It being a 30th bday and all, we decided we should stay in a legit place, you know like "real adults". Charleston Place, was our home for the weekend. We could not have picked a better home to make us feel special and grown up. Charleston Place was adorned with a large circle drive, valets at your beck and call, a huge horse fountain, the largest chandelier we'd ever seen, superb customer service and a rather decent size room. We were by far the youngest people staying there. After some heeeyyyyys and hugs we headed to Cru Cafe for lunch, not to my surprise there was a 45 min wait, so we wandered the Market area eventually landing in LB's bar for a pre-lunch cocktail. Usually the stuff on Market is really touristy and down right cheesy but this place had charm, nice folks working and a great drink menu. They even served up pork rinds while we waited for our spirits. Moments later Bloody's and Sangria appeared and a few short moments later, they disappeared. Back over a Cru, we enjoyed a bottle of bubbles ( we were on a mini vacay after all), delicious soup, salad and sammys. Once we got back to the car, we realized there was a problem, the doors were locked and B could see the keys inside. Not to worry B said, we had a AAA member on our hands. Within 30 min we were back in business. And I'm not to going to lie, I think Brantley enjoyed using her card! We had to leave Mary Hayes behind - work is a pain. So we carried on our day and sent continuous photos and obnoxiously checked in on FB at every single place we went, you know, to let MH know how much we missed her. Brantley is a landscape architect. She has a cool blog that you should check out here. Keeping with my goal to always try and get some education/ culture/ history in on every trip and appeal to B's style ( Malone does whatever we say) we headed to Angle Oak. It was a beautiful afternoon and the sun was peaking through the limbs and for a few min it was just us and the tree. She's massive, sprawling, always green, is considered to be one of the oldest living things in our country and has grown in this natural habitat for 1,500 years. 1,500 years people!
Side note: Malone: I bet it's really pretty in the fall.
Brantley: It's an evergreen. She stays this color year round.
|Brantley: Our plane landed last night and we ended up in heaven.|
From here we walk back to the hotel to hail a Rickshaw Biker. Eric would be our new favorite person. Little did he know by picking us up Friday meant he was ours for the weekend. Being the small world it is, we had several mutual friends. All Mr. Toepperwein required was a 15 min call or text before our desired pick up time. Eric and his firemen buddy took us to Upper King. From here we bounced from Macintosh to Rarebit. Both new and fun spots. Macintosh is where B thought she would do her yearly drink switch up. She ordered a "new" drink that sounded great but tasted bad. None other than the Honey Badger. Honey Badger don't give a shit, but Brantley does. It has everything in it she liked, or so she thought: Jack Daniels Honey blend, house made chai, orange bitters and almond milk. Whats not to love!? Well, apparently, those things are only delicious when consumed independently. We all took our turns tasting the Honey Badger. I could barley get it down. Malone said just to chug it as her face was making an unpleasant face and Mary Hayes was convinced it was straight from India, as she tasted "Indian food in there", " that drink has curry in in and you need to be Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love". Brantley vowed to not detour from her heart again. Bourbon with splash of water from there on out. But she did finish her cocktail. "I've got one sip left. I'm finishing my damn specialty cocktail". Rarebit offered us more tasty cocktails. The Champagne Cocktail in particular: Bubbly Cava, above well grade Vodka, St. Germain, and 'seasonal splash of soda'. These are dangerous. Dangerous if the fact they taste so good, go down so well and make you so tipsy. MH had had enough - she is 30 after all- and caught a cab home. Feelin' like dancin' we ask Eric to take us to Faculty Lounge. It's shady, small, a local of locals spot, serves strong drinks, dance tunes and best yet, the entire back wall is a mirror. Eric allowed all 3 of us to pile in his 2 person rickshaw seat and headed North. In mind mind FL was not that far. Little did I know, I had asked- BUT he agreed- to bike us 2.1 miles. He even stayed to enjoy the scene while we drank, had photo shoots and dance parties. Then biked us all the way back. Ok, he may or may have not had a friend spinning tunes. Either way, he was a life saver. Trying to a cab from that part of town, would have been a pure nightmare. Oh, and lets not forget the blanket had for us... it gets chilly whirling through the streets. We arrived to our place at 2:30 am. We thanked (and paid) Erik and said, see ya tomo!
Side note: This Honey Badger story should not alter your judgement on the Macintosh establishment it self. We loved everything else about the place!
Saturday was get touristy day. Before that could happen we needed nourishment and or caffeine. The new Bull Street Gourment on King was the spot. I heart this place. It smellls good, there are feel good treats to take home and made to order foods that will surely satisfy your belly. Next up was a carriage tour. Palmetto Carriage Tour was recommended by a friend. We are pretty sure our tour guide, Troy, thought we were two couples on a vacay, but we corrected him... several times and asked he stick to the history lesson. He was funny and a great story teller, just not sure about us. The hangovers, loud talking (on our part) and obscene comments may have had something to do with it. Justice our beauty of horse was much more polite. Here are a few things we learned:
1. The Grid: The grid for "Charles Towne" was laid out in 1680
2. Oleander is poisonous. Even if burning the fumes will get ya!
3. Blue ceilings: We've all seen it, but do you know why? Blame it on the haints. In South Carolina the color blue used is Haint Blue. This color prevents the people of the home to be taken or influenced by the haints. Blue was chosen b/c it is believed that haints never cross water.
4. Earthquake Rods : In 1866 one of the biggest earthquakes to hit the Southeast really shook up Charleston. Over 2,000 building damages and the total in repairs about 6 million ( Troy told us now a days, that would be over 141 million). Rods were placed to existing houses / buildings to add support to the structure without having to demolish and rebuild. These large bolts/ rods pass through the wall on opposite sides of the structure. Some exposed on the interior, some not. Once they were in place they could be slowly turned until the house became level again. You can see the washers on the outside of buildings. Some new constructions structures add them ( like the ones at Charleston Place) for the historic factor.
5. Exterior front porch entry doors: You see this a lot in Charleston. We were told is was due to the fact men were not allowed to be "undressed" in public- as in must always have suit, jacket, etc on. Even if in the house during the day. However, with a private porch and exterior door, they could 'relax' and have warning to get properly dressed when someone rang the outside door, which was in general, the "entry" into the home. If that door is shut, the family wants privacy,
6. Long Skinny Houses: Someone once told me that the houses were long and skinny b/c the tax value was based on the width of the frontage of the house/ lot, not the length. Troy corrected me in saying while that is rumored, there is no proof for it. The plats were divided this way and houses positioned how they are on the land due to lack of land to give out and to help with income of the breeze in the summers. Most lots measure only 40-50 feet. The city wanted to pack as many houses on one street as possible.
After taking in all this knowledge we needed to talk it over at lunch at Fleet Landing. Yeah yeah, I know it's a tourist trap, but we were playing tourist and it was a cool spot to show the girls. With just a 15 min wait, we passed the time with cocktails at the bar. Lots of food was ordered: fried shrimp, shrimp salad, crab cake benedict and a mahi sammy. This is one of the only places to eat on the water downtown, seems crazy, since Charleston is in fact a peninsula!
I've got a friend and her name is Friend. She lives with our other friend Nick, who we call Pavia. Friend & Pavia have (ok, had ) what one would call a rather ideal set up for Sullivan's Island. They lived in the downstairs of a beach house on Atlantic, Station 24 and two block from the bars with a beach access passing through their yard. After 2 years, it was time to say good bye to yard/ beach parties, grill outs, celebrations, pumpkin painting, volleyball, beer pong, tanning, hulla hooping, swinging, sleeping and drinking. It was the last "beach house party". Summer of 2013 marks the year we have to be like everyone else: pack a days worth of towels, umbrellas, ice, drinks, food, sunscreen, outfits and race for parking spots then haul it all to the beach. No more "I'm walking up to the house, do you need anything?" . The closure party started at 1 and we arrived at 3:30. Believe it or not, Malone had never seen up close (only from the air) the Atlantic Ocean. Since it was right there, her eyes had to see it and her feet needed to have the sand and water touch it. So the Mississippi gals took a stroll to the beach. 5:30 rolled around and we decided to take it to Hometeam BBQ to suck down a couple pain killers and let the new gals experience the local vibe out on Sully's. 15 of us pile in and take over two large tables.
Around 7 we head back to our neck of the woods and refresh ourselves for dinner and another evening out. As we are walking into the Charleston Place, we see Eric! We asked him to please return at 8:45- and he did. We had planned to dine at Rarebit, but Eric suggested Macintosh, so we went there... what a good recommendation. We sat outside on the patio- complete with standing heaters. The vibe, atmosphere and food was all just want we needed. It was very intimate and relaxing. As the bill comes, I text Eric and boom, we walk out and he's there. He and his buddy bike us to The Griffon, where we stayed stationed for the rest of the evening. My cousin's band Green Levels was playing. His other band is pretty note worthy too, Yellowknife. The Griffon is a small dive bar with dollar bills stapled all over the place, it is usually packed to the rim and to top it off, it's a cool old house. We got lucky with a table right up front. It warmed my heart and filled my soul with joy, yet again to see my cousin, doing what he loves. Our trusty rickshaw driver picks us up at 1:15 and takes us 'home' again.
Ugh Sunday was a sad day. It was good bye day. Before we left, we had one last meal together downstairs at the Palmetto Cafe. We enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast with any and everything your could want the morning after a big weekend. It was now 11 or so, the girls got in the Volvo and drove away. I drove to Mt. Pleasant for my normal Sunday with Rob, Brie and Evan. We played, napped, ate, played, then I left.
I've had some good times in Charleston and this was one was no different. In fact, It reaches the top.
If you are in the area, also check out:
The Alley- The place where you may run into Bill Murray. Great food. Great people. Great drinks.
Middleton Place- America's oldest landscaped gardens
Drayton Hall- Palladian Architectural at its finest also the only plantation house on the Ashley River to survive both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Cocktail Club- Wooden walls and floors. The place where you walk in and could totally imagine dressed up fella smoking cigars and sippin' on the browns.
The Belmont- Fancy drinks. Get the charcuterie plate.
Stars- Great rooftop.
Antique District- dream land.
The Battery- It's a must
Charleston Tea Plantation- Beautiful piece of property. Great tours.
House of Brews- My friend's own this. Go and drink good beer.
Charleston Farmer's Market- Large farmer's market and hand crafted gooooods.
Written by: Emily Ballard
Photos by: Emily Ballard, Malone Gregory, Friend Grey, Brantley Snipes & Google Images