This was my first time in Aiken, and I can’t wait to go back. I was able to be working student, help the vet; I got to see some really cool things, Giving injection and drawing blood.
As most of you have heard, or seen we flew into and snow storm in NC, and drove to an Ice storm in Aiken. For a couple of days at the farm we lost electricity. This meant that chores that we as easy as giving 20 gallons of water to one horse were chores. Some days we would drive to the farm down the street with the 100 gallon gray tub, fill it with water and then hand bucket it out to the horses. (Otherwise we could never get it out of Erin’s truck). We would also fill large muck bucket style tubs just to get the horse clean afternoon or AM water... Then as the ice melted from the roof I had a good idea, we used melting ice from the roof, we did not have to luge the water back and forth for one afternoon. The weather in Aiken was very unpredictable, Am the horses all had their nice medium weight blankets on, mid-morning, they may need there light weights, then in afternoon the sun would be shining, and they would have nothing on. There was a lot of blanket changing going on. Who would have been so happy to have electricity, it would not have been bad, if there was working water. But we made great use of Erin’s headlamp flashlight.
At home, the house Erin stayed at, it was freezing. There were no hotel left in town, the closest was Augusta Ga. (we were not that desperate yet) Mike was, he didn’t come home that night. But we had fun. Erin an Mom drag a mattress from upstairs, (Erin was the lucky one who go to mattress surf down the stairs) and we all slept in the living room, the neighbor brought us a propane heater that we could warm up the room, and stay warm.
One morning, I skipped out on AM chores at the barn, and went to see the race horse’s breeze. It was very cool. I think my mom parked in the wrong spot because we got to stand right next to the track. After a little while of watching we went to The Track Kitchen. This is a very small place that you walk right in the kitchen, get coffee, and tell them what you want for breakfast. The history of the track kitchen is all over the walls, in newspaper articles, pictures etc. There are some great old pictures of the local are race horses, driving horses, and family pictures that made Aiken what it is today. One funning thing I learned is that there really is no racing in Aiken, there’s the Steeple Chase and the Triple Crown, but really horse racing, Aiken is more about training races horses. When you sit down in this little restaurant no one seats you, it was sit where ever you want. So we joined a table with some local people. It was really good; I meet a local equine surgical vet (who knows when you will need one of these), a local photographer who also owed a few race horses, and an older man. This older gentlemen was a grandfather, who’s picture were on the wall of him and his wife driving their horses. The photographer Barry Bornstein had taken. , this man drove horse, he still owned a few. He asked if “he could take me home to go for a ride. The one thing I didn’t get to see is Hitchcock gardens. Big Marissa says this is why she fell in love with Aiken; unfortunately due to the weather it was too dangerous. (Shhh don’t tell my dad but looks like we will have to plan another trip)
The next day we went to a museum in Aiken, it was pretty cool. There were stories about the hope diamond and how the Evenly Mclean, would summer in Aiken in the summers. Evelyn would wear the diamond while looking for art, digging in the garden. Evalyn would frequently misplace her diamond. Evalyn said that she was always misplacing it, only to recruit the help of friends and family into a “game” of finding it again. Even at times she wound adore it as a collar for her dogs. Evalyn eventually sold it to Harry Winston who donated it to the Smithsonian.
The best thing was taking a ride down one of the oldest streets in Aiken; Erin told us how this banker planted the trees so that he would have a beautiful ride to work each day. This was one of my favorite streets. I think even with the ice storm it was beautiful.
When it was time for dinner I did not no what kind of food they had, Erin took me to a restaurant called Maria’s. Erin loved there cheese dip, .and so did we. We loved this place so much we ate it 3 times while I was there. Oh but there was a ton of restaurants on whiskey road. Thank you Erin for all the fun like mattress surfing, hacking on the track, explaining concentric circles, helping me buy my new saddles, and walking Paradise. The list of things I learned out there would continue for days. I had a blast thank u again.
Oh I can’t forget to mention hanging out with your friends Teresa and Gina. They were very nice. They both had their own horses and customers horses , but nothing compared to what Erin had. I have to say, I never minded going to bed at night. It was a long day. I can’t believe how much Erin does, and how lucky big Marissa is to be out there with her.
While Erin was preparing for paradise, Big Marissa kept me busy but helping her get the horses ready, and showing me who all the name riders were. IT was super cool.