Monday, July 18, 2011

Charleston: The Extended Version

{This is going to be long and picture-laden, but the documentation is more for my benefit!}

We scheduled this trip back in April, excited about taking Becks on a vacation with just us (something we'd never done before) and having the opportunity to take him on a plane (again, something he'd never done).  I'm glad we scheduled and paid for it way in advance because I was totally feeling the pressure of grad school last week combined with the pressing urge to get back to my classroom to prepare for the start of school next month. Admittedly, I was feeling pretty back-out-ish. 
But, last Saturday, we arrived at the airport a good two hours in advance so that we could make sure we got through security and to our gate in plenty of time.   We were totally "that" family - carting a stroller, carseat, and multiple carry-ons around the airport.  Fortunately, Beck was so enchanted with the airport and the bagel stand, we knew it would be an easy wait. 
At least that's what we thought during the first two hours. 
Our flight was delayed and delayed again.  And then it was delayed some more.  We spent FOUR HOURS in the airport awaiting our re-routed flight.  We were also one of the last to board once the plane was there, and while the carseat was a brilliant idea for keeping Becks seated and comfortable during the flights, it was a big ol' pain to carrying through the terminal and hook securely in the plane seats. 
Becks *loved* the plane rides.  He giggled during take off and told us how "fun" the turbulence was.  My biggest concern was making sure he didn't kick the passenger in front of him!
Once we arrived in Charleston - four hours after the time were supposed to initially be there - it was POURING.  Not just a little drizzle, but literally dumping buckets from the sky.
And did I mention our luggage didn't make it?  That was just the cherry on top of our very long day. 
So, there we were in Charleston, four hours late, experiencing a monsoon, drenched, and without a change of clothes.  The positive attitude I usually carry was lost somewhere in Charlotte when we caught our connecting flight.  The only saving grace was the glass of Riesling B found for me at the hotel bar, combined with a delicious (albeit late) dinner from The Kickin' Chicken.  Oh my YUM.  And that was only the start of my spiral into all things southern and delicious.  Because once I started Saturday night, I didn't stop eating until we departed on Wednesday when I had a super delish mini-pizza in the airport. 
It also bears mentioning that our luggage didn't arrive until 3:30pm the Sunday, so we spent one stinky day touring the city in our once-rainy-then-sweaty clothes we wore on the plane.  Because Charleston turned into a sunshiney sauna the whole rest of the trip. 
Lucky for our smelly selves, we happened upon an *amazing* public fountain where Becks spent a good hour or so splashing around.  So much fun. 

We also treated him to gelato for lunch.  Because who doesn't eat sweets for lunch on vacation?
Our hotel - The King Charles Inn on Meeting Street - was all kinds of awesome.  Our accommodations were great and the staff was helpful.  They had a pack-n-play waiting for us when we arrived with brand new sheets and all.  I was so impressed.  They also had cocktail hour every night where you could get complimentary hors d'oeuvres and happy hour priced drinks.  A sweet tea mint julep for this Kentucky girl?  Count me in.  Becks was smitten with the free cheese, crackers, and grapes.  It was like they were catering to his specific three-year-old palette.  We attended every night we were there. 
For dinner that night we ate at Jestine's (meatloaf for me and B, a peanut butter and banana sandwich for Becks), and then toured the fire department across the street.  A successful first day (minus the missing luggage). 

The second day we were there we ate breakfast at Toast, and then decided to rent a car to drive to the beach.  Money well spent.  {I really wish I would have taken a pic of the snazzy little Kia Rio we zoomed around town in.  Not ideal for the ginormous carseat, but great on gas mileage!} 
Breakfast at Toast.
We had no idea where we were going other than across the bridge.  We made it to Sullivan's Island, found a parking spot on a side street that appeared to lead to the beach, and spent the next several hours oceanside.  In short: Becks *LOVED* it.  And, if we ever return to South Carolina, I can promise you we will stay in a beach town close to the ocean.  Live and learn. 

Dinner that night was at Hyman's for seafood and this is where I decided I would subsist on shrimp and grits alone forever and ever amen.  Seriously amazing. 
Before dinner at Hyman's.  B's souvenirs were a Charleston pirate tee and that foam sword. He loved it so much that he fell asleep holding it that night.  See below!

Just throwin' this one in there since we didn't get any other shots together!!!
On day three, we visited the market, ate a whole bunch, and revisited the fountain.

We came home last Wednesday and our flights back were perfect (Becks even slept on the last one!). 

Overall, here's the DL:

beachtowns I'm used to visiting - ignorance on my part, I realize.  I would LOVE to go back with B or another couple - sans kiddos, of course!  Also, if there's a cooler season to visit in, I'd totally go then :)

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