Eric and I are not spontaneous people, by any means. Generally, spontaneity makes us nervous. We are planners to the core. Take our past vacations, for example. We researched the areas, made reservations and itineraries to make sure we did everything we wanted. We are people of lists.
But last weekend, we threw caution (and lists) to the wind and decided to go to the beach. Living in central Kentucky, we’re about 10 hours from the closest beach, which just so happens to be Charleston, South Carolina. Is there a town better than Charleston? Probably. But we really like it anyway.
So we hopped in the car on Friday afternoon and drove to the beach. We stopped in Asheville, North Carolina to eat dinner along the way. Eric had looked up a BBQ restaurant (we still managed to sneak some planning in there) that we both got really pumped about, but it turned out to be closed for dinner time, so we ended up stealing Panera’s wireless and checking Yelp for other dining options. And that brought us to Toi’s Thaifood, located in a gas station. Yes, folks. We ate dinner in a gas station. That’s the kind of spontaneity I’m talking about here.
After a long drive through the Smoky Mountains and several rain storms, we made it to our campsite at James Island County Park. A better title for this post might be “Charleston on the cheap,” as we made it through the whole weekend without spending a ton of money. We camped in the “primitive camping” area, where we sweated it out in the South Carolina heat and humidity. But the campground was clean and had non-terrifying showers, so it was worth the $25 a night. If I might make a suggestion, I would say that camping in South Carolina in the middle of July is probably not the best idea, as it only gets down to about 80 degrees at night. And wow, it’s humid. But maybe I’m just a wimpy camper.
Our campground was conveniently located about 10 minutes from Folly Beach, which was the whole purpose of our trip. We headed there on Saturday morning, stopping to dine at Black Magic Cafe, which is only a block or so from the beach. Holy cow. This place was delicious. We both had the Caribbean Omelet, which is stuffed with black beans, cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, avocado, and peach-mango salsa. Yeah, it was good.
After stuffing ourselves with omelets, we walked down to Folly Beach, which was wonderfully uncrowded. We figured that this was probably the last time we would see the Atlantic Ocean for quite a while, as we’re moving to the West coast in just a few weeks.
We spent the morning lounging on the beach, reading and relaxing. I love the beach, but I’ve never been a big fan of swimming in the ocean (I’ll blame it on a viewing of Jaws and an irrational fear of jellyfish). But this ocean was too inviting to avoid. These non-ocean-swimmers enjoyed a beautiful afternoon of wave hopping and ocean swimming. After soaking up the sun for a bit, we headed to downtown Charleston for some exploring and dining.
I think Charleston is such a beautiful city because it seems so well-planned. All of the houses are incredible, of course, but they all fill together so perfectly. Nothing is haphazardly done in Charleston. And the parks. Oh, the parks. I could sit in those parks and read a book all day long.
We had a seafood dinner at Hyman’s Seafood, where we split a trio of crab cakes, tilapia, and mahi. Yum. If you make it to Hymans, eat a broiled crab cake. It’s the bomb. And, of course, you have to eat dessert when you’re on vacation, so we indulged in Kaminsky’s, where we split the most delicious berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream. Holy cow.
After the sun set, we headed back to our campground. Nothing makes me feel more outdoorsy than showing up to a campground in a dress and sandals.
We woke up really early on Sunday morning to see the sunrise at Folly Beach (because you should always wake up at 5:30 am when you’re on vacation).
We stayed at the beach for a few hours (there’s nothing like completing your day at the beach at 9 am), and ate an identical breakfast at Black Magic Cafe. Aside from super awesome omelets, this place has a wonderful beverage called a Zippy Bean. It’s a frappaccino of sorts, made of Mayan-spiced chocolate, coffee, chocolate covered espresso beans, and ice. Whoa. It was the most delicious coffee beverage I’ve ever tasted.
Our trip to Charleston was over before we knew it, and we headed home to Lexington. We stopped in Asheville along the way for dinner and little drive through the mountain town. Asheville is incredibly beautiful, but I haven’t quite figured out how people live there. We drove all the way to the top of a mountain, through very windy, narrow roads, where houses are perched precariously on the sides of the mountain. How do these people get to their houses when it snows? Or when it rains? It was crazy. We scoped out a few places that we would be interested in living. We’ll just need to save up a few million first.
After a long drive through torrential rains, lots of RadioLab podcasts, and a thousand bathroom breaks, we made it back to Lexington, where there’s no ocean or mountains, but lots of things to love over the next month.