Southern Living!

Click on below for full photo album:


We took off for Charleston, South Carolina the next morning. And after stopping at the South Carolina dripping with southern charm Welcome Center we went to Myrtle Beach for lunch. We found a wooden walk way along some marshland going from restaurant to restaurant. Creek Ratz was recommended to us, so we went there for yet some more southern seafood, but this time it was of the deep fry everything variety. It was okay, but I like to taste fish when I eat it not deep fried breading, thank you very much. Oh, let me explain, a creek rat is not of the rodent family and it was not served on the menu, but it is a term of endearment for the kids that grow up in the area who always came home with marsh mud all over them.

With our bellies full, we folded ourselves back into the good old Subaru and headed south. We got to Charleston mid evening and checked into the old world charm Inn we got a deal on at the state’s welcome center. The Anchorage Inn not only had a free continental breakfast complete with biscuits and gravy, but also served wine and cheese at happy hour and sherry from 9 to 10pm for free too! The hotel was a bit of a splurge, but we did get a great deal on it (1/3 of the price that we heard the front desk quoting people on the phone) and it was right smack in the middle of the 300 year old “Old Town.” We went out for a bite to eat and after enjoying walking around the cobblestone streets and checking out the old gas street lamps, we settled at an Irish place called Tommy Condons. I said, condoNs, not condoMs, you goofballs! Irish food was a nice change from all the seafood we had been eating. After dinner we just settled in for an early nights sleep in our cozy canopied dark wood bed.

After our filling free breakfast we headed out for museums, dungeons, and stories of pirates. The original city of Charleston was a walled city for safety from the Spanish, Native Americans, the French and oh yes, the pirates. The wall is no longer there, but the stories are…like the wailing of pirate ghosts who were hung for their crimes. Besides the sordid past, the city is very lush and has a cute scene around almost every corner and even down alley-ways. We were enamored by the lush garden and brick courtyards, enjoyed many big brass door knockers, took pictures of elaborate iron work and ran into more churches than people. We strolled through the market place to gander at not only your typical tourist items, but hand made items as well, such as sea grass baskets. We found this little French place which we fell in love with, I can’t recall the official name, but its nickname was “French and Fast.” We went in for a coffee and ended up with a light lunch. Great European atmosphere…without the attitude. For a smaller city, Charleston sure did have a lot to see, even on the grounds of churches. Most of the churches around the town had private very small and old cemeteries and at one we got a free private tour of the inhabitants and their headstones. Mr. Rhett, an “urban historian”, was a friendly guy who knew a lot, not only about the people buried in the cemetery, but about the actual headstones as well. One headstone, belonging to a daughter of a local family who died long ago had a skull with a bone pierced through it and part of the jaw was missing. Why you ask? Because it seems as if the people who buried this young girl wanted revenge even after her death, with no jaw she can not speak in the here after. So, please no skulls with broken jaws on my headstone please.

For an early dinner/late lunch we hit Hymans, famous for the seafood. Jim had a po-boy shrimp sandwich. Funny thing is the waiter asked Jim how he wanted the shrimp cooked and Jim looked at him blankly and said, “What are the options?”

Straight faced the waiter replied in a deadpan manner and mind you with a southern accent, “Blacken, sautéed, steamed, Cajun, boiled, or grilled.” I had to turn away because I felt I was right there with Forrest and Bubba cleaning the floor with toothbrushes talking about shrimp! Jim did his best to keep a straight face but had to have the waiter repeat himself because he was equally distracted. Jim got his cooked Cajun style and eyes widened when he saw how many shrimp there were in the sandwich! They ain’t fooling around.

It seems everyone who is anyone, even the volleyball team from Clemson, has eaten at Hymans and left their marks. How is that you ask? They sign plates which are then hung on the wall (see James Brown’s plate in the photo album link above).

We walked even more after dinner as a digestivo and then settled down at a rooftop garden bar for sunset. We just relaxed for a couple of hours until it was good and dark and we were good and relaxed. Then we ambled off for an early night in.

Charleston is a wonderful charming city, dripping a bit too much with just as many pearls as the moss that hangs from its aged large trees though. Very manicured, which makes for such a nice viewing, but manicured to a fault for too much fun.

A couple of hours south of Charleston is it’s red headed step sister, Savannah, another charming southern city, but as Charleston is manicured, Savannah is rough around the edges. I think Charleston is a prettier town, but Savannah seems more lived in. For instance, you have a wonderful river front walk which instead of ending in a nice park, ends at an old unused power plant. Savannah seems still in growth/remodel mode with many buildings being worked on for yet more hotels or restaurants. Maybe not as quaint as Charleston, but its fun side makes up for it.

At the Georgia Welcome Center, we again got a great deal on a historic downtown area hotel, this time at a brand new Hilton, which turned out to be cheaper than the surrounding budget hotels. For our last night in a hotel in the States for at least year, we went in style. We checked in and went on a “roam” and found an Irish pub for lunch on the river walk. Through this stop we learned many Irish people live in the area. We roamed more after lunch and enjoyed many of the probably 20 park/squares around the old area. We hit more churches, ABC, Another Bloody Church, as we learned from a Brit woman in Czech Republic! They were lovely though, none of the new variety, old, detailed and interesting architecture.

Later, the overcast gloomy night provided a great backdrop to our Haunted Pub Crawl. Our sassy pants tour guide dressed up in period Confederate soldier digs, entertained us for 3 hours. One of the first things he said was “You do not have to laugh at my jokes, but by the end of the night you better tell me I look skinny in this outfit!” Mind you he said it in that fierce “I am gay, get over it” attitude. He told us about a well known Savannah secret…the Savannah Flu…which is a much excepted reason to call sick into work. We were worried if we would experience it the next day as what they call a flu, the rest of us call a hangover. We did not see any ghosts, and although we did not feel our best the next morning I think a real flu bug got us. Back to the ghosts though, I did hear a stair creek in the dark, dank, creepy upstairs of the first pub, which I know was THE lady in the black dress. Jim enjoyed the Artillery Punch / Knock-out Punch and associated story of its origin back to the visit of George Washington. Anyway, we did have a great night of laughter, and how couldn’t we when we not only got a drink at some of the pubs, but were allowed to walk with them in the streets in plastics cups from place to place too! Yes, drinking in public is one of the attractions of this red headed step sister charming southern city. One can even go into a convenience store, buy a beer on tap in a plastic cup and walk away sipping the foam all the way down the street.

After our three hour ghost tour was over, we decided to hang out a bit longer with two English couples. English people, you know, the ones who enjoy their ale. Maybe a mistake, but a fun one! Interesting enough, one of the husbands is the COO of the Ministry of Sound. I would explain, but I know some of you already know what that means. Let me just say, leader in the dance music revolution. He played it down and told Jim he was an accountant, while his wife took bragging rights with us girls. The other couple was on their way west to California, then to Baja Mexico and down through Mexico and Central America to Belize by Christmas. Maybe our paths will cross again.

Home later than usual that night; we took liberties with sleeping in the next day. We now know what they mean by the Savannah Flue. We had a crappy but much needed brunch in the early afternoon, so with hunger dealt with we walked more and more and more leading us into evening and the Savannah Jazz Festival. We were at a large park with several thousand people in all states and styles of picnicking listening to live jazz. We were picnic-less, but fortunately like at every festival there are the food tents. We hit one of them up for a bar-b-que sandwich and then cozied ourselves in on the grass for a bite and listen. We sure enjoyed the Brunswick Stew side dish. Need to look that recipe up and make it some day. Back to our early night in routine, we headed back to the hotel after several long instrumental arrangements. Good times. Good sleep.

We got up early for some last day in town touristing. This day we had a great breakfast at B. Mathews. Not only did we get great food, our waiter was fun to talk to as well. A New York transplant, but through many other cities and states first, was sure to tell us what to do while in town. Even though dealing with some chest congestion, we still walked off the breakfast and saw as much more of Savannah, GA as we could before heading off to the last state on this cross country extravaganza.

~ by My Gnome Little World on October 6, 2008.

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