We've been back since Monday night but I've been in a post-trip frenzy of laundry, errand running, and yard work and haven't had time to blog!
The trip was wonderful! And I'm so glad that I got my new contacts before we left because I could see the tips of the palmettos, the crumbling stucco, and the cobbles in the road with crystal clarity. Charleston was beautiful. Hot, but there was an almost constant breeze coming off the water that kept it bearable. We arrived Thursday evening and as soon as we got on the bridge crossing the bay I could see our hotel. It has a bright red roof and, with the water as a back drop and ship masts as frame, it looked amazing!
We were getting a really good deal at the hotel so I expected a small room with a view of the parking lot but instead the room was a really nice size, and though the windows did face the lot, all we could see were the tops of palm trees. It was perfect! Ross's family arrived around the same time we did so we met them downstairs for a wine tasting (I stuck with coffee because I was trying to recharge my batteries after the drive) and then we all took off for the rehearsal dinner in downtown Charleston.
This is the second wedding I've been to in the South now, and they've both had huge wedding parties (someone said this one had ten bridesmaids but I didn't count) and huge rehearsal dinners. It was great visiting with Ross's cousins, a bunch of whom I hadn't met yet, and the food was delicious (they had bread pudding, one of my favorite things on earth!)
The next morning we headed back into downtown Charleston for breakfast at the Sweetwater Cafe (I ate grits!), a horse-drawn carriage tour of historic Charleston (in which Yankees were referred to several times in less than flattering terms, gulp), a visit to the open air market, and lunch at S.N.O.B., an elegant but fun restaurant featuring excellent regional dishes. Connie knows her restaurants and always picks great ones.
After lunch we had some downtime at the hotel and then headed out for the big event. The wedding itself took place on the lawn of the Alhambra Hall, looking out over the bay. The bridesmaids dresses were various styles, but all a beautiful taupe shade that I never would have guessed would look so great in a wedding. The bride, Tracey, looked amazing. After the ceremony we had drinks out on the lawn and then, just as it was starting to rain, moved in to Alhambra Hall for reception. Fun reception! Sushi, a great band, and hydrangeas everywhere. We stayed 'til the end and threw grits at the happy couple as they made their way to the limo.
The next day we had breakfast at the Hominy Grill with Ross's family before they hit the road for Raleigh. It was another one of Connie's picks and it was delicious. Ross and I shared cinnamon french toast with apple maple syrup and pecan butter, eggs, and grits. Ross's dad got rabbit sausage! The restaurant looked like an old dry goods store, long and narrow with a decorative tin ceiling and great big windows at the front. Very cute.
After seeing them off Ross and I wandered around the historic district, checking out the shops, historic sites, and pretty little residential streets. I took some more pictures since it had been hard to get decent pictures from the carriage the day before.
In the afternoon we met up with the remaining family and some friends of the groom at the shore for a beach party. I've seen the Atlantic before, but this is the first time I've been even remotely tempted to swim in it. The water was warm, the beach wide and sandy, and waves were big enough to body surf, but not so big you feared for your life!
Sandy, salty, and exhausted we returned to the hotel around 8 that night and started to pack up for the drive home. The next morning we took a leisurely walk around the resort, snapping pictures and saying goodbye to some of Ross's relatives. Ross's family means so much to him and I was glad that we stayed that extra day so that he could get in as much family time as possible. And then it was time to hit the road. The drive home was pretty uneventful, except for the Creation Museum, but that's a topic for another blog post :)