Things to note before reading:
- This post is VERY long, but we’ve already established the fact that I’m unnecessarily wordy, and rather than emailing friends and family about our trip I figured I would just direct them to this post.
- This was our first trip with A and I learned a lot about traveling with a baby. Since this post is already way too long and boring for the average reader, I’m going to do a separate follow up post with my tips and tricks for vacationing with a little one.
Travel day. After our very long stint in the “family line” at the PHL security checkpoint we grabbed breakfast and walked A around in her stroller since she missed naptime. We brought our City Mini for the trip (which, by the way, I LOVE and intend to post about one of these days – seriously the best stroller for so many reasons), and it did not disappoint. She finally fell asleep 10 minutes before boarding (go figure) and then again 10 minutes before landing (double go figure).
In Charleston, B went to get our rental car from Hertz…only to learn that he actually rented the car from the Charleston AIR FORCE base, not AIR PORT, and you need government clearance to even get to that Hertz location, which obviously he does not have. Needless to say that’s the last time he’s in charge of rental cars. National car rental saved the day though and we were in Kiawah less than an hour later.
We checked into our “villa” (really just a one bedroom condo next to the beach but they refer to them this way to sound fancy) and managed a quick trip out to see the beach and ocean before heading over to Freshfields Village to stock up on groceries for the week. Our plan was to eat breakfast and lunch in the villa each day to save some time and money.
We finished off the day with some South Carolina BBQ and beers (Palmetto Brewing Company based in Charleston had an awesome Amber beer – highly recommend it), at the Cherrywood BBQ and Ale House, overlooking a pond with alligators mulling around. We counted 6 visible ones but I’m sure more were lurking below…
The restaurant smoked its own meat and had 7 house-made sauces that they brought out along with this map below to give you a little tutorial of SC BBQ. I thought it was pretty neat. I did feel a little inadequate though since I am a tomato-based BBQ sauce gal. Apparently that’s not hardcore enough in the Carolinas.
A’s first beach day! We had pre-rented 2 chairs and an umbrella (we flew and couldn’t bring beach chairs) so we sat in the same spot every day. Luckily it was about 100 yards from our villa! We dangled A’s toes in the water to which she surprisingly didn’t have much of a reaction, so mostly she just played in the sand, in her baby blow up pool, and in her baby beach tent borrowed from her friend C. She didn’t take her usual marathon naps, but we did get enough for us to each read half of the US Weekly we brought.
That evening we headed out for really good seafood at a spot in Freshfields called Hege’s. We still have no clue how to pronounce it though. Anyone know? Oh – and of course we hit up Marble Slab Creamery after dinner.
B had an early morning tee time over at the Ocean Course. They are playing the 2012 PGA Championship there in a few months so he was beyond excited to get to play it now. A and I spent some QT together on the beach. I played the role of Mom Sherpa. It was quite the sight: I had A in the baby bjorn, her beach tent on my back (it folds into a backpack carrying case), the cooler bag on one shoulder and the beach bag on the other. We had some play time with stacking cups and bath toys (these were all I brought in the toy department since they are small, portable, and versatile), and she took a long nap while I read a copy of Runner’s World that I’ve been trying to finish since April.
A took a late afternoon nap indoors so B held a solo happy hour on the porch while I went on a beach run and checked out some of the amazing homes further out on the island. Each is bigger and grander than the next, and they all look like they’re ready to host the Pottery Barn summer catalog shoot.
Our villa was in this building, pretty enough right?
But seriously, check out these beachfront pads (not photos I took – images courtesy of HGTV & Michael Driver Architecture)
Our Friday night ended with a frozen pizza for a quick, cheap and easy dinner in the villa.
We took a morning walk around Kiawah and the pool and park. There is a lot to see and do down there; it’s a great family destination, especially if you have older kids.
After another beautiful day on the beach we ventured out to the King Street Grille for burgers. Another good meal out with A, who was happy as could be in her high chair eating puffs and pieces of French fries.
We came home to watch the Sixers lose to the Celtics in Game 7, but I’m not a big NBA person so that didn’t put too much of a damper on my day. Actually it didn’t even make me blink. That’s how much I dislike NBA basketball. Did I just say that??
Tropical storm Beryl started to make her way toward Jacksonville’s coastline, which brought some big wind gusts to the beach in Kiawah. So we decided it was a day better suited for being tourists in Charleston. We walked around Marion Square for a bit where there was an art festival in progress, and had lunch at Virginia’s On King. We had the BEST fried pickles I’ve ever had. They were so good. My mouth is watering just copying this pic in:
The pickles were followed by a Fried Oyster Po’boy for me:
And a BBQ sandwich for B. Remember South Carolina is Mustard-based sauce, hence the yellowy hue:
Both sandwiches were served with sweet potato fries (that A enjoyed sampling), and a bacon and blue cheese coleslaw which was delicious. I loved the twist on this traditional summer side. This would be a great addition to our usual shore lineup. I’m hoping my fellow blog comrade SH over at Eventfully Simple is reading this! She has a knack for finding good summer sides/salads and I’ve had the privilege of tasting many of them at the shore over the years.
We took an hour or two after lunch to explore Charleston, and then made our way back to Kiawah to pack for our trip home. Boo.
A sampling of our Charleston shots is below. I was amazed at the size, style, and color of the homes right in the heart of the city. Unlike anything up here in the Northeastern Corridor.
Time to head home. We had a pretty uneventful travel day, except for the small fact that B accidentally set the clock ahead an hour when he set our alarm for 5am. So we were dressed, fed, and ready to leave when we looked at our phones and realized it was 4:30. Not 5:30. Needless to say B is no longer in charge of alarm setting on vacation either. But at least he didn’t set the clock the other way. Phew.
So that’s it for our Memorial Day weekend in South Carolina, and our first “family” vacation. It was a pretty successful first trip with baby, and we even managed to squeeze in a few moments of relaxation which was an added bonus. Bummed to be back of course. But we’re counting down the days until we can plan Kiawah 2013!