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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gold, Gardens and Gamboling

After a quick lunch back at LD's house we headed north (sort of) to Kershaw to find the Haile Gold Mine. I'm not up on the genealogy but I do know that after the Revolutionary War some Hailes went to South Carolina and we always like to claim that they're kinfolk. Hey - it's the south. Who cares if it's true.

LD had been to the mine sometime last winter and brought us a souvenir as well as the sad news that the mine has not been in the family for a looong time.  So much for long lost inheritances.

Still - the name stuck and left quite a legacy from a road

to a Church 

After poking about the mine and chatting with the guard on duty we headed back into Hartsville to explore the Kalmia Gardens . Built on the site of the Thomas Hart (Hartsville) house - where he raised 8 kids on this spacious porch - and environs.

It's a beautiful garden, initiated by the daughter (-in-law) of another Hartsville family -  "Miss May" Coker. In Hartsville, everything is Coker. Coker real estate, Coker College - Lots of civic minded Cokers who left a real legacy for local citizens and tourists alike.

This is one of my favorite types of outdoor garden-isn landscapes - the boardwalk through wetlands. I could spend a life time traipsing around these shady reflecting swamps and streams. It's all about, green and black and freshly moist smelling.

The gardens are now maintained by Coker College.

 Here is TheQueen with LD peering at our reflection in the black swampy water.

These boardwalk paths went on forever.

                                              There was even an

Complete with students!

 Even though the gardens are not particularly large - 35 acres is big enough to get lost in - especially if they're threaded with waterways and shaded by tunnels of greenery.

We couldn't see it all though we traipsed about a good while - and took it easy too on smooth wooden benches and mossy stone seats. It was just all lovely and peaceful and meditative.

Back home there were hungry dogs who wanted to bark and dance and play some more. Dinner was Mexican and More Cake. Bedtime came early for TheQueen who had walked 10 miles by the end of the day. Just enough to make sleep delicious but not too much that she wasn't ready for more on Sunday.

We went next to see some of the countryside closer to Hartsville. It's very different from home - even the parts that aren't exactly the Sand Hills are very sandy. The narrow strip of farming land that runs down the middle of SC butts up to the Sand Hills just a few miles outside of town. Autumn flowers were rank with morning glory blossoms and 5 kinds of legumes!

There was also beautyberry blooming everywhere.... well. I guess they weren't blooming but they were beautifying anyway. Beautyberry is native from Virginia south to Florida and in parts of the country that have a similar climate. I love it and always intended to plant it in my (now defunct) garden. Maybe it's time to act on that intention, though. Maybe.

We discovered a Ghost House too - can you find it in this photo?

This was a walk that included dogs - Happy leaping field dolphins sniffing the air as they explored each new tempting scent. We knew there was a long drive ahead for this little white pup and we wanted to wear her out if we could.

All too soon it was time to wave goodbye - weep weep - but this is just our FIRST visit to the little white house in Carolina. We'll be back. Till we are, we'll have these photos to remember. Bye bye William. See you in October!

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