Universal Studios - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

After talking about it for years, we took advantage of the long weekend and made the trip to Universal Studios in Orlando to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I am a huge Harry Potter nerd fan and this trip was above and beyond what I could ever have imagined!
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We drove down on Friday and made it to Orlando just in time for lunch at Cowfish on the Citywalk. We chose the two day, park to park pass and it worked out great for us.  The parks weren't too crowded due to the time of year and the weather was perfect both days.  We spent the entire afternoon on Friday riding all of the rides at both Universal parks, completely avoiding Harry Potter world. There were tons of rollercoasters to ride and plenty to do, see, and keep us occupied until closing time.  Our favorite parts were The Hulk rollercoaster and the giant Lard Lad donuts in Springfield.
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We woke up bright and early on Saturday to get to the park at opening. Our plan was to spend the entire day exclusively exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This park absolutely met and exceeded my expectations. I was almost in tears taking in all of the little details - everything seemed so real and true to the books!  We started in Hogsmeade (this is in Islands of Adventure) and rode the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster from Triwizard Tournament.  Next, we took the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley (inside of Universal Studios).  The park to park is vital for seeing both areas as well as riding the Hogwarts Express, which was awesome!
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Getting off the Hogwarts Express, you arrive in London.  We were total suckers - walking around London, wondering why there wasn't much Harry Potter stuff, and feeling a bit disappointed.  We saw a few people walking out of a brick alleyway between the London homes so we decided to check it out and just like in the movies, out of nowhere was the entire magical world of Diagon Alley!  It was incredible!  Here, we rode Escape from Gringotts, drank butterbeers, did some window shopping for wands and robes, and ate lunch at The Leaky Cauldron.  The Hogwarts Express is a different ride in either direction so we took it back to Hogsmeade to explore more.
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Back in Hogsmeade, we wandered through the Hogwarts castle and rode the Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff.  We did a movie marathon leading up to our trip to refresh all of the details in our memories and it made everything that much more exciting!  I might be a total kid at heart because I am already so anxious to go back!
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VMFAT-501 Marine Corps Ball

Happy 241st Birthday to the finest fighting force in the world!  Nothing makes me more proud than being this guy's date to the Marine Corps ball.  This year, the ball was held at the gorgeous Marriott resort on Hilton Head Island and we had a blast.  It's hard to believe this is our seventh ball together!  This lifestyle isn't always easy but I am so grateful for the incredible friendships and adventures it has brought to our lives and I am so proud of these wonderful people who selflessly serve our great country.  God bless the Marine Corps!
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Because of course when you are good friends, why wouldn't you have the same taste in dresses?! HAHA
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Rose Hill Polo Match

After numerous years at the Foxfield Races, it's no secret that we love attending horse events.  What is there not to love about dressing up, drinking wine, and socializing outdoors?!  Attending the 23rd annual Okatie Rotary polo match at Rose Hill Plantation in Bluffton was a no brainer.  The weather was gorgeous and it was the perfect way to spend a Fall Sunday afternoon.
Okatie Rotary Polo Match Bluffton, SC
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Habersham Harvest Festival + 10 Market Chef's Dinner

Sometimes (okay, most times) I can't figure out if our neighborhood is real life or just a dream.  I think I am still just as in awe of the place as I was when we signed our lease last year.  At the end of October, Habersham hosted its annual Harvest Festival and the weather could not have been more perfect.  70 and sunny with just a bit of a crisp fall breeze; it was absolutely perfect for walking around.  In addition to numerous food, drink, and craft vendors, there was a ferris wheel and a carousel set up right in the market, a live bluegrass band playing all day, a petting zoo, and horse drawn carriage rides.
Habersham Harvest Festival
Habersham Harvest Festival
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We kicked off the weekend on Friday night at the adults only "Wine and Wheel".  This was an adults-only event that included wine, live music, and nighttime rides on the ferris wheel!
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Saturday we spent all day enjoying the festival.  Hard to believe all of the action was just steps outside of our home!  We enjoyed local beers from SILO, lots of food from the food trucks, and even took a horse drawn carriage ride through our neighborhood.
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We decided to stay in the neighborhood all weekend and made reservations for the chef's dinner at 10 Market.  We have visited Tyler and Rick numerous times for lunch (their kale salad is amazing!) but this was our first dinner.  These dinners are intimate, seating just ten people, with a different themed menu each weekend.  Each course was incredibly flavorful and delicious and prepared with such intention and care.  10 Market is a real treat to have in Beaufort, and especially right in Habersham.  Truly a foodie experience that I can't wait to go back for again!

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