Celebrating & Seeing the Sights in Charleston

Max had been in Charleston since April attending Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement School at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. And just five days before the wedding, he graduated! We hopped a plane for a quick trip to Charleston to: watch him graduate, celebrate, and see the sights. We had never been there before, so everything was new to us. We had about 36 hours there, and the heat and humidity were brutal, but we were determined to pack as much in as possible.

The view from our hotel window, which overlooked Marion Square.

Whenever possible, we like to support those hotels that are part of Historic Hotels of America, because we want to help preserve the beauty and legacy of these grand dames of old. This time we chose the Francis Marion Hotel right in the heart of the historic district. Lovely! Beautiful rooms and excellent service!

After stowing our luggage, we set off on foot to explore the shops along King Street (on which the hotel is conveniently located).

After bopping in and out of numerous shops, stopping for iced coffees at Skinny Dip (for those among us who must have their caffeine), we discovered "We Took to the Coast". We joked that we spent the longest time in the shop that reminded us most of New England. It's a pop of shop of a South Carolina based shop called "We Took to the Woods", where I bought a t-shirt that says "We Took to the Coast - Nantucket", because they once had a pop-up shop on Nantucket. Are you confused? We sure were! All that to say, if you're visiting Charleston before the summer's out, be sure to check out "We Took to the Coast" on King Street, which is a carefully curated mix of vintage and new and a sheer delight to explore.

Then we wandered, in the heat and humidity of a Charleston summer, at the hottest part of the day...for miles. Now, I have never felt like I belong in the south, and this certainly confirmed that it is NOT my natural habitat! Did you know that restaurants, where lines are likely to form outside of people waiting for a table, have little tables with pitchers of ice water and glasses sitting right out on the sidewalk? I wondered if that was a sign of the famous southern hospitality, or if it was to keep people from literally dropping dead on their doorstep. Maybe both? Shade. Must find shade!

We stopped in a the famous bakery, Sugar, for some cupcakes...coconut and pistachio, to be exact. Yum!

The next morning was the graduation! So proud of him! He not only graduated, but earned an award for marksmanship, a special honor for "outstanding leadership, honor, discipline...devotion to duty", and became the first class leader in Maritime Enforcement School history to maintain his position as class leader from the first day through graduation! Can you tell my mom heart is just bursting? He will now be catching bad guys on the high seas and keeping our shores safe!

Off to celebrate! We chose a southern barbecue place with lots of MEAT on the menu, Poogan's Smokehouse, because it seemed like the thing to do. Delicious! We went all out with: skillet cornbread, boiled peanuts (never even knew they existed and had to get a tutorial in how to eat them from the waiter), brisket, ribs, slaw, potato salad, lemonade, and more. A true southern feast! And when the waiter came around the table collecting the orders of all the ladies first, I thought...hmm...I could get used to this southern thing! ;-)

We explored Rainbow Row, a colorful row of houses just oozing southern charm with their gas lamps, topiaries, and window boxes.

And I must confess to indulging one of my favorite hobbies...Golden Retriever stalking. Yes, you may not know this about me, but I stalk other people Golden Retrievers, hoping...just hoping that I can pet them! Be still my heart! I spotted this one and followed it for at least a block. Just look at how fluffy! And then it's owner walked it into a sort of long tunnel/pass-through into a courtyard, which I guess was the entrance to his house. And, yes, I actually stood at one end and peered through the dark tunnel and called, "Can I pet your Golden, please?" He probably thought I was crazy. But Homer (that was the dog's name) was SO sweet! 

And then our time was up and it was homeward bound to get ready for the first wedding houseguests to arrive...in about 36 more hours! Goodbye Charleston!


  1. Your post made me laugh. I lived in South Carolina for a dozen years, and it's beautiful and unique and so very hot and humid - not my natural habitat either. ;-)

    1. Bless your heart! A dozen years? Whew! Hat's off to you, my dear! I thought often of that Jane Austen quote, "What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."


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