We made it to the Atlantic Ocean today, and practiced the time-honored Johnson rule: if you reach a new body of water, you must
swim in it touch it. I somehow convinced TheRose to do the same, and before we knew it, we were both standing in the stormy Atlantic water off the coast of South Carolina.
It had rained the night before and for most of the day. But it was that warm, humid rain — the kind of rain that feels good even when standing in shorts and a t-shirt with the ocean up to your knees. The water was particularly warm too, and so it was quite enjoyable, all things considered. The beach was a stormy wreck though, as you can see here:
We arrived in Charleston, SC after our last “marathon drive” of our voyage — about 10 hours — all the way from Mobile, Alabama, though Montgomery AL, around Atlanta GA, just past Augusta, GA, and into Charleston by about 11pm. Along the way we selected another “Hotwire Hotel” to make sure we didn’t have to roam around Charleston looking for a good price/performance place.
We ended up staying at the Fulton Lane Inn, a historic Inn located in the heart of the “downtown area” of Charleston. It was a neat place, with complementary sherry (both dry and sweet) in the reception area, free wifi, and free Continental breakfast. The place creaked and squeaked like the 100+ year old structure that it was,
with 8 foot wide hallways and huge doors with big handles and traditional brass key locks. The room was beautiful, with all traditional furniture, super clean, modern bathroom, and a bed adorned with a white cotton lace canopy. I thought it was nice. TheRose LOVED it.
The next morning it was raining, which prevented us from exploring the streets. But from the brief glimpse I got, here’s what I can tell you:
1) Charleston is like Martha’s Vineyard, MA (for you East Coasters), or like Laguna Beach, CA (for the west-siiiideeE!) — small shops, historic, trendy, and expensive. It’s not quite the Cape Cod of the South, but it certainly leans in that direction.
2) I paid almost 8 dollars for a breakfast sandwich at a local deli, and it still tasted like something I might get at Burger King.
3) Public transportation is free, but parking certainly isn’t. We paid 14 bucks on top of our Hotwired hotel fare.
4) If you’re in to antiques, art, knick-knacks, or women’s clothing, the shopping in Charleston is irresistible!
After a great lunch (TheRose will elaborate), we wound our way through the back roads, past the famous Myrtle Beach to Raleigh, North Carolina. It was only a 4 hour drive which was a cake walk after our last few drives. And it was nothing but trees and bridges and water and more trees and sleepy hills and more trees and water and trees. Very beautiful, rich, and lush.
The “tree theme” continued right up to the very last moment before we hit Raleigh. We were looking around for the city, as usually we could see the buildings poking through on the horizon. Or perhaps some billboards would aid the transition from trees to concrete. But Raleigh was different. We took an exit, turned a corner, and POOF – like magic, a beautiful city revealed itself above the nearest treeline. The presentation was unlike any city we’ve encountered so far — just a modern skyscraper skyline juxtaposed against endless greenery. Nice! Raleigh’s slogan is “City of Oaks” and it seems as though it’s aptly named.
We quickly found “The Pit” where we had an amazing BBQ dinner, and then retired to our latest Hotwired-room to digest.
So to recap: Charleston is beautiful, but a bit upscale / trendy for my taste. Good place to vacation once I own my own Mercedes SUV. Raleigh is beautiful…or at least the parts we visited. And today’s food selections by TheRose were nothing short of… amazing!
Next stop, Washington DC.