Sunday, April 20, 2014

Exploring Your Own Backyard - A Day With My Son Exploring My Hometown

It is Easter Sunday, and I am on day three of a 10 day break from work.

I have a relatively stressful job. Though I enjoy it, this break is a blessing. And what am I planning to do? Where we will spend our time? What will we explore?

Well, in addition to the online course I am taking online with Hannah Marcotti, I'm going to be spending alot of time around here.

Exploring our own backyard.

Last Saturday, I did this with my son, when we attended The Abbeville French Heritage Festival. I grew up in Abbeville, and though I visit there often, it is generally only to see my parents. Though it is not far at all from where we are now, I'd never once taken my son just to explore the town where I grew up. Beyond his grandparent's house, he didn't know Abbeville much at all.

We changed that last Saturday. From car shows to home tours to just strolling around, we made the most of the afternoon, and the boy got to know just a little bit more about my hometown. This is important to me. Connections are our history, and they create our story. I wanted my son to see my hometown as I had, growing up. To stroll the streets, visit the sites, eat at the cafes, visit the old homes, smell the magnolias on Main Street, and look up at the sky through a Dogwood tree's blossoms.

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story. :-)

A meal and a message! And one of the best meals I've had lately at New Milano's Cafe

Thow in a car show on the town square...

And a walk up the street, to check out those old servant's quarters at the McGowan-Barksdale-Bundy House on Main Street. So often I explored those as a child, but now they are only open during tours.

The little red caboose is now location on the grounds of the MBB House, though I'm not sure why. Nevertheless, all boys love trains! So it was a nice surprise for him to be able to check this out as well!

And what is more Southern than bare legs and boots?

A girl has to shop, and Abbeville has some of the cutest boutiques and eclectic antique shops in the South!

I fell in love with this at Just Off Main, a wonderful new antique shop located at 101 Church Street.

A candle holder made by a local farmer from an old whiskey barrel siding. So simple, and so zen...of course, it had to come home with us. :-)

Last on our sight seeing agenda was the jewel of Abbeville, the famous Burt Stark Mansion, located just a few block down the street from where I grew up.

We've passed this house hundreds of time enroute to see my parents. On this day, however, we toured it, and my son learned many things about not only the house itself, but the history of his mother's town of birth. And he loves history and old things just as I do. I'd toured the house only once before myself, when I wasn't much older than him.

There is nothing like closing a wonderful day by gazing up through Dogwood blossoms at a clear blue sky. We ended our trip to Abbeville with a visit to my parent's home, to tell them all about our adventures and share a meal.

And our souvenier of a day spent exploring my hometown looks lovely in our den.

When you are craving a bit of adventure, remember your own backyard, or backyards nearby. You just might be surprised what kind of adventure, interesting history, wonderful food and intriguing people you might find there. Our guide at the Burt-Stark house was lively, informed, and patient with my son's many questions. And our meal at New Milano's Cafe, well, I just can't say enough about the tasty food and friendly service. I'll close this post with an image of our view from cafe, both inside and out.

While I adore travel, I've also come to learn the importance of everyday exploring...becoming familiar in a new way with familiar places, and introducing our children to our own history. It's so important to introduce them to all sorts of places, from grand and far away to small, lovely places right in our own backyards!

Happy Travels!

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