We took a day trip to my heaven on Earth Thursday - Charleston & Isle of Palms, SC. We will live in that area FOR.EH.VER one day. (It's been our fervent prayer for years now, and although we've moved 3 times in the last 4 years, we have yet to get to settle where we *want* our family to be. One day God will certainly answer this prayer for us; I just pray it's not 30 more years down the road!!!) Our family's heart is there; JB & I both knew that was where we were meant to be the first day we were ever there together years ago...
It wasn't perfectly satisfying w/o JB there :'( but I *knew* I couldn't be thisclose to our heaven for this long and not go! (Plus, it's my mom's utopia, too. :-)) So on Thursday, we got in the car (me, mom, & the kids) at about 7:30 AM, drove 3 hours, and arrived in Charleston. We parked right beside the Market (goodness! their website & pics are wonderful! check it out to get a great, accurate feeling for the place!) for our traditional browse. It's my favorite thing to do in the city - sniff the sweetgrass baskets, sample benne wafers & cinnamon sugar almonds, and see all of the handcrafted wares. I have gotten some of my most complimented casual jewelry & bags there. I also got JB a "Father's Day/new house/missed you/praying for the future" present this trip! (Sorry, you'll have to wait on those details for another week or two. ;-)) Very excited! (And for you Market vets, they really spruced it up over the winter! They added bathrooms on the Bay Street end, they widened the walking areas, and they painted the dark old timbers in the ceiling white! So nice!) We went over to the barns so the kids could pet ALL the horses & mules that pull the carriages around town, and then we ate lunch - fried green tomatoes & stone ground (the only acceptable kind!) grits for me. We had to go past Sissy's bronze statue of a dancing girl in a courtyard on Church St right south off the Market. (Does anyone know the name or details of that statue? I didn't even think to look! We just always have to let her go & pose with it! :-))
We were going to let the kids get a fresh piece of candy - like a praline or chocolate creation at Market Street Sweets - but they wanted Twizzlers and M&Ms; sorry - no way am I paying for something I can get at the grocery store at home in CHARLESTON! So we compromised on ice cream, since we don't have a Ben & Jerry's by us up north. (We were spoiled having one we walked to in Davidson during college!) It's been a long time since I've gotten excited over a flavor, but oh.my.gosh: Bonnaroo Buzz! Aside from it being delish, Will & Sis went nuts b/c of the name - we call Bonnie Blue (our beagle) Bonnaroo sometimes, so it was just meant to be. ;-)
After dessert (about 2 PM) we got back in the car and headed over the bridges to "our" beach at Isle of Palms. IOP feels like home. We parked right behind the place we always stay, and it was hard for the kids to understand why we couldn't use "our" pool and "our" private beach access, just for this time. We had the most perfect afternoon you could ask for on the beach!!! Perfect weather, and honestly, I have NEVER felt the ocean that warm in May in my life! [It made me wish I could dive in, but since we didn't have a place to get cleaned up nicely before dinner, I held back. It was no big deal for the kids to get clean in the outdoor showers afterwards, but that was more than I wanted to deal with for myself, (and my hair!) so I only went in up to my thighs. :-P] We were out there for three hours, and it was simply ideal. My heart is made for the beach. It relaxes me like no other.
I was surprised at how easy it was to get us all presentable enough for a nice dinner in Mt Pleasant directly from the beach! On the way to dinner, we stopped at our beloved Publix bakery (where shopping is ABSOLUTELY my pleasure! ;-)) to get breakfast bread and a mango key lime pie to bring back to Charlotte. We ate dinner around 6:30 PM at another one of our regular restaurants, Locklear's, where Will had his fave shrimp and I had my fave corn fritters with tomato jam. Locklear's has an aquarium that my kids have been obsessed with for years. This visit, while we were waiting for our food, Sissy coaxed the zebra eel all the way out of his usual hiding hole - much to the amazement of the hostess! Ooo, one more special touch - the ladies' room had free "minute manicure" salt scrub/coconut oil hand treatments - just a tiny touch of luxury that capped off our day in a lovely way.
We were home before 11 PM that night, having had the most magical day touching a few highlights in our heaven on Earth. Lord, now if You could please see fit to get us there permanently, so we would want to use our vacay time to actually see other parts of the world... ;-)