Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cruisin' Charleston

 Alrighty! This amazing trip has taken me almost a year to write about. I usually write as we go, but on our cruise with the Feeneys to the Bahamas, we had no internet without paying (and who wants to pay to surf when you're on the surf for real). Upon our return, the 4th of July and family were upon us, then the book project, then camp and so on.

So let's begin. It's Wednesday June 9th, almost Thursday June 10th, when we pick up Lewis, Lauren and Deirdre for our all night road trip to Charleston. Donny & Lewis take turns driving. We gals sleep. We make good time and arrive in Charleston around 9ish in the morning meeting John, Linda and Colleen who have checked in the night before. Our check-in is later in the day, so we freshen up as best we can and head for old Charleston.

Our first order of business for sure is food. J, L & C have done a great job of scoping the day before and suggest Toast for a fine southern breakfast. It is everything they suggest and more. We are full and ready to tour. We have planned a full day in Charleston before our cruise begins on Friday afternoon.

Between planning and executing, I have come upon a book illustrating opportunity and it just so happens that the publisher's offices are in Charleston, a few blocks away. This is a great chance to meet and talk with the folks and see if I really want to take on the project with its looming deadline. I have chatted with Hannah and she has time. We have not mentioned this to anyone because it literally just came to fruition (which I never thought would actually happen) mere days ago. And so when the group starts sorting out plans for the day, I bring up the side trip. We are going to walk to the offices but John say the address is over by the Citadel and a bit far for a quick walk. We decide to take the bus. The rest of the group is going to browse around Charleston.

We call Hannah about which bus to take. She says the bus times are sketchy and she'll send a cab which she does, but he takes forever to find us, right in central Charleston. Then our driver, very nice but new to the job, cannot locate The History Press, our destination. He tries to drop us off at one point saying the building is just one block away according to his GPS. We do not have time to search it out and politely tell him to keep driving until he finds the front door.

Good thing we stuck to our guns because the office is more than a block away, much more. He is apologetic. His sister is writing a children's book. I tell him that she and I can talk about illustrating.

Hannah meets us at the door. She gives us a tour, introducing us to everyone. They are extremely nice and it sounds like the project will be fun. Hannah offers to takes us back to meet the group and to avoid another cab ride we gladly accept. She drops us off near the Market. We all wander through the Market. It is wonderful and overwhelming all at the same time.

By now it is mid-afternoon and the heat oppressive. Donny & John opt to go back to the hotel and collapse. Linda wants to take a carriage ride and I'm for that. We end up with the best guide in all of Charleston. She is a wealth of information. She has been doing tours, walking and otherwise for ages. She personally knows many of the residents of the charming homes on the tour and tells us awesome stories. And surprisingly the ride is pleasant. We are in a covered carriage and up high enough there is a breeze.

After the ride, we head to the hotel to check in and freshen up for dinner. We dine at the famous Hyman's Seafood on Meeting Street. We have a table upstairs. The food is really good. Almost all of the tables have small brass plaques designating celebrity diners who have enjoyed a Hyman's meal or two.

After dinner we have a grand time playing some more on the bouncing rockers benches Charleston is famous for. Donny & I really want a few of these for Bayside. They will fit right in.

No comments: