Wednesday, April 28, 2010

my NEEDTOBREATHE inspired trip part 4

It was our last day staying in the heart of Charleston, and our last day with Deah and Ashleigh. We got up and checked out of our hotel, and decided to have one last breakfast together at Toast. This was the only real southern breakfast I got to have, given my sleeping patterns...haha. I had a yummy omelet and breakfast grits...we reminisced about all the adventures we had over the last few days, whined about the fact that it was over, and joked about the silly things we said and did. Finally Deah and Ashleigh headed back to their lives in North Carolina, and Stephanie and I set out to continue being classic tourists! We purchased tickets for a carriage ride and walked through the market on our way over. We ended up on a carriage with several other west coasters, and with a chatty horse named Larry. It was nice to be driven around parts of the city where we had not been yet and to get some history. Social standing is still important in this place, and some of the old laws still stand. We heard about a man who was being tried for shooting a man and was using the old law regarding dueling. We learned about the privacy doors that open to open porches. Years back, if the door was open, you could come in. If shut and you looked onto the porch, you could be challenged to a duel. We saw beautiful homes with porches and rockers and decorated with American flags. I continued to fall in love with Charleston...

We finished our ride and walked back through the market. We saw intricate sweet grass baskets, and I settled on buying a small bouquet of flowers made of sweet grass. We bought Katie's gift there. We then headed out to Mt. Pleasant to go to Boone Plantation. I got to drive over the coolest bridge! The road leading up to the house is about a mile long lined with live oaks that were planted in 1743. Absolutely breathtaking. The house was fairly simple with pieces from various eras in history, as it had been rebuilt at some point. It has two gardens, one on each side of the house, filled with an array of beautiful flowers. On site stand nine original slave quarters, each containing bits of history. It was incredible to stand on such historic land, and I was grateful to be reminded of a time that we should never, ever return to. I have a little bit of history nerd running through my veins, and the Civil War time period is probably one of my favorites. I was really glad to be able to see this place. We spent about 3 hours there, and finally got really we headed to our hotel with the intention to find something to eat. The hotel recommended the place next door, and I ordered shrimp n' grits! It was fantastic. No regrets there...

After filling our tummies with yet another amazing southern meal, Steph and I decided there was just enough daylight to head back into Charleston to check out the Battery. There was a gorgeous little park lined with cannons, lampposts, and mansions. It was quite romantic...haha, but since I was there with Steph, we just had fun taking pictures. We got a random lady to take a couple of non-myspace photos of us, and enjoyed the surroundings. I had a jones for some ice cream, so we went on a hunt for a shop. We managed to find one near the market after driving around a bit. I got ice cream that had the name "Charleston" in it. Steph marveled at my ability to scarf it down as I drove us back over the bridge...seriously, if you don't want ice cream to spill on you, you have to eat it fast! Especially if you are driving! We got back to the hotel, exhausted from our full day, and Steph found 24 for me on tv. Eventually we went to sleep, sadly wishing the next day wasn't our last.

With checkout at 11, we got up in time to grab some free continental breakfast (gotta love it!), and pack things up. I, despite thinking of it earlier in the morning, left my phone charger...boooo....and didn't realize it until we hit Charlotte! But before that happened, we lathered on our sunscreen and headed to Isle of Palms for my first trip ever to the Atlantic Ocean!!! I was greatly impressed with the east coast beach. Having grown up in CA, where beaches abound, I had only been to one other beach that had impressed me more than a CA beach, and that was in Hawaii. I have to give it to Isle of Palms...they have the beaches near SLO beat! Why? The sand is softer and the water is warmer! I could actually swim in it if I so desired. Given that I didn't have a hotel to go change in anymore, I opted not to get all the way in, but man, I was tempted. Steph and I played in the ocean for a bit, and then I got a chance to read some scripture on the beach. It was sooooo relaxing. After about an hour, we perused the local shops and finished up our souvenir shopping. With a heavy heart, we left the Charleston area around 2pm. Spotting a Cracker Barrel, we determined to get one last good southern meal in. I went out with a bang and ordered the sampler platter...with a sweet tea. :) I think I ate only 1/3 of the plate...and was schooled on the game that sits at each Cracker Barrel table. I could not figure out how leave less than three pegs! I blame the food coma. As we walked through the general store there, the cashier convinced me to buy some moon pies for the road, and we eventually made our way back to Charlotte while listening to Matt Hires' CD. :) Steph fell asleep...haha.

It began to rain as we got closer, and I thanked God that he held off the rain until the end of the trip. It had been a perfect 70 degrees in Isle of Palms...ahhh.... We made it to the wonderful Hyatt hotel, and they again showed us how incredibly hospitable they are. The lady at the front desk shared with us that we could drop off our rental car that night and take the shuttle in the morning instead of worrying about that in the morning. We decided to do that, and order pizza from the road while we did it. We got in the car and remembered we needed gas! We called the hotel, who called the shuttle driver who was leading us, and he led us to a gas station before we returned the car. Our hero! He was awesome, and fun to talk with on the way back. He even helped me find plates for our pizza which came just in time for a couple of pretty hungry girls. I realized I had left my phone charger at the hotel in Mt. Pleasant, and bless them, they said they'd mail it to me. (However, to date, this has not occurred. I hope they didn't lie.) I did not worry too much, I had a friend say she had an extra for me to have when I got home! We used the hotel's computer to get ourselves checked in for our flight, and off to bed we went...we had an early morning flight that we weren't really looking forward to.

Up at an hour that equated to 1am Pacific Standard Time...but 4am to us at that time, we stumbled about and got ready for our shuttle to take us to the airport. I could not stay awake on our flight to Memphis...but I didn't really sleep either. If one could win at the bobble head sleeping contest, it would have been me. I'd fall asleep, and then my head would bobble and I'd wake myself up. Or I'd realize my mouth was open (how attractive...) and wake up. I think I drank 3 diet cokes and 2 coffees before our flight eventually made it to LA at 11am (or 2pm according to the other time zone we blasted from on the time machine). Already a long day behind us, we had a long drive ahead of us. We made it though, and I came back convinced I want to go back. It's too bad the Carolinas are so far away...but I will return. THE END.

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