In almost exactly 24 hours, we drove from Orlando to Treasure Island, Florida, squeezed in an impossible number of activities, and made it back home. Among our shenanigans: We drank pitchers of Blue Moon at Gator's, walked the beach at sunset (above), watched Roger Federer whup Andy Murray on TV, wasted plenty of time on the iPad, moved several pieces of heavy furniture up a staircase, ate greasy breakfast grub at the Waffle House, cast a fishing line into the water (no luck), witnessed a violent thunderstorm, ate some delicious pizza from DeLosa's, drank cherry Slurpees, took a leisurely dip in the warm Gulf of Mexico, saw an enormous manatee lumber by as we bobbed in the water (we first thought it was a shark!) and played with the cutest infant I've ever seen in my life. Oh, and we went swimming in my sister-in-law's pool under the moonlight and laughed and smiled a lot. Not a bad day ... not a bad day at all.
After more than seven hours of driving and beating back agonized groans of "Are we there yet?" from the kids, I steered our Honda Odyssey into the hazy heat of Charleston, S.C. The next four nights were spent enjoying time with extended family in and around this enchanting old city. It was a pleasant getaway and a nice reprieve from home in central Florida. There's so much I could write about Charleston ... about our recent visit and the countless other experiences I've had there over the past 30 years ... about the history and charm and seductive powers of this Paris of the South. This time, though, I'll leave it to the pros:
"Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.” ― Pat Conroy
"Only a Charlestonian intent upon being ostracized, or worse, would make she-crab soup with a he-crab." ― Philip Hamburger
"I'm going back to dignity and grace. I'm going back to Charleston, where I belong." ― Rhett Butler, "Gone with the Wind"
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