Thanksgiving shopping in North and South Carolina

For the first time EVER, I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with my parents. Instead of going home, I’ll be driving all across down to South Carolina to spend the weekend with one of my best friends who invited me and a few other of our besties. I don’t believe my parents said yes!

While I love turkey and remembering the pilgrims, what I really love about Thanksgiving is the shopping. Things go super on sale and I know some people hate the crowds, but I think its fun to walk through a jam packed mall.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the best of the best shopping malls in North Carolina and South Carolina. Some I’ve been to and the rest come recommended by friends who live throughout these two states.

North Carolina malls:

South Carolina malls:

Obviously there are many many more, but these should keep you busy enough this Thanksgiving season.

Happy Thanksgiving Day Sale Shopping!
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Back in North Carolina… with a car!

Back to school this year is definitely at its most exciting. First of all, it’s my senior year, which is pretty cool in itself, but more importantly…I have a car! My mom got a company car, so my dad took her car and I got to take his! I drove back down to school with another friend from Richmond and now I’m parked outside my dorm, ready to make a list of all the things in North Carolina that I want to do in the next few months. I plan on driving all over the state and seeing and doing everything! Senior year is supposed to be fun, right? This area I’m starting with is kinda near Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville. Sort of near the North Carolina-Virginia Border in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region.

It’s gonna be a great year!
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Alone on the road: South Dakota to Missouri

It’s been a long time…
Ryan flew back to Boston last week for his training and left me with the car and I drove by myself from Custer State Park to my sister’s house in Missouri, which was about 1000 miles. I did stop for a day in Omaha to visit my friend Tiffany who’s been begging me to come visit for years. And now I’m finally at Juliette’s!

Juliette is my sister and I love her so so so much and I’m so happy to be here! We’re 11 months apart and grew up as best friends, but over the last few years since she’s moved to Salem, I’ve barely seen her. She had a bit of a fight with our parents so doesn’t like to come back east so often…loooong story.

Anyways, she’s an artist and a musician and just keeps picking up new instruments and skills. I got the book smarts and she got the arts smarts (well, she really got both). What can you do?

I’ll be here for a few weeks until I head out to Wyoming for the Rainbow Gathering so have really just been taking it easy. She took me to Montauk State Park which is practically in her back yard and since Mark Twain National Forest is so close, we’ll probably be spending some time there as well.

Juliette just made me blackberry tea and we’re going to go sit out on the porch. laters!
(Ryan I miss you!)
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Old Lady to visit Vegas…

I leave tomorrow for my solo-woman-on-the-road-roadtrip. I’m all packed, I’ve said my goodbyes at work, I’ve stocked up on maps that cover any route I may decide to take between here and Portland, Oregon. Slightly nervous about the long drives by myself, but I’ve got healthy snacks to munch on, lots of Beatles CDs to listen to, and eight audiobooks that’ll keep me entertained when I need some new voices around me. I’ve got an extra battery for my cell phone, a first aid kit, and a list of emergency contacts and doctors’ numbers.

I just have to take some deep breaths—I don’t believe that I’m going to do this! One month of driving, hiking, and seeing states I’ve never been to. Mostly I’ll be visiting national parks, gardens, and museums, but first…

First stop: Las Vegas! Do you believe that I’m going to do that? Is that not a place for a 60 year old newly divorced woman?—that’s my question. But I guess I’ll find out. It’s about a five hour drive from Phoenix and I’ve already booked a spot at the Venetian Resort, located on The Strip, and I’ve already got tickets to Cirque de Soliel and a spa treatment at The Spa at the Mirage Las Vegas which I think is where Siegfried and Roy have their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Do you know that I haven’t ever had a professional massage in my whole life? I think I deserve one by now, don’t you?

Basically, I plan on giving myself the real “Vegas Experience” as I’ve always imagined it (plus or minus a few things that I’m just too….too old for, really). I’m going to indulge and relax and spend money, go to shows, and see the lights. For me, indulgences like that are as sinful as I get, so that’ll be my version of Sin City.

A young man at work even taught me how to play Texas Holdem!

There are some beautiful scenic drives in the area through the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyon, so after a few days in Vegas, I’ll head that way for a drive and then continue going north.

Wish me luck! We’ll definitely be in touch!
Martha


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Ahhhhhhh… blissful travels

Greetings friends. I am at peace. I have been…injected it seems…with such soaring heights of tranquility that I’m afraid to operate heavy machinery. (which is why Ryan is driving…we just stopped at an internet café…somewhere. wow, I have no idea where we are.) I have this huge goofy smile ahhhhh

I feel like I just came back from a spa. The Lake Maria State Park spa, yeah.

Meanwhile, Ryan was supposed to go back to Boston for some training thingy, but they pushed it off till June 1st which is good b/c he soooo didn’t want to leave MN. And that works out perfectly b/c now we’ve got two more weeks to get to my sister’s. I definitely need to look at a map. I’m smart, I swear, but when it comes to geography I’m a complete airhead.

Ryan just told me we’re already on our way to Badlands National Park and then to Custer State Park…and yeah, that does sound familiar. I’m not even joking. when I say I’ve been in a daze, I meant it! I’ve been in a daze for days. ha.

He even already booked a hostel. So that’s cool, Badlands here we come!

I’m so rude, I didn’t even ask how all of you are doing. I hope you’re all well!


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Back on the road (or air, this time)!

OK, so I like New Jersey, but not THAT much. There’s only so much sitting around and watching TV and only so much Monmouth Mall I can take. Moving to NYC soonish so don’t really feel the need to hang out there now. So, I spoke to Granny a few days ago and she said I should come back down to Florida to hang out with her, but this time to her Miami condo (Granny did very well for herself as a young woman, as she likes to remind her grandchildren often). I found an amazing ticket on JetBlue and I’m off tomorrow! Knowing Granny, I’m sure it’ll be more malls and aquariums, but I’d say hands down that Palm Beach or South Beach beat the Great Egg Harbor River any day, sentiment included (ha, I won’t go into that…).

Meanwhile I have a friend nannying for a month at Fort Myers Beach, so I’ve already gotten permission to take Granny’s car and road trip across the peninsula to stay with her for a few days.

OK, just have to head to Monmouth Mall one more time for a new pair of flip-flops. Will update you on my travel whereabouts in a few days!

Evolving into a nomad chick…

My friend Robert told me that the Portland Japanese Garden is not to be missed, so I’ll add that to my itinerary. He’s offered to take me through Smith Rock State Park since he lives nearby.

Also, I’m thinking that I should rent a car to drive up to Oregon and then fly back to Phoenix, otherwise it’s just too many hours driving by myself. Speaking of which, I’ve been doing some research on women traveling alone. First of all, I’m reading Women’s Travel Writing 2008, which seriously makes me laugh and cry on every page—I’m so easily moved it’s ridiculous.

Found a great site with advice for solo women travelers — maybe i just like the ring of it, nomad chick—could that be me?