Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sweah To Gawd, Sugah

Ah'm back, dahlin'.

Charleston, South Carolina, in all its glory and array of finery, melted into my flesh and bones this past week. I think I lived there in another life. The Ashley and the Cooper River surrounds and caresses this city of days-gone-by.

Michael and I stayed in Shem Creek, but the sights and sounds of Charleston are but a skip away. Over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, (my God, you should see this bridge at least once in your life) you can view the tops of the city's buildings and homes. But to get to the beautiful streets of Charleston you pass through the poorer section. Not a fine place, in fact, you wonder ... how the two co-exist. Reminds me of the Caribbean islands. Palaces and resorts line the beaches while tenements and huts huddle inland. And yet, the people here are all smiles and warmth.

We ventured out for Antique stores and little out-of-the-way restaurants for lunch every day. (I love it that my husband loves antiques as much as me!) Gullah Cuisine, one of our favorites restaurants, wasn't much to look at ... but man-o-man ... the food and the friendly staff; I could've stayed there all week.

But, along with the few times I spoke, (which went well) we took time out and focused on US for this trip. I arrived at the Shem Creek Inn to a bottle of champagne on ice and a white rose on my pillow. What can I say? I married a romantic man. Lucky me. Although the weather for the first two days was mostly for ducks, pelicans, sand pipers, egrets, and seagulls ... it was warm enough that you could still walk around outside and not freeze. Fifty degrees sounds cold to the southerner, but for folks who used to live in zero degree weather, it's balmy.

Food? If you're a seafood lover, then go to Charleston. We ate at The Water's Edge and at Hanks for dinner. The Water's Edge was fine dining by the bay, Hanks was a little piece of New York City in the middle of the Charleston. A hip, trendy and NY feel, the food is pricey, but it was our reward for a successful first six months with Southern Fried Women. (And of course, our anniversary.)

While away, I kept my promise and only checked my email. Good thing. Tuesday morning brought great news! I've been invited by Joseph Beth Booksellers to attend their Bluegrass Book Festival in Kentucky in April! It's a big deal, and I'm thrilled.

The sun came out by Thursday, we continued touring a couple old antebellum plantation homes, shopped, rested, ate good food, and then ... all good things must end ... why is that, I wonder?

Charleston is an amazing glimpse into the past, a city where ancient mossy oaks line the Ashley River and weep into the water. The largest salt marsh in the world surrounds the area. Ghosts still walk the streets and over the plantations there. Rich in history, the past seeps into the present Charleston. No other place in the South can you get a sense of living in the last century as you can in Charleston. The Lowcountry, its history and its beauty call to us all.

I sweah to Gawd ... y'all must visit, at least once in your life.

Blessings to you and yours.

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