Monday, May 4, 2015

Charming Charleston

Aaron and I recently got back from Charleston, South Carolina which is probably the most charming place I've ever been!  

We celebrated our 10th anniversary on September 30th and were gifted money to go to Charleston.  So amazing and generous!

Our parents tag teamed watching the girls, so Leah, Maggie, and Gracie pretty much had a stay-cation.  I think it's safe to say that they didn't miss us at all!  It's better that way :)

Aaron and I flew out of Chicago.  We got to ride a bus and train from our parking lot to the airport.  

I was nerd-tastic-ally excited to ride public transportation!

Eeeeeeeeeee!  Trains are fun :)

We had really great flights from Chicago to Charlotte to Charleston.

Eeeeeeeeee!  Planes are fun, too :)

We stayed at the Days Inn on Meeting Street.  It was really inexpensive and had a great location (we definitely didn't need to rent a car).  We didn't want to spend a lot of money on lodging seeing as we intended to spend most of our time out of the hotel.  The location of our hotel was perfect and the accommodations were fine.

I wanted to find a coffee shop to go to every morning for breakfast.  We ended up at The BakeHouse and loved it!  We even ate outside one morning.

Aaron and I walked through Waterfront Park the first morning we were there.  It's right on the Charleston Harbor and was so beautiful.

There was even a big pavilion that had porch swings!

I was really surprised to see that you are allowed to play in that big pineapple fountain pictured above!  My favorite rule about wading into the fountain is that you aren't supposed to blow your nose in it.  It makes you wonder what happened to make that a rule.  Yikes!

After we walked around at Waterfront Park, we took a taxi to Folly Beach so that we could go to the Atlantic Ocean!  The cab was really expensive (about $90 round trip).  It would have actually been cheaper to rent a car for the day!  Oh, well.  We were so glad we got to go!

Folly Beach was a really laid back little place.  We ate lunch at the best little Mexican restaurant.  I'll be back tomorrow with a post all about the restaurants we ate at.  Charleston is a marvelous foodie town :)

It was fun watching people fish off of the enormous pier.  One guy was cutting up a whole chicken to use as bait!  Hopefully he didn't catch a shark, because, as you can see from the sign in the photo collage above, he'd have to throw it back :)  

We enjoyed playing cribbage and reading by the beach.  The beach is admittedly more my thing than Aaron's, but he happily joined me in my wonder of it all.  

We enjoyed a carriage ride through some of the historic areas of Charleston.  We went on a tour with Classic Carriage Works based on the recommendation of our friends.  

This is the horse that pulled our carriage.  His name is Larry, and, if you look closely, you can see he has a mustache :)

We really enjoyed our tour guide, Todd, because he was slightly sarcastic and funny!  That's kind of the "thing" you get when you go on a tour with Classic Carriages.  We really enjoyed that, and the humor didn't take away from all of the really amazing things we learned!

I mean, check out this house!

It was designed to replicate the couple's wedding cake.  The father of the bride gave the couple a $75,000 wedding gift to build the house and sent them to Europe for 2 years while it was being built.  And that $75,000 would be about $2 million now!

While the couple was in Europe, they visited France, and the bride thought the L'arc de Triomphe so much that they had a miniature one added to the roof!

So, there's that :)

Charleston was full of one beautiful house after another!

The homes were painted the prettiest pastel colors.  When the British settled in South Carolina, they didn't come right from England.  Rather, they came by way of the British settlements in Barbados and brought the beautiful Caribbean colors with them!

Charleston was filled with the most charming little alleys and tucked away gardens.

Plus, the hardware to hold open the shutters was so fun (yes, I googled "things that hold shutters open")!  Especially when it's holding open aqua shutters :)

My very favorite part of the houses in Charleston were the "haint blue" porch ceilings!

According to lore, haint blue was supposed to keep evil spirits away from the house.  It's also supposed to trick birds, spiders, and bees into thinking the ceiling is actually the sky, thus preventing them from building nests.  Plus, I think it's cute!

Let's switch gears from the charms of Charleston to the hilarity of Charleston!

We visited Charleston's Improv Theatre 99 for the finals of their improv contest.  We watched 6 fifteen minute sets and voted for the winners.  Most of it was seriously funny (some was a bit PG-13)!  Also seriously funny was the lady who had a flask of something or another that she added to the can of Diet Coke she bought at the concession stand.  

Another fun thing to visit in Charleston is the City Market.

There are some permanent shops but lots of temporary booths.  At night, there's live music and some people even do a little dancing!  This is a great place to pick up souvenirs or just get a feel for some of the culture and crafts of the area.

And last, but certainly not least, Charleston is chocked full of great places to play cribbage!

Cribbage is kind of a hallmark of our relationship, so Aaron and I were glad to get in a whole bunch of games.  He even "let" me win almost all of them :)

Be sure to check back tomorrow and see all the places we went to eat.  Southern hospitality is alive and well!

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