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~A Lowcountry Vacation with a little bit of French Country flair~

Relaxation and Real Southern Charm

At the beginning of July we took a two week (11 days to be exact) vacation to the beach and then on to South Carolina to see our son. Our first stop was at Miramar Beach, where we soaked up the sun for a few days with some of our best friends for the 4th of July holiday! It was such a nice time! I love the beach and it was a well needed break from work. In fact, as we were road tripping across the country, we realized that our vacations usually only last 4-6 days at the most, so the 11 days was going to be the longest break we had in our married life. Yippee! After the few days at the beach and holiday we headed to South Carolina to pick up our son for an extended weekend holiday and a little adventure.

We traveled from Columbia to Charleston, from Charleston to Beaufort and on to Hilton Head and back to Columbia with some fun stops in between. Even though it was a lot of driving, it was great to be together and to experience and discover new places. The South Carolina Lowcountry is a cultural region along the coast, which includes preserved lands and wetlands, which made for some fascinating road trips.

Most famously, the Lowcountry is known for its cuisine rich with fresh seafood, seaside towns, shrimp boats, big front porches, palmetto trees, rich history, rocking chairs and pitchers of sweet tea; all infused with southern charm. One of my favorite places along the coast was Beaufort, South Carolina. It had that quaint downtown, seaside feel that I was anticipating. The marina and waterfront pier was situated off of the downtown, full of historic architecture. I fell in love with the town instantly and would love to go back someday soon. I thought I would share some of our adventures with you all today. While talking about vacation destinations is a little far off from what I normally write, I have ncluded some really neat home decor places that I think you will enjoy.

Our first stop, after picking up Gram, was traveling to Charleston for a few days, which I will share with you next time; as the blog post would be entirely too long to talk about it all today. Traveling from Charleston to Beaufort was a two hour drive. Along the way, we stopped at this cute little shop called The Carolina Cider Company in Gardens Corner, SC, right off Charleston Highway.

We actually may have passed it by but somebody, and I won't name names here, needed to use the restroom. Boy, am I glad we made that stop! It was adorable and the cider was so yummy that I wish I had bought a case. I had the Black Bing Cherry Cider and the kids and Garrett had Peach! The bakery case held some yummy treats from cookies, pies and scones! We ended up buying an assortment for the road. Emily had the molasses cookie, which reminded me of my grandma. Here is a look at the shop!

You can purchase items online and they will ship it! I see a case of cider coming my way soon! If you would like to order or check out their website, click here.

We arrived in Beaufort Friday evening. After searching online for places to eat, we settled on an Italian restaurant that had a gluten free menu. I have a gluten intolerance, possibly Celiac disease, but was never tested for it. Once I took out the gluten, I wasn't adding it back into my diet and I would have had to do that to be tested. Anyway, I get extremely sick if I ingest gluten (wheat) and that wouldn't have been a good thing anytime but especially on vacation. The restaurant was called, Panini's on the Waterfront, and was located right off the waterfront pier. I got to have wood-fire, gluten free pizza! It was yummy and a real treat for me! Everyone loved their food. The restaurant was an old historic building that was formerly a bank building with tons of charm and live jazz music! Here is a look at their website. I didn't get great pics inside that evening because it was dark but the restaurant site has some neat pics. After dinner, we walked the pier, which had swings every few feet and a really pretty walking area with an ice cream shop, a park, and restaurants with outdoor seating that lined the waterfront.

The next morning, we visited the quaint downtown shops and the pier again. One of the home decor shops we found was called "Scout Southern Market". It was the neatest shop and definitely had some french country charm.

There was a cute coffee shop called "Common Ground" and fun "touristy" souvenir shops along the way.

Mixed into the shops were some cute restaurants like this one called "Wren". We didn't eat there but I loved the sign graphic and the fact that it was patina metal was picture worthy.

This adorable "Harry Potter"- esque book store was closed but we all wanted to go inside and check it out. Isn't the sign super cute?

The historic buildings were amazing. We ran across this plaque between some of the shops on Bay Street. We were fascinated that the wall was made with shells.

We were only there until early afternoon. There were so many cute shops, like this sweet little store front of the children's boutique.

I could have spent all day shopping but we also wanted to head to Hunting Island State Park that day to check out the beach and lighthouse. We hopped in the car and headed about 45 minutes on our next road trip destination.

I have a little bit of a fascination of lighthouses. I'm not sure where this fascination comes from, as I have lived in the Midwest all my life, never visiting one lighthouse before now. But it was on the bucket list. This lighthouse is the only lighthouse in South Carolina that visitors can actually go up inside.

When we turned into the state park of Hunting Island, we didn't really know what to expect. The drive into the park was wall to wall trees like a jungle right out of Jurassic Park. The narrow road leading to the lighthouse and subsequent beach areas were carved out of this large forested area mixed with large palms that surrounded us the entire drive to the lighthouse. It was a beautiful drive and one that felt a little "other" worldly.

Once we arrived at the lighthouse, the clouds threatened to pour rain on top of us and the wind picked up. Just as we paid our $2 each to climb to the top. via the spiral staircase, lightening threatened in the distance.

The park ranger told us that we could go on up but that they may have to hurry us back out if it got closer. We were the last ones to go up in the lighthouse that afternoon, although the storem didn't hit until about 45 minutes later.

I was all set to go up that beautiful spiral staircase until I got up the first flight and realized that the entire staircase was open and you could see through the wide slats between the treads, as well as the holes in the treads and not to mention the wide open rails. In fact, had I leaned over the landing rail to get a better shot to see up the staircase, that would have been great, but I was hugging the wall on the first floor landing.

There was no way that this "terrified of heights" gal was going to make it any further. In fact, I prayed the entire time the kids went up to the top, by themselves, because Garrett and I couldn't do it! Sad!!! I can understand Garrett's fear of heights, to his defense, he fell off a roof once while re-roofing our first home, and hasn't liked heights since. I don't blame him for that! Me, I just don't like it! As we waited, a little panic-stricken on the first flight landing, I told Garrett, "It's not that I'm afraid of heights, it's just that I'm afraid of falling!!" :)

Honestly, if the stair treads would have been closed, I think I could have done it for sure. (Maybe)

Oh well, Emily and Gram got this photo of her at the top. As you can see, they are fearless and got this amazing picture which had a wonderful view of the beach.

The beach area is for public use and there are wooden piers leading through the forest, to take you out to the beaches.

It was an amazing park and had the storm not threatened, we would have loved to stay longer. You can see the clouds from the panoramic picture of the top of the lighthouse. When we left the park, we had to drive through that storm and it was strong winds, lots of rain, small hail, and plenty of limbs, leaves and stuff flying through the air. It was an adventure with nature! We headed to Hilton Head Island, SC, where we ate dinner and spent time on the beach. It was a wonderful time and the Carolina coastline is one I would love venture on again. After our long weekend along the coast, we dropped Gram off back at the university for the last few weeks of his research for the summer. The best part of vacation was seeing our boy!

Once we got home last week, we got caught up on laundry, (insert exaggerated eye roll here) the house chores and back to my projects. One of those projects, was this round table and two chairs that I refurbished into a French Country cream and lightly distressed around the edges. The table itself was pressed wood on the top, which I don't normally work with, but it was a piece I picked up at a garage sale with 4 chairs for only $50 for all. I had to sand the top quite a bit because the pressed wood top had raised bubbles on the surface, which you can see in this first photo.

I finished the two chairs and the table then loaded them up to sell in our shop at Daisies & Olives Antique mall.

All in all, I think it turned out pretty well! Summer time is always especially busy at the antique shop through the summer and it is hard to keep stocked. I am hoping to take a little time to shop this weekend to pick up some more treasures to refurbish and re-stock.

Also next week, I plan to work on my dining room chairs, which I have abandoned for several weeks because of vacation and stocking the shop for the last few weeks. I'm anxious to get it done. I will also be sharing our Charleston experience with you next week and hopefully a look at some finished chairs!

Until next time....



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