Down South with Friends

If you are following me, in this blog series I just got back from Vegas and made my way to Charleston, South Carolina.

  1. SoCal and Idaho trip
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Charleston
  4. Finger Lakes, New York
  5. Portland, Maine
  6. Boston, Mass.
  7. Cape Cod & Returning home to my vineyard!

Some very dear friends of mine have lived in Charleston, (frankly, about 20 minutes from downtown in a suburb), for several years and I do try to visit them about once a year, even when my home base was in California. Now in a sense it’s become easier because Charleston is on the way back from visiting family and friends in Cali to my new home base of Portugal. Charleston airport is very modern, not too big or crowded, and there are some decent connections to airports where I can hitch a ride back to Europe.

We’ve been all around the world together. We all love to travel and we’ve known each other for over 25 years, so there’s that.

U.S. – San Diego, San Francisco, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, New York City, Durham (where they lived for a time) Asheville, Savanah and Charleston (where they live now).
Canada – Montreal and Quebec City
Peru – Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Australia – Sidney, Melbourne
New Zealand, South Island – Christchurch, Twizel, Te Anau, Queenstown and of course, Milford Sound
Europe – here’s where it gets ridiculous, so I’ll just name the countries, starting from the North:
Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy & Greece

Back in Charleston, some would say that visiting the South in August is just not a smart thing to do. I do not like very hot temperatures and Charleston in August is typically 90F (32C) with about 60-80% humidity. I, of course, like to do a daily walk about 1pm, also not an ideal time, but I knew I was going to sweat, was ready for it and therefore it was not a problem. I began to know the areas around the neighborhood with a lot of shade and this helped.

One of the things we like to do when I go visit is hit a few high end restaurants. I think my friends save up for the time I come to visit to do this as well. One of my favorites is The Ordinary, in downtown Charleston. Primarily a seafood place with great oysters, they also have a very good bar. We also went to Wild Olive, an Italian restaurant on John’s Island. There were a couple of other places we wanted to go to but we didn’t make reservations far enough in advance and were not able to get in. We tried all hours and days but given the shortage of restaurant workers, a reservation is a must for the owners as it will allow them to manage the help they do have to serve their customers as best they can. In any case, we had a great time at both of these and will probably hit them again the next time or two I drop by. I was in the Charleston area about 3 weeks and we tried to make reservations at Hall’s Chophouse and couldn’t get in. We have made arrangements for late November when I will next be in Charleston!

The City Gallery at Waterfront Park had a very interesting exhibit. We went to the gallery because we had passed by it several times in the past and it was either closed or it was just not on our agenda. We booked some tickets online and went in. The gallery pretty much displays one exhibit at a time and the whole museum is the exhibit space. We didn’t expect such a heavy topic but it was very interesting and poignant. The exhibit focused on “the effects of mass shootings”; with an “installation (is) made up of contemplative pieces that represent the lives lost and communities affected by mass violence from 1903 through present day.” There were sheets of paper on the walls with a certain number of dots. Each dot represented a death in a mass shooting with the definition of “mass” being more than 5 people. Each page represented a time and place. Starting from sometime in the 1970’s the frequency and intensity of these horrible events goes up dramatically. I am not anti-gun but pro-mental health. This display, however, does give one a reason to pause. Susan Perkins is the artist. It was the last day for this exhibit but I would recommend you check the links above and read a bit more about the exhibit.

Next stop – a solo trip through the Finger Lakes, NYC – not that fun being the solo traveler in a wine region! 😦 But I limited my wine tasting and had a great time. Check back next week to hear about that stop.


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