s unlikely to happen!

141214 Looking Upstairs

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (6)

Climb the stairs to the second floor to reach the heart of Laura’s Tea Room. 141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (7)Pass by Manuel, on leave from Fawlty Towers, and you may be joined by special guests. Our last visit, for example,  we were surprised to be joined by  ….. Well, never mind. We’re supposed to keep quiet about it. And all guests are special at Laura’s Tea Room.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (8)

Upstairs it’s even more beautifully decorated than usual. The Christmas spirit in full swing. Look at this place setting!

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (11)

Everything perfectly arranged. Each setting waiting to impress a Tea Room guest.

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (9)

141221 Laura's Tea Room Christmas (12)

I don’t know how long Carol and her staff will keep these Christmas decorations. So hurry on over before it’s too late. Remember to call 803-337-8594 for a reservation, though, if you’re planning to eat upstairs. This is a popular spot for folks from Columbia, Charlotte, Charleston, Atlanta … And even some international guests. So call ahead or you’ll be eating downstairs. With all of those temptations lining the walls….