Continuing on with the lessons I learned on vacation, here are the lessons I learned on our second day.
Lesson #79: Don’t follow anyone’s agenda but your own.
The thing about traveling to a place like Charleston is that there is so much to do. And you’re probably not going to be able to do it all. You’re definitely not going to be able to do it all if you want to actually relax. And vacation is, in fact, about relaxing. (At least a little bit!) Eric and I agreed before we left that we would do our best to do everything on our list, but we also agreed that if there came a day when we really wanted to sleep in, then so be it, even if it meant missing a historic site. And I’m so glad we agreed to that because Charleston is the sort of city where you could easily burn yourself out trying to do everything.
We actually put this lesson into play on Thursday, our first full day. After a breakfast (the hotel stopped serving it at 10 so we were down there at 9), we went back to our room. Eric went to sleep and I played around on the internet. When we finally headed out three hours later, we felt relaxed and ready for the day. And we didn’t at all regret our time spent lazing.
I mean, things move slower in the South, right?
Lesson #80: Bring comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
Charleston is definitely a town where you’ll want to do a lot of walking around! Even though you’ll probably be walking pretty slow, you should still plan for a lot of time spent on your feet. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was how hard it would be to walk down a lot of the streets with cobblestones. In both sandals (me) and boat shoes (both of us), we both tripped a couple times.
A lot of the walking we did was from a parking garage to our destination. Parking in Charleston isn’t terrible, but rather than park on the street, most days we just parked in a garage on Queen Street and then just walked from there to our destination. Not only was it better than searching for a spot and trying to back-back-back it up into parallel spots on the street, but we got a little extra exercise and sightseeing in that way.
Also, despite the seriously bleak forecast on Weather.com the day before we left, which showed thunderstorms every single day and caused me to unpack half of my dresses and replace them with jeans and boots the morning of our flight, the weather was perfectly sunny every day. (And I think we’re just used to the intense punch-you-in-the-face humidity of Houston, but the word “humid” never even came to mind to describe the South Carolina weather.) I sprayed myself head to toe with sunscreen every day before we left the hotel so that all the skin I was showing off in my sundresses wouldn’t get toasted.
Lesson #81: Appreciate the sea.
Thursday afternoon we took our comfy-shoe-wearing, SPF-d selves down to Market Street to check out the vendors there. From crafts to jewelry to food, there were all kinds of things to look at. After browsing there, we started heading toward our lunch destination, stopping in more shops along the way. Eventually we made it to Fleet Landing, a restaurant on the water. The week before, I had tweeted asking for advice on what to do in Charleston and they tweeted back at me that we should stop in for a drink, and, well…I love to patronize any business that uses social media well!
I’m glad we checked Fleet Landing out because it was a really cool space, the view was great, and the food and drinks were really good! The building was built in 1942 by the Navy as a debarkation point for sailors and was renovated and turned into a restaurant in the 2000s. It’s all concrete and metal and glass windows (but is apparently hurricane proof!) and actually juts over the water on a pier. The inside is gorgeous, with tons of natural light, but we sat outside for lunch. We started with drinks — because why not, right? I had a delicious Bloody Mary and Eric had a John Daly. For lunch, I had the fried flounder sandwich which was topped with jalapeno jack cheese and Cajun tartar sauce and was delicious.
Despite never having had fried green tomatoes before, Eric decided to live dangerously and order the fried green tomato BLT, which came with a fried green tomato, bacon, gouda, arugula, and roasted red pepper remoulade. It was SO good.
After lunch, we walked up to Baked, a pretty well-known bakery that I had heard good things about. Eric got a whoopie pie and I got a vanilla cupcake with white chocolate buttercream frosting and an iced coffee. Then we walked back to the water to eat our treats in the park and enjoy the view.
While the treats were good, they didn’t blow me away. Eric and I agreed we should have gone for gelato instead. But no worries! A so-so cupcake in the park on a gorgeous day is still a cupcake in the park on a gorgeous day!
We stayed in the park for an hour or so, wandering around the fountains and the pier, chatting and marveling at the Ron Burgundy-type guy who was sitting in the grass shirtless, ogling the women jogging by, and peacocking around the grassy area, trying to impress everyone around him with his hairy chest, belly, and chicken legs.
After some time in the park we were getting a little drowsy and wished we had brought a blanket and reading materials with us — it would have been the perfect spot to relax, read, and maybe fall asleep. Instead, we headed back to the hotel to chill for a bit.
See also: Lesson #79.
Spending your days walking around in the sun can be really tiring, especially when you’re doing that in conjunction with eating rich food, so by the time we got back to the hotel, both of us were feeling kinda blah. I had a headache, he had a stomach ache, and we both just needed to hang out and relax. We ended up crashing for a while and then had a late-night pizza delivered to our hotel room. It would have been nice to go back into town and go out to dinner, but it felt good to just do nothing.
And I’m really glad we did because we definitely needed our energy for Friday!