Friday, October 13, 2017

Charleston Day 1 ~ Our Hotel, Shopping, and Restaurants

Our room at Courtyard Marriott Waterfront ~  Charleston, SC

Oh my what fun Katy and I have had on our Charleston adventure.  We are home and loving the fact that we had a great time and are at home at rest (meaning doing laundry and cleaning and unpacking and getting to spend time with doggies.)  I can speak for her too b/c I know her and I'm sure she is doing the same.   

What surprised us: 
1.  Landing in a thunderstorm in Charleston
2.  The heat and humidity that persisted in October
3.  That Katy left behind a package containing a Christmas present for George when we stopped at a coffee/brew house.  
4.  That the storm drains flood in spots in the city of Charleston at high tides b/c the city is below sea level.   
5.  That some of the City Market vendors are cash only
6.  How expensive our entire trip would be
7.  How little of an area Folly Beach is
8.  How few people were at Folly Beach
9.  That the Trolley is really not a Trolley anymore in Charleston but a bus.
10.  The concept of a Dessert and After Dinner Drink Bar
11.  The times on a bus schedule really aren't the times they come by
12.  That Cemeteries and Graveyards aren't the same thing
13.  That cock roaches of Charleston are called Palmetto Bugs and they are supposed to fly.  
14.  That we didn't see any - well maybe I saw one but I think it was a beetle really.
15.  That we ate oysters 
16.  That the Palmetto Moon symbol actually is more than just a crescent moon but a symbol that means liberty
17.  That Charlestonian's owning property in the historical district have to have permission to do anything to their homes on the outside, even to paint the shutters.  
18.  That Reese Witherspoon owns a home on Sullivan's Island nearby. 
19.  That Bill Murray lives in downtown Charleston while his ex wife now owns the house on Sullivan's Island.  
20.  How easy and fast it was to Uber around.
21.  How nice our hotel was and how pretty is was around it
22.  How quickly we would get through the 4 blocks of markets, and the items were different than expected.
23.  The size and atmosphere ("rock out man") of the Folly Beach grocery store
24.  That the security people had a discussion over what was in Katy's bag on the way back.  "Looks like Rocks" one said to the other. It was two shells that looked like rocks from the beach.   
25.  How late we slept on morning 4, the day we came home. 
26.  That there were coffee & brew shops instead of each having a stand alone.  That was a neat concept. You could do either/or or both!  lol
27.  That people painted their porch ceilings blue to confuse the spirits at night and make them think it was daylight so they would leave them alone in the house.  Back then it was believed.  Now it is an option for Charleston property owners to keep the culture alive. 
28.  That Charleston sits on a fault line.

What we loved:
1.  The horse led carriage ride which allowed us to see the homes, and hear about the area.  Beautiful old historical homes.  
2.  The seafood. 
3.  The cobblestone streets in places
4.  The boat ride around the harbor
5.  Shopping at the Markets and on King Street and anywhere else we could find.
6.  Eating with a view anywhere we could find - water views, rooftop views, oceanfront views. 
7.  How comfy and nice our hotel was and their staff as well
8.  How riding the "trolley" just for fun around the city would give an hour of a/c, an unguided tour of the city, a place to rest, and people entertainment all at once, and kill an hour before time to eat again, and connect you to other trolleys so you can do it again on that one. (lol)
9.  The history and being in very old places that are still standing
10.  The Charleston Charm of the people and the area
11.  The marshes
12.  The Dessert Bar
13.  The pier at Folly Beach
14.  Seeing dolphins on the beach and on the boat cruise
15.  The shells dotting the beach and the ocean breeze and how few people were there which meant we had better seating and more shells to view.
16.  Most of the places we picked to eat.  
17.  She-Crab soup which I had for the first time.
18.  The trees with the hanging moss, and the palm trees too of course.
19.  The courtyards and piazas (porches are called piazas).  
20.  How nice the college area was and that both of us wanted to go back to college again now.  lol
21.  Key Lime Pie

What we didn't like: 
1.  The heat and humidity
2.  The traffic at times
3.  That our hotel was kinda out of the way of the main stretch where we stayed (however, the others came with a bigger price which we ended up paying in Ubers).  
4.  When nature calls and you are walking around downtown in the historic area and have to figure out where a bathroom is.  Just ask, and you'll find they are tucked in the strangest places - Like City Hall.
5.  The heat and humidity. 
6.  The Uber driver that used his phone the entire time (hands on instead of hands off) to drive us and ran a red light.  I didn't report him b/c it was his first time.   
7.  Being tired and not knowing what to do next when we got through with something more quickly than we realized.  
8.  The fact that our phone batteries had to be preserved and we either had to find a plug or be careful and make sure we had battery to order Uber or to research what all was in the area.  
9.  After we checked out on our last day, I didn't like worrying about our suitcases at the hotel but felt better when they gave us a ticket and I had them locked, but they were fine when we went back to get them. 
10.  How much traffic was at the Nashville airport as it was HOPPING when we got back. 
11.  Waiting on that darn trolley bus that always took twice as long to get there than the brochure said.  
12.  That we only had a partial view of the marina instead of a full view (lol) at the hotel and we had views of construction cranes - oh well! 
13.  The fact that the coffee shop that Katy left the bag in would not call us back.  

Things we would do differently next time: 
1.  Might would have paid more to stay closer in to where all the restaurant, trolley buses, are b/c we spent a lot of money doing Uber all about.  Or just stay in Mount Pleasant, near by,  as it's cheaper and just over the bridge.  
2.  Book when it's not so hot.  Actually it shouldn't have been quite so hot.  But it was.  

Things we would DO next time that we didn't get to do this time: 
1.  Plantation Houses 
2.  More old house tours
3.  A ghost tour
4.  Visit Sullivan's Island
5.  Go to Mount Pleasant and eat Seafood (several recommended)
6.  Order my own Oysters Rockefeller - not sharing next time. lol
7.  Call and make sure my daughter actually packed her bathing suit
8.  Rent a small car for the last full day and for the day of the flight home, can leave suitcases locked in car that last day and be able to venture further out into Charleston and surrounding areas. 
9.  Take my hat this time, b/c we bought hats there and they worked out great since it was hot and we looked and felt like Southern belles.  ;-)
10.  Eat more of where the locals eat and try to eat at less expensive places.  
11.  Have wine in the room and order water or tea at the restaurant.  
12.  Pack a tote bag that rolls up small and keep in purse - after lots of shopping put bags in the tote bag to keep all the bags in.
13.  Plan better on the timing of things.  We did well but didn't consider how long (or how little time) each thing took.  
14.  Do a better job of research in advance.  I flat ran out of time to plan.  I kept meaning to and never got to it.  This is why George is the social planner.  ;-)  He does good at trip planning too.  We missed that! 
15.  Take George next time.  But...somebody gotta keep the dawgs!  

My bed was the one there by the window.  The beds were comfy and the reading nook was nice.  Surprised that the room had a balcony and rocking chairs.  We enjoyed retreating to the room usually afternoon and then refreshing and going back out a night.  We were big huge sweat balls.  Often had to change clothes to feel decent to go out to dinner.  And then showers before bed.  Two showers a day there for sure.  

I liked the fact that they left us water each day.  And also candy.  

Our flight was a little bumpy landing in Charleston and we landed in a Thunderstorm.  We both were a little unsettled when the plane started to shake, rattle, and roll as we were trying to land in the mess.  We held hands for a moment until I gave her my candy crush to play and taught her to play it so she would not think about the plane.  Once landed we were excited and ready to get on with our day.  Only we had to wait for luggage b/c there was lightning in the area and they could not be out to get our luggage from the plane.  So we waited.  Then Katy called the Uber to pick us up.  We swapped out the Ubers about every other one to even the cost.  It was a neat process.  You could see the guy coming on the map and tell where he was.  So the drivers I had book were:  Dean, Virginia, Melissa, Craig, Robert, and Benjamin.  All did a great job.  One smelled like he might have had a drink but he talked fine and drove fine - I did notice he had mints all over the car.  One ran a red light b/c we had waited long enough at that light and he wasn't missing it.  But all were very nice.  One - it was his very first time.  It turned out to be a very good experience.  I never dreamed I'd ever feel comfortable to do Uber but it worked.  No money ever exchanged, but I did give some a tip.  Til all my small bills ran out and I realized how much I was spending.  Katy said you aren't expected to tip them.  I need another opinion too b/c I don't want to stiff anyone.   But I gave them all a good rating regardless.  None of them ran off with us, took our money or even barely took us off course.  All treated us nicely and got us from point A to B.  Do you have experience with Uber of Lyft?  Let me know.  I know the UK banned Uber but don't know why.

Kate, at Circe's, Charleston, SC

On our first day after dropping our luggage off we asked the hotel folks where to go.  Mark, the manager of Marriott was very friendly and suggested to us a place he likes to frequent.  It was Circe's Grotto.   We took the hotel's $6 per day shuttle per person, b/c the shuttle driver was having a slow day and manager Mark said he could take us there.  ;-) We ordered a couple of panini sandwiches and had Mango tea with it.  The sandwiches were huge and we realized we should have split!  The guy making it was super nice and seemed to enjoy his job.  Kate took notes on his sandwich making. She wants to make panini's at home.  

Mango Tea, Circe's, Charleston, SC

After this we walked on King Street - up and down it, doing some shopping.  Katy bought some spices for George and spent about $17 on it - cooking stuff.  

Shopping on King Street, Charleston SC

Carriage Tours, a common site in Charleston SC

Only so many horses and carriages can be out at a time.  There are limits.  Traffic is busy.  So the way they are regulated is the driver has to stop at a check in center before they tour around and get a placard for their tour.  Each tour can't be over an hour.  They turn the placard in to check back in.  They are fined heavily if it goes over an hour.  

First Presbyterian Church of Charleston
This was originally founded by 12 Scottish families. And was known as the Scot's Kirk.  The building was damaged severely by the earthquake there in 1886.  It has a nice looking park area across the street from it.  It's beauty caught my attention.  We were hiking by on our way to somewhere.  I think it was the coffee shop.

Kudo, Coffee and Draft Beer, Charleston, SC

Why yes, that is exactly where we were going - to the coffee shop -- to get a beer!  And we did. 

Just a little inspiration and refreshment for the hot afternoon and the "I am on vacation and can have a beer instead of coffee" sentiment! 

Only we were so excited about it all that Katy forgot her sack with George's Christmas present.  It was not discovered until an hour later when we were on a "trolley bus" to wherever.  Katy called several times and left a message asking if they would save it for her til she could get back. No such luck.  Those running or owning the shop, never returned our call - either to say "sorry" or "we have it and are holding it".  Was very disappointed that they didn't at least have the courtesy of a return call.  So while Kudo was exciting to discover - it eventually left a bad taste in our mouth of a different kind.  And Katy was just sick over it.  But, she handled it well and we strode on.  And tried to get over it.  

We rode around on the trolley bus for a while.  I had noticed this place on one of the stops at Waterfront Park.  So I asked Kate if she'd like to go eat by the Port and see the water.  Well of course - she did.  So we stayed on the trolley bus to go all around again and got off there.  This restaurant was called Fleet Landing.  

Fleet Landing, Waterfront Charleston

This was probably my favorite place.  I love the view and the vibes.  The food was excellent, service excellent.  

And the waterfront is lovely!

My view from the table at Fleet Landing, Charleston, SC

I love how these lights are strung along the ropes by the window.  I guess this is a concrete structure to withstand hurricane winds and water!

I ordered a Specialty drink.  I forgot what it was but it was good.  
I ordered Red Snapper and grits for a side.  Oh man it was all delicious.  

And of course, we ordered Key Lime Pie.  ;-)

Then we walked a few feet over to the Waterfront Park area and called our shuttle driver to come retrieve.  The other Marriott in town also has a shuttle and so the other one stopped to get us and realized that we were not at his hotel.  So, we waited and the next one was OUR guy.  It has to be confusing b/c they always ask which hotel you are going to.  We were the Waterfront hotel. 

We collapsed into bed after calling our spouses and checking in on social media.  Oh my.  What a day.  I'll do day TWO tomorrow. 

Today back home I've done laundry and gave dogs attention and have had my hair cut (short and sassy) and have gone to run some errands and stopped by the Houston's butcher store to get steaks for tonight.  I bought a few groceries while there. I didn't want to go to two stores.  I ran into Cody's Mom (Katy's MIL) there at Houston's.  I never run into anyone I know in MJ town so what a treat!  We talked and it's always good to see her. 

We have picked our meals to have for the weekend.  Steaks, salad, and baked potato tonight, Corned Beef and Cabbage with carrots, potatoes and turnips tomorrow.  And clay pot chicken on Sunday. 

I'm so stoked about having today to 1) sleep late 2) just be home 3)  unpack and do laundry 4) regroup  5) relive our vacay by downloading pics and blogging some  6)  spend time with my doggies
7) just time to go ahhhhhhhhh  8) and time to realize home can be just as good as vacationing since that is where everything you love is.

But I ooohhhh so love adventure and travel - the people you meet, the places you see, the inspiration you get, and the memories you get to keep.  Weeeeeeeeeeee that was fun!  Another thing off the bucket list! 

I have told George it's ok to recover from this before getting our furniture and getting his phone.  He said we could go ahead on the furniture.  But..I charged meals and hotel and shopping on the card so it wouldn't blow our checking account.  George will flop it all around later.  But I don't want this trip to be hanging over our heads so I told him we could wait on the furniture.  We spent more than I meant to. Or more than I thought we would.  It's not outrageous but it's certainly not cheap.  So we'll need to get that paid off w/o having to dip into savings. 

Well, ya'll have a great day.  And I will try to do Day 2 of Charleston tomorrow. 
Gotta take dogs out! 


  1. What a lovely trip you had. a shame about katy's lost package, though.

  2. Dang! And that was only day one. Sounds and looks great. A good time for sure. I'm glad you had a good time. Welcome home!

  3. The crab soup looks good. I love Charleston. Beautiful place.


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