There’s a lot to unpack – literally in terms of sand-filled clothing and proverbially in terms of memories – from our trip to South Carolina.
We arrived home in the wee hours this morning. It was incredible to see family and we loved soaking up every ray of delightful Carolina sunshine (though, despite best efforts and near-constant sunscreen application, everyone but Levi walked away with some iteration of a sunburn). Outside of my parents, I see family quite rarely because of geography, and COVID hasn’t helped. So it feels very, very special when we get to spend time together.
I’m old enough to realize that hello always necessitates goodbye and I’ve also learned it’s better to leave a party before you’re ready (thanks, Dot)…but still, I’m feeling pretty bummed and sad right now. I wish we were still lounging on the beach or heading to the pond for another fishing adventure instead of jumping back into the less exciting routines of life.
But that life is objectively wonderful (or so I tell myself in between reaching for my down-filled parka; the weather in Canada is…cooler). The renovations that were started while we were away progressed relatively smoothly. There are lots of fun school and work and summer sporting routines to ease back into next week.
Without further ado, a recap; it was one of those “highlight-reel” sort of weeks.
week #2 in South carolina
SATURDAY | We spent most of our day on Lake Murray. After a fun morning of wakeboarding, tubing, and swimming, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the boat while drifting in a cove. The water was warm, the sun was shining and it was just a lovely way to spend my birthday.
SUNDAY | We were up and out the door early, headed to Charleston for a two-day stay. We planned to start on the beach at Isle of Palms, but crowds were huge because of the long weekend, so we ended up reconfiguring our plans and headed right to downtown Charleston. We had a picnic lunch at the waterfront battery and then spent several hours walking around the city.
The most memorable stop for me was the John Rutledge House Inn. Years ago we found a framed sketch of this location for several dollars at one of our go-to thrift stores. We liked the aesthetic, bought it, and it has been hanging in our home ever since. So one of our main goals in Charleston was to visit the house in person.
Apparently, or so Google tells me, it is considered one of the best hotels/inns in all of Charleston. John Rutledge was a Governor of South Carolina and also signed the Constitution! The manager of The Governor’s House Inn – located across the street and previously owned by another Rutledge brother – saw us taking pictures and ended up coming outside to provide a free 15-minute synopsis of local history, especially as it pertained to the Rutledge family.
We went back to the waterfront and the kids + a cousin got soaked in the Pineapple Fountain (this was a sanctioned public spot for people to go wading).
Then we checked in to our hotel in Patriot’s Point. Abby spent a happy 30 minutes in the pool doing handstands for me to rate on a scale of 1 to 10. My sister brought all the fixings for tacos and we convened in their hotel room for a supper picnic.
Then we were off to the pier for fishing; Levi caught something on his last cast which was a wonderful turn of luck (in total the group caught and released 5 or 6 fish). While some of the group stayed behind to continue fishing, our family + my oldest niece walked the iconic Ravenel Bridge at sunset. It was stunning.
MONDAY | After making good use of the Continental Breakfast, we headed to the beach. We ended up skipping Isle of Palms (busy + paid parking) and ended up at Sullivan’s Island Beach instead. The kids had a wonderful time, and John told me earlier today this was the highlight of the trip for him. We found a live sea dollar, there was an alligator sighting (um, yikes), and Levi and my nephew dug a giant hole in the sand. John, Abby, two nieces and I walked to Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, the last lighthouse built in America and, at one time, the brightest lighthouse in the world.
A picnic lunch + some more fishing (John was the only one to catch something at this spot; it was high noon).
On our way back to the vehicle, we met up with a police officer who showed our group a picture of the 8-foot HAMMERHEAD SHARK he caught earlier in the day. From the beach right beside where we were fishing! Double yikes. We picked up a few souveniers and headed for home.
TUESDAY | My brother-in-law had to leave for work in Georgia, so we planned a lower-key day around Columbia. We took my nieces/nephew to Starbucks for a treat and then headed out for a very hot 18-holes of mini golf. It was a lot of fun, and a first for our kids. Mini-golf (or putt-putt as they call it in the South) had been part of our family “bucket” list for the summer, so it was great to check that off in the company of some very enthusiastic cousins. I was so, so bad (and it was so, so hot). But it was fun and that’s what counts.
Next up was a short swimming lesson in the neighbourhood pool (one of my nieces teaches swimming lessons each day, and worked with both my kiddos), followed by a movie night for the smaller kids at home while the adults + my oldest niece and her boyfriend went to see the new Top Gun movie. It was “$5-ticket-night” but the theatre had leather recliners complete with heated seats. This was actually one of the highlights of my trip; it was fun to do something adults-only and the movie was very entertaining.
WEDNESDAY | Our main focus was various stops around downtown Columbia. We visited some AirBnB properties my sister and her husband co-own (gorgeous!).
We wandered around the grounds of the State House, followed by a bit of shopping downtown (Starbucks and Mast General Store, the latter being very fun for browsing) and then a lovely but very, very hot walk down by the river. Park rangers told us there is an alligator that often hangs out on a specific sandbar along the river, but we weren’t able to spot him. We did see four deer, though.
The evening highlight was Levi catching a massive carp in the neighbourhood pond.
THURSDAY | And then it was time to leave. Not nearly as much fun as going, and what a day of travel it ended up being. We had three flights to get home and they were ALL delayed – the first one by four hours. The kids were absolute rockstars. Hardly a complaint in a nearly 24-hour day.
Airport waiting it never fun, but we made the most of it. John and I each took solo walks instead of carting around luggage and kids. The kids spent an inordinate amount of time on moving sidewalks. Our delays meant free snacks and the kids…well let’s just say they really enjoyed the snacks.
We got upgraded to business class on our flight from Washington to Montreal which was such a fun experience for the kiddo’s (and only my second time in business class; the perks of frequent flyer status don’t match the benefits of this sabbatical, but wow are they nice). Huge kudos to John for being such a saavy traveller. I would have been in tears headed to Timbuktu by the end of the day if he hadn’t been around to take charge and coordinate things so masterfully.
And now we’re home. I have hundreds of pictures to sort through and so many great memories of our time away. I think I’ll do a few posts specific to the trip – Savannah, Charleston, Columbia and maybe a bit about some of the things we do to make travel (air or otherwise) with kids a bit easier?
But for now I’m off to do some more laundry.
Happy weekending everyone.