Friday, December 22, 2017

Hometown Christmas

By Laurie Bower Epps

I confess, when I first moved here, I thought it'd be a temporary move. Born in Atlanta, and raised there till the age of nine, I thought I was merely migrating back home from California. I lived in California for roughly 28 years. Mostly in a town called Santa Clarita about an hour Northwest of Los Angeles. I loved California, and despite some of the negative publicity, I thrived out there. However, I did work on a produce farm and was somewhat protected from "the industry" as show business is called from Angelino's.

That's not to say that being much closer to home doesn't have it's fair share of merits, because it does. To boast, this region is rich in colonial history and draws more of its roots in the Revolutionary War than most realize. Not to mention the rich food, and hospitality that the South is so known for. I confess, I too, now "bless your little heart" and drink my fair share of sweet tea. 

Geographically speaking, this part of the country is splendid for some of the most picturesque hiking trails that I've seen in this country. From mountains (where I live) to midlands and even the low country (coast), there's definitely no shortage of new places to explore. Part of what has kept my posts coming in the infinite amount of new material.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Two Christmas Belle's

By Laurie Bower Epps

PENDLETON, SC-- Sort of an annual tradition for my youngest and I is to head out to nearby Pendleton for their annual open house for their local historical homes. Pendleton is located in the upstate of South Carolina about 45 minutes south of Greenville, and next door to infamous Clemson.

What made this a Christmas to remember is that the Upstate had snow! This far south, we don't see too much of the cold, wet, and white stuff on a regular basis. To my surprise, the Pendleton Historic Foundation held their open houses as planned. So Kudos to my friends in Pendleton.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Barrington Hall

By Laurie Bower-Epps

Every family has it's holiday traditions, and a new one is that on Black Friday, Dad & I go to a historic home in the greater Atlanta area. I practically grew up listening to the Atlanta Symphony, waiting for my brother's practice for the Atlanta Boys Choir, in Girl Scouts, or giving tours of Bullock Hall. Last year, I learned that Bullock Hall is one of three belles in Roswell, Georgia so it's my mission to see the other two.

Anyone that is here in the south can tell you that the weather is completely confused this year. It'll be too hot for fall clothes one day and have us reaching for winter clothes the next. So it's not uncommon for us to be in a short sleeved shirt on Monday, but ready for the arctic tundra the next. The day this adventure took place, it was unusually hot, and today, we have snow in the forecast. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Burt-Stark Mansion

By Laurie Bower-Epps

My love affair with the town of Abbeville, SC began as a salesperson a couple of years ago. I deliberately would drive through Abbeville, even if it was out of the way on the way to nearby Greenwood, SC. Right in the middle of a bird's foot shaped intersection sits the stately Burt-Stark Mansion, and I promised myself that I'd see the inside of this historic home if it's the last thing I do.

My last trip to Abbeville, my youngest and I went to the Abbeville Opera House to watch a play. I read in a travel brochure for Michelin employees that I really needed to stop into a place called Yoder's Dutch Oven. There actually is a Mennonite community in this small community, and the food is superb every place that I've eaten. However, this proved to be a very different and wonderful trip. Abbeville didn't disappoint us. I'd recommend a visit to this quaint southern town if you have the leisure of road tripping in the southeast.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

By Laurie Bower Epps

Sorry I took a week off to plan entries for the holidays. I really hope you'll be inspired. This outing, my youngest and I set out for my home state of Georgia. To give you a little geography of my area, we're actually closer to the Northern Georgia than most of our own state. In my Georgia tourism brochures, I just felt inspired by this old bridge. Though excruciating, I did wait for the fall to see it in its grandest light.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Out in the Woods at Oconee Station

By Laurie Bower Epps

My favorite part of American History is the Revolutionary War, and just afterwards. Partially this is due to my hobby of genealogy. I discovered that I've got ancestors on both sides of the war, and usually brothers. Although I admit, my father's family leans more strongly towards the Tory side of the war. 

For 28 years of my life, I lived out in California on the other coast. Now that I'm back in one of the original 13 colonies, I'm determined to uncover as much Revolutionary War History as possible. In fact, coming in August 2018, there will be an entire month of early colonial sites from Virginia. So please bear with me. For now, sit back and enjoy a beautiful autumn day with my friend Darlene and my youngest daughter Chloe.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Hauntingly Beautiful Robert Mills House

By Laurie Bower Epps

As many of you know, I'm also a Girl Scout leader. So when a Cemetery Hunt was in the statewide magazine as an outing with the girls, I couldn't resist. But as many a blogger will tell you, things didn't go as smoothly as they could've gone. Columbia, South Carolina is roughly two hours away and coupled with some really bad traffic due to construction and a car accident, we arrived roughly ten minutes late. Alas, the tour had already left, and we spent the bulk of our day trying to track them down. When we did finally find the
m, the tour was about to conclude, and there seemed no point to me to continue on anyway. When my daughter came to me whining from wearing the flip-flops I told her not to wear, and hungry, we set off on an adventure all our own.

Since I noticed that our starting point had my creative juices flowing, I decided to head back there and get a few pictures for all of you. Of course, we found out the last tour had also already left, and we decided to take advantage of the fact the grounds were still available for a couple more hours.

Friday, October 13, 2017

BMW and the Bobbysoxer

By Laurie Bower Epps

Settled by the I-85 Freeway in Spartanburg County, the BMW Zentrum is nestled roughly 2 exits north of the Greenville & Spartanburg airport. BMW has created a lot of jobs for folks here in the Upstate of SC. Their productivity is unparalleled with 1400 cars produced daily at this local plant. Having all daughters and not being mechanically inclined myself, I was surprised when my youngest asked to come and look at the "neat" luxury cars. So this blog in particular is her moment to shine.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Walnut Grove Plantation (SC)

By Laurie Bower Epps

When my middle child was in school, I homeschooled her so she could continue to take ballet. Once we were on the east coast, I'd already learned that it was a good practice to become more involved with other homeschoolers in the community. A frequent haunt was the Walnut Grove Plantation in Roebuck, SC. Nestled up in Spartanburg County, this revolutionary gem is waiting to be discovered.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Wren's Nest

By Laurie Bower Epps

When I had an interview down in Atlanta, I couldn't resist the temptation to find a hidden gem in Atlanta. Find a real gem, I did indeed. Since I started this blog modeling it after my friend Dana's fashion blog, I was hard pressed to find someplace she hadn't been. But due to my love of literature, the Wren's Nest was uncovered.

The Uncle Remus Stories was one of my first storybooks as a child. Much like Grimms Fairy Tales, most of the stories were originally based in oral traditions and also taught a moral lesson. But I loved the nutty stories of that kooky rabbit, Brer Rabbit. He was always getting into one scrape or another. Some of you maybe familiar with The Song of the South that was produced by Disney which was loosely based on the original stories.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Poinsett Bridge

By Laurie Bower Epps

My dear brother Robert passed away on September 1, 2017 due to complications with cancer. I debated not doing this blog, but to clear my head, I went hiking this past Sunday with spectacular results. After reading many articles saying that GPS would steer me wrong, I worried a little bit about navigation. However, just off the Cherokee Foothills Highway, and 25 SC Highway interchange, the Poinsett Bridge is settled above the Cliffs Golf Course in plain sight from the road.

The medieval look about the bridge struck both my youngest and I immediately. We dreamed of everything from Camelot, to fairies with this magnificent bridge as our backdrop in the distance. The weather was perfect for such an outing as this... I imagined taking pictures of my middle daughter and her boyfriend here, and I hope to go back one day to do just that.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Carolina Raptor Center

By Laurie Bower Epps

My dear friend invited me up to Charlotte for a girls weekend, and I couldn't resist the urge to go. However, I'd made plans with another friend for the weekend, and so I asked if I could bring her along. Since they're both dear friends of mine, they both responded, "Sure!" Undoubtedly, it was the most fun I've had all year. But I didn't forget all of you.... it also seemed to be the perfect opportunity to get in another fashion blog.

While we didn't get to see nearby Latta Plantation, I did get into see the Carolina Raptor Center up the street. From my homeschooling days, I was familiar with the area, and already knew of a few nearby possibilities.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Horseshoe Falls

By Laurie Bower Epps

For those that know me, know that I'm a Girl Scout. I've participated with scouts for most of my life. I've even been a leader for all three of my daughter's troops. The oldest took to scouting, but due to custody battles, she wasn't able to attend things like sleepover camp due to a custody exchange or whatever. My middle child, instead chose dancing over Girl Scouts, and was a student of ballet for more than twelve years. My youngest, however, took it to a whole 'nother level! By the end of her first year, Chloe had more patches than both of her sisters combined spanning four years of scouting total. My Chloe is very into scouting as I was when I was a girl.

Why I'm telling you all this, is my youngest was at sleepaway camp for a week this summer, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to set out on an adventure. After picking her up from camp, we found a roadside barbeque place that just called to me. As we ate our lunch/dinner, we discussed options of a good stopping place on the way home. First, we considered the beach only to find it much further than we thought. Chloe agreed to see an historic mill halfway home as a concession since she just wanted to go home.
Musgrove Mill

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sunflowers Over Clemson

By Laurie Bower Epps

My affinity for sunflowers began as a lover of art. Very influenced by the Impressionists in my own painting, I loved the cheerful look of the sunflower as depicted by Van Gogh and Monet. I had hoped to see the famous fields that Monet recreated in some of his paintings while I was in France, but alas, I did not. 

My first experience witnessing them in the wild was while I was working as a tour guide for Lombardi's Ranch just north of Los Angeles in the quaint little suburb of Santa Clarita. They had massive display of them near Halloween called Scarecrow Alley, where local groups would stage scenes of everything from favorite movies to television shows. These groups would participate for prizes too, and mostly, it was just a lot of fun. 

Since moving to the upstate of South Carolina 11 years ago, about mid-summer, they can be viewed in the controlled wild in almost any direction of my home. I've come to look forward to seeing them every year, and I hope my first attempt of photographing with them will be inspiring and cheerful for all of you.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Traveler's Rest in Toccoa, GA

By Laurie Bower Epps

Since my week off from work proved to be really hot and uneventful, my youngest and I set off on an adventure. Not to be confused with Traveler's Rest in South Carolina, instead this is a homestead in the Northern Georgia mountains. Throughout its history, Traveler's Rest served as a post office, an inn, and even a makeshift hospital. Evidence of this is throughout the property.

Just to share with my readers, although I live in South Carolina, I actually live quite a bit closer to many points in Georgia than in my own state. Anderson is very close to the border, and this frontier home in Toccoa was only about a 45 minutes drive total.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Cowpens National Battlefield

By Laurie Bower Epps

Being a Southern girl, I've been bombarded with Civil War history my entire life. Not only is it a focal point of fifth grade history class, it becomes exasperated when you move to any other part of the country. It's as if my new school chums wanted me to defend the southern stance of The War of Northern Aggression. However, due to my passion for genealogy, my family lines are far more invested in the Revolutionary War. My ancestors are predominantly Tori's, but as most historians know and my family history will dictate, we have ancestors on both sides whom are usually brothers.

The first real history book I read out of school about the Revolutionary War is Jimmy Carter's book entitled, The Hornet's Nest. Through the years, my copy of the book has been lost, however, I did remember a crucial piece of information which places Cowpens National Battlefield at the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Due to this, I've been wanting to go since I moved to the upstate 11 1/2 years ago.

Friday, July 7, 2017

My Dirty Dancing Adventure

By Laurie Bower Epps

My two most watched of my favorite movies are Breakfast at Tiffany's and Dirty Dancing. Since a trip to the Big Apple wasn't in this blogger's budget, this blog is dedicated to the latter. Also, Dirty Dancing celebrates it's thirtieth anniversary this summer. Settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is the picturesque community of Lake Lure. This region is no stranger to the filmmakers using the natural beauty to their best advantage. Within walking distance of where Dirty Dancing was filmed is Chimney Rock State Park, the backdrop to the movie Last of the Mohicans. Just forty minutes north by car is Biltmore Estate in artsy and chic Asheville.

Friday, June 23, 2017

SC Botanical Gardens

By Laurie Bower Epps

Clemson is just next door to my current town of Anderson, so it makes sense that I've gravitated to places close to home. My daughters and I started coming here as a regular thing just a few years ago, and have found it a perfect spot for pictures. I finally realized that I've not shared this gem with my readers, and decided that the time is now.

With summer being well underway, my companions on this trip are my daughter and her bestie. I think they really enjoyed being included in my blog too. Nothing says summer like a pair of flip-flops with a cute pair of shorts. 

Last time, we'd come here the girls from my Girl Scout troop were earning their hiking badge. It was November. Much cooler than our hot, summery, June day.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Truly Pretty Place in Greenville

By Laurie Bower Epps

Terraced above nearby Greenville, SC there is a chapel with a spectacular view. For Memorial Day, I went with my dear friend, Jeff who is a vet. It seemed to be the perfect way to spend my holiday.

I first learned of "Pretty Place," as it's called by locals, from my classmate's Mary's Facebook cover photo. I just have to know where this spot is, I told her. That was my first knowledge of Symmes Chapel which is actually part of a YMCA campground. The best advice I received when visiting was to check their wedding schedule on the website before you go. It's a popular place for weddings.
Outside the Chapel

Friday, June 2, 2017

Artisphere 2017

Pictured with one of my besties at Liberty Bridge
By Laurie Bower Epps

Since 2005, folks have flocked from all over the upstate to Artisphere in downtown Greenville. Although my middle daughter, Ellen had performed in it for Carolina Ballet Theatre, it wasn't until this year that I was able to go to see it. Artists from all over the country rent booths for this arts & culture festival. Throughout its brief 12 year history, it's become recognized as a premier cultural event both regionally and nationally. Usually on Mother's Day weekend, I decided to head out with my youngest and 2 friends.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fort Hill at Clemson University

My  girls
By Laurie Bower Epps

Since before I moved to the upstate, I've followed websites like, travel websites, and chamber of commerce boards. I'm one of those who wants to know a bit about where I'm going to be living, and be aware of what's around me. I believe that we all should be aware of what's around us, since none of us are an island in this life.

Due to this curiosity, I've got quite the laundry list of places to visit while I live in this region. One of these places is the John C. Calhoun home on the campus of Clemson.

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Almost 49er Gold Rush Adventure

By Laurie Bower Epps

Although I've spent 28 years of my life in California, I'm really from Georgia. Therefore, I know the histories of both states pretty well. Most people have heard of the giant gold rush of 1849, and no offense to the NFL team, the 49ers, the first major gold rush in the United States was actually in No. Georgia 21 years earlier (1828).

Although I didn't deliberately make this parallelism, I went to Dahlonega, GA for my 49th birthday. Housed in the oldest courthouse in the state of Georgia, you'll find GA State Gold Museum (aka the Dahlonega Gold Museum).

Friday, April 7, 2017

My Glitzy, Girlie, and Green St. Patty's Day

Ready for My Night Out
By Laurie Bower Epps

Since my daughter did ballet for 12 years, I'm on the mailing list for the Peace Center. One day this past fall, I received the brochure for the shows of the upcoming season. When I saw that Celtic Woman was playing, and on St. Patrick's Day, being a good Irish lass, I had to go. To accelerate my excitement, it was also just 2 days before my 49th Birthday. By January 5th, I had the tickets for the show and the excitement was building.

As a former stage mom, I'd always heard about the great restaurants around the Peace Center, but I'd never been to any of them. I was always bustling around with Subway sandwiches or pizza from a nearby shop for the girls between showtimes. So I wanted to try one of the restaurants that I'd always heard so much about. My top 2 choices were Larkins on the River and Rick Erwin's West End Grille. I planned out the entire day. I started with getting my hair and nails done before heading out.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fashion Incognito

Museum Selfie
By Laurie Bower Epps

Sorry about my delay on writing this post, but I was sick with type A flu, or Chinese flu for most of the month. But this exciting post is too good to not put it out there in the cyber universe.

Many of you that know and love me, know that I'm a classic movies buff. I adore Audrey Hepburn, and I can actually say that she's influenced my own personal style to this very date. Other power hitters for my palette for fashion include also Jackie Onassis, Nancy Reagan, and my beloved mother.

The main reason I wanted to go to Columbia, other than my friend (of course), was to go to the exhibition called "Cut: Costume and the Cinema." My dear friend and college buddy was good enough to take me. I confess, I did believe the exhibition to focus on the classic movies from the 50s and 60s that I so adore, but instead, the focus was on period pieces that are more recent. No harm done, as an English major, I'd seen them all, and I adore them too.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Me and My Sexy Boots Take on the Capitol

By Laurie Bower Epps

This winter is unseasonably warm here in the south, so when my college buddy invited me down to the state capitol for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.

I didn't really dress for my fashion blog, but I was in my favorite weekend leggings. The big success was getting into my sexy boots that I bought the day before I broke my foot while walking the family dog in January.

My youngest is studying state history in school, a visit to the capitol building itself seemed to be in order while we were in town anyway. I really hope to revisit the capitol building and grounds again this spring.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Romance and the Rails in Lavonia, GA

By Laurie Bower Epps

Being a Georgia peach, I'm naturally drawn across the border to my state of birth. I've loved trains since I was a young girl, and I've shared this love with my daughter Ellen. Working sales helped me discover this little town of Lavonia, that's literally sprung up around the railroad tracks. Since love is a journey, I thought the perfect location for my daughter and her beau's valentines portraits was this town that's captured my heart.

Friday, February 3, 2017

We're All Mad at the Abbeville Opera House

By Laurie Bower Epps

Fall is so full of beautiful fall leaves and chances to go outside, this particular entry was on the virtual cutting room floor. My youngest's favorite book is Alice in Wonderland and this past summer, I read it aloud to her. As a salesperson during the week, I fell in love with the quaint little town of Abbeville, SC. When going to see clients in nearby Greenwood, I made it a point to take the route through Abbeville even though there are other routes a bit more direct. 

I did start doing some research on the town of Abbeville, and the most visited place in town is the Abbeville Opera House. With a few clicks of the mouse, I discovered my daughter's favorite book would grace the stage in early November. So I purchased tickets online, and we set out on our mommy & daughter date on a crisp fall morning.

The Swan House in Atlanta

By Laurie Bower Epps Many don't know that I'm really from Atlanta. Somehow, as I've gotten older, it just seems to be natura...