Monday, 9 November 2015

Dad's visit

Over the English half term holiday my dad came to visit us.  He had initially planned to come in the summer, but his knee would not allow it.  So we were limited to a one week trip.  Boy, did we pack a lot in!

My dad flew in on Saturday afternoon to Charlotte.  I picked him up from the airport. It is nice now their new hourly parking garage is open.  Most convenient.  I drove him back to ours, as you can imagine he was pretty tired, though we enjoyed a dinner of Papa John, and the boys were very pleased to see him.

Sunday, we awoke fairly early.  We took a drive up towards Ashville. I have been desperate to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, as I have heard many great things.  This was our 3rd attempt, and the road was open.  We were fortunate to choose this time of year to go now.  The fall foliage was outstanding.

So beautiful.  And also busy.  We took a scenic drive south, back towards Greenville, before turning off at Brevard 

We came across a stunning waterfall just before we left the parkway

We enjoyed a little walk by it, then headed back into Greenville to treat dad to a Five Guys for lunch.  By then it was about 3 pm, and we were all starving!

I wanted to take my dad somewhere different this time as it is probably the last time he will be here while we live here.  On Monday I dropped the kids at school before heading down to the coast.  Although we had done Charleston in a day trip before when we stayed at McClenanville, I had never been with out the kids.  

We headed to Boone Hall Plantation first.  I had heard many awesome things about this place, and it didn't disappoint.  We took a tour of the house, then looked at the slave shacks.  Learning the history of this state both enthrals and appalls me in equal measure.  The grounds are amazing too.  It is still a working farm, though most of their crops were wiped out by the recent flooding.

A beautiful place, Boone Hall is certainly worth it's $20 entrance fee.  The kids might even like it too next time! 

From there we drove through Mount Pleasant, over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and headed towards the hotel.  I had booked us a twin room at the King Charles Inn.  The hotel did not disappoint.  We had a great evening, and went out for probably the best wine and steak combination I have had in a very long time.  This was followed by a delicious dessert and cocktail.  

We had planned to go to Fort Sumter the next morning.  It rained steadily all night and we walked to the ferry port to get the boat.  Except it was cancelled! The Fort was under water, as was the dock.  It was very wet.....  We headed back into Charleston towards the market.  But that wasn't set up yet as it was too early.  So we went for a carriage ride instead.  This was excellent.  We were entertained by a delightful driver who gave us the ins and outs of the history of Charleston and some of its buildings, all the while missing the major flooding.  Charleston is used to flooding, so by the time the carraiage ride finished, most of the water around the market had gone.  But the weather had kept away a lot of vendors also, and we couldn't find anything we really liked.  We bit the bullet and headed back to the car, and back up to Greenville, only stopping to pick up a quick snack.

We arrived home at the same time as the boys and Paul. We went out for dinner to Carolina Ale House, which everyone enjoyed.  The boys were most insistent on sitting with grand dad.

Wednesday we went for lunch with Isaac at his school.  Dad loved this.  Being able to see inside his school was good.  Seeing the way it operates compared to Oliver's was an eye opener for me.  

After this, it was on to some shopping.  Dad took me into Golfsmith.  Definitely a shop I have never ever been in, but interesting all the less.  For him, that is......

Dad was keen to get something for the boys.  Obviously he sends them gifts for Christmas and birthdays, but he doesn't get to spoil them. We we're initially going to take them to toys r us, but we remembered how torturous it is to get 3 small boys to decide on things they want with price limits.  There is a Hot Wheels garage that they ALL WANTED.  to get a toy that they all want is rare.  It is large, so certainly not something they can have one each of. The price was right on it, so we got it for them.

Their faces when they saw it was awesome.  They truly love it.  We have been looking for a good toy car garage for a while.  Finally there is a decent one on the market, after going through more than 5 not so perfect ones.

Thursday was conference day for Oliver.  He is doing fine.  His teachers only complaint is that he needs to choose to read a greater variety of books.  He likes the comic ones like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. I can live with that!   We dragged Oliver up to Gaffney to go shopping at the outlets.  He was not pleased but he put up with it. A few bargains were found.  Dad had specific things he was looking for, and he managed to find them.

Friday Sebastian was off school. Dad stayed home with Seb while I took the other boys to school.  Then it was on to more shopping! We went to the mall then into downtown Greenville.  Dad loves downtown.  That evening we went out for a nice meal.

It was awesome having dad here.  We did lots of chatting and catching up.  We speak weekly anyway, but it was nice to have him here.  Don't think he could quite get his head around the amount of running around we do, or the amount of time and effort that it takes to care for 3 crazy Children! A week was too short, and sad to think he will probably be our last visitor.  The boys miss they grand parents a lot.  But we know it is not forever.  This time next year we will be back in the UK, and seeing them will be a lot easier! 

I took grandad to the airport on Halloween.  He missed all the fun of trick and treat.  I did a lot of driving the week he was here, and I certainly felt tired for it! 

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