Friday, May 21, 2010

Charleston - Day 1

Brian and I had such a good time in Charleston! We went to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary...which is actually next month but that would be too close to my due date to fly far from my OB. Neither one of us had been there before so we weren't sure what to expect. Basically, if you like golf, history, eating, and shopping, you'll like Charleston.

When we were trying to choose hotels our main priority was finding one with a spa that offered maternity massages. Unfortunately, we decided against one of our favorite chains (Relais & Chateaux) because they didn't have maternity massages. So that one is on the list for next time.

We ended up choosing a vacation package with Charleston Place hotel. Each day we received a gift card - day one was a gift card towards dinner, day two was a gift card towards the spa, day three was a gift card to a Magnolia Plantation with breakfast, and day four was a gift card for a sunset sail on the harbor. Understand this - if we had the kids with us we would have been staying at the Embassy Suites down the road. We don't normally stay in lovely hotels like this when we travel with the kids.

Upon check-in were we told that due to a small conference in the hotel they had to upgrade us to the suite level. They were very apologetic about it. Yes, it is so hard to be upgraded - how will we manage? Since neither one of us ever had a room on a suite level we had no idea that it meant there was food 24/7! So we didn't have to pay for a breakfast or many snacks. We just grabbed what was laid out.

Our room wasn't a suite (we didn't need that much room anyway) but it was large with high ceilings. This hotel is obviously in an old building and they're doing their best to keep it up. This is what we saw when we opened the door:

The beautiful table in the entryway:

And the room. The tv was crammed into the armoir and it was pretty old. I hope that upgrading the tv's in the rooms is next on their list.

The turn down service each night offered benne wafers and little chocolates.

We woke up naturally at 7am since that is when the kids normally wake us up. (We haven't used an alarm clock in our house in years.) And while we wanted to sleep in a little more we were too eager to get out and look around the downtown area.
After eating our free breakfast (which Brian continually reminded me - wasn't free since we paid for a room) we went for a short walk to the Charleston Market. I loved that our hotel was so close to everything. If we hadn't planned on golfing or visiting plantations we wouldn't have needed to rent a car at all. The market is packed with tons of different touristy gifts and local hand made items. The most common being the sweetgrass baskets. I hadn't heard of these before going to Charleston but they are everywhere. And to say they're expensive is an understatement. If you wanted a small sized basket you were looking to spend about $100 at the very least. For a basket. I can't deny that they are pretty but they don't joke around about the cost.

After slowly (let's remember I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and it was a bit warm in Charleston)walking around for about 2 hours it was time to get in the car and head to Kiawah so Brian could golf and I could read.
At the end of our trip Brian asked me what the best part was. After thinking a minute I said that it was the moment we walked into the clubhouse at Kiawah and saw the ocean through the huge picture window. Both of us just stood there for a solid minute taking it all in. Not only was it beautiful but it smelled so good!
We grabbed a light snack and sat on the veranda before his 1:00 tee time.

Brian played with two gentlemen from Georgia and we also had a caddy who gave them advice on how the hole was laid out. The 18 holes took about 4 hours. I sat in the golf cart and read the whole time.
Well, I didn't read the whole time. Once the caddy told me that the course had alligators I went alligator hunting. They weren't very large so I was a little disappointed but the caddy said the large ones usually stay hidden.

Do you see that one swimming below? He wasn't happy when he saw that I was taking his picture and he went all the way under.

A little baby one.

But with the exception of the alligator hunting I stayed in the cart. Which is why it was so surprising that I got one of the worst sunburns of my life. I'll admit - I left my SPF500 at home so I was stuck with Brian's SPF30. SPF 30 doesn't protect my skin from moonlight. I re-applied every 45-60 minutes and stayed in the cart yet I was still red. And it wasn't even all over. It was in completely random spots. It's been over a week and my left calf is still burned. And that leg was ALWAYS in the cart since Brian was driving. How in the world did that happen??!
Another surprising thing about Kiawah was the homes that overlooked the course and the ocean. I don't know if you would consider these homes. They were actually mansions. HUGE mansions. I guestimated that they were between $5-10million and after looking at the Kiawah real estate website I was pretty close. They cost that much money and they aren't even on the beach - they just have beach access! Incredible. When I was on the website I noticed that 95% of the homes all had elevators. So that gives you an idea of the age of the clientele.

The view from the 16th hole.

After Brian finished we drove back to the hotel and had a wonderful dinner at their main restaurant - The Charleston Grill. The menu was pretty unique in that it offered different genres of food - Pure (simple dishes), Lush (French dishes), Southern (no explanation should be needed), and Cosmopolitan (exotic global dishes).
I stuck to the southern menu since that's why we chose Charleston in the first place. My salad was a frisee with crispy pork belly topping. I've been dreaming of that pork belly every night since then. I then had the seared flounder with crab succotash. Brian started with the crab cakes and his entree was scallops in a lobster bisque. The best part was that the chef came to our table and we got to talk to her about the food. So much fun!
We decided to skip on dessert since we were full and the hotel offered cookies and other snacks on the suite level floor. Before we left the waiter brought us a complimentary dessert sampler with a chocolate plaque that read Happy Anniversary. It was the perfect ending to the start of a great vacation!

1 comment:

Cary/Ashley said...

What a trip!! So very happy for you guys!:) Congratualtions on 10 years of marriage.