The kids' last day of school was June 8 this year (usually it's a week later), so we packed our bags and headed out bright and early on the 9th (6am, I believe)! We began our ten hour drive and, thus, our cool vacation!
We realized at some point this spring that our youngest daughter Gracelynn has never seen the beach. She's been home with us for over four years now! So, it was five years ago that we last ventured to the beach. It was time. :)
When our family wants to hit the beach, it's usually Corolla, NC (OBX). However, I personally have been dying to go to Charleston, SC. So, I convinced Mike to head to a beach down in SC instead. We stayed at the Isle of Palms beach in SC... just a 20 minute drive to Charleston.
Here's the fam heading down the access to the beach on our first full day there.
This is Grace's first time EVER in the surf. Oh, to have those skinny little legs and skin that darkens in, oh, about 10 minutes!!
While we were in SC, we decided to stop at Patriot's Point one afternoon. It's consists of a few naval ships, including the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier. It was a lot of fun to go exploring through the carrier and to climb on various equipment.
Pretending to fly.
Um... wow. I joked that I should make this for my husband's next family reunion!
Of course, I would need one of these... a mixer taller than me!
Here my son Ben and Mike are pretending to get the day's flight plans.
The next day, we ventured into historic Charleston and went on a cool walking tour! I recommend popping into the Brass Pirate (on Market Street in the Rainbow Market behind a pizza restaurant.) For $30 ($45 for six of us), you can get a bag that includes a cool Pirate scavenger hunt that has you trekking all over the historic parts of Charleston. We saw about a half dozen old graveyards, including this one that included several markers with the Jolly Roger on them! Pirate graves! Ahoy!
The tour also took us down some cobblestone streets, looking at old churches, reading Civil War and Revolutionary War markers and reading about the pirates captured in Charleston. Too bad it rained most of the time... we basically started running from one awning to the next! But, avast my hardies, we still found some cool treasures! Argh! After answering some 25+ questions, we were rewarded with a cool pirate prize back at the shop.
In Charleston, we stopped at the City Market and tried some yummy pecan pralines and bought some tees and jewelry... and even grabbed a cute HairWrap for Grace.
This picture was taken in SouthEnd Brewery... great fire-oven pizza. :)
On our tour, my husband stopped me at one point and said, "Chris... look at the houses!" Aha! Rainbow Row!!!
Our old college friend lives in Charleston and had some yummy local restaurant suggestions (beyond the same ol' Hymans and such that you'd find in Southern Living....)
We went to RB's in Shem Creek for some good local seafood. Yum-Oh!
One spot that HAD to be tried... twice!... was Charleston's Cafe off of Johnnie Dodd's Blvd. Just in a little shopping center, but it had the most amazing breakfasts!!!
HIGHLY recommend the pancakes. :)
A few days later, when it was a bit gloomy and overcast, we decided to forego a whole day at the beach and took the afternoon to visit Magnolia Plantation. Too cool!
It boasts the country's oldest garden (planted back in the mid 1600s). And the whole plantation was filled with these OLD oak trees, just dripping with moss. That tree is just too cool!!
That's a BIG tree!
And that's a lot of moss!
(Doesn't he look thrilled?)
Even in SC, we found my hometown represented... Steel City Pizza. Had all sorts of Pittsburgh signs and even a Kennywood sign
(ten points to anyone that knows what that is!)
Another good breakfast spot down on Isle of Palms. Watch out though... moments after this shot, we all got eaten alive as we walked through a SWARM of mosquitoes on our way to the car. Dang things even flew in after us. We killed no less than 8 mosquitoes in the car alone! Ouch!
We weren't sure we'd be able to spend Father's Day truly celebrating, since we had plans to take our son to camp that day. So, instead, the kids and I surprised Daddy with a Tie-Banner (Pinterest anyone?) and some fun little MadLibs about dads.
I like that my older kids can take photos now too!
We saw a lot of Palmettos around (and one Palmetto bug only, thank goodness)... especially on cars and tees and flags (it's the SC flag). Had to get the little vinyl decal for our car, of course.
Mike said that someone once gave him a bit of advice... always get a picture of your family enjoying themselves on the beach... so he snapped this photo. Thirty-One came with us to the beach house and to the beach, of course!
Our last trek back to the beach house. So sad.
I made it my goal to eat some true southern food. At Pages' Okra Grill, I had me some PICKLED OKRA!
Had some collard greens and fried okra, too.
This is the lighthouse on Sullivan's Island (please forgive the poor camera-phone photo taken while driving). I had to get this shot. We affectionately referred to this lighthouse as "Ferb". :) Tee hee.
Alas, our trip had to end. But I guarantee we will be back someday. Charleston's charm rubbed off on us and is beckoning us back one day. Love that town!
Bless its little heart.