Friday, March 19, 2010

Vacation Day 2, Southport, NC

Weather-wise, today was absolutely perfect from sunrise to sunset. I finally rolled out of bed at 9:30; Sara had already showered and gone down to breakfast. Our plan was to go to Orton Plantation Gardens for a photo expedition.

The day was warm enough for me to realize that we would likely see reptiles, possibly even alligators. As we drove along the entrance road a turtle sunning on a log confirmed my guess. We stopped off to pay admission, then drove to the parking area to begin our walk. The tour starts at the plantation chapel, which can be booked for weddings:

The doors of the chapel were open, and there were some Carolina Wrens flying around inside, probably looking for nesting sites, since it's mating season for the little birds.

At this point of the season the camellias are in full bloom, and they are everwhere throughout the gardens:

The azaleas aren't yet in bloom, but the flower buds are showing on the bushes, and promise to make their appearance in a week or two, at which point the gardens will be even more full of color than with the camellias.

The paths of the gardens lie along the shores of the Cape Fear River, with a fringe area of flats that had once been given over to rice growing; now there is what appears to be volunteer rice plants growing in the old agricultural area.

The gardens are beautiful in places, as you might imagine:

What is that I see across the lagoon? Is it...yes, it is!

This was the first of four allgators we saw at the gardens; here's #2:

We also saw a rabbit, what looked to be a swamp rabbit, the same species that attacked former president Jimmy Carter:

Here's my personal favorite of the photos I took today, a tree that was leaning over, probably from early in its life, as the branches that originally grew straight outward now had grown to point toward the sunny sky:

It was just a lovely day:

The walk around the gardens (approx. 1 mile) combined with the cool, sweet spring air gave us a good appetite for lunch. We stopped off at Fuzzie Mae's, a soul food restaurant in Southport that we had noticed on a previous trip. Sara ordered fried chicken, I had cheeseburgers. The food was good, and my burgers were truly great. The restaurant was filled with local workers from the Southport area. The only thing that marred the lunch was the unprofessional behavior by one of the waitresses, who complained about a stingy tipper loudly enough for me to hear her. I thought about mentioning her to the manager at the cash register, but ultimately decided not to.

After lunch we sat at the waterfront in downtown Southport, where there were a lot of people out, enjoying the sun.

Sea gulls and other birds flock on the green, waiting for handouts:

After a while we drove out to Caswell Beach and sat beachside, watching the ocean and the people enjoying the beach. A small pod of dolphins was swimming offshore, feeding. After an hour or so we drove back to the hotel, where Sara had a well-deserved nap before supper, which was at Captain Stanley's seafood restaurant. After dinner we went to Oak Island beach to watch the sunset:


Rev. Paul said...

It's nice to see all that greenery & flowers; we still have over a foot of snow on the ground. Nice pics & critters, too. Thanks for sharing with us.

Borepatch said...

I thought about mentioning her to the manager at the cash register, but ultimately decided not to.

But instead you thought you'd give them hundreds of page views! ;-)

Bob said...

@Borepatch: while a few people might read this blog, the number of them who will travel to Southport and eat at Fuzzie Mae's is probably minimal, and my comment was as much an indictment of the stingy tippers (out of a table of four working-class white guys, only one left a $2 tip) as of the waitress.