Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Fall Break in the Carolinas


Traveling during  a pandemic required a little more planning and a lot more hand sanitizer, but was very doable. Though I traveled to populated cities, it was fairly easy to avoid being around people. For one, I typically chose to eat in the off hours, so restaurants weren’t as busy, or I did take-out instead of dine-in. If I did dine in, I ate outside away from other people. I was very pleased to see all the restaurants adhering to mask policies and sanitizing after customers left. Even walking in the streets of Charleston, most people were wearing masks. It really put the lack of response in Tennessee to shame.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

I woke up ready to go somewhere around 3:30AM (my alarm was set for 5...) I tried to stay in bed, but finally realized sleep wasn’t going to happen somewhere around 4 (that’s what happens when you go to bed at 7:30!) After showering, cleaning, and packing (I know, who am I that I hadn’t already been packed for a week) I hit the road a little before 5:30AM. It was a dreary drive, and while gray and misty for most of it, it poured through the Smoky Mountains – they were extra smoky!


I had thought about making a few stops on the way to the coast, but I really wanted to get to the beach before sunset – I didn’t want to wait another day to put my toes in the water and you-know-what in the sand! The beach wasn't overly busy, but there were more people than I expected there to be for a Saturday in October. The water was freezing, I don't know how people were playing in it!! I just walked for an hour as the sun set. Wrightsville Beach was very shell-y; some parts you had to be careful walking with bare feet because it was like walking on a bunch of legos. There were many whole shells for collectors, but mostly just lots of pieces. 


After the sun went down, I checked into my hotel (which was conveniently right next to a Target) and ordered dinner for pick-up from the Copper Penny. I ordered a Chestnut Chicken Sandwich with fries - the tartar sauce was delicious! (I mean the sandwich and fries were good too, but I'm a total tartar sauce snob).


Sunday, October 11, 2020

I slept in until 8 (which was only 7 at home, so not super sleeping in) and was slow to do anything productive. It was suppose to rain pretty heavily until 11, so I wasn't in a rush. I worked on my Master's classes a little bit before getting ready for the day and heading out.


My first stop was downtown to visit some One Tree Hill locations and get some food. Unfortunately, the whole town of Wilmington seemed to be under construction and I didn't get to the things I most wanted to - the table on the Riverwalk where Nathan gives Haley the bracelet (I brought Cracker Jacks to eat there and everything!) being one of them. I walked up and down a couple streets, past the set of Karen's Café (which is now an outdoor clothing store) and to Clean Juice for an acai bowl for lunch (which also was the set for Tree Hill Café). The Berry Bowl was delicious!! There are a lot of locations downtown where various scenes were filmed, but they all house actual businesses now. Across from the Riverwalk is Battleship Park where the Rivercourt was once located. It has since been taken down, but I do have a photo in the grassy area that now exists in its place from a previous visit.


After downtown, I drove around to a few locations, including Keith Scott's Body Shop, Brooke's house, Peyton's house, Haley's house, Karen & Lucas's house, and Nathan's House. I wanted to take a photo at the bridge that is in the opening credits, but of course, it was under construction. The whole thing was covered up by a giant tarp. I had read online that it was in a shady area, so to be careful, and I took it with a grain of salt (as I do). I shouldn't have. All of the people I saw in that area were behaving very sketchily, so take that warning seriously! I also went by TRIC which had a lot of writing from fans on the bricks. 

Peyton's House

Brooke's House



I came back to my hotel room and filled up the jacuzzi in my room to sit in while I worked on multiplying polynomials and watched some SVU for a couple hours before heading out again.

About 4PM I headed back down to the beach for a walk and dinner. I strolled for a mile then went to Tower 7 for dinner (recommended by Sophia Bush, so of course I had to go!) I traded in the tacos for nachos, which were delicious, but I did regret not getting tacos!







After walking the mile back to my car I stopped at a souvenir shop for a t-shirt (no, mom, I don't have enough!) then headed back to the hotel for a night in of more SVU and some finite mathematics.

Monday, October 12, 2020

I set my alarm for 6:30 so I could get to the beach for sunrise. I was surprised at how many people I saw there surfing! There were also a lot of runners. I plopped my butt in the sand like a sane person and just enjoyed being.


I had promised myself I would go back and sleep some more since I didn't sleep in, which of course didn't happen. I did some algebra before getting ready for the day, then headed back downtown for a late breakfast/early lunch.

I was hoping to eat at the Dixie Grill, which is the location of the diner Sam frequented in OTH, but it was closed. I ended up at another restaurant that had been recommended to me - Fork N' Cork. I was happy that I came early, because there wasn't really anyone there. The staff was all masked and masks were required when not sitting at your table. I ordered the Classic Poutine which was made with Wisconsin cheese curds and DELICIOUS. 


From there, I wandered back to the Riverfront and came across a few women taking a picture at the Black Cat Shoppe, which is where Tree Hill Records was set. We chatted a bit about the OTH locations around town (they were just starting out their self-guided tour) and they talked me into going into the shop and getting a t-shirt (what can I say, I gave in at the mere suggestion). Eventually I accepted that the Naley bench no longer existed (possibly removed due to COVID restrictions? Lots of communal areas seemed to be blocked off or removed) so I took a picture of my Cracker Jacks overlooking the river while wearing my "don't say I never gave you anything" bracelet anyway. Because I have zero self-control, I bought another OTH shirt from another shop on my way back to the car.



Next stop - Charleston! It was about a three hour drive, and since I made it before Caitlin got off work, I drove a little further to Folly Beach (not a beach I would go to again). There wasn't a lot of "beach," mostly just a small strip of sand with some families. I met Caitlin back at her house and we went to the Saltwater Cowboys in the boujee part of town for dinner. Since I had officially been on vacation for three days now and still hadn't had tacos, I ordered the Mahi Cowboy Tacos which were super tasty. I loved the spiciness of them!


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

This morning I slept in until 7, then ventured down to Viscous Biscuit for breakfast where I ordered the Flame Thrower (cheddar and jalapeño biscuit, crispy fried chicken breast covered in Frank’s Red Hot sauce, white cheddar, spicy remoulade, candied bacon, & jalapeños). I told the staff I was chatting with that I was in from around Nashville and liked hot chicken and he said the Flame Thrower was his favorite. Another staff chimed in and asked about the Biscuit scene in Nash, specifically Biscuit Love, and that is how I make new friends- talking about food!! Anywho, it was not anywhere near Nashville hot (probably a good thing so early in the morning) but still delicious!


I headed back to Caitlin’s to work on grad school/recover from this massive breakfast for awhile before getting ready for the day. Eventually I headed into downtown Charleston because John Grisham released a new book today and I was hoping to get a copy from a local bookstore. Unfortunately, they didn't have it :( 

I met Caitlin at her school and she took me to see the Angel Oak, a massive 400-year-old tree. It spreads over a big area, and the longest branch is nearly 200 feet long! We grabbed dinner at the Blackbird market and took it to Stono River County Park for a picnic. We ate on benches on a boardwalk in the midst of the marsh. It was a beautiful view, and all of the walker's were envious of our picnic plan! I had a fried green tomato/pimento cheese/bacon sandwich, and while it was delicious, there is definitely such thing as too much pimento cheese!!




Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I woke up this morning and headed down to Sullivan's Island for breakfast at the Co-Op. They're known for their froze, but it was 9AM.....Since it was National Breakfast Burrito Day, that was what I ordered. I'm not a huge breakfast fan unless its sweet (I don't particularly like the texture of eggs), but as far as breakfast burritos go, this one was pretty good! It had eggs, bacon, red peppers, hummus, hot sauce and mozzarella cheese. From there, I walked down to the beach and strolled for an hour before it was a reasonable time to visit a local distillery.



Hire Wire Distilling is located in downtown Charleston, and distills whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and gin. I tried the whiskey flight, which included the Sorghum Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, and Jimmy Red Bourbon. The Bourbon was my favorite, and the Sorghum came in second, I didn't much care for the Rye which didn't surprise me as that is usually my least favorite at tastings.


After the distillery, I picked up some donuts at Glazed downtown. I was a little disappointed with the options available after seeing all the delicious choices online, but I still managed to pick four. The Purple Goat (berry goat cheese filling with lavender glaze) was pretty good, but the filling was a little overwhelming. The Peanut Butter Brownie donut was tasty, but a little dry. The Baked Banana donut was amazing!! It was basically banana bread baked in the shape of a donut with banana glaze and walnuts, but holy cow, I wanted four more!! 



Once Caitlin got home from work, we headed back into downtown Charleston to visit some of the staples. We were arriving around high tide, which we hadn't realized until we drove into the flooded streets. They blocked them off right after we made it though! Downtown, we strolled to the iconic pineapple fountain and walked down Rainbow Row. Though I'm not a big fan of the movie, I had to take a photo outside of "High Cotton," the restaurant that appeared in The Notebook.




We ended up going to Triangle for dinner, where I ordered (extraordinatily large) fish and chips. It was very tasty, but oh my goodness, it was a lot! I could only manage half of one piece and a few fries! We picked up cheesecake from Kaminski's before heading home for the night.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

I had a bit of a late start this morning and didn't leave until after 6:30AM, but that was because the donut shop didn't open until then! Apparently yesterday's donuts weren't enough, so I had to grab a few from Duck's Donuts as road trip snacks for the trip back to Tennessee. They are made to order, so you get them nice and warm!


The drive home was pretty easy. The mountain ride was sunny this time, so I got to appreciated the beautiful fall coloring. I just kept thinking about all the wrinkles I am going to have from smiling so much - you can't tell from the photos, but it was so vibrant and pretty!! 


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