Sunday, April 21, 2013

Now that I'm home...

With dazzling brilliance, I planned three days to myself after returning from Charleston! Hi-de-ho how smart am I?! The only way to ease back into the dreary state of weather affairs here is slowly. So, that's what I've done. But feeling renewed (as I often do after a wonderful holiday) I have lots of good energy to rev up my work, our apartment, my writing and maybe even get some much needed exercise. Lee and I laughed a lot at dinner last night too.

I still have a few images I have to share and one, yes, one stands out among them all. So, stick with me here and you'll get the reward at the end.

On the final night in Chas-town, Isabelle took Wilton and I to dinner at a down and dirty shrimp place on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant (this is just across that glorious new bridge that looks like a ship's sails.) This is particularly generous of her because she couldn't eat a thing on the menu except the boiled peanuts and the Key lime pie, which was gone but for a bite by the time I returned from a quick phone call to Lee. My measly little taste was divine. I HAD to have fried shrimp before I left Charleston.

So we went to a place I'd never been - called, appropriately, The Wreck, sitting right at the beginning of a dock on Shem creek (which is off the bay, which is off the ocean...) If in Charleston, you should put this place on your list! Here are images....Don't stop before the end!

Perfectly named, The Wreck in Mt. Pleasant, SC

View from my seat

Another view from my seat - Wilton and Isabelle.

Shem Creek as the sun sets.

The amazing fresh fried shrimp dinner - served on a paper plate.

I want a plastic tub wine cooler like this!

And the crazy ass memory of the week is:  TA DAAAAA......

Some guy paddle boarding Shem Creek with 4 Chihuahuas (or other very small dogs!)
Cheers, Charleston.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Charleston

I really just couldn't keep up with my blog in Charleston. There was too much to take in and I didn't want to miss a moment. Not with Isabelle, not with Tami, not with the delirious beauty of the place.

Even though I am now "home" at 510 and perfectly happy to be here, I have realized that there is a part of me that never fully left Charleston (when I left in 1985.) After this trip, I am convinced it is the most beautiful city in America. Well, okay - I know everybody has a different sense of beauty. Fine. No argument there. If you like mountains, this ain't it. But, I'll let you just take a peek from my final days and see what you think. Both Lee and I had such a great time, we'll be back - and soon.

I'll have a couple more posts on favorite spots in Charleston! I'm not ready to give it up. :-)

Our cozy little carriage house. Circa 1840.

The piazzas of the main house. Excuse me. Isn't this a good idea for wherever you live?

The garden on Society Street - tended by my dear friend (with a wee bit of help!)

Door to Carriage house.

Unity Church cemetery - a perfectly shabby secret garden.

Looking into a side garden on King Street.

Window boxes in the morning on Tradd Street. 

One of the large homes on lower King.

Beautiful Charleston home - a home that is 2 rooms wide is always impressive here.
Most were "single" houses - one room wide. This is because the owner was taxed on frontage. 

Joseph Manigault House circa 1803. From entry looking up. Chandelier is  not electrified - as original.
Can you imagine how beautiful to enter this space with candlelight?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day to Myself in Charleston

It is so luxuriously warm and moist and lush here. Lee is flying back to the tundra today and I have two more glorious days! Spent the morning writing at the Charleston Society Library, a wonderful old library - I think it may have the distinction of being the oldest in America, but not sure about that.

Wanted to share some photos from 3rd Sunday in Charleston - they close down King Street and people from the burbs and islands and even Minneapolis come out of the walls and do something akin to a promenade, showing off some crazy ass ideas of fashion, their dogs and their babies. Tami thinks it's all a little bit honky-tonk and, as it reminded me of a more interesting version of our state fair (interesting only by nature of it being not Minnesota, I suppose) I think she's probably right that once is enough.

Pretty cute group of girls playing Irish fiddle though! And lots of fun at Jlinsnider trying on vintage clothes with Izzy and Wilton.

My new favorite shoe store on King!

Christophe's - gorgeous, gorgeous chocolates! And French Press coffee.

The cuties playing Irish fiddle on King Street!

Izzy and Wilton going retro. Yep, Wilton bought the shirt.
He's wearing it for  a Herbie Hancock show he's playing in a couple weeks!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Charleston: Day 3

(First, I'm running very behind with my posts because the internet here is also running behind - got that sloooooow Southern thing goin'.)

After a come-to-Jesus meeting with Izzy about being over-scheduled, we had a really nice day. Just hung out with Tami in the morning sitting on the porch (really a true veranda - roofed, open gallery or porch.) Lee, Izzy and took a spin up King Street to one of her favorite spots for an inexpensive but healthy lunch - Dell'z Deli, where they make up hearty wraps. Around the corner they own a juice bar. I was in the mood for that and the woman who worked there couldn't have been more enthusiastic about making my Green Juice of the Day with whatever is the fresh green veggies that day.

Dell'z at King and Canon - the juice bar.
Dell'z Deli - "Vegetarians and Vegans Welcome" on the door.

With way more food than we could eat, we headed to Magnolia Cemetery for a walk. In all the years I lived in Charleston, I never went to Magnolia Cemetery! It was beautiful, silent, old, reverent.

Magnolia Cemetery

A pyramid mausoleum at Magnolia.

The bowing tree.

A quick trip to King Street, Izzy wanted to show us a favorite shop, Sneaker. Even my friend, Tami, who knows everything and works on King Street hadn't heard about this spot that opened last fall. The premise is high end sneakers with a few other fabulous lines mostly from Italy. The men (can I say 'guys' because that is what they were to me) were darling - probably about 30 - had these lovely manners but looked the most unlikely shop keepers in their tatoos, sleeveless tanks, shorts, blah, blah, blah. But they (or one of them) had the insight to see the jewel of a building, renovated it, added a courtyard and has created this hip little spot.  Here are some images and a link to their facebook. (They don't have a website and thinking they are so of the next generation that facebook is it - no web page! )

The path between buildings to their shop and garden.

The men's shoe display.

The shop keepers in this great renovated kitchen house. You just WANTED to do business with these guys!

Beautiful Italian shoes - leather lined - like slippers!

 For dinner, Izzy had plans to go to one of her two favorite restaurants: Lucca Charleston in a charming out of the way neighborhood, Elliotborough. Izzy's friend, Wilton, joined us. The meal and service were everything we'd imagined!

Pureed cauliflower with egg. Remarkable.

Izzy and Wilton

To keep us going on the Izzy train.

A Note on Skin

I look something like 10 years younger here. My skin is soft, pink and plumThe humidity makes my skin so happy. My eyes are not puffy. I can actually see my eyelids, not some dried out sheath covering my eye. I can see that I either have to move here or book an eye lid lift.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Charleston - on the Izzy Train Last Night

Izzy wanted to take us to the Ordinary, the hot new restaurant in an old bank on Upper King. I saw it written up in the latest Elle Decor last week. And I guess it's made the NY Times. Well, it's really, really good. The interior is very nice - a GREAT huge bar - and fabulous staff. Although it's a fish restaurant (there is one beef item) Isabelle mentioned to the host that she was vegetarian and he immediately went to the kitchen to alert the cook. When the waitress arrived at our table she'd already been told that Izzy might want a vegetarian plate. It was impressive. 

After dinner, an espresso to keep me awake and.....chop, chop.... off to The Mezz for live jazz and wine. Then tumbled into bed after all that walking, eating and drinking. (Btw, Tami McCann makes the very best bed I know with the cotton sheets, cotton blanket and cotton quilt, and always a fan nearby.)

We sat in a booth. Magnificent long bar to right. 18 foot ceilings. Love the back wall in white tile.

Divine leek and goat cheese tart with olivata. Amazing!

Sea scallops in blood orange, fennel and olive oil. From the raw menu and just buttery.

Lee's Flounder with faro, pesto and ramps. OMG.

I felt morose in my NY black. Everyone wears color here.
More of the local color - the bartender climbing down after getting a wine off an upper shelf.

Friday, April 12, 2013

First Look at Charleston

First, I have to say, that when you realize that Spring is only three hours away from Minnesota - you really do have to ask yourself why (other than time or money, okay) do we not make it a habit to seek it out during this godforsaken time of year? This first image I took while at the gate, at MSP Airport looking at the plane I am about to board in this April blizzard. Tell me, does this inspire confidence? When I have just watched the captain walk around the entire plane, look into the engines and under the wings? What is he looking for? He's in short sleeves. It is 28 degrees and snowing like hell.

After missing my connection in Atlanta because we spent 1 hour de-icing the plane (the idea of which struck my Charleston friends with awe and terror) I made it just in time to jump into the itinerary Izzy had for us. First stop, Izzy dropped me at Frank and Tami's and this glorious garden and my sun-kissed golfing fool of a husband welcomed me.

 19th Century Garden at 56 Society Street, our home for the week.

Then we got on the IZZY TRAIN and I'm just runnin' with it. Today, we started at Plantasia, an open-air market plant sale which was very laid back, followed by a walking tour of Izzy's neighborhood, called Elliotborough, a part of Charleston I wouldn't have thought of living in as a young single woman in 1980, but which is up n' coming these days. Some great restaurants, really fun shops, all in the midst of the run down. Here are some images from the day:

Pots just waiting for plants - at "Plantasia"

An industrious biker.

Classic slightly shabby clapboard Charleston House with a happy door.

Two Boroughs Larder

OMG - lunch  - Vietnamese lemongrass chicken on the crispiest freshest baguette!

Izzy's place - top floor.

Izzy's Living Room

Izzy wants to start a restaurant here.

And I would like to own this home. I love the stucco.