the lowcountry : charleston, tybee island, savannah [19]

Labor Day weekend this year found me trekking (back) across the country to attend a bachelorette party in Tybee Island/Savannah, GA.

Which also gave me a great excuse to stop over in one of my favorite cities.

Charleston, South Carolina. Back when Max and I were in that weird stage of “talking” and doing the long distance “are we together or not” thing, I was in the middle of my student teaching semester, very broke and under a lot of stress. Our conversations gradually shifted from “you should come visit” to “if you visit” to “when you visit” and then suddenly I had a plane ticket and a plan to fly to Charleston to see Max. So, it’s really thanks to Charleston (and Max, and the Navy for putting him there) that I grew to love travel.

I have an unwavering love for this city – mainly because I fell in love with Charleston and, all things considered, in Charleston. I haven’t been back since Max moved away from SC in 2013, and we haven’t had the opportunity to travel there. So when it looked like it was going to be cheaper for me to fly into Charleston than Savannah, I jumped on it without a second thought. How could I say no to one of my favorite cities? And some of our best friends just moved there – so it was perfect.

I spent Friday morning and afternoon walking around some of my favorite places in the city. Breakfast at Charleston Cafe in Mount Pleasant, a favorite of ours, and then a trip up to the viewing deck of the Ravenel Bridge which looks out over the Cooper River, Mount Pleasant, and Charleston proper (as pictured above). This was the first place Max took me when I came to visit, and this bridge will always have a special place in my heart.

After the bridge, I went into Charleston, walked the waterfront park, waded in the pineapple fountain, got some lemonade, and walked around East Bay Street for a bit. It was a beautiful day, albeit a little bit hot, but enjoyable nonetheless.

After I walked the city a bit, I headed up to Tattooed Moose, a dive bar sandwich shop, to get some lunch. Tattooed Moose has become a running joke with Max – every time we tried to eat there when I was visiting, we got distracted and ended up going somewhere else. I was determined to get there on this trip and man, was it worth it:

On the way out of Charleston, I stopped to pick up some beer at the new(ish) Beer Exchange – it used to be downtown, and I was devastated when I walked by the old building and it wasn’t there anymore. Thanks to some googling, I learned that they had relocated and expanded right down the street from Tattooed Moose (perfect!) so the day was saved. I was not about to leave Charleston without some Holy City beers in my hands.

The drive from Charleston to Savannah/Tybee Island was a nice drive – until it started storming like nobody’s business. I am a pretty confident bad-weather-driver (you kind of have to be when you learn to drive in Upstate NY), but the combination of heavy lightning, lots of rain, little lighting on the road, and an unfamiliar area made it less than pleasant. All things considered, though, I got where I needed to be and was able to enjoy the storm from the porch of the stunning house we rented for the weekend. Friday was a pretty chill night as only half of the bachelorette party attendees had arrived, so we enjoyed the storm and a few beers on the porch.

Saturday morning found us at the beach – and although I live right by the Pacific now, I really missed the ocean. You can swim in the Atlantic, whereas Monterey Bay is pretty cold. So I was thrilled to be able to get back into the waves. We were on the beach right by Tybee Island Lighthouse, and the New Englander in me loves a good lighthouse photo.

(It was cloudy, but who can resist a beach photo anyways)
We followed up the beach, part one, with lunch at The Crab Shack, conveniently located right near the house we were renting. I LOVE me some crab legs, so I went to town on a pound of snow crab:
The rest of the girls arrived shortly thereafter, so we went to a different beach (gotta explore all the options) where I got brushed by a jellyfish and enjoyed the water some more. We headed back to the house to clean ourselves up and then trekked into Savannah for dinner and drinks. The first item on the itinerary was the Paula Deen restaurant, Lady and Sons, which had exactly as much butter as you would expect. It was delicious, but my mildly-lactose-intolerant body was NOT having it. Note to self: maybe just get a small helping of mac and cheese next time. I couldn’t even eat dessert because I was so full, and if you know me then you know how much I love dessert. We followed up dinner with coffee to try to offset the food coma, a drag show at Club One, and then another round of drinks at a rooftop bar. The weather was perfect, and I wish I hadn’t been dragging so much so that I could have enjoyed the evening more.
Sunday morning we went back into Savannah to go to the Crystal Beer Palace for brunch/lunch, where we learned that you can’t serve beer before 12:30 (surprise!). Once we were able to order drinks, though, I got a really delicious mango/pomegranate Berliner Weisse which was surprisingly great, had more of a cider taste than a beer taste, and was incredibly drinkable (and dangerous, due to its 8% ABV). Following lunch, we hiked over to the Savannah Slow Ride pedal pub. I have never done a pedal pub before, and it was GREAT. Despite the fact that the seats aren’t really made for short people and I had to do some pretty heavy adjustments once it was my turn to pedal, it was surprisingly easy. Plus we made some new friends – we are a pretty boisterous crew, and there were three couples on board who were not prepared for us but we were all having a blast by the end of it. We stopped at four or five different bars, got a little bit of a historical tour of Savannah (only one haunted bar though!), and I got to pay homage to the institution of alcoholic slushies: Wet Willie’s.
After the pedal pub, we headed back to the house to do some grilling and had some chill downtime for the afternoon. Shout out to everyone who cooked – the food was fantastic! And man, you really can’t beat this view:
Tybee Island has a big Labor Day beach party every year, with fireworks and a band and all the things that come with beach parties. We headed down to stake out a spot and spent a little (more) time in the ocean. We were a little far from the band, but we had the perfect location for fireworks:

After the beach party, we barhopped our way around Tybee Island for drinks and dancing. It has been a long time since I have done anything resembling “clubbing,” but it was a lot of fun. All of the DJs were really feeling throwback 2000s tunes, which was fantastic – especially at the second bar we went to which basically seemed like the DJ was playing my college playlist. Certainly helps to get in the party mood when your party music comes on, you know what I mean?

We had to roll out early the next morning so that everyone could catch their planes, trains, and automobiles back home. When it was all said and done, though, it was a fantastic weekend celebrating our friend and I am so looking forward to their wedding in a couple months!!!

I headed back up to Charleston to spend the day with the aforementioned friends who recently moved (back) there. The theme of this weekend was definitely “reconnecting with people I miss” and gosh, it was good to see people that I love after having just moved way the hell across the country from everyone I know. But by the end of the weekend, I was ready to go home and start settling in to California – which is, ultimately, one of my favorite parts of traveling. I love exploring and seeing new places, but coming home always just feels a little bit sweeter after being away.

And it always makes me look forward to the next adventure.


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