I’ve now been on this roadtrip cross-country for 15 days. It began with a flight to Savannah, GA and I’m now in Houston. There’s been a wealth of memories and laughs along the way, all of which I’ve carefully documented. But most involve back story and inside jokes, all too verbose to include here. There’s been a great mixture of adhering to our anal-retentive Google doc that consolidates our lists of carefully researched places to stay, eat, visit. Combine this with a newfound “flying by the seat of our pants” attitude that is alien to the both of us. The “36 Hours In” articles in the travel section of the New York Times have helped a lot, too.
Here are the highlights so far:
Upon entering the Crystal Beer Parlor, suggested by the Grey Lady as one of the places to eat, Elizabeth was greeted by the hostess with a “Welcome, precious, right this way.” I was greeted with grilled shrimp and blue devil crabcakes. Amazing. We then went to Pinkies, a local bar suggested by those we were staying with, great friends of Elizabeth’s. We walked in, and a record might have actually screeched to a halt. But with Dixie cups of $2 PBR, we were soon right at home. We sat with the very, very local crowd, and watched a Steven Seagal movie on the bar tv.
The next night we were a bit more posh. We went to The Old Pink House for cocktails, and I had my first fried green tomato and duck livers. Meh. A pianist in a red hat and dress sang songs by the fire.
Cemetery visits and house tours were bountiful, and we became big fans of the “beer to go.” Walking into the bar, and getting a beer in a plastic cup means you get to walk around town with it. Genius.
My first steamed oysters ever were at Bonne Bell Yacht Club, which was far from being a yacht club and more of a marsh club. But we were the only ones there on that cold day and it was one of my favorite meals. Shucking an oyster and working for your food made it that much more enjoyable to eat.
As we left, Savannah, we made sure to see the carwash that sells fried chicken.
This was the first time we have arrived to our destination and still had no place to stay at 4pm. We’re such rebels. We ended up getting a great deal at the Meeting Street Inn. As I walked around south of Broad, I texted Elizabeth, who had already checked in:
“How is it?”
“5:30pm wine and cheese in the lobby.”
“So it’s heaven.”
I walked around the opulence of the homes and read the historical signs, and reveled in the Charlestonians’ ability to build a house. As a friend pointed out, “…or how to have slaves build them.” Reality check.
We had dinner at a James Beard restaurant, McCrady’s , with four incredible courses. Husk for drinks after. Going from those feasts to “Ooooh Hooters!” and Olive Garden, where Elizabeth mentioned it had been a while since she’d eaten at a place with pictures on the menu. It can’t be all five-star restaurants, and we reveled in our endless salad, soup and breadsticks.
On our way to an overnight stay at a friend’s place, we drove through a toll booth. My point of reference with toll booths is the silent guy on the George Washington Bridge. In South Carolina, they say, “have a blessed evening.” Our response: “Uh, thanks. You too?”
Once we hit Six Mile Creek, SC, we were greeted by E’s friend, who was once a Clemson University professor, and recently got married on the 50 yard line during a game. He’s as cool as he sounds. Greeted with dogs, bbq pork, a roaring fire and endless booze, we left the next morning for the Rocky Mountains. En route, you hit a lot of small town in South Carolina. Most looked abandoned, with clap-board buildings – and always with one “erotica” store. I have seen more billboards for The Lion’s Den, the PlayPen, and a whole lot more – I now get it; there’s nothing else to do here. And these are definitely the people who keep dumb, horribly written programming like NCIS on the air. There was one beautiful boarding school with sprawling lawns and gorgeous brick buildings, completely out-of-place in its rickety surroundings.
Elizabeth: “I would kill my parents if they sent me to school here.”
Eileen: “Well think about how smart you’d be, because all you can do is study.”
Elizabeth: “Well, there’s meth. You could do meth.”
Tomorrow, I’ll summarize Nashville, Memphis, and Birmingham adventures. While you’re all at work. (Insert evil laugh here).