To recap my wonderful vacation...
So... my mother and I had planned to leave Monday, March 3 to head to see my sister and her sweet family in coastal Georgia, but then we got hit by a terribly annoying sleet-and-ice storm Sunday night. My mom lives in a more rural part of town, north of Nashville, and the roads were essentially an ice rink. We didn't end up getting out of town until Tuesday around lunchtime -- fortunately, however, we were able to stay an extra day down there to make up for the loss! We spent the whole week shopping our hearts out, eating seafood for days, and taking in the gorgeous cities of Savannah and Charleston. The weather was a little dreary Tuesday - Friday, but it got nice and sunny over the weekend (when we day-tripped to Chucktown and went to the beach at Tybee).
Highlights of the trip:
The Paris Market: We went here Wednesday & Thursday -- this place is just so lovely. The most beautiful little trinkets and things, a delicious and adorable patisserie (we ate many a macaron), the neatest poster-esque wrapping paper rolls and overall french fabulousness. I did quite a bit of damage here shopping-wise -- Mom & I got matching souvenir shirts (they're just so pretty!), a pretty french vegetable poster, an Italian pasta poster (they're both hanging in the kitchen now), and a lovely little french-Canadian rose gold leather handbag.
Back in the Day Bakery: My foodie friend (and Relish editor) Emily says she has the BITD cookbook and just adores every recipe in it. We loved our sandwiches (I got the Sgt. Pepper panini!) and red velvet cupcake and lavender iced coffee. Going with three kids ages 6 & under meant that we had a spill almost everywhere we ate... only, at BITD, I was the guilty party, knocking over my water when I was going around taking iPhone photos of the loveliness. Whoops!
All Things Crepes/All Things Chocolate & More: Oh. My. Lawd, y'all. We fell in love with All Things Chocolate last fall when we tried out the chocolate shop in the coastal Mayberry my sister Dani lives in (since they were starting to build a new location right next to her neighborhood). They have seriously THE BEST cannolis in the entire planet, along with the most incredible chocolates and tiramisu and pretty much anything you could dream of. Now that they're in their new location (a whopping 30 seconds down the street from Dani's house), we had to visit them and try their new Crepe shop out, too! I had the tiramisu crepe (the specialty crepe du jour) and in the two minutes it took me to polish it offf, DANG was it good!!!!! I was kicking myself for not taking longer to savor it but geez. So delicious. Word of advice: If you do opt for one of the super sweet crepes, get a savory coffee. I had to try the peach-flavored coffee but it ended up being a little too saccharine in combination with the mascarpone- and chocolate-covered deliciousness. But seriously. I die.
The Jepsen Center Art Museum: James, the 6-year-old of our group, special-requested that we go to the "Art-zeum" when we were downtown exploring Savannah. It was a neat place - large areas for kids to play with interactive art exhibits, along with several adult-friendly exhibits too. We enjoyed the slightly disturbing but fascinating Andy Warhol JFK exhibit, as well as the artifacts from the Telfair Plantation (I love seeing old Civil War-era things!).
Other Savannah-area goodies: Shopping down Broughton Street. Eating at Love's Seafood (one of the Forrest Gump restaurants!) and having a sweet gentleman buy our dinner out of respect for my soldier brother-in-law, Jason. Sipping a cinnamon coffee from Coffee Fox. Driving through the squares. Trying French fast food at a little cafe off Broughton (omg, the brisket!).
And then there was Charleston.
We took the 2-hour drive from Richmond Hill to Charleston Saturday morning. I didn't do the best job of planning a totally kid-friendly excursion (whoops -- playground fail), but we still got to walk around the city, try tasty lowcountry food, and walk around the pier/see the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park.
I had intended for us to park around the Battery, go walk along the waterfront, kids play at the East Bay Playground, check out the Charleston Market, eat somewhere downtown, and then go hang out at Charles Towne Landing so the kids could look for 'gators and we could enjoy some history. Instead, we parked in a garage downtown; everyone was starving so we headed to Jestine's for cornbread, honey, and crabcakes; I walked us until we were totally lost and ended up at the Food & Wine show; then turned around and got to Waterfront Park at 4PM. So no time for Charles Towne. BOO!
A family heading out of Jestine's had recommended the restaurant to us. Everything was delicious - with the exception of their really bland macaroni. (Opt not for the mac & cheese, y'all.) The other unfortunate part of our Saturday late lunch was that they took longer than normal to get us our food... like, 45 minutes of waiting after ordering.
Even though we were wandering aimlessly for a good portion of the trip, at least we got to take in the scenery and the weather was PHENOM. Bluest of blue skies, perfect 70-degree weather. Not a cloud to be seen. I was a little worried that I had built up Charleston a little too much in my memory and that it wouldn't live up to the "most beautiful city in the entire world" like I've told pretty much everyone I've ever encountered. But as soon as we drove across the bridge and made it into the city, my sentiments were definitely reaffirmed.
Even though I dropped the ball on the whole East Bay Playground thing (whoops - wrong area!), everything was made better for my nephews once they enjoyed some scrumptious Belgian gelato on Queen Street.
And then we headed home. It's never enough time spent there!
On Sunday we headed to Tybee Island to enjoy the beach and the 80-degree weather! As seafood fanatics, we had lunch at the Crab Shack. We loved seeing all the scrappy feral cats (Whisky would SO fit in there!) and had an adventuresome time, with a lizard jumping on mom's place setting.
Then it was beach time!
While it was too cold for us "old people" to get in the water, my nephews were drenched in sea water, running on the sandbar and squealing like banshees. Oh, what fun it is to grow up near the ocean!
Dani & I collected seashells along the coastline. I have a lovely little bunch in a glass jar here at home now that my cats LOVE sniffing. I think they're ready to move to the beach, too!
We had ice cream for dinner at the Sugar Shack - a beach favorite for everyone. I recommend the Coconut Almond Joy scoops:)
Our final day was spent eating more crepes (they're just so good!), picking up pounds of chocolate for Drew (who sadly had to stay home in the cold while I got to gallivant in the warm), and walking off all our seafood & sweets at the park in Richmond Hill. We got to see turtles and herons and watch for 'gators! The swamp life is a good life, indeed.
Mom & I got back to Nashville at 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. I've been doing my best to catch up on emails and scheduling meetings and readjusting to life back in the landlocked state of Tennessee in the couple of days I've been home. It's been good being back with Drew - eating tiramisu and cannolis I brought him back home, and making chipotle shrimp & grits to pretend we're back in the deep south. :)