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Vacation 2012: Charleston

After brunch on Sunday in Amelia Island, we said our good-byes to extended family and hit the road for Charleston.

Hannah and I took a quick side trip along the way to the Tanger outlet stores in Hilton Head and we all arrived in lovely Charleston Sunday night.

I guess the activities of the past few days caught up with us then, because we were all exhausted that evening! Mom, Hannah and I went to the Whole Foods store across the street from the hotel to get supplies for dinner, then we simply relaxed and called it a night.

By the way, that was my first time in a Whole Foods store and I loved it! Mom, Hannah and I went back a few more times before we headed back to Knoxville. I can’t wait for the one in Knoxville to open in late 2013! Trader Joe’s is cheaper and Earth Fare has great coupons, but I’ll probably still pop in Whole Foods from time to time.

Back to Charleston…

On Monday, we loaded up in the morning and headed to the Isle of Palms beach. The pull of the tide isn’t as strong and the drop off is more gradual, so we enjoyed being able to go farther out into the water at Isle of Palms than on Amelia Island. But I have to admit, while Isle of Palms was still nice, I got spoiled at Amelia Island. Isle of Palms was *much* more crowded! I also decided to avoid laying out on the beach because the mosquitoes apparently thought it made a good buffet. A few of them got to me before I opted to just hang out in the water.

Isle of Palms

We headed back to the hotel in the early afternoon, showered, then headed for historic downtown. I *LOVE* historic downtown Charleston. All of the rich history, the beautiful buildings and centuries-old traditions fascinate and excite me. I need to return to Charleston when I have more time to explore!

Of course, we couldn’t go to downtown Charleston and not stroll through the City Market and enjoy a meal at Hyman’s.

Eating dinner at Hyman’s

Afterwards, we worked off our meal by walking down Market Street to Battery Park and back. The historic homes are so gorgeous! I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that I would love to live in a home like that — just plop it onto a piece of land here in the Knoxville area. 🙂

Home on Meeting Street

The next day, we decided to explore a little more outside the downtown Charleston area. We drove to the Angel Tree, a centuries-old live oak outside Charleston. Unfortunately, it started raining about the time we got there, so it was hard to enjoy it. And while it certainly is a huge tree and it’s remarkable that it’s survived all that time, we were all a little under-impressed and eager to get out of the rain.

Angel Tree

Next, we moved on to the American Tea Plantation. I think this was the highlight of the trip for Mom and Hannah. I thought it was pretty cool, too, even though I’m more of a coffee girl. We took a quick tour of the area where they bring the tea inside and process it, then browsed through the store and sampled several different flavors and types of tea.

American Tea Plantation

And that pretty much wrapped up our adventures in Charleston. On Wednesday, we loaded up and headed for home.

Hannah and I took a “detour” again and stopped in Asheville for a few hours. (We don’t get out of East Tennessee much, so when we do we try to seize the opportunity to explore everything we can!) We walked through parts of downtown then enjoyed a delicious meal at Tupelo Honey Cafe. I’d heard many people rave about the restaurant and now I have to say that I agree with them! Hannah and I ate off their gluten-free menu and I was very impressed! I can’t wait for their new restaurant to open on Market Square! Their gluten-free menu probably will become my new special occasion indulgence for eating out.

All in all, my vacation was a great, relaxing time away from home. I enjoyed exploring two of my favorite places in the world with my family without the pressures of daily life at home. We all needed that brief escape from reality!

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