Charleston, SC - February 2016

Charleston, SC – February 2016


First – a little update….

We have fallen a little behind in posting, mainly because we have been so busy!  We are both working from the road which is fun but takes time, and we have spent the past two weeks straight hanging out with friends and family in Atlanta, Nashville and then Knoxville.  It has been a blast and we are so thankful to be able to live this lifestyle which allows us such freedom.

I should have believed all the other long-term travelers who encourage newbies to avoid making plans since they are bound to change.  Sure enough, ours have changed significantly in the past couple months.  Our current travel plans involve mainly travel in North America and less overseas than initially planned.  This is for two reasons mainly – 1) we started an online business at the end of last year which, while it allows us to earn money even while we are sleeping, does work best from a base in the US; and 2) – we are bringing our dogs Nick and Nora with us!

Anyhow, we have gotten into the swing of things and are coming around to the philosophy of planning less and living in the moment more!

… and now onto Charleston:

We loved it!  I think that this is the first time either of us has stayed in one place for a full month while traveling (excluding study abroad and work experiences).  We picked the very historic Charleston, SC to avoid the winter weather elsewhere.  It was a real shock to the system to go from a month in sunny Hawaii to playing in (and shoveling) 6 inches of snow in Nashville for a couple days, to a comfortably cool Charleston immediately after.

Our place of stay was a 250 yr. old apartment in the historic district in Charleston.  We only had the front part of the building which was clean and incredibly convenient to all the fun activities in the city.  It was a bit small – 500 sq. ft. divided between 2 floors connected with a tight spiral staircase – but it was an adventure living there for a short time.

Our business is retail sales online through Amazon and eBay, which involves buying lots of product and shipping it into warehouses.  Fortunately, we have an awesome mini-van (with fuzzy dice) graciously donated for our use by Mayne’s parents.  When we are not traveling from one place of stay to another, it is routinely chock full of product from various product sources!

In terms of activities in Charleston, we found plenty to explore and enjoy in our month long stay.  It felt great to have the extra time so we could balance work with play.  We did have some cold and rainy days too so we felt a lot better about staying inside than we would have if we were visiting for just a week or so.

Charleston architecture is some of the best in America, and it was always a treat to explore by foot.  This was our favorite alley way.

The picturesque waterfront park in Charleston

Nick and Nora loved Hampton park just north of downtown, which is full of octopus like limbed trees and migrating swans.  Both dogs ended up in the pond after jumping in after the swans.

Another shot of a live oak – beautiful even without leaves due to the Spanish moss.

We enjoyed the courtyard at the College of Charleston, reminiscent of Harvard yard.

It turns out Charleston is a great home base for various daytrips in the area.  We took numerous tours outside the downtown area to Mt Pleasant, Johns Island, Folly beach and other parts north.  We meant to get out to Edisto island for Mayne to relive some old family vacations but we ran out of time and it didn’t happen.

The beaches in SC are cool and uncrowded (Mayne’s favorite) this time of year.  We took several long walks / jogs with the dogs, who absolutely loved chasing the birds and exploring all the little remains of sea critters washed up on the shore.  Nick in particular looked like a greyhound sprinting up and down on the sand.

Nick found a starfish friend!

Speaking of Nick and Nora, we all enjoyed having some “family” travel time together.  I know human parents hate it when dog owners say it, but our dogs are like little furry children to us, and we loved being able to explore and experience the world through their eyes.  We spent many hours on jogs and walks and searching for squirrels among the many trees in Charleston.  The dogs do great in most respects while traveling with us – whether it is riding in their crate in the car or hanging out in the house while we are out shopping and exploring.  The only downside was having to wait outside of certain stores which weren’t dog friendly.

Here are some pics of our pups

Nora loves to snuggle, and she and Nick have both learned how to sleep in a little better since we have been traveling!

We found a boardwalk and Nora took the opportunity to bust a move and do some break dancing.

A favorite spot was battery park for squirrel hunting.

Obligatory silly photo – the pups picked up a new bad habit!

We have learned to appreciate a good small dog park, like this one near Folly beach.  They are normally an after-thought to the main dog park but can be a lot of fun for both dogs and humans alike with a good crowd.  It’s fun to chat with other travelers and locals while watching our dogs go crazy!

Of course, our favorite activity in a new town is exploring the new places to eat and drink!  Elisa has a new passion for pastries and we found the Wild Flour Pastry bakery to be our favorite.  Here are some shots of our tasty treats (and some for the pups):

Wild flower pastry

The pastry bones were requested by Nora..

We were also impressed with the low-country food, particularly the southern cuisine.  It was a little hearty and at least one of us gained a few pounds after our stay 🙂  It was fun to try out the numerous varieties of grits and biscuits.

Our favorite restaurant in the area is Page’s Okra grill for quality, speed and value.  This delicious spread is grits (with bacon), lump blue crab cakes, mac ‘n cheese, fried green tomatoes, amazing fried chicken and some stewed okra… yum!!

Some more good cooking

Perfect bloody mary cocktail at Page’s

The Gin Joint in downtown was a speak-easy style cocktail spot – very hip and kind of expensive.  However, we went multiple times for the happy hour with solid drinks for $5.

On the topic of food, a can’t miss is a low-country oyster boil.  It’s all you can eat “local” oysters and, while its some work, worth the effort.  This was news to us, but the local oysters are not what you get at a nice seafood restaurant.  Rather, they grow in clumps, might be covered in mud and muck, and one might imagine are something that grows on pilings below a bridge somewhere.  All that said, they were scrumptious.

Elisa was a little turned off by the crowd of old folks wielding shucking knives.  Note how clean the table is (at the beginning of the festivities)

The scrum of oyster lovers and the destroyed table near the end.

We will leave you will some nature photos.  It wasn’t the prettiest time of year to visit but I am sure glad it wasn’t hot and muggy like in the summer.

The camellias were in bloom and are now Elisa’s favorite flower.

More camellias.

The Spanish moss makes for haunting photos…

.. and picture perfect plantation driveways.

We found a petting zoo and Elisa practically squealed with excitement at the miniature ponies!

And Mayne got harassed by a nosy deer looking for some corn kernel snacks…


Coming up next is our week in Savannah..