coastal vacay recap

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 in Savannah, GA

The Paris Market in Savannah, GA

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 in Savannah, GA

Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, GA

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 & More in Richmond Hill, GA

All Things Crepes & More in Richmond Hill, GA

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.

My sis & her youngest two kids at the Jepsen Center Art Museum in Savannah, GA

My sis & her youngest two kids at the Jepsen Center Art Museum in Savannah, GA

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.  

Seriously the most gorgeous city on the face of this planet.

Seriously the most gorgeous city on the face of this planet.

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. 

THE CHURCHES! The Holy City is just spectacular.

THE CHURCHES! The Holy City is just spectacular.

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!

Jestine's honey butter & cornbread:: Charleston staples!

Jestine's honey butter & cornbread:: Charleston staples!

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. 

THE HISTORY!

THE HISTORY!

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.

Belgian Gelato in Charleston, SC:  home of the best pistachio gelato ever.

Belgian Gelato in Charleston, SC:  home of the best pistachio gelato ever.

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!


Seafood at The Crab Shack in Tybee Island, GA

Seafood at The Crab Shack in Tybee Island, GA

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.

Me & the nephews/niece outside the bird shack!

Me & the nephews/niece outside the bird shack!

Then it was beach time!

Oh, sweet ocean waves! Seashells galore!

Oh, sweet ocean waves! Seashells galore!

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!

I had to break out some standing bow pose, since it was just so gorgeous/scenic!

I had to break out some standing bow pose, since it was just so gorgeous/scenic!

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!

The Sugar Shack at Tybee Island, GA

The Sugar Shack at Tybee Island, GA

We had ice cream for dinner at the Sugar Shack - a beach favorite for everyone. I recommend the Coconut Almond Joy scoops:)

J F Gregory Park in Richmond Hill, GA

J F Gregory Park in Richmond Hill, GA

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.

2014-03-10 15.10.10.jpg

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. :)

a love letter to the southeast

Dear Southeastern United States,

How I love thee! Oh, you majestic region. The more I come to know you, the more I am enamored by you. Your rolling hills, your vertigris, your sandy beaches, your marshes and bayous, the great Mississippi, the lakes scattered about the Appalachians. Your vastly different but equally swoon-worthy landscapes that seem to change with every state.

Charleston, via  q avenue photo

Charleston, via q avenue photo

Most of all I love your coasts. The presence of palm trees makes my heart skip a beat -- so much so I carried a Sago palm home with me after my last trip to Savannah. There's a man who planted a big, majestic palm tree in a yard on Old Hickory Boulevard that I see every time I drive to yoga. Such whimsy and delight it brings! I had to do a double-take initially. But alas -- it is not just me who adores your palms so.

You truly have the most stunning cities in this whole country. European-influenced architecture, vibrantly colored vegetation. Can it be summer all year long? I don't know if I can bear to see the azaleas and crepe myrtles wither away again. How dreary is life without those bright pinks and reds and purples! My dream backyard will be chock-full of every kind of flowered tree and bush I can muster. Roses aplenty. Peonies galore. Hydrangeas for miles. Oh, Southeast, you are the garden of Eden in America.

I don't give you enough credit for your mountains, I know. I have to be in a very particular mood to miss them, but please know that I do appreciate them. I love how old they are, how much character they've accrued over the zillions of years they've been in existence. I've said before that our Tennessee mountains don't hold a candle to the Rockies, but I wouldn't trade them. I don't think I'll ever be a "mountain person," but Appalachians, you are lovely in your own way.

North Carolina mountains, via

North Carolina mountains, via

Every day of my life I will pine for your beaches. From the first day I stepped foot on a backyard where I could pick my own clementines (it was the Friday after Thanksgiving, 2007...), I've been madly in love. Oh, to have a citrus grove in my own stomping grounds!! I would immerse myself in sand every single day and be perfectly content to never get it fully out of my hair, if only I could be near your beaches. I love love love love love the heat of the hot Southern sun on my skin (and promise to buy stock in Coppertone, considering my future offspring will undoubtedly be the fairest of the fair-skinned). I love your humidity (except for maybe Louisiana's -- it's just downright CRAZY there) and I will sacrifice snow for year-round warmth. You are amazing in your changing climates... truly someone could get anything they want down here. 

Sanibel Island, FL  via

Sanibel Island, FL via

 

Oh, South. I promise I will do everything in my own power to never stray farther north or west of Tennessee. Southeast for me, please. Always and forever. 

Yours truly, 

Kelly