Kicking It Off In Charleston

We arrived in Charleston on Sunday before our wedding and had time to settle into our hotel, the lovely Grand Bohemian, then take a stroll down Meeting Street and King Street before my parents got in. That evening we all met up at the hotel and ate dinner at the rooftop restaurant, Eleve, where my dad harassed our University of South Carolina alum waiter about the real USC.

A cool breeze and clear sky greeted us the next morning. Kevin and I made our way to the courthouse to apply for our marriage license. Upon arrival we realized that the courthouse building was enormous, and we thought we would certainly need to ask someone where we needed to go.

However, as we approached the metal detector (yes, singular), an old security guard looked at us with a twinkle in his eye and drawled, “Marriage license?” Kevin asked him how he knew, to which he replied. “You two look like you’re in love.” It was the friendliest and sweetest entrance to a courthouse imaginable.

After successfully applying for our license we still had a chunk time before meeting up for brunch with our families. We decided to make use of the gap by strolling further South down King Street and ended up at the very end of the peninsula at White Point Gardens. What a nice little introduction to Charleston that walk was. So many amazing homes to see, some immaculate, some in total disrepair, but all still mesmerizing.

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Our timing was impeccable for getting back to Another Broken Egg Cafe to meet up with the whole gang. The place was adorable, the food good, and the company better. Dad continued his trend of harassing our servers by teasing the waitress about saying “ya’ll” and saying that we were also from the South. We had to elaborate to explain that we were from southern California.

With full bellies and happy hearts we headed across the street to the old market to check out all the knick knacks and fill the hour before the start of our walking tour. Annette and I ended up getting sucked into an awesome stand with sterling silver rings. After a great deal of deliberation I settled on two rings, one with a turquoise setting and a band with elephants, and Annette chose one with a lotus flower.

New bling on our hands, we all headed onward to the Old Exchange Building where we were greeted by our wonderful guide, Brian. We turned out to be the entire group that day so we essentially got a private tour for seven.

The tour couldn’t have been more delightful. We covered quite a bit of ground out and about the historic district and learned tons of cool historical facts along the way.

A glimpse into Charleston’s pirate history was particularly colorful. My favorite story in that department came outside what used to be a pirate bar and brothel, and was about a female pirate named Anne Bonny. She dressed as a man, and partnered up with one Calico Jack Rackham to loot and plunder.

The  said pirate bar and brothel

The said pirate bar and brothel

We continued through the streets of Charleston in a pack as Brian led us. Lots of churches, the grave of John C. Calhoun, and really amazing houses filled our eyes, while tales from the revolutionary and civil wars made the sights all the more interesting. Sobering reminders of slavery in the city were intertwined as well. Charleston gets due credit for owning up to both its pretty and ugly sides.

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Our route went full circle to take us back to East Bay and the Old Exchange Building. We thanked Brian and parted ways, then immediately got Italian ice from a street vendor.

In our late afternoon, post-walk laziness we settled in at the shade in Waterfront Park. We couldn’t have asked for a more lovely day.

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The last stop of the day on my itinerary was dinner Fleets Landing just a few hundred yards away.

Post-dinner Kevin and I had decided to check out our back-up wedding location, Hampton Park, and the Angel Oak. My parents drove us to both places, then dropped us back at our hotel.

The day ended with us sun kissed, happy, and ready for our wedding.

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