April 2-3, 2016
At the beginning of the month, Curtis’ parents and sister came down to see us for the weekend! They arrived late on Friday, April 1 and stayed till Monday morning, giving us 2 days to show them around our corner of the Low Country. It was so exciting to host both of our families within a month of each other – to actually fill up this 4 bedroom house and have lots of people around our big beautiful table! 🙂 So, who’s next? Haha!
We started off our 2 day weekend adventure by going to Edisto Island, where we visited Edisto Beach State Park. It’s about 1 ½ hours from Charleston and has a nice beach, a big campground, and hiking trails around a thickly wooded area. It rained on and off on our way down, but once we arrived it was dry, and the storm clouds in the distance made for a great view at the beach. It was still chilly and a little windy, and the yellow flag was flying on the beach. Besides the light wind and the chance for rain earlier and later, we didn’t see much of a need for caution at that time though. We went for a stroll on the beach, then cut back through the campground to where we started. We then searched for a few letterboxes in the area, one on a nature trail (which came up missing) and one drive-by (which was a success!). After that, we sought out a place to eat there in the touristy part of the island, but after driving through most of the lived-in areas of the island, we only saw one large multi-purpose building with a restaurant, so we decided to make our way back to Charleston.
On our way back, we stopped to see Angel Oak, the majestic live oak tree on St. John’s Island. Curtis and I had seen it on our first adventure here in SC, but this is one of those places we don’t mind seeing again – it took our breath away just as much as it did the first time. After that, we started getting serious about looking for somewhere to eat, and Curtis found a place in Charleston off of Maybank Highway on James Island that he directed us to: Cory’s Grilled Cheese. It specializes in – you guessed it – delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches of many varieties. It’s definitely on our list of favorites here. (Maybe someday when we’ve been to a fair amount of restaurants we’ll share our findings and favorites here! But seriously, we’ve loved most places, you can’t go wrong when dining in Charleston!) Curtis and I got “The Low Country” and “The Downtown” and loved them both…my favorite was the Downtown, which had Brie and Chevre cheeses, fig spread with apple & fried onions on sourdough. Rest, my beating heart! It tasted almost like a dessert, but not too sweet. And everything was very reasonably priced! Just what we needed for a rather late lunch.
To end the day, we decided that since we were already so close to downtown that we should just stop by and go for a walk. We parked in a neighborhood near White Point Gardens then made our way up Bay Street, wandering down different streets as we went to show off significant parts or to find letterboxes. On this weekend, the spring blossoms were reaching their peak in the season, and the flowers all around were gorgeous. This is my first time living in a place that’s so abundant in wisteria, and I love it! I love the way it hung over the wrought iron gates. Charleston in the spring is my new favorite thing. Oh, and this was also Charlotte’s first time enjoying downtown with us. She made friends with a beagle-basset-cocker spaniel mix named Charlie who was just the cutest thing! We finally made our way back home and ended the night with pizza and Bohnanza (the bean game!).
The next day, Curtis’ dad discovered he had a cousin who also lives in Charleston, so we made plans to meet for dinner. We started off the day by visiting Fort Moultrie National Monument because Curtis’ sister Claire had been learning about Fort Sumter in school. We decided on visiting Moultrie instead because it’s cheaper than all of us taking the boat, and the forts in general look similar. Moultrie is also older and shows the progression of how the fort looked throughout time, so we thought it’d be more interesting for a walk-through. After that, we walked along the beach of Sullivan’s Island and saw a few star fish, lots of jellyfish, and dolphins at play in the harbor.
Next, we stopped for lunch at Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe for a quick lunch. Curtis and I split a lamb and skordalia gyro, which I assured him would be enough for both of us, but in hindsight I should’ve gotten my own because it was so good, it was hard to share. 😉 Then, we drove to Charles Towne Landing. (You can read more about the history of this historic site here – Curtis and I visited last January and enjoyed it very much!) We knew we’d have to show them this place not only for the history and the pretty gardens, but because of the whispering giant statue – they also enjoy going out and finding these (we’re not the only ones guys!). Because Charlotte did not accompany us on this adventure, we were able to walk through the zoo. There wasn’t a whole lot to see (and of course, not many animals were active in the mid afternoon) but we did get to see some waterbirds, turkeys, deer, and a bear up close. We heard that Charleston once had a zoo, but when it closed some of the animals ended up here.
The most exciting animal sighting didn’t happen in the zoo, though… Ladies and Gentlemen, we have now officially seen our first alligator out in the open. Our low country living experience is complete. It was when we were walking through the gardens and came to a pond. On our side was the sign saying “Caution: Alligators” and just across the pond was a little one, sunbathing with some turtles. Curtis wandered around the pond to get a picture as we stood back and watched. (Spoiler alert: he survived). As he came closer, the gator jumped into the pond along with some turtles, and they stayed in the water until Curtis left, then climbed back out. A week later, I heard some advice from new friends for what to do in an alligator attack: Run in zig-zags if you can. If you’re stuck somewhere, jump on its back and hold its mouth shut. Not sure if this is sound advice (or how do you get out of the second scenario?) but I’ll definitely take it with me just in case. 😉
After Charles Towne Landing, we had a little extra time to kill before dinner, so we went to check out a nearby second-hand book store. Curtis and I had been anxious to find something to replace Bookmans in AZ, but were a little disappointed by this one so I don’t think we’ll be as frequent here (mostly because we can’t puzzle trade here). However, we did find a BOGO DVD sale and scored our own copy of Forrest Gump (which we’ve been wanting to watch since visiting Savannah and Hunting Island) and the first 2 seasons of Arrested Development (who needs Netflix anyway when you own the most rewatchable TV show out there?!) We then went to dinner at Jim & Nick’s BBQ where we met Curtis’ dad’s cousin and his family. We had fun getting to know them and getting advice on low country living (they’ve been here for 3 years now). We liked the restaurant – especially the cheddar biscuits! – but it doesn’t take the cake for the best BBQ in Charleston for us. (Swig & Swine in West Ashley is the winner for that one!)
That night we came back and finished the weekend with a walk around our neighborhood. I wish I had more pictures of the weekend…or more, pictures of actual people?? Haha! Thanks again to Ray, Julie & Claire for visiting! So, who’s coming to see us next?! 🙂