Our winter trip is coming to a close and it’s time to think of heading home. Spending the winter in Florida has been delightful. We made new friends, reunited with old friends, saw some really awesome places and we enjoyed the warm Florida weather tremendously! However, our winter get-a-way isn’t over until we pull into our driveway. The adventure of discovering new places still burns bright and we intend to enjoy every moment as we continue our journey.
It’s Not Goodbye….It’s See You Later!
So we say our goodbyes to Carol and Ann and with heavy hearts, we begin our drive north. It’s a cool and sunny morning and a nice day for a long drive. The traffic is heavy and continues to be throughout the day. We stop at this Georgia rest stop and it seems like everyone is leaving Florida with us.
We are taking a slower pace on this trip home. Our rule of thumb is get there by 2pm or drive no more than 6 hours. We use the Campendium app to find a place when we are fairly close to stopping.
Colleton State Park, SC
Our stop tonight is Colleton State Park. It is a quaint and rustic park that sits in a wetland forest and is only a few miles off the exit.
There are probably not more than 30 campsites. As we drive through the campground, we see a drive-through site, which we take so we don’t have to unhitch the toad.
The ranger is super friendly and with his southern accent gives us a hardy greeting. And Heidi too! Along with several ear scratches, he gives Heidi lots treats and not just ordinary treats, but fancy treats. Heidi is in hog heaven, or should I say dog heaven!
After we check in and pay, we are about to leave the office and he says, “wait….I have some treats for you too”! And with a big smile he pulls out a bag of candy. It’s people like him that add a little brightness to your day!
We take a walk around and see that the park is quite lovely. Azaleas are in bloom.
We walk through the woodlands. It is quiet and peaceful. We have really enjoyed seeing the signs of spring as we are heading north: robins, bluebirds, hummingbirds, forsythia, daffodils and tulips!
Heidi is loving the smells, as we are. The air is cool and crisp.
It’s such a pretty wetland forest and the trees are imprinted with natures wrath.
We take a walk on the Cypress Swamp Nature Trail and see hardwoods and river birches thriving along the riverside.
Neuseway Nature Park and Campground
On the second day of our drive, we stop in the small town of Kinston, North Carolina. We camp at the Neuseway Nature Park and Campground. This is a county park and the reviews were good, so we give it a try.
Another friendly welcoming and we begin to understand the meaning of southern hospitality. The office where we checked in is also a nature center with animals ranging from snakes, lizards, prairie dogs and a talking bird. Kathy was enamored with the Macaw, while Linda checked in. The bird said hello, happy birthday and when she started to walk away he uttered a curse word!
We hooked up to a site that was in a grassy opening beside a big tree.
From our door we had a nice view of a lazy flowing river.
Linda enjoys a brief swing. It was a relaxing place to sit.
As we strolled around the park, we see inviting places to sit quietly or try your luck at fishing.
We learn that the little town of Kinston is quite famous.
People come from all over to eat at The Chef and the Farmer restaurant. The owner is Vivian Howard and she has her own cooking show on PBS.
We look at the menu and see some unique dishes such as Beef Tartare or NC Shrimp and Grits. It was quite fancy, expensive and requires reservations, so we decide to go across the street to this oyster bar.
The reviews were good and we were surprised to learn that the owner of this restaurant is also Vivian Howard. She wanted to create a restaurant with a casual atmosphere and good vibes. We think she did. The restaurant is a brewery and we try a couple of the local beers. The food is homemade, even the hamburg buns. The special for the evening was ribs. We really enjoyed our dinner and would definitely go back if we were there longer.
DAY 3 – Lots of Sunshine
Although the traffic has been steady, we are grateful to have three days of sunshine. It certainly makes the drive more pleasant. We are stopping in Delaware for a visit with family before heading home. Our route takes us over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We actually intend to boondock right on the bay bridge. Yes, that’s right, they allow you to camp for 48 hours. We thought it would be something unique to do and we like to experience new things. As we get closer, we are sad to see that the rest stop is under construction and there is no stopping at all.
As we approach the first tunnel, we see a large cargo ship crossing over.
YIKES! Hope it gets across before we drive through!
We made it safely. We decide to stop at the Cherrystone Family Campground in Cape May, VA located right on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and get a site overlooking the water.
This is the view of our campsite looking the other way.
It is out of season, so there are only a few campers.
We sit out and enjoy the warmth of the sun and treat ourselves to a brewski. The view is stunning.
It’s moments like these, that make the journey really special.
Since we were only a couple of hours from our destination, we spent the morning exploring the area. We went into the cute town of Cape Charles, VA and explored the area. They have a nice beach, lots of rental houses and an old fashioned pharmacy that has a soda fountain. Too bad we were too early for a malted milkshake or vanilla coke!
Kiptopeke State Park
We then wandered over to Kiptopeke State Park. This park is beautiful and right on the water. We check out the campground and explore a bit. There is a nice walk that leads out to a view of some old World War II cement ships. These ships were used to transport materials and were made of concrete due to the shortage of steel! Concrete hulled ships float. They were all sunk in 1949 to serve as a breakwater.
We spend a week in Delaware.
Shortly after we arrive in Delaware, the weather takes a turn. It’s cold and the wind is relentless! We make the best of it and visit family and friends. We really miss the warm weather and it is mentally challenging taking our daily walks. Despite of the cold weather, we want to go home, even though the thermometer says it is 10 degrees colder! So after a days drive, we pull in to our driveway. It’s cold and there are a few snow flurries. Heidi doesn’t seem to mind.
While we’re unloading the camper, Heidi settles herself in a grassy spot and sits contently as she takes in the surroundings. Wonder what she is thinking? Like us, we think she’s feeling that it’s good to be home.
April 10, 2018 – We’re Home!
So our winter trip has officially ended. We were gone just a little over three months. We’re looking forward to enjoying the beautiful Pennsylvania summer weather, having fun with our friends and planning our next travel adventure. We’ll keep you posted!