In celebration of our ninth anniversary, Harper and I recently took a long-overdue vacation to Charleston, SC. When I planned the trip, I wasn’t sure how I would be feeling or getting around at seven-months pregnant, but I was determined that we should get away one more time before our baby boy arrives. I figured Charleston would be a good choice since there are plenty of places to just relax and enjoy the scenery if I was ever too tired to do all the touristy stuff. Luckily, I was feeling good, and we did a lot of walking each day. We enjoyed the change of scenery and devoured the Low Country cuisine. I took tons of pictures (of course) so if you are in a hurry, you’ll have to scroll quickly.
First, I have to show a couple of pictures that help explain why we don’t leave for long trips very often–it takes a lot of planning! Usually we hire a house-sitter, but that didn’t work out this time, so we relied on the help of really sweet friends and family. Heather, Andy, and their boys took care of the chickens, ducks, and cats. Sargent stayed with my parents, and my parents also came over and took on the time-consuming task of watering all the potted plants one day. We definitely owe them for the help!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, our feathered friends don’t always get boiled eggs and tomatoes as part of their daily diet. They stayed in their little chicken yard instead of being out able to forage all day in the grass, so the tomatoes and eggs were just to replace the nutrients they normally get on their own.
Okay, now on to Charleston…
We stayed at the Vendue Inn, which is spread throughout several connected historic buildings just steps from Waterford Park. They had a charming row of bicycles that guests were welcome to take to tour the city.
Queen Street was right across the street from our hotel, and it was one of my favorite streets. There were so many colors layered with the patina of the old buildings, and I loved the window boxes spilling over with fresh blooms.
I love all the old gas lanterns. A lot of the homes still have their original (and still working) gasoliers inside.
Often called the Holy City (which is ironic considering this port city’s colorful history) because of the number of churches, the church steeple above is the tallest thing in Charleston. By law, nothing can be built taller. (I think it’s a little over 255 feet.)
One of the stops on the culinary tour that we took was a cool little spice shop that had every kind of spice or herb we could imagine. We bought a handmade salt and pepper grinder set that is made from maple branches. I don’t have a picture yet, so I’ll try to post one later. They are beautiful and unique.
Since Charleston has so many famous restaurants, we couldn’t make it to every single one, but we definitely tried some of the best. Magnolias Uptown Down South was one of the few that served lunch and dinner, so we made a lunch reservation for the first full day that we were there. It was really good, but maybe slightly overrated if you’re from the South and can easily find (or make your own) good Southern food. I think one of the reasons we were a little disappointed was the plating. One of their dishes that has received so much press is their pimiento cheese appetizer, and it wasn’t plated the way we had seen it on TV and in photographs. It was tasty, but it wasn’t any better than the $5 pimiento cheese sandwich that my mom and I had bought from the vendor at Warrenton a few weeks ago.
The fried green tomatoes weren’t beautiful, but they were delicious–served over white cheddar and caramelized onion grits and tomato chutney.
My handsome hubby’s Bevo is eying the mimosa!
My salmon BLT salad seemed like it was missing something until the last few bites. I finally found the goat cheese, and then it was pretty good. Below is Harper’s Down South Entree of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, creamed corn, and sausage herb gravy.
Alright, enough about food for now…
Traditional Charleston houses are flat and wide (it’s all about trying to catch a cross breeze). It’s not uncommon for a home to be one room deep but multiple rooms across, and several stories high.
One day we drove about 12 miles to Folly Beach for a delicious brunch and stroll on the sand. The cold Atlantic water was refreshing on that sunny day.
Later that afternoon, we drove to Cypress Gardens. I can only partially recommend this place, but I’ll explain. The best part was that you could take a little boat through the swamp for a self-guided tour. There were arrows on the trees to keep us on course, and it was really peaceful since we weren’t there at a peak tourism time.
The part that wasn’t so great: it felt a little inauthentic. It might have just been the cheesy Halloween decorations (they had a kids’ event the previous night), but something just didn’t seem real about the place.
And when I zoomed in on a picture of an alligator after I uploaded my images, I even doubted IT was real. That’s just really annoying if they would put a fake alligator out there–it’s not like there aren’t real ones around. I guess they are just trying to give tourists what they want, but come on… (Below is the original image; scroll to the next picture to see the zoom and let me know what you think. For me, it’s the eyes.)
I don’t think the cypress trees were very old–either that or they were a variety completely different than the ones that line the rivers in the Texas Hill Country. But their fall colors were lovely.
But I did get some cool pictures at the place. Above is one of my favorites.
I thought I could fit everything in one post about Charleston, but I’m going to have to finish the rest later. Have a great weekend!