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TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Berea, Ohio
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TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

At the suggestion of one of the forum regulars, I'm posting my trip report here in addition to its posting on the Charleston forum as we stayed on IOP. The relaxed pace of combining a beach retreat with exploring the Lowcountry suited us very well. Generally we approach vacation time with a sense of possibility rather than an agenda. Besides my husband loves to driving, and for us crossing the Ravenel Bridge daily in our top-dropped Sebring was a joy for these sunshine-starved Ohioans.

FRIDAY After a key mix-up it was almost 6 by the time we got into our oceanside villa at Port O' Call in Wild Dunes. Headed to the Boathouse at Breach Inlet to enjoy sunset and a drink on rooftop bar and then downstairs for our dinner -- a sushi starter and spicy shrimp and grits for DH and lump crab cakes for me.

SATURDAY Awoke to view of the Atlantic from our bed. Joined locals and visitors flocking to Sea Biscuit Cafe on IOP for an especially satisfying breakfast -- Florentine omelet (from Daily Specials) with crab and grits for DH and crab cake eggs Benedict for me...biscuits came soft, large and cakey. Drove across IOP Connector to downtown Charleston for carriage tour. Such history, such beauty! Light lunch of softshell crab sandwich for DH and fried green tomatoes with apricot marmalade for me on breezy rooftop deck of Charleston Crab before walking through some of City Market and along East Bay to Waterfront Park. Back to the beach with a stop at Piggly-Wiggly on the way. Very casual barbecue dinner (just $7.50 for meat and three sides) at Momma Brown's in Mount Pleasant.

SUNDAY To First Scots Presbyterian where we were most warmly welcomed for Easter worship. Never have I seen so many men in seersucker suits and plaid and dotted bowties! One of the church staff recommended Poogan's Porch for brunch -- half-price mimosa (me) and Bloody Marys (DH) followed by shrimp and grits yet again for DH and fried green tomato eggs Benedict for me. All that glorious food called for a walk up to Visitor's Center and later along Rainbow Row and the Battery with a drive to see the Angel Oak on John's Island in between. Jazz vespers at Circular Congregational Church before supper at Hyman's Seafood, our least pleasing meal of the vacation.

MONDAY Overcast and threat of storms. DH wanted to see the fishing pier at Folly Beach and to visit Beaufort. Most of the day in the car with lunch at Lost Dog Cafe a singular bright spot. In fact, DH declared the shrimp and grits he had there his favorite meal of the vacation. By the time we were back to IOP, it was nearly time for dinner, so we stopped at Long Island Cafe. We both chose delicately fried shrimp (DH's was entree and mine with salad), and I was delighted by my first-ever taste of Hummingbird Cake, two layers of carrot cake full of chopped pecans, crushed pineapple and mashed bananas...filled and frosted with a delicious cream cheese icing.

TUESDAY Possible showers and a good day for Gibbes Museum of Art ( principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection, an abundance of 18th and 19th century portraits, especially miniatures by Charles Fraser; on second floor a site-specific, large-scale installation exclusively for the Gibbes...pieces are "re-purposed" from the museum's permanent collection of portraits, landscape paintings and archival materials...juxtapose art objects as a way to investigate the role of the museum with regard to race, class and gender relations in Charleston society). Lunch at SNOB...my turn to order shrimp and grits, and this -- a rich veneer of reddish-brown tasso gravy with plump shrimp and creamy grits -- was my favorite meal of our vacation; DH had red bean soup and pan-fried chicken livers and grits. Back to beach. Dinner at Poe's on Sullivan's Island -- softshell crab sandwich for DH and the Annabelle Lee, a crab cake atop a burger, for me.

WEDNESDAY Guided bus tour with Alphonso Brown, who introduces Charleston visitors to all things Gullah. Lunch at Magnolias...drinks at bar (mine included sweet tea vodka) and then to linen-topped table; shared Down South egg roll plus Lowcountry bouillabaise for DH and starter-sized salt & pepper buttermilk fried shrimp served with Jezebel sauce, corn relish and mixed greens for me. Window shopping along King and back to the beach. Dinner at The Wreck Of The Richard & Charlene in Mount Pleasant -- no sign; thank goodness for GPS!

THURSDAY Drove northwest to site of America's oldest landscaped gardens at Middleton Place; took African-American focus tour and garden tour and ate three-course lunch in the restaurant there. Back to beach and then Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant for sunset and dinner. Red's was too much of a watering hole vibe for us, so we opted instead for R.B's Seafood and concluded our Lowcountry eating extravaganza with more crab cakes for me and a pound of peel & eat shrimp for DH.

Appreciated all the advice on TA forums as I was planning our first time in Charleston/IOP. We'd love to return in April 2010...with IOP as our base again.

Tidalwave Watersports
River Rafting & Tubing, Waterskiing & Jetskiing, Parasailing & Paragliding, Water Sports, Boat Hire
Charleston, SC
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1. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Great report! I think that my sister and I were at Magnolias at the same moment you were.

Thanks for posting and we'll work on your list for next year! :)

Berea, Ohio
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2. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

I've already set up a travel folder for 2010...and added your review “Waitresses as Sweet as the Tea!”

Seewee Restaurant. Sounds like our style!

Chicago suburbs
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3. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

I so enjoyed your trip report. Sounds like I would love everything you did/ate, etc.

I have just finished reading just about everything that Dorothea Benton Frank has written about the Low Country and HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE!!!!! I have never been in that part of the world and am so itching to vacation there. I have looked on line for a cottage on the water somewhere in the general area, but it seems like small 2 bedroom cottages are a thing of the past! Large homes/mansions all over the place!

My dream would be to have a small cottage on the ocean with a screened-in porch, deck, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, comfy living room, and AC if the weather is hot/humid. I would love to walk the beach with coffee in the morning, drink wine on the deck/porch at night listeming to the ocean, and then another walk before bedtime. Not looking for luxury as much as cleanliness and comfort.

I would love to visit Charleston, Sullivan's Island, Pawley's Island, Isle of Palms, Beaufort, and Savannah while there, so 10 days/2 weeks would probably be a good amount of time.

I would love any information as to where I could find my dream cottage with drive times to these others places I've mentioned as well as restaurants, tours to do, a planation or two to see, public gardens to walk through, etc., etc. I WANT IT ALL!!!!!

Thanks for your anticipated information!

joy/luvparee

Daniel Island...
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4. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Pat. Thanks again for a great write-up. Next visit you must try the shrimp and grits at SNOB. I've tried the dish almost everywhere I have eaten in the area and SNOB is hands down my favorite.

Berea, Ohio
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5. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Look again, Hal, at "WEDNESDAY" for my reaction to SNOB's shrimp & grits. After tasting a forkful of my husband's at the Boathouse on Friday, at Poogan's Porch on Sunday and at Lost Dog Cafe on Monday, I finally ordered my own at SNOB on Tuesday...mostly because of the recommendation you'd PMed me when I was researching our trip. Many thanks! We expect to return to Charleston again and again, and I expect I'll always want to include a meal of shrimp & grits at SNOB.

Daniel Island...
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6. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

OOPs. It was Tuesday and I guess I just got so hungry I quit paying attention. BTW I think I got to IOP the day you left. Maybe next time.

Berea, Ohio
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7. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Oh dear...guess I was too distracted by my delectable memories to get the correct day of the week!

BTW we're spending a long weekend in DC in May. Any restaurant suggestions for me there?

Daniel Island...
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8. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Most of my favorite "DC' restaurants are in the suburbs. I'll shoot you a PM with some thoughts.

Charleston, SC
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9. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Luv - have you checked www.vrbo.com as Pat must have used? It's a good place to start looking. If you find something, let us know and we can help you narrow it down.

Chicago suburbs
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10. Re: TRIP REPORT 60-something First-Timers April 10-16

Thanks, I'll try that. Frankly, I think that's where I started looking a couple of weeks ago, but will "dig in" in earnest now. No trip planned yet, but I WILL get to the Low Country!!!!

Thanks again!

luvparee/joy

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