Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Charleston!

So Amy and I just got back from a summer vacation/post bar trip to Charleston, South Carolina!
It was a really nice trip.  Charleston is a really cool city, and we had a great time.
Like most adventures, it had a mishap or two, the most notable of which was a minor accident (it ended up as only a fender bender, but could have been much worse) in our rental car at the beginning of the trip as we were just leaving the airport.  It was sort of a drag to start things out this way, but we were able to put it behind us pretty quickly and move on to genuinely enjoy the rest of our vacation.
And the rest of our trip was really cool!

We stayed at a VRBO comprised of an apartment which was attached to a historic home in downtown Charleston.  It was in easy walking distance of lots of restaurants, bars, and entertainment spots along King Street.  The first night that were there we walked a couple of blocks over to Dave's Carry-Out, a place that stayed open late and served fried shrimp and fish.  The food was great, and while we were waiting for it to be cooked we hung with a few locals and cheered for Gabby Douglas to kick some butt on the uneven bars.  It's crazy how the Olympics can get you cheering along with people in support of sports you ordinarily wouldn't care much about...
Friday we got up and walked over to a coffee house, and then walked over to the ferry for Fort Sumter.  On the way to the ferry we stopped in for just a second at the Charleston Public Library.  When you travel with a librarian, you have to be prepared for these sorts of things.

Six flags over Amy
Fort Sumter was really interesting.  It was the site of the opening battle of the Civil War, and it was the site of repeated conflict throughout the war as Union forces attempted to retake the fort and Confederate forces held off their attacks.  Anyway, it was kind of weird to stand there at Fort Sumter and look out on the Charleston harbor.  The cannons and tour guides give you a sense of how far the cannons and artillery could fire (both from the ships and the fort), and it was kind of strange to think about the risks that people were facing on the ships, in the fort, and in the city of Charleston itself during the Civil War.  As the Union blockaded the port, even getting supplies in and out became a substantial gamble.

Big guns at Fort Sumter
Amy loves history and sunshine



this submarine would be a
tight fit for Steanso
Anyway, Fort Sumter was really cool.  The ferry ride to get out there was cool, too.  Nice to see the city from the water, catch a glimpse of some dolphins, and get a look at the USS Yorktown.  After Fort Sumter we wandered through another neighborhood with some historical homes.  We walked past the H.L. Hunley, a small, Civil War era submarine which was used in Charleston Harbor for the first successful submarine attack in history.


South of Broad
Friday night we went down to wander around Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, East Battery, and the whole South of Broad area.  There were some really cool old homes down there.  The houses themselves were very impressive (large, beautiful old houses that had been extremely well maintained), and they also had immaculately maintained yards and courtyards with ornate landscaping. 
Amy on Rainbow Row

Desert Girl is initially alarmed by boiled
peanuts and deviled eggs
Friday night we went out to eat at a place called The Glass Onion.  It was a neighborhood restaurant with southern cooking, and the food was really good.  We had shrimp and grits and boiled peanuts and salad with okra.  The food was great, the restaurant was relaxed, and we both had a really nice time.
On Saturday we got up and walked over to a nice farmer's market in Marion Square Park.  We walked around to scope things out and shared a shrimp omelet. Amy had iced coffee.  Afterward we walked up King Street to Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts and got a lemon doughnut that we shared.

Amy as southern belle
Saturday afternoon we drove out to Magnolia Plantation.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was different than I thought it would be.  I guess I had always sort of imagined plantations being surrounded by fields of crops, but Magnolia was more or less built on or near a swamp (like much of the lowcountry that Charleston sits in).  We took a boat tour through one section of the property that used to be drained and planted with rice back in the days of slavery when it was a working plantation.  Nowadays the location is filled with gardens and wildlife, from egrets and herons to some very large alligators.  Anyway, the Magnolia plantation has been owned and operated by the Drayton family for at least 15 generations, dating back to a founding in 1676, and it really was a beautiful place.
Apparently wearing my "serious
about food" face
Saturday night we had dinner at Husk.  We'd both been looking forward to eating there for a while.  Amy reads a few food blogs and sites and had told me about it, and I'd been interested in trying the place out since reading about it's founder, Sean Brock, in a Time magazine article a while back.  Anyway, Husk turned out to live up to its reputation.  The restaurant is in a really cool, old building on Queen Street, and the food was great.  The cooking is southern, and it sort of did a great job of exemplifying what southern cooking can be.  We had a pork chop, catfish, beans, and some cheese grits.  All of the food was fairly traditional, but with small twists that enhanced the flavor (my catfish was served with sweet corn and leeks).  Just a really good dinner. 
Afterwards we had a drink on King Street and headed home.

On Sunday we got up and went to Sullivan's Island to hit the beach.  It was really nice.  The water felt good, the beaches weren't crowded, the weather was nice (some clouds blew in and it started raining, but this didn't happen until right when we were sunburned and headed out, anyway), and the whole experience was just really relaxing.  It was a really nice way to spend the last day of our vacation.
Sunday night, after showering and watching the Olympics for a little while, we walked over to a nice pizza place called Monza for dinner and a few drinks.  It was a great way to wrap up the trip.  In the morning we hit Kudu coffee shop for a bagel, tea, and iced coffee, and then drove to the airport.

It was a really good trip.  Amy's been studying for the bar, and I've just been working a lot, and it felt really good for the two of us to just get away and do something different and have fun together.

Yesterday I weant for a longish bike ride, and Amy and I took Cassidy for a swim at the Barton Springs spillover.  Amy made chilaquiles for dinner, just as a tasty reminder that we're back in Texas.  Nice to be home.

I hope everyone else has been doing well, too!


2 comments:

Jean said...

Wow! Sounds like a great place to explore. Glad the two of you had a great time.

J.S. said...

We had a really nice time! Charleston is a very cool city.