I turned 31 last week Wednesday. I really wasn’t up for celebrating. I was turning the awkward 31 and I really didn’t think about going anywhere amazing or doing anything shocking. I just wanted it to come and go, and it did. I finally decided to go somewhere because I had not traveled all year. So I started to think about places that I could briefly escape for the low – considering it was a last minute trip. And whenever I think of low cost traveling I think of Atlanta. But I have been to Atlanta sooo many times I decided to look for another southern city that I could explore for a weekend. So, to my favorite resource I went – the map. S/N I have a fascination with globes. I looked at all the southern states and finally decided to stick with the Carolinas. Would it be Charlotte, NC or Charleston, SC. I chose Charleston, less driving, old town and great eats.
We left for Charleston on Thursday and arrived at our hotel and went swimming in the indoor pool. We ordered pizza and called it a night. On Friday, we toured the city on our own . We stopped at the Visitors Center and got a map and went to the street to see what we could see. With a smart phone handy we were able to get the history of the many things we saw (Washington Park, Rainbow Row, Market Street, King Street, The Battery, Calhoun Mansion, and a host of other sites in downtown Charleston).
Later, we had lunch at California Dreaming. A spot recommended by both my line sister and my sister’s friend. It had an amazing view of the river but the food was meh – nothing special. It’s not a good representation of Charleston’s great food. With all of the walking and the hot sun beaming down on us we retired home. Later that evening, we went to the theater and watched Maleficent. Ah-mazing!
Saturday, we continued our self tour. We started the day off by getting breakfast at the Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe. Yummers! I got the State Street Biscuit (Hand-breaded fried chicken breast, sausage gravy, fried egg and cheese). It was so delicious. We went to the Pinckney Plantation, drove the Arthur Ravenel Bridge (I wanted to bike it but the way my work outs are set up . . .) and later we went on the Sights and Insights Tour with Al Miller. We went to the Pinckney Plantation and had us a ball. It was so crazy to be sitting on the front porch of a slave master. Very eerie but it made us feel so powerful. I thought of the poem by Langston Hughes, I, Too, Sing America.
I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.
The forecast said rain the entire time we were there but we never got caught in the rain. In fact, it never rained while we were out. When we were about to go see the Angel Tree that’s when it started to rain, so we made our way home for a couple of hours. If I knew better I would have continued on to tour of John’s Island (next time).
So we went home to rest then we went on Mr. Miller’s tour which was focused on the Gullah culture. He was an excellent tour guide! He sang Summertime from the opera Porgy and Bess (the novel Porgy was based in Charleston) and he spoke in the Gullah patois. He was pleasant and very knowledgeable. When he spoke about Denmark Vesey the goosebumps arose. Vesey, inspired by the Haitian Revolution planned a slave revolt in 1822. Somebody snitched and the revolt never happened. Vesey and others were convicted and executed. I always knew about Denmark Vesey but I forgot that it happened in Charleston. But what makes this story so important to me is the fact that Vesey was inspired by the Haitian Revolution of 1804. Vesey actually planned to live in Haiti after the revolt. Ya’ll know I’m Haitian so whenever I hear about Haiti’s contribution to American history, I smile. Vesey was inspired so much that he decided to act. Can you believe that in the early 1800s there was a place in the Western Hemisphere where blacks were their own masters?!?! And knowing that such a place existed inspired black slaves everywhere.
After the tour we had dinner. We went to Nigel’s Good Food. We got the Geechie Wings for appetizers – finger licking great! And I got the Low Country Ravioli (Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Collards Greens, Black-eye Pea & Corn Relish & Cheese stuffed Ravioli tossed in a Whiskey Cream Sauce) which was soo good.
We went back to the hotel, packed and went night-night. On Sunday, we went to another popular spot but the wait was too long and we had to get back on the road. Overall, the trip was what I wanted. I got some history, some good food and some R&R. What more could a girl ask for?!?!