Ever since I was little, I have always wanted to visit Charleston; there’s just something about that city that I have always admired. So when last fall when Southwest Airlines was having a sale on round-trip tickets, I convinced my family to pick Charleston as our short fall break destination. And, y’all, Chucktown did not disappoint!
Upon arriving in Charleston, I was dripping in sweat thanks to the humidity (and the fact that I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved tee! It was 40 degrees when I left the Bluegrass State, but it was 75 degrees when I arrived in the Palmetto State. Next time, I’ll be sure to check swackett!)
From the minute I stepped out of the airport on Wednesday afternoon, I was in awe of the city. Photos did not do it justice! The beautiful architecture and character of the city took my breath away.
Our first stop on Thursday morning was Fort Sumter National Monument. I was the only person in my family who was super enthusiastic to visit the place where the first shots of a war that lasted 4 years and caused over 1 million casualties. (Yes, I’m a history buff. )
We decided that the best way to see the city was a carriage tour. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us tourists some great recommendations for restaurants and places to visit. We spent the rest of the day shopping at the City Market and other little tourists shops.
Friday was a day jam-packed of touring.
Our first stop was Boone Hall Plantation in nearby Mount Pleasant. The plantation grounds may look familiar to you, because it has been the filming location of many movies and television shows. The plantation house was Allie’s summer home in The Notebook, and TJ LeBlanc’s school in the Lifetime series Army Wives. The grounds were used to portray Mont Royal Plantation in the ABC mini-series North and South and were even transformed into Afghanistan and the fictional African country Narubu in Army Wives.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful. No wonder it is used in so many movies and shows! I would love to get married there someday. (I said this the minute I stepped foot on the grounds. Promise I’m not a Blake Lively/Ryan Reynolds copycat!)
We then headed back to town to watch the Friday retreat parade at The Citadel. My family must love me, because no one else wanted to go there yet there we were at 3:45 pm, sitting on the bleachers. My mom admitted she felt silly watching the parade, because everyone else there at least knew a cadet or two, while we were just playing tourist. But whatever. It was an experience that can be marked off a Bucket List, right?
Afterwards, we rushed back to the hotel to shower and change before eating a seafood dinner at Sullivan’s Island with my mom’s cousin and his children, who live in the Charleston area; it was great to visit with them as we hadn’t seen them in years. They showed us around the island (we visited Fort Moultrie at night, looked at the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse, and stopped to admire the architecture of Stella Maris Catholic Church.)
That night, we walked the streets of downtown. My sisters and I weren’t old enough to get into anywhere, but we had a good time just walking around. (Brandi definitely loved downtown at night. With her floral dress and cowgirl boots, she looked like she was born and raised a Carolina girl. The Southern gentlemen noticed her too; we passed a number of Citadel cadets and they tipped their caps at her and said “Evenin’, ma’am.” I guess they didn’t notice that promise ring from her boyfriend on her left hand!)
And just like that, Saturday came. It was time to leave the city of my dreams. I honestly cried as I boarded the airplane; the entire vacation was an amazing dream and I knew that in a hour, I would be back in reality.
Ever since that visit a year ago, I think of Charleston often. Darius Rucker’s music makes me imagine that I’m sitting on a Carolina beach. Sometimes, when I think really hard, I can picture Market Street.
One day, I’ll return to South Carolina. Until then, I’m in a Southern state of mind.