We rolled into Charleston’s James Island County Park with a (hard fought) reservation for 2 weeks – split between 3 separate ‘sites’. The first site was deemed ‘the worst site in the park’ by two separate park employees. The second site was a giant field behind the park where we could park without hook-ups. The third site was a handicap accessible site (score!). Moral of the story: if you want to stay in/near Charleston, you should probably reserve yourself a spot earlier than a month before. Or, you could have a ‘Jake’, who is willing to call parks multiple times a day checking for cancellations and/or write magical computer things for checking online systems for reservation openings – and then be willing to move about a park on the regular. It’s cool though – the benefit of not being tied down to static timeline for getting to our next stop is worth the troubles.
Whenever we inquired with folks with some ‘know’ of Charleston regarding what we ‘needed’ to see/do, we were basically told: eat. Cool. I can get on board with that activity.
So, yeah, we spent many a meal away from Dyna during our two-weeks in Charleston. We wax-and-wane with our dining habits. Sometimes we’ll eat almost exclusively at home, but during other stays, we almost never lift the stove top cover. Pretty typical of sticks-and-bricks life trends I suppose.
Charleston is also home of Westbrook Brewing – alchemists of Mexican Cake, possibly the best beer I have ever had, and will likely never have again. Scarcity marketing is real, folks. We got a taste (literally, a taste) of Mexican Cake while living back up in Rochester, NY at a local brewfest. Since then, we have been salivating every time we think of this beer. We knew that we weren’t going to get to partake in the cake when we showed up at Westbrook proper – they only brew Mexican Cake once per year, and at this point in their history, their entire allotment of the dream brew is tagged as ‘taken’ before it ever hits of taproom floor. But,
we were I was pleasantly surprised that they were offering another gem from their portfolio of beers – Mexican Biscotti Cake (real creative, right?). Jake doesn’t like coffee (don’t worry – his other attributes make up for this fault – usually), so this was a ‘no go’ for him after a few sips. But I loved it. And it only cost $6/pint – not $300 (that is the legitimate black market price for a bottle of Mexican Cake).
An upside of no Mexican Cake being available was that we had plenty of room to drink other beers around the city. So, we did. We loved Holy City Brewing – really cool place with good beers and a great ‘french fry fricassee’. Coast Brewing was cool too – just be ready for a very basic set-up – a few taps in a wall, and some picnic tables outside.
When we weren’t eating, or drinking, or walking the cat – we spent our time walking, running or horse drawn carriaging (real word) around Charleston proper. Several of our buddies suggested taking a horse drawn carriage tour through the city, so we did. Playing tourist is fun. Playing tourist while a beautiful 1 ton creature drags you around in a carriage is extra fun. It sucked a little that our carriage driver was only able to tell us that “this is an old building” and “this church is very old” (I think we got a dud). Luckily, we spent so much time walking/running around Charleston that we overheard bit and pieces of real information about the city from the various other tour givers. Also, that’s how we knew our carriage driver was a dud – we heard lots of good info from other carriage drivers. Like how anything over 75 years old is designated ‘historic’ and can’t be altered. This includes trees. No surprise that the historic area in Charleston is very large. Which is another reason we recommend riding in a carriage while a horse pulls you through the streets of Charleston.
Charleston is also home to my college friends AnneMarie and Steve. We learned all about speech-language pathology together for 6 years. Now, they practice their speech voodoo in Charleston. AnneMarie even opened her own speech voodoo clinic, and Steve runs his own practice. There aren’t many clinicians that I would send my own hypothetical, speech delayed child to for speech-pathology related needs, but I would most definitely let AnneMarie or Steve work their magic.
Also, Charleston is not too far from Myrtle Beach, and our friends (and Jake’s co-worker) Cam & Alissa enjoy Charleston. So, they came down to Charleston for a day and invited us to hang out with them (woo-hoo!) We spent the day walking from eating place (Eli’s Kitchen – dank grilled cheese) to drinking place (Vendue’s rooftop bar – great city views and good drinks) to coffee place (Bakehouse Charleston – solid lattes and delicious homemade marshmallows). Have we mentioned that Charleston is prime for eating and drinking?
Before we parted ways with the greater Charleston area, we took the advice of various folks who are in the ‘Charleston know’ and checked out the Shem Creek area. It didn’t disappoint. More food options, more drink options, and the promise of dolphins hanging out waiting for fishing boats to drop dead fish off the back. I also (purposefully) ran into Tim Jurkiw (100% always) for a brief hug, which was another mad cool part of Shem Creek.
We’re headed to hunt down Paula Deen in Savannah next. I really hope we find Paula Deen. More butter.