Tuesday afternoon we arrived in Charleston. I was kind of expecting more old buildings and more sights of the seaport. I guess its’s the road we came in on. Then within a few minutes, we started to see more grandeur, practically our hotel, The French Quarter Inn. We pulled up to the side door and almost right away, a handsome, nicely dressed gentleman in his 30s, came over and welcomed us. He also started to help us get our bags on the cart. We found out later it was the general manager Brent who had helped. Brian gave him a tip too.
We went up to the lobby to check in. There was a dark wood spiral staircase up the center and also a fireplace, chairs and tables and the area where the food and beverages were served. We were served a glass of champagne! So elegant. Then we went to our room and it was so lovely! There was a huge armoire/entertainment center-about 10 feet or more long. There were two queen beds with lots of pillows. We were given two gift cards and a brass Christmas ornament of the hotel. We freshened up to get ready for the wine and cheese reception. We settled on a restaurant in a hotel within walking distance.
We enjoyed the cheese and wine with the other guests before venturing out for dinner.
There weren’t a ton of holiday decorations in Charleston. The hotel had some, including a pretty tree with wrapped packages underneath. We actually saw more decorations driving around and heading over to a park the next night.
We ate at the Renaissance Hotel and were the only ones there. We were a little punchy sitting there, but we had a nice dinner. Brian and I had rib eye and Sean a seafood pasta. The waitress disappeared for close to 15 minutes and we wanted to go. Here she was also doing room service!
We headed back to the hotel just in time for milk, hot chocolate and cookies. The beds were turned down and we had chocolates and a weather report for tomorrow.
I can’t even tell you how gorgeous the bathroom was. All white and black marble. The shower was glass. Wow.
The next day we headed for Middleton Place, a plantation in northern Charleston. Always wanted to see a plantation since reading ‘Gone with the Wind’.
Since we are a family of ‘grown-ups’, we decided to save up for a trip at Christmastime. I thought it may require much hustling and bustling at that time of year, but we would find out it wasn’t bad to travel the week before Christmas at all. I started to look through online Christmas packages for the southern states and Charleston, SC popped up. I narrowed it down to The French Quarter Inn and bought the package for the middle of the week of December 15th. This was back in August. I had no idea if my knee would cooperate by then. We had been saving up all year and had to only pay with cash or credit card for a few things. We were very pleased about this. It also helped that I read ‘Rhett Butler’s People’ that mostly centered in Charleston. I was anxious to try a sampling of some southern charm.
We got our Christmas decorations up early. Sean helped with the bay window and outside decor. I did the mantel and trees. Choosing clothes to take was difficult, but we ended up taking layers. I wore my long sweater most of the time we were there and my coat up in Williamsburg. We were going to let the cat stay in the kitchen and found the old baby gate. We put it up a few nights before we left and our almost 15 year old cat climbed over it. We had to leave him in the fairly heated basement with lots of covers and pillows.
We left about 6:45-7 am on the 15th and made pretty good time enough to stop a few times. The welcome center for North Carolina had a geocache, so we grabbed that for our NC state souvenir. We would also get SC the next day. The guys love getting those books and brochures anyway.
The first night we stopped in Raleigh, NC. Sean paid for two hotel nights for us. We went out to grab a bite where I had a coupon and decided to head over to the mall across the street as my cellphone wasn’t working properly. The mall was really nice! Turns out I did have a issue as I had recently changed my plan on the phone. We did a little Christmas shopping too. We then drove around the city which was fairly quiet. We looked at the state capital building and tree and even snooped for a few geocaches.
First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh
The streets were practically empty. We did enjoy some nicely decorated homes on the way over from the mall.
We couldn’t find the caches in the dark.
The next morning we headed to Charleston. We had been on the road the day before over 7 hours and were anxious to get to our destination. It was another long day in the car, but we did stop at a place that I hadn’t been to for 37 years-South of the Border!
It sure had expanded as I remember us sitting in the middle of a big parking lot back in 1977. Many of the expansions made over the years were closed down. There were a few caches here and we did look for them. Three of us couldn’t find the one one over the highway walk way. We did find Sean’s #400 there!