About six weeks ago, my husband and I looked at the calendar and said, “We should take a trip.” Yeah, right. We have five children, ages 12 to 3, including one kiddo with multiple medical considerations, so “taking a vacation” wasn’t exactly on the radar screen.
That is, until we realized that it had been nearly four years since our last getaway sans kids. Yes, we’ve taken a couple of overnight trips within driving distance but in total they were only about 20 hours or so away. Things with Luke, our youngest, aren’t quite as critical as the early days but it still takes a mountain of trust for me to put him in someone else’s hands. Marriages need to be nurtured and ours was desperately in need of some time away.
After consulting with family, the kids school and sports schedules and a small act of Congress we were able to book the flights, get the kids shuttled to different houses and head to sweet, sweet, sweet Charleston, South Carolina. I’m not sure it’s possible to properly thank my parents and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for taking care of the kids so we could enjoy four lovely days together. Thanks y’all. So much.
This week, I’ll share bits and pieces of our stay, some fun stories, pictures of FANtastic food and sights and why I think every couple should visit this place. Come on, y’all. Let’s go to Charleston!
It all started with a flurry of activity in the days preceding the trip. Nothing like trying to cram two sports games, team pictures, four Masses, a four-hour car ride, packing, an egg hunt and client work into 48 hours. As we entered hour 42, I looked at Scott and said, “We need a vacation!” Oh wait.
We left at 0500 Monday morning, meandered through a sea of people at security and finally landed in Charleston around lunchtime. The most dramatic point was when our pilot threw a guy off the plane. True story.
Our first stop after landing? SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) for some southern cooking with a bistro feel. I had the shrimp and grits, Scott had the mussels and the grilled southern medley and we topped it off with the lemon tart and raspberry sorbet. You might as well have called it a vacation right then and there. Best grits I had in Charleston. And I had a lot.
TRAVEL TIP #1:
When visiting a city for the first time, ask friends who live/d there (or know someone who does) for a list of *the* places to eat. Even better if those friends are in fund raising. Why? Development directors always know the best restaurants. Trust me. I’m married to a guy who raises money. Peter, Colleen, Frank and Debbie, your suggestions were AWE-SOME.
After lunch, we took a nice walk through Waterfront Park. The sun was shining, the wind was pretty mild and the walk felt good after sitting on a plane all morning. We checked into our bed and breakfast, freshened up and finally pulled out a map to figure out where the heck we were. I decided to take a “quick nap” and it turned into nearly two hours. Guess the week prior really took it out of me! Scott decided I looked lonely, so he jumped on the nap bandwagon, too. It was pretty much awesome. We finally got moving and headed to the Pavilion Bar for cocktails and a stunning view of the city, just as the sun set.
I’m not sure the last time Scott and I sat on a rooftop bar, drinking a martini and just talked about life. That’s right. Never. I don’t usually drink and when I do it’s hardly fancy, but when the waiter brought out this sweet tea martini, that’s when I knew it was going to be the best week ever. It’s no lie when I tell you that thing tasted just like sweet tea. As Clare likes to say, “Oh, come on.”
We said goodbye to a wonderful view and headed up the block to our best meal in Charleston at McCrady’s. We learned the chef there, Sean Brock, is something of a celebrity in Charleston. All I know is, that boy can cook. Collectively, the entire meal at McCrady’s ranked as our very best. But please understand that every meal in Charleston was out of a best-selling novel. It was so good y’all. I know I gained ten pounds and I just don’t care. I’ll hit Jillian this week.
We had fish poppers, flounder with mashed potatoes and chess pie. There’s a part of me that didn’t even want to type that because it just sounds so…ordinary. Just promise me when you go to McCrady’s you’ll ask for the flounder. You might never leave it’s so good.
TRAVEL TIP #2:
Ask your super cool 20-something waiter named Collin where the chef eats. He sent us to a gem of a place for lunch the next day. But, I’m not spilling the southern beans yet. That’s up tomorrow.
All in all, a stellar day one. Our hearts were anxious, but excited to take the trip. I married such a good man and it was such an honor to spend such great time with him. Day two, coming up. Get ready to hear why Justice is our new favorite name, how “Family Dolla in the house” almost brought us to tears and how you can spot a tourist on the beach.