I went to Charleston two weekends ago for a friend's bachelorette party. Allie and I have been friends since first grade, and it's such a huge honor to be a part of her wedding in July. She was THE BEST bachelorette --- dancing with anyone who asked her to dance, running into the Charleston fire department and throwing on a helmet and jacket and jumping on a firetruck without thinking twice about it, going along with all our little games we planned for her, and not once being sad about the fact that it rained for two days of the trip. In fact, I think I was the only one who was sad about the rain. But I mean, I sort of have a sun addiction so it was probably for the best that the weather wasn't cooperating. Gotta protect the skin... I'm learning this slowly. Here are a few pictures:
The bride-to-be and me. We used to roll ourselves up in foam bed pads and secure them around our bodies with bungee cords, and then climb trees and stare at people. Glory days.
Some of my high school (and life) besties. #HighlandPark4ever
We had matching tanks, of course.
Below, I'm wearing genie pants. My friend Courtney is a high school counselor and says that this style is all the rage for the 14-18 year-old crowd. Cool. I'm 10 years older. Same thing?
This is all of us on the porch at Cru Cafe where we had dinner one night. I've been reading Pat Conroy novels in anticipation for this Charleston trip and if you've ever read a Pat Conroy novel, you know that food, and the preparation of it, is a central and defining element to his writing. In fact, my dad was here last weekend and we were discussing Pat Conroy. I just finished Beach Music and when I mentioned this to my dad, he said that he will never forget a scene from that book that describes in beautiful detail a meal shared in Rome near the Pantheon: the peeling of an orange, olive oil, and truffles. I knew exactly what scene he was thinking of. I'm tempted to post the text from it, but it's not really the point of this post so I will refrain. (Wow! I'm showing restraint!) In Conroy's South of Broad, which takes place in Charleston, he often mentions the cuisine of the south in mouth-watering detail, and it was with this in mind that I was crazy excited about my first low country meal in Charleston at Cru Cafe: local swordfish with wild mushroom Anson Mills grits, taso gravy, truffle arugula, and tobacco onions. I so wish I could describe the meal in typical Conroy fashion. I won't even try. But it's worth writing home about. It was perfect.
Here, Leen and I are making carrot cake. This has been a tradition since our freshmen year of high school. We'd all gather at one of our houses to watch the Bachelor, and if we were at Leighton's house, her mom would always bake us her famous carrot cake. She'd hide a quarter in the batter, and if you received the slice that had the quarter, then you won a prize. Ever since then, we've nearly always made this cake when we all get together. It's one of my favorite traditions.
Allie and the fire truck. She's basically a model.
Speaking of South of Broad, here it is. The white church in the background, St. Michael's Church, boasts the oldest bell tower clock in America. History is cool, man.
After reading Conroy's novel about growing up in Charleston, I couldn't believe I was actually walking through the streets of this historic neighborhood south of Broad Street. I loved it. While the girls were shopping on King Street, I fast-walked down King to Tradd Street and over to Meeting then to East Battery, and then back up Legare Street. As I drooled over the homes, I realized (with glee) that Charleston feels pretty similar to Georgetown. Except Charleston has palm trees, and the waves from the Cooper River hitting the sea wall splashed my legs as I walked along East Battery. And at one point, I saw porpoises. Oh, and, for the first time in what feels like forever, I saw families dressed in their Sunday best leaving church together on Sunday morning. Be still my heart! It was then that I realized I've been away from the south for too long. Georgetown is charming, but it most certainly isn't the south.
Charleston rolled out the red carpet for us as we celebrated our dear friend. I can't wait to see her married in just a few more weeks!