We had to get back to the beach. Since our trip to Myrtle Beach, we've been dreaming about getting back to the coast - just a nicer coast. So we made last minute arrangements to spend our 11-year anniversary in Charleston and Isle of Palms. We had yet to visit this part of South Carolina and I'd been eager to see what magic it held for so many. I've always been enamored of the South; growing up in the Midwest and Southern California, my idea of what the South was - was very Steel Magnolia's and Anne Rice's Feast of All Saints. I've always dreamt of taking a long, dusty road trip through Dixie... dining on peaches from roadside stands and passing haunted plantations at dusk - Spanish moss brushing the top of our car as we sank deeper into the country. Charleston, being one of oldest cities in America, founded in 1670 is beautifully preserved and allowed me the luxury of living out this fantasy.
We started our trip in the historic area of the city staying just a few blocks away from King Street and all it offers. The heat was deliciously intense. The kind that just drains your life while simultaneously making you feel cleansed and whole. We refueled at Hope and Union - twice on this trip actually - and fell in love with not only the spare beauty of the space, but some of the best iced mocha in the universe. That Sunday, our anniversary, we were lucky enough to secure a table at Husk and enjoyed what is most definitely one of my favorite brunches ever. While the pulled pork croque monsieur topped with a perfectly fried egg was memorable to be sure - it was dessert - the most heavenly chocolate trifle served in a large jar, that I'm still dreaming about. It was creamy and crunchy and chocolaty and - oh god - it was SO good. I'm determined to recreate it - somehow.
That afternoon we drove out to the beach. We stayed on Isle of Palms at Wild Dunes upon recommendation of a girlfriend. For a last minute getaway, it was an ideal choice. It is a beautiful, clean and un-crowded beach and some of the best shelling we've found on the East Coast. The girls collected some fine specimens. We swam until the sand and salt water was deeply imbedded into every pore and we relished the afternoon rains as a welcome break for lunch and a quick check up on the Olympic games. The ocean is so sacred to me. Whenever I have the opportunity to cleanse my spirit in the crashing waves, I find that the fires in my heart are quelled - at least for a little while. It's my favorite place to meditate, to listen to my soul and to the wisdom of the Ocean. I think my girls feel this force as well.
We spent the last day exploring two other areas of Charleston. Having been recommended the tacos at Taco Boy in Folly Beach, we found it the perfect excuse to check out the area for a possible beach rental next summer. After we sat down on the patio of Taco Boy, sipping our beers and eating fresh guacamole, it occurred to me that I didn't feel like I was in the South anymore. Having spent so may summers in Pacific and Ocean Beach, I realized why I felt so comfortable in Folly. It has a distinctive SoCal vibe and I can't wait to get back next summer. And the tacos? An avocado tempura taco with slaw and a sweet Thai chili sauce rocked my world.
And I got my roadside meal of fresh peaches. A beautiful farm stand on Kiawah Island overflowed with baskets of peaches, tomatoes, greens, just jarred honey, eggs, fish, sweet grass baskets and a little gazebo of paintings. It was the perfect pit stop. Before leaving the area, I wanted the girls to see the Angel Oak - believed to be the oldest living tree East of the Mississippi, it is awe inspiring. I love where these experiences lead us – both physically and mentally as well as spiritually. The girls ask the most fascinating questions about what they experience and revel in the adventures – whispering among themselves like explorers who’ve just unlocked ancient secrets. Do you road trip? If not, I encourage you to pile everyone in the car – and just go. The road will always lead you to renewal.