Our Charleston, SC honeymoon was the best trip ever! You know it's a good vacation when you're already talking about when you can go back...
We honeymooned in Charleston, SC last week and it was pretty much the dreamiest town ever. We've visited some places where it feels like all of the restaurants are national chains and you're hard-pressed to get a seat in one of the 2 local/featured places - and as y'all know, food is very important to me.
We got into Charleston at about 3pm last Sunday, aka perfect timing to pick up our rental car, check into our hotel, and head to dinner at Pearlz Oyster Bar. I should probably confess now that I was terrible about taking food photos on this trip because I was busy enjoying and eating - but know that we split the crab cakes and pappardelle pasta with mussels and they were both insanely good.
We did a lot of splitting food this trip to a) save money, b) get to try more things, and c) save room for dessert which was our exact plan since we'd walked by Belgian Gelato earlier.
We split a cone of cappucino + PB/chocolate (weird but good combo) and ate it while strolling Waterfront Park, and of course snapping a quick photo of the pineapple fountain that Charleston is known for.
The next day we had a kayaking tour of Folly Beach planned with Coastal Expeditions, which was easily the highlight of the trip for both of us. I kicked off the trip by running my kayak into a pole but thankfully managed to get the hang of it before we got into more open water.
We saw about a million kinds of wildlife, including dolphins (!!!) and our guide knew so much about all of them. I think the whole thing took about 3-4 hours from start to finish and I would highly recommend it if you're ever in the area. Plus, the guides had great food recommendations when we were done which was amazing since we'd worked up quite the appetite.
Per our guide's suggestion, we stopped off at the Lost Dog Cafe for lunch and split a Southern BLT (fried green tomato instead of tomato plus a pimento spread) and a Thai shrimp wrap. We waited outside for seats for a while and watched bikes and families roll by and regretted not booking hotels on Folly Beach - because as much as we love the city, we are definitely more into the laid-back vibe of suburbs and tiny beach towns.
The afternoon was spent watching Harry Potter at our hotel because we were a million kinds of tired and had another huge day on Tuesday.
We picked up a veggie-chicken-noodle stir fry from Lotus (PS - North Charleston is the cutest neighborhood and I announced to Drew that we were moving there no fewer than 25 times during the 7 minute drive) that was super fresh and light. If this trip taught me anything, it's that Drew is an extremely good intuitive eater. He was still super full from lunch, so I got the bulk of our takeout - but he still snacks when hungry, etc.
After dinner and some vital plot points in Harry Potter (Drew is slowly understanding the complexities of the later stories and it makes me so happy to not have to explain while I watch), we headed out for fro yo at TCBY to satisfy a craving for me. I have to say, I didn't expect this to be a super remarkable experience but the pumpkin spice yogurt was dreamy with cookie dough and walnuts. I should have filled up my entire cup with just that.
The next morning, we had an early day starting with a tour of Fort Sumter that involved a 30-minute ferry ride there and back, plus lots of stair climbing around the fort. I highly regretted not bringing water along, and I'll be the first to admit that this tour was more for Drew than me... but oh so worth it since he was super happy to be learning about the civil war, the fort, and the artillery (he has a degree in mining engineering with a certificate in explosives, so...). I mostly listened and swatted bugs, but we did get to help raise the flag over the fort for the day which felt super patriotic.
After the ferry back, we were starving and headed to Callie's Hot Little Biscuit for lunch. I opted for a BLT biscuit (amazing) with roasted tomatoes and arugula, and Drew got a trio of mini biscuits. We ate about half of our own then split, and I'm still thinking about the blackberry biscuit he had. It was the perfect mix of sweet and tangy, plus still warm and the perfect flaky texture. Apparently Hot Little Biscuit has a bit of a cult following, so we were relieved to see there wasn't a long line - we were told that over the weekend and Labor Day, the line had been out the door all day long.
We walked a mile or so back to the coast to use our tickets for the South Carolina Aquarium, which was solidly one of my favorite aquarium experiences to date! They have a sea turtle hospital with a recovery wing that's open as an exhibit to visitors - so cool. And the turtle OR is also open to watch if there's a surgery going on - there wasn't when we were there, but apparently they do warn families that there is surgery in progress before they come in!
We made the rounds of the aquarium (favorite features: river otters, the albino crocodile, and the Lego sculptures everywhere as decorations), then stopped to pet some little sharks and starfish when one of the aquarium workers overheard that we were on our honeymoon and offered us a behind-the-scenes tour (um, YES!). To be fair, I actually think they offer this to everyone if they're interested, but I'm pretending it was a special honeymoon occasion.
There were divers prepping for a daily dive show when we were behind the scenes of the biggest tank in the aquarium and I was like no thanks. Watching > swimming when it comes to huge sharks, thank you.
We hit up some BBQ for dinner (it was pretty unremarkable but I did appreciate the offering of pulled pork nachos, aka king of the BBQ appetizers) then headed to THE BEST PART OF THE DAY.
My sweet friend and fellow cat lover Michelle texted me late Monday telling me her parents were also in Charleston for an anniversary trip, and that there was a place I should probably check out...
Y'all. It was a CAT CAFE. WHO KNEW. Basically, we paid an entry fee per person to be there + get 1 drink, then we hung out with a room full of kittens for an hour. Best day of my life. I mean, rosé in one hand + a little fluff in the other? Purrfection. You can actually adopt cats straight after your session, so of course I spent my hour begging Drew to sneak one into our carryon but logic prevailed and we left empty-handed. I've literally always had a cat in my household, though - so Baby Cat Hanneke is due January 2018 after we're done with holiday travel and home for a few months.
Post-kitten playtime, we drove out to Isle of Palms to our beach house. I wish we could say we got to maximize our time at the beach, but it was rainy and we were exhausted, so we ran by the store for food and then hunkered down for a day of quiet + beach strolling.
Lunch Wednesday was gnocchi + a steamer bag of green beans with almonds. It would have been way more filling with more protein, but we actually were aiming for a light lunch since we had a huge lowcountry boil planned for dinner.
This was actually much easier than I expected! We grabbed a bag of boil seasoning from the seafood market along with the shrimp, then you just boil the bag for 5 minutes to flavor the water, add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes, add corn and boil for 5 minutes, then add shrimp and boil for 3 minutes. We opted to strain off the cooking liquid and toss everything with butter per a Pinterest recommendation which was a pretty great decision, if you ask us. This dinner + a split pint of Cherry Garcia had us super full and sleepy, which was just fine since we had an early day the next day with flying home.
Breakfast was a pretty standard muffin + coffee in the airport, but a) can we talk about my wedding manicure and its staying power?! and b) the coffee shop was called Caviar & Bananas which is the funniest, most fancy name ever.
Now, we're back in Idaho and prepping for all things fall (our wedding marked the end of summer for my mind). Bring on the sweater weather candles + PSL's - and make sure to stop by Thursday for a fall recipe you don't want to miss! ;)