This week, I’m sharing my southern getaway to Charleston, S.C., with my husband and no kids (first time in four years!) I’m dishing on food, hot spots and some fun stories. You can follow along from Day 1 and Day 2.
It was at this point in the vacation I started to wonder, can it get any better? I’m also laughing at that statement because the Mr. and I did spend a few frustrated moments with one another during our trip. It happens. We’ve been married almost 17 years. It’s not all roses and champagne. Our running joke was that the vacation was perfect, except about 20 minutes. Not too bad, right?
On Wednesday morning, we woke up, got ready and did a little window shopping on King Street. It was a beautiful morning, sun shining and hardly any wind. The perfect day to walk to noon Mass, no? This was our walk that morning. The photo in the bottom center was someone’s actual garden. Charleston is crazy like that. You’ll just be walking along and BAM, gate open and beauty inside. I don’t think I’d get a lick of work done if I lived there.
As we walking along, we spot this gorgeous house across the street from the Cathedral. The garden was impeccable and I had to sneak in and take some photos. It wasn’t until I started snapping that Scott says, “This has got to be the Chancery (church talk for the Catholic Diocese of Charleston’s administration offices).” That boy was right. He went straight up to the door, knocked, and we were met by the Chancellor of all people. Sister showed us around the building, gave us a beautiful history and pointed out the Bishop’s residence and invited us to attend Mass at noon. She was even kind enough to take our photo on the Chancery’s porch.
Okay, be honest. If this was your drive to work would you ever leave?? Don’t worry, we already inquired about job openings. None right now 😉
Then, we turned to look at the other side of the street and were greeted by this beauty, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
Because we were there for a Daily Mass mid-week, the church was so quiet and peaceful. We spent a few moments just walking around, taking in the moment and then enjoyed a very simple, yet lovely, Mass. The Easter lilies still filled the air with a sweet scent and that quiet half hour with Scott did my heart so much good. I can’t remember the last Mass I went to where I held Scott’s hand, heard all the readings and homily and felt so very present to God. I think what I’m saying is: go to Mass at St. John the Baptist.
TRAVEL TIP #5:
Whatever your faith background, go visit the local church for your denomination. And, if they offer a service, GO! There’s nothing more awesome that inviting God to join you on vacation. We’ve seen some beautiful houses of worship and met some fantastic people taking that advice given to us many years ago.
At the end of Mass, Scott’s counterpart in Charleston met up with us and we had a great conversation. Matt is the Stewardship and Development director for the Charleston Diocese. Some things are universal and both their loves for church development work was obvious.
Now, it was time to get serious about eating. The original restaurant in our sights was full. The guy in front of us took the last reservation and then promptly left the restaurant never to return. The hostess just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Sorry.” No worries, girl, we found an even better place: 82 Queen, home of She-Crab soup. She-what, you say? The finest spoonful of soup you’ll ever eat, y’all. I had the grilled chicken breast and low country crab cake. It was topped with more she-crab soup, had a fried green tomato and it all set upon a pile of cheese grits. I died. Scott had the BLT with a crab cake inside. He died.
TRAVEL TIP #6:
Trust the waiter when he says, “It’s the best thing we have on our menu.”
It’s at this point I’m beginning to wonder if we did more than eat and take pictures of all that deliciousness. Probably not. As I said to Scott, “Those frozen nuggets from HEB just won’t do it for me anymore.” Le sigh.
Okay, enough food. Now, it was time to walk. I took my sweet tea to go (the best I drank the whole trip) and we enjoyed some more window shopping along King Street. About halfway down the street, we spied the Daughter of Saint Paul religious bookstore. On King Street, caddy corner from the Victoria’s Secret. We did a double take and decided to head in, thinking we might spy something for Anna-Laura’s upcoming First Communion. As soon as we stepped foot inside, one of the Sisters grabbed my arm and said, “Let me show you our hidden treasure!” She led us to the back and around the corner into the sweetest little garden oasis, complete with Our Lady of Guadalupe, a fountain and gorgeous flowers. Even though we were steps from one of the busiest streets in Charleston it’s as if we were in a private garden.
TRAVEL TIP #7:
You never know where a nun will lead you. If she grabs you by the arm, GO. Great things are in store.
We headed back to our hotel, dropped off our goodies and ventured to the Visitor’s Center. We heard they had a great film, which they did, but the projector was broken. All was not lost, though. They had Cheerwine and a great self-guide walking tour brochure. It was back to the car, back to the hotel to grab the camera and a jacket and off to the very, very, very best part of the trip. A walk through Charleston with my honey. Every single bit of history we saw was beautiful. We just kept saying, “Oh my Lawd, it’s gorgeous here.” Thank you, Charleston, for making life so deliciously sweet.
Rather than bore you with all my chit-chat, I’ll let the photos do the talking. Warning: this could be beauty overload.
After walking Charleston’s beautiful, history-filled streets for over two hours, we were a little cold, hungry and ready for a nice dinner. Our original place for dinner (High Cotton) was already booked and we were very bummed. The B&B staff assured us they had an even better place up their sleeve. Indeed, they did. We got fancied up and enjoyed our (early) 17th wedding anniversary at Carolina’s. Evidently, it’s where the locals eat. We had several folks ask us, “How did you find this place?” As we sat down, I noticed the couple next to us enjoying what looked to be the finest dessert in all of South Carolina. I asked her what it was and so began a very fun and super sweet conversation. We chatted about the loveliness of Charleston, the perks of being a southerner and why anything with pecans is delicious. She and her husband wished us well and went on their way.
It wasn’t until WE ordered dessert that the waitress came over and told us that fine couple had ordered, and paid for, our dessert. Y’all. I’m not too ashamed to admit I teared up a bit. And, pardon my Texan, but it was the best d*mn dessert we ate in Charleston. The Pecan Basket was pecan brittle, filled with crack-cocaine ice cream, drizzled with chocolate and fresh fruit. Yeah, that’s when I gained those last five pounds. Well. Worth. It.
We waddled back to the car, holding hands, and giggling like two 20-somethings. What a fantastically wonderful day.
Tomorrow, we brave the rain, turbulents and a power outage at the candy store to make our way home.
Wednesday’s Sights, Sounds & Eats:
Diocese of Charleston Chancery Offices
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
82 Queen (lunch)
Daughters of St. Paul Store
Charleston Visitor’s Center