This is the life....

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
Chez Bulter aka our Island Castle
What I did
Tip to Tip, Side to Side & Everything in Between!

Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We're coming up on week 2 of our stay at the Butler's Isle of Palms house (which is a rental by the way, in case you're interested), totally spoiled and finding it a little difficult to move on with our journey. Cliff and Kathy offered us a stay in this incredible place on the beach ("it's empty - stay for a month!") on one of the islands clustered within 20-30 minute drive to Charleston.

The beaches here are like a giant parking lot at low tide, which makes for ideal walks and bike rides.  Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island are small enough that everything is within  "beach cruiser" distance, including Poe's tavern (named after Edgar Allen) with its great burgers, Taco Mamacitas with one of the best fish tacos we've ever had (blackened mahi mahi, jalapeno corn slaw, grilled pineapple, cilantro, diced tomatoes and baja sauce - all that on one tortilla), a lighthouse, fishing piers and Fort Moultrie (i'm driving through Sullivan's when suddenly I realize a dozen confederate soldiers, muskets on their shoulders, are marching toward me in the middle of the street - no one watching, no parade, just Rebs].  Across from Poe's, another restaurant pretty much sums up the attitude of the island on it's daily lunch special sandwich board, "soup of the day  -  bourbon".

Charleston is a must see, recently anointed the most visited tourist city in the world, finally edging out San Francisco (or at least this is what we were told by an unofficial source on the beach one day), with its  architecture, plantations, history and charm. We spent a day riding the free trolley bus, strolling Rainbow Way and Market Street and admiring 300-400 year old houses lining cobblestone streets with their grand stately porches and manicured court yards.

Cliff was right when he said it would take a week or two to fully appreciate this city and its islands, so we're only doing as we are told.  Somehow I think we're gonna owe him big time!

We had to vacate the house for a few days- the floors were being repaired and refinished due to another ice machine malfunction - go figure - so we backtracked north up the coast 2 hours to North Myrtle Beach, where we visited yet more of Mary's seemingly endless cadre of friends who had recently relocated from the DC area, Jim & Megan, and Lyn who was about a bull horn away across the river. These guys go way back to High School, and Lyn pulled out the Churchill HS year book and photo albums to prove it. Mary didn't even go to the same High school, and yet knew more people and had more stories than any of them.

After the 48 hour trip down memory lane, there can be no doubt that Mary has more personal and intimate friends than anyone else on earth, not even counting casual acquaintances, Consider, other than a long stretch across North Dakota and another between Ohio and Maryland, we've never traveled more than four hours between stops for friends and family. Granted some of those stops were my family and friends, but they actually like her better.

Before heading back, we sampled some true South Carolinian fare, including steamed clams, oyster stew, and "shrimp & grits" a combo that is remarkably tastier that it sounds. We almost made it for  "Shagging lessons," a very popular dance in these parts, but alcohol and reminiscing superseded that experience. I'm sure we'll have more opportunities for a little shagging!

We get back to our island castle only to find that the floors are going to take another 3 days to finish.  Damn contractors!   So we had to take the elevator and re-locate up on the 3rd level. Couldn't use the hot tub on the main floor, totally disrupting our island experience.   Damn Contractors!   (So that's how the customer feels!) 

Speaking of contracting, we've seen more work in progress on these two little islands than we've seen in 6 states combined, and the wages are pretty good. Hmmmmmm...

Before reluctantly departing this island paradise, we are the "visitees" (?) of yet another friend, Susan and her significant other Jim, who drove  from Atlanta for the weekend and stayed at one of their friend's house only six doors away. Small world, or as Megan would put it "all within the 60 degrees of separation." A lot of connections could be made in those extra 54 degrees.

The four of us enjoyed a nice breakfast together (the floors are finally done!) and an island bike ride that brought out Jim's competitive side  Great guy with some stories that had to be cajoled out of him.  Nice couple! 

So having practically rooted ourselves in this beautiful place, we now must resume the Odyssey and seek out even warmer climes, but not before one more cocktail on the roof deck  -  so many olives, so little time!
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