Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Downtown Charleston

Last Tuesday, Robyn (my BFF from CO) and I met in Charleston, SC for a girls' trip. We stayed at the elegant Charleston Place Hotel in the heart of downtown Charleston. Check out the lobby and our room!

Tuesday evening we strolled through the local area, stopping to take a few photos on our way to High Cotton, rated one of the top two restaurants in Charleston. I enjoyed the best filet mignon I have ever had! Yum!

I bet you're shocked to see a photo of a steeple behind shot through some tree branches! LOL
 This building belongs to The Daughters of the Confederacy.
As you know, Rick and I like to decorate with "artsy" things we find on our travels. We have been looking for a unique centerpiece for our dining room table. In Charleston, I spotted this hand blown glass bowl. I had a difficult time getting a good photo because it is so glossy. It's turquoise and brown, just the right touch of color. It's very cool!
We planned to spend Wednesday on the Isle of Palms beach. I am so bummed that I didn't get any photos. Two hours after we got there, I fell victim to heat stroke: flushed skin, profuse sweating, headache, shaking, nausea, a bit disoriented, etc. I have never had it before and was shocked to have it this time. Of course, we were in Charleston during a record high heatwave. Between the 97 degree temperatures and the high humidity, the heat index was 115 degrees the whole time we were there. Thankfully, I recognized that I was in trouble and we quickly got into an air conditioned restaurant and pumped me full of ice water. After an hour or so I felt well enough to leave and continued to improve. By dinner time, I was back to normal except for the headache. I was quite disappointed for Robyn. We chose SC so that she could enjoy a beach day, as she rarely gets to a beach because she lives in CO. Not only was her beach day cut short, but she also had to worry about me. (As a side note: we taught 3rd grade together in CO. I had nine hand surgeries in two years, and always seemed to have my hand bandaged. Unfortunately, that meant that Robyn had to help me button my pants every time I used the restroom. So all things considered, dealing with me and heat stroke probably wasn't too bad for her! LOL)
After a short rest we were back on the go. We dined at Magnolia's, rated the best restaurant in Charleston. Supposedly, this is Oprah Winfrey's favorite Southern restaurant. It was wonderful! Once again I ordered filet mignon, about the only non-seafood dish available besides chicken, which I still can't bring myself to eat (I had a nasty bout of salmonella from chicken last summer). Robyn and I both thought that High Cotton was better. Anyway, here is our self-portrait in Magnolia's.
On Thursday, we went to lunch with some long-time family friends of Robyn's. Mr. and Mrs. Hart drove us all around Charleston, pointing out the historic buildings and mansions. I wasn't able to get photos from inside the car (and it was way too hot to stop and get out of the car), but I will say that Charleston is as beautiful  and charming as I've been told. After lunch, we did some shopping. There is an open-air market across from the Charleston River Hotel. We both stopped to watch Corey weave a sweetgrass basket, one of the oldest African crafts in America.
We each bought a small basket. These baskets are pricey: most of them are between $150-$400! Neither one of us wanted to spend that much, so we bought the tiniest ones we could find for $50. 
Still a bit pricey, but we both liked the historical background of the baskets. And mine does look fabulous on my shelf!

Thursday night, I still had a slight headache and my throat began to hurt. I chalked it up to the heat and refused to let it stop me! Not too bright, I know. But hey, I only get to see Robyn once a year at best, so I chose to be the energizer bunny and just kept going! I did make sure to get nine hours of sleep, though. It's been a long time since either one of us had slept so much.
On Friday, we went to the Magnolia Plantation. I took a ton of photos there, so I will post those separately tomorrow. Friday afternoon we enjoyed what's been rated as "the best afternoon tea in the South" at the Thoroughbred Club in our hotel. Yes it was wonderful and delicious, but we're not too sure about it being the best. We thought it was pricey and pretty typical. But that didn't stop us from eating every morsel!
After tea, we strolled through another side of downtown Charleston as we headed towards the water. We discovered that Charleston has three symbols: the pineapple (which is a sign of hospitality), the palm tree (which are all over town), and the carriage (which are also all over town). We found the parking lot for some of the horse-drawn carriages. Aren't these pretty?
South Carolina's Custom House is such a pretty building.
Waterside Park is located across the street from the Custom House.
I just think this shot is cool because you can see the water in motion.
The boardwalk was equipped with numerous porch swings hanging from the roof. How quaint is that?
 This is Charleston's famous Pineapple Fountain.
 This neighborhood is parallel to Waterfront Park. I wonder how much one of these places costs. More than I can afford, I am sure.
After enjoying every morsel of our afternoon tea, we weren't too hungry for dinner but I have to eat in order to stave off some of my esophagus issues. We opted for light appetizers followed by the best fresh peach pie I have ever tasted! That alone was worth the airfare! Ha ha!
 I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of my photos. One closing thought: Southern hospitality and gentility are alive and well. The people of Charleston are warm, friendly, polite, and gracious. It is definitely a place I want to revisit, but never again in the summer! Does anyone want to go with me?


Lori said...

Gorgeous photos! So glad you made the most of your trip and got to spend time with Robin. Miss you.

Christy Lynn said...

That bowl you got for your dining room table is puuurrrty :) Of course, my favorite pictures are the flower shots! Glad you had a good girls' trip (minus the heatstroke) and enjoyed South Carolina.

I've been hard at work on the baby books while I try to remember what my hubby looks like :) He's still so busy at work but hopefully this project will get done soon. Anyway, you asked about the medallion stamp...it's from the SU set Wanted that retired a few years ago. Since I grew up in Texas, I had to have that one and Bronc Buster (also retired). Lee looked at all my pages last night and that cowgirl one was his favorite layout. Yesterday was the first time in quite a while that he's gotten home while it was still light out.