One of the VERY coolest thing about living in South Carolina is having Charleston close enough to hop, skip, and jump over to. Seriously, when we came through for the first time with B's family 6 years ago, I thought to myself "Soak this up, it may be a once in a lifetime visit!" How happy I am I was wrong!
Shortly after that first visit, we learned about the Spoleto Music Festival that happens in Charleston every year around Memorial Day. SIGN US UP! Add in some of our dearest friends (who I think I've yet to fully name on this public blog--go me!) and we've got a match made in Michelle heaven.
Sure, this time our car broke down an hour into the trip and we got to (had to) stay at a Spinx gas station (yes that is spelled correctly and yes that word make me uncomfortable) for three hours while we waited for a tow/rental car AND tropical depression Bonnie came for a visit one of the mornings, but in between those eventful events, we had a glorious time!
The Battery is almost always our first stop in downtown Charleston. We park along the edge and Zane heads straight for the trees. Be still my heart, the trees! Reminds me of Florida, without the messy mossy moss. So, even better.
This particular morning, the skies were already threatening and I knew in my heart any pictures taken would have to be heavily brightened (as seen above) so I snapped this one more of Soren and called it good for the morning. Little did I know there wouldn't be many more dry opportunities! Oh well, we'll be back soon enough!
(showing off his guns by the guns, er, cannons---seemed like a clearer comparison at the time)
Actually, right after I decided to give the phone camera a rest, Zane came over and asked if he could take a picture of a bird. This fellow has a soft place in his heart for animals (and many other creatures, as I was reminded this trip). Sure, Zane H-A-T-E-S being in front of the camera for seemingly endless "cheeses," but he really loved looking behind the lens this time around. Below are all Z. Some were taken on purpose; the coolest one, however, might have been an accident. You'll see.
From the Battery, we made our way not east through a few favorite streets (King, Meeting) to Washington Square where the kids could race in our new stroller (we named him Bobby) and the rest of us could attempt group selfies (um, sure Michelle, like this was any of these folks' idea besides yours. You're just lucky you caught them off guard!)
After the square, we continued our way east, hoping to play near the pineapple fountains at Waterfront Park. However, the rain began sprinkling, so we changed our plans and headed for lunch instead. Jackpot on lunch this time, dudes. Poogan's Steakhouse. Delicious. By then, it was really raining, but we couldn't be deterred from our second most important tradition (besides Spoleto, you know): Belgium GELATO on Vendue Range. Happy campers after that experience, the whole lot of us (as shown by the two smallest members of our crew):
As we arrived for gelato, Q asked me if Zane had told us their secret. Turns out they had already taken him to get gelato the night before, on their way to "The Importance of Being Earnest" (which Z LOVED, btw). Why have gelato once in a trip to Charleston when you can have it more than once?
Nice one, Zane.
As the rain continued, our dads went and got the cars and we headed back to the hotel for the afternoon. There, we took part in probably the kids' very favorite part of the trip: swimming at the indoor pool! Sure, we could have been anywhere America at that point. But the kids had a great time, the moms got in a wonderful chat, and everyone was wet on purpose! Boo yah.
Later that night, B and I attended the 40th anniversary Spoleto festival Extravaganza concert. We sat in the third-to-last row in the immense and super amazing Gaillard concert hall (here's a cool website about it). It was an incredible night! Best part was when the Westminster Choir sang a number from the top balcony, on either side of us. It was so so so cool. Three minutes or less, and it made both the car troubles and weather ridiculous totally worth it. Thanks for being my date, B.
Okay, moving on! (I'm feeling quite long winded at the moment. Like the good ol' days!) The next day first we waited out the storm a bit (watching outside our hotel window was like watching the weather channel with sideways trees and crazy meteorologists yelling, "It's REALLY CRAZY OUT HERE!!") then when it subsided we (and the rest of the Charleston tourists-with-children) went to the South Carolina aquarium, where once again my phone was commandeered by my 11 year old for the taking of many animal pictures.
(cutest creature of all, don't you think? He got to touch a star fish or 12, and in the middle of it put his hands up in victory fists and yelled, "I really love this!!")
It was a really fun time together! We caught a quick lunch afterward at another score of a place (Eastbay Deli, right by the aquarium) and were on our way home.
We were welcomed home by these in-our-front-yard beauties! Blooms everywhere! Turns out there's more than one happy place in South Carolina.
Until next year, Charleston!