We just got back from a week at Kiawah Island. Usually we vacation on the Gulf, either in the Destin area or the Riviera Maya. I decided to do something different this year and take a trip to the Atlantic. We hadn’t been to Charleston in forever, so I thought it would be fun to go to Kiawah since it is so close to Charleston.
We’ve discovered over the years that when we are on vacation, we need to keep the boys busy. Just sitting on the beach all day doesn’t work for us. Usually we spend a few hours on the beach, get lunch and then we need to do something. We spent a couple of days doing things in Charleston – going to the market, Battery Park, Rainbow Row.
Lots of looking at gorgeous houses – the architecture is incredible. Charleston was spared by Sherman during his march to the sea. This was his Christmas present to Lincoln (or Mrs. Lincoln – there are different stories on this). I don’t know that there is any pre-Civil War architecture in Atlanta, so it was really cool to see all of the old houses – some of them date from the 1600’s! In the historic district, houses have the date they were built on them, and many have a historic plaque telling about the origins of the house. We didn’t stop to read them since we were driving – our youngest was rebelling against all of the walking we were doing – it was hot and he was tired out.
We went to church in Charleston at the Cathedral of John the Baptist. The inside is full of gothic arches. What I love about the interior is the restrained color scheme: white, grays and gold. We went to mass, and in the homily, the priest talked about the shooting at the Emanuel AME church, and how the people of Charleston choose love and not evil. It was very moving.
There are several former plantations outside Charleston. We decided to visit Magnolia Plantation because there were a ton of things to do other than touring the house. The boys were totally bored on the house tour, which wasn’t surprising. Our tour guide was really great – I enjoyed learning about the history of the Drayton family that owns the property. The house wasn’t that spectacular though. There wasn’t much interesting about it architecturally; however, the furniture all belongs to the family, and there were some pieces that were quite nice. (The home is still owned by descendants of the original Drayton owners – they just live on a different house on the land.)
There is a petting zoo on the property. It has chickens, ducks, a fox, peacocks that run free and a doe. She was really sweet. The boys loved petting her. She licked them, which is kind of gross, but they thought it was hilarious.
The grounds were amazing though – the house is on the river (it was a rice plantation). People used to only be able to get to the house by boat – there were no roads at first. Eventually there were dirt roads, but it was often too dangerous to travel them due to the highwaymen. There are beautiful gardens all around the grounds. I especially loved the view of this bridge. The live oaks with the spanish moss are just gorgeous.
On Kiawah, there were tons of things to do. There is a nature center that has snakes, an alligator, turtles and a big fat bunny. There are tons of bike trails all over the island. We made the mistake of not renting bikes right when we arrived and keeping them the whole week. We waited until the end of the week and rented them for a half day. We felt like to get our money’s worth, we had to ride the whole time. The boys started getting worn out after a couple of hours. Oh well, lesson learned!
We spent most mornings on the beach – the younger boys liked to play in the tidal pools. It was a little nerve wracking towards the end of the week because three people had been bitten by sharks on the neighboring island of Isle of Palms. Shark attacks are extremely rare in this area, fortunately. From what I could find on the internet, the sharks came inland because there has been a drought. The water is more salty, which the sharks like, so they come closer to shore. Guess I’ll have to make sure it’s rained enough next year before we go!
The house we rented was in a little gated neighborhood right near the ocean and the Kiawah River. It has a community pool and a dock on the marsh. There are a bunch of rocking chairs by the marsh so that you can watch the sunset. This is what we saw one night:
We are already planning a trip for next year. What’s your favorite vacation spot?