After missing out on GGM #2 in Destin, I was eagerly awaiting our trip to Charleston. If I’d have known years ago that turning 40 meant a Hawaii trip and a Charleston trip to celebrate, I think I would have been a lot more excited to reach this milestone.
As luck would have it, we were mostly all able to arrange our flights to arrive right around the same time. We got luggage and headed to the parking lot to find our Turo rental. We had a van to fit us all. We got in the car and started driving, but there was an incessant beeping. So we pulled over, double checked that we shut all the doors and tried again. Still beeping. We all checked our seatbelts. Still beeping. We checked to make sure the gas cap was on tight. Still beeping. Finally we emailed the owner and he told us that the child lock had to be engaged in order for the beeping g to stop. We got a good kick out of that. 7 ladies child locked inside of the minivan.
We stopped to have dinner at Taco Boy on our way to Folly Beach. It was good—not great.
We were not having great luck with our electronics. First the car, THEN the key code on the door of the beach house refused to open. We all tried a bunch of different ways. No luck. It was late so we were having a hard time getting ahold of anyone who could help. Finally we got through and they were able to change to code for us. Our house was adorable! We all loved it. It was down this little dirt road and surrounded by tropical foliage.
Kristin got in about midnight and her taxi driver could not find the house because it was so tucked away. She tried to just get out and wander around, but he wouldn’t let her. Good man. He made sure she made it safely to the front door.
Then we proceeded to stay up till 3am chatting. Seriously, there was not one break in conversation the entire time we were there. We have all been blessed with the gift of gab.
After we pried our eyes open the next morning we were off to Walmart. As we checked out I could not imagine we would consume this much food in 5 days. Guess what? We did. We guessed almost spot on with variety and quantity.
And inside Walmart, we learned there was going to be another addition to the GGM crew! Kristen is 11 weeks pregnant! She amazes me. First trimester is a hard time to travel and stay up late every night.
We packed up our lunches, loaded up the trailer and biked to the beach. It was a cute little beach. The best part were the shells. They were everywhere! Kasey, Chelsi and I went hunting. We came across tiny shells that had a perfect hole at the top. Of course crafty Chelsi immediately knew she was going to make us all matching bracelets with a cute little shell charm.
We were just enjoying our beach time sunning ourselves and talking the afternoon away. All of the sudden a bird flew in and landed on Kristin’s head. It sat there for a few seconds and then flew away. What the heck, bird?
When we’d had enough of the beach we all got showered then bikes down to dinner at Woody’s pizza. We got a basil, pesto, prosciutto and artichoke pizza that everyone LOVED. Chelsi was grossed out by the diet Coke—we think it might be the fact that the water used is so different than Utah water. Lindsay couldn’t tell a difference.
After dinner it was time for the favorite this party. Chelsi said, “I’m so excited for this I LOVE stuff!!!” Her expectations were well met. We had such fun things. Adrienne started by giving us a pair of these awesome gel heel socks. Followed by Kristin, who gave us an amazing heel balm. Neither knew that their gift would go together so well. I was next. I gave the Norah Ephron book “I feel bad about my neck” and some chocolove to eat while reading. It begins with her story of how much she hates her saggy neck as she ages. Then Kristi got up and gave us all an ice roller for our face and neck that is supposed to help the skin stay tight! Again, neither of us knew how well our gifts would compliment one another. It was so funny.
Chelsi gave some Swedish dish towels, and Lindsay gave us the most awesome lip folks color that is touted to look good on all people and an tiny little spatula. Kasey gave us so makeup eraser cloths. Jami loves snarky tshirts so she had us all made one that says, “my favorite childhood memory is my back not hurting.” 😂😂😂
Such a fun night, and again we stayed up way too late.
The next morning we got up and bikes over to the Morris Lighthouse. We loved admiring the SC beach architecture and the beach was full of beautiful driftwood.
Now it was time to venture into Charleston. Our first stop was a carriage ride. We knew there was a chance of rain, so we were so glad to see the carriages had a cover on top. Little did we know this cover would be no match for a Carolina summer rain storm. There was a huge lightening strike, a deafening crack of thunder and the sky opened up and starting POURING. We were getting soaked. When the buggy would go around a corner, all the stain g water would wash over the bum of whoever was closest. Kristi was screaming like we were in a rollercoaster. It was making us all laugh so hard. We could hardly see anything further than 10 feet in front of us, and the lightening and hinder continued. We were only about 1-2 way into our tour when it started raining. The streets were flooded within minutes.
But we just soldiered on for another 30 min and finished the tour. We did hear some interesting history, but we all agreed the most useful thing we learned was the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery. A graveyard is connected to a church, and a cemetery is not.
When we got back to the carriage house we noticed a nice big stack of ponchos there for the taking. Where were those an hour ago? We all took one so we wouldn’t be caught unprepared if it rained again.
Weaving through the streets so as to avoid all the ankle deep puddles, we made our way to the Market. What a cute little shopping Mecca! Lindsey and I found some really cute straw bonnets that we could wear to Trek (she is in charge in her ward). They were $25, but we thought it was a fun souvenir. Not very far down the market we saw the EXACT SAME hats for $10. Sad! We got ripped off! Also at the market a man handed Kasey a rose. She took it before quickly realizing she was about to get hit up for money. Kristin refused her rose and Kasey handed hers back. He said, “I knew as soon as she refused you would hand yours back too you f-Ing b$^%#!” The school teacher in Kristin could not resist and she scolded him, “Is that appropriate?” She was rewarded with him calling her the exact same colorful language.
After we had our shopping fill it was off to Magnolias for lunch. The fried green tomatoes absolutely lived up to all the hype. The fried chicken was also delicious. Kristi could not decide between the gourmet grilled cheese and the fried green tomato BLT. So she got both! 😂
We walked off our feast by wandering around town looking at all the cute houses. We hit up Rainbow Row, and I found my Charleston home. We were all fascinated to see that many of the piazzas had doors. Our carriage tour taught us that a piazza with a door was considered a living space just like the inside of your home. You could be considered a peeping Tom for noticing and commenting that your neighbor had sat on the porch in their night clothes.
We walked to the Pineapple fountain where Chelsi, Kristi and I cooked off our feet. I thought it would be cute to get a picture of me throwing some water in air. On the count of three I tossed my handful of water high in the air, not remembering that lifting my arms that high would definitely make my dress much shorter. Chelsi showed me the picture and I burst out laughing to see 12 inches of garments hanging out in my “adorable” picture. We wandered the graveyard of the circle church, down rainbow road, got some pralines, and when our feet were about to fall off we called it a day.
We made one final stop at Jenni’s for some ice cream. And this stuff was heavenly. Most everyone love the Ooey Gooey Buttercake. But my favorite was the Darkest Chocolate. Chelsi informed me that all dark chocolate tastes like crushed up ibuprofen mixed with cocoa powder 😭
Seriously, we never went before bed before 2, but today was another 3am night. How do we have so much to say??
Thursday there was a little more rain in the forecast so we saved our next beach day and hit up Magnolia plantation. This was my first experience with a southern plantation and it came with so many mixed emotions. It was so beautiful, and the history so interesting. We learned that the house had been burned to the ground by Union soldiers at the end of the Civil War. Despite the beauty, or maybe because of it, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that all of it was built with slave labor. Adrienne said that maybe we could really take some time to appreciate what those slaves build and honor their sacrifice. Which was a really beautiful thought until we found out that the plantation is still owned by the same family that owned those slaves all those generations ago. So, the white family is still reaping the wealth made possible only by slave labor almost 200 years later. This exact example is why I get so mad when people argue that privilege and generational wealth aren’t important and that people should be able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Uggg. We did a “Slave to Freedom” tour were we learned about the Carolina Gold Rice grown on the plantation and got to see the slave cabins restored to different eras in history. We also learned that the same black family had been caring for the Magnolia gardens for like 150 years. The most recent caretaker lives in one of those cabins until NINETEEN NINETY. Our tour guide was FANTASTIC. This was a highlight for us all.
Maybe the plantations can be a somber reminder to us about racial injustice, and spur us toward more compassion and more action in our own lives.
We also took a tour of the house. Our tour guide was not a super nice person. There were two babies/toddlers on the tour who were making very normal baby noises. Every time they did, she would dramatically pause what she was saying and whip around to give the parents the stink eye. There are 30 children between us, so we were feeling some serious compassion for those poor parents.
We perused the gardens and stumbled on the cutest little bridge. I wanted a picture but it was roped off. I didn’t see the problem with ducking the rope, but cute little rule follower Adrienne did not like it one bit. We were teasing her and she said, “you know I WILL break the rules with you guys, but I’ll just feel horribly uncomfortable the whole time.” 😂 So I remained the only rebel to duck the rope and climb the bridge.
We embraced our inner tree hugger, and then threw our maps to the wind after we tried to get out of the garden down three different paths and ended up in the exact same spot every time.
We saw a little alligator and a turtle sitting on a log in one of the ponds. Kristi was sure it was fake. She would not believe anyone who told her otherwise. The gator was standing stock still with his head up in the air. On our return walk his head was resting on the log. As we pointed that fact out to Kristi she shook her head and said, “it’s a robot.”
Kristi was providing all kinds of entertainment for us today. At lunch she used the word “slanky.” We all think she meant to say “lanky” but she defended “slanky” all day. Later that evening it turned into “slankly.” Which apparently is a tall person with questionable morals. 😂 I know I’m profusely overusing the laughing emoji, but it just can’t be helped.
We hit up Jacks Tavern for dinner for some really excellent burgers and garlic herb fries. We weren’t that far from Jeni’s, so we decided we needed one more cone. We didn’t realize we were in a kinda sketchy part of town, and so after walking a few blocks we made a u-turn and high tailed it back to the car. Our ice cream was once again delicious.
Tonight we played the game “true colors.” It asks questions and then everyone has to decide who that question most applies to. Things like……… We were rolling with laughter and got off on more tangents than one would think is possible.
And for the record—Kasey has been telling a funny story from Kristi’s honeymoon for 20 years. It was brought to light that Kasey’s now infamous version was in fact, incorrect. The GGM’s will know what I mean.
Our last beach day was absolutely perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. This morning we biked in the opposite direction of the lighthouse and ended up at the beach park. This side of town was ritzier. We enjoyed looking at the fancy beach mansions while we peddled. These houses were awesome, but I still prefer the unique, quirky homes we saw on that first ride. We went back to get a picture with our favorite house from the first ride. We call these the Weasley’s burrow beach house.
We played on the boogie boards for a bit and Adrienne caught her very first wave! It wasn’t stellar conditions for body boarding, so not only was it her very first wave, it was the very best one anyone caught all day!
As the tide rose and pushed us further and further up the beach a group decided to head out shopping in the cute little downtown. The rest of us hung on until there was no more beach to be had and the waves were soaking all our stuff.
We had scheduled a sunset ecological kayaking tour in the estuaries for the evening. Our guide Ryan, an adorable 20 something chatter box, spent at least 20 min teaching us all correct paddling technique. We were geared up for an adventure to our all our new knowledge to the test. But she didn’t really seem interested in adventure. It was the slowest, most boring kayak of my life. She talked and talked, not about ecology mind you, while we lazily floated along. We kept asking if we could go faster or further (we could see the launching dock the entire time) but she wouldn’t let us go. She kept telling us how very hard the current was pulling us. News flash—it wasn’t. She also told us that the Shrimp boat we saw had been docked and unusable since “the late 1900s.” We all got a kick out of that. But the scenery was beautiful. And anyone who knows us is aware we can make our own fun. Kasey and Chelsi were in a kayak together. Whenever those two get going, they revert to their twelve year old selves. This time it was in the form of synchronized kayak dancing. And the singing of Girls Camp songs. We were trying to make that tour guide regret not tiring us out 😂
The sky was cloudy, so also no sunset. Even though it didn’t quite live up to the expectation, we were still glad we did it. Being out on the water is never a bad thing. We did wish we would have forgone the tour and just rented our own kayaks and were able to explore at our own pace.
Our final dinner was at the Crab Shack. The crab—delicious. The fish and chips—so gross. My frozen orange, pineapple, coconut, nutmeg drink was also quite tasty.
We were all beyond ready for a shower. And everyone’s energy just dropped. The anticipation of getting back to real life and all the responsibilities that come with it was a little depressing. We tried to keep the magic alive, but the tired finally caught us and we crashed.
The next morning was filled with packing and cleaning. Kristi and I drove Kristen to the airport. She already had a marathon travel day ahead of her, but when she got to her layover she was informed that the fight was overbooked and they couldn’t get her home for 48 hours. So now she’s trying to get to SLC and have her sister drive her home to Idaho. Kristi, Adrienne, Chelsi are delayed for hours in Baltimore, and I’m just arriving in Austin. Reality is coming at us like a freight train.