Charleston Vacation

For a long Memorial Day weekend (is it still a long weekend at 5 days or by then is it just a vacation?) I headed down to Charleston, SC with my parents to visit my grandfather. He moved to a retirement home down there almost two years ago and I haven’t seen him in a year, so I was very excited when they invited me to come with them.

Our road trip began at 5am Saturday morning. I was going to say I staggered blearily out to the car at that early hour, but really as soon as I’m awake, I’m awake, so it was pretty much irrelevant to me at the time that I woke up at 4:30. That and I was excited to stop at Tudor’s Biscuit World on the way down. As a teen on one of numerous drives we made to Charleston or Atlanta to visit family, we stopped at Tudor’s and I was immediately enamored by the concept of a whole restaurant dedicated to biscuits.

Several naps, some 70’s rock from Spotify, and a couple very brief stops later, we arrived shortly before dinner. Saturday evening was spent getting a tour of Papa’s place and eating dinner at the dining room.

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Sunday afternoon, we went to the Isle of Palms later in the afternoon to go to the beach. I burn easily, don’t like the heat or getting wet, and hate the feel of sand in my clothes, so the beach is not my favorite place ever. It had been 7 years since I saw the ocean, though, so I was looking forward to it anyways. Turns out we ended up at a part of the beach where no swimming was allowed, but once I stuck my foot in the water I didn’t mind. It’s still pretty cold this time of year!

houses

Monday afternoon we paid a visit to the Magnolia Plantation gardens. The plantation was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family and is America’s oldest public gardens, open to the public since 1870. It’s a meandering maze of flowers, trees and bridges stretching over picturesque ponds, along with several sub-gardens such as the Biblical garden, Camelia gardens, and the bamboo forest.

Bamboo forest at Magnolia Plantation
Bamboo forest

 

The weather was perfect for our several-hour walk, especially as we strolled past the cypress trees on the banks of the Ashley river, savoring the cool breeze.

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Besides the beautiful landscaping, we also spotted quite a few animals, including alligators, turtles, and bird species we don’t have in Pennsylvania. Our favorite was a turtle and a bird sitting on  a log together. The bird kept pecking the turtle’s head, and he in turn would pull his head and legs into his shell, looking very crabby.

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We were also “treated” to the constant distinct shrieking of peacocks that live near the manor house, although it was impossible to not find them at least a little stately up close.

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Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto, two performing arts festivals held concurrently every summer in Charleston. Spoleto is more international in scope, while Piccolo Spoleto focuses more on southern artists and performers. We stopped by several exhibits while in the downtown area, including a ceramic exhibit at cone 10 studio, the outdoor art exhibition and the juried art show at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. The highlight of the day was seeing Charles Ross perform a one-man Lord of the Rings comedy show at Theater 99. I won’t describe it in too much detail because you can’t really put something like it into words, but suffice it to say there was singing, shouting, falling, voice-throwing, sound effects and some great bits of improv thrown in for laughs (plus sweat and spit flying everywhere). If you ever have the chance to see him do any of his one-man shows, I HIGHLY recommend it.

After the show, we met up with my aunt and uncle for dinner at Trattoria Lucca. It was beyond the level of fanciness I really go for,  but the staff was attentive and the menu very unique. I loved all the desserts we got to share, which were a gelato sampler, tiramisu cheesecake and a hazelnut trio.

gelato

Wednesday morning we left to return home and I spent most of the ride watching the Mindy Project or listening to The Adventure Zone, which combined into some pretty weird dreams that night! Although I’ve been to Charleston many times, it had been ten years and was great to go back.

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