Thursday, December 24, 2009

Charming Charleston

The biggest recommendation from friends was to visit Charleston, supposedly the most charming city in SC. It's location on the coast gives it the laid-back but elite charm of most any historical seafaring town. It has the attitude of a big city like our Boston with every imaginable upscale retailer down King Street and art galleries up Church Street yet lacks the congested traffic of cars and people you'd expect to find in a big city. Now I realize we were there in winter and not in the peak of tourist season, but we found ourselves in stores and on the streets without much other company. I will admit that Charleston was a tough city for us with three young children who didn't find much fun in the areas we visited. If it had been just Michael, Lauryn and I, we probably could have really savored every historical drop of Charleston along with shopping til we felt like dropping.

By the time dinner rolled around, the boys were tired, hungry and ready to go home (Reagan even asked several times if he could go back home and go to sleep!). We chose to eat at the Hominy Grill which had national rave reviews on their Southern home cookin'. It was pretty good, and I got to try grits for the first time which seems to be the South's version of risotto as there are as many different ways/flavors to cook grits as there are for risotto. And instead of the traditional dinner roll you'll find at every restaurant here, you'll be served cornbread (which we learned can be eaten with honey or syrup to make it extra yummy).

In our travels through downtown Charleston, we passed by the cutest little store called Cupcake and vowed to visit it before we left the city. So after dinner, we stopped by and picked up a few cupcakes which can I just say were the most scrumptious little mini-cakes ever?!? Lauryn just had to take a picture of them.
Just to give you an idea of some of the flavors they have besides the basic vanilla and chocolate, they have chocolate almond, peanut butter banana fluff and red velvet (which they're famous for but much to Lauryn's chagrin did not have any left). Yum-O!

The kids totally perked up when we told them we'd go visit the Holiday Festival of Lights (thanks, Peg!) which is a beautiful three-mile drive-thru with thousands of holiday lights set up in James Island County Park. Though pictures don't really do it justice, I'll share a few we took there.

It really was quite amazing and helped put us in the Christmas spirit being down South with no snow where we didn't even have a Christmas tree. Here's a video of just a tiny bit of our drive-thru which will give you a better idea of how festive and cool it all was:

Our visit to Charleston actually fell on Landon's birthday however we chose to celebrate the next day when we were staying closer to "home". Those pictures are up next...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Vacation Down South

Yes, it's been ages since we've updated our family blog. Just coming back from our first family vacation in forever gives us a good excuse though to do just that. Our trip to Hilton Head, SC was quite an experience - some bad, lots of good, but mostly just what we needed. Friends of ours had a timeshare they weren't able to use this year and offered it to us. We just happened to end up in SC though we've realized from now on we'll push more for locations closer to the equator at this time of year! :) It was a bit cold being December and all; it rained mostly, but we did have our warm sunny days that helped redeem our vacation a bit. We had our encounters with wildlife, our day at the beach, eating grits for the first time, days visiting nearby Southern cities such as Charleston and Savannah and, of course, our long car trips down and back. I'll try to include our photo diary here and in the next couple of posts.

Do NOT feed the alligators!

Our One Day at the Beach

More to come...