When The Sun Goes Down On Chuck Town

Saturday November 17, 2012

Finally dragging ourselves out of bed and off the boat for the first time in five days we were ready to tour The Holy City (named so because of the number of steepled churches around) with no real destination or plans in mind other than we’d stop at a hardware store at some point to finally break down and buy cans of propane to attach to our Coleman heater and warm the cabin at night.  Not even sure where to go we only knew there was a dinghy dock at the marina we had anchored in front of with a charge of five dollars a day just for dinghy access alone.  Following another dinghy in as we always do when we’re not sure where to go we got talking to the couple and found they were also anchored in the harbor on a sailboat named Serendipity.  Very nice people and quickly got the approval to carry the same boat name as us.  Locking up the dink we wandered out into the main road and found out the direction we were planning on heading had a flooded road.  Taking a side street and then trying to get back on course again that road was also flooded and we were forced back to our side street.  As luck would have it we were lucky to have to travel on the little side road we did as this is where all the antebellum homes from the 1800’s were lined.  This is exactly what we wanted to see while we were in town and we gawk and peek through gates and snap photos (ok, that was just me) like a couple of crazy tourist.  When I came across the big while home that was used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button I almost lost it.  I could not imagine what the upkeep to own one of these homes would be, but the history is immeasurable.  If I can get this excited over something two hundred years old, imagine how geeked I’d be in Europe.

Having found our way to the hardware store we stuffed our backpack with more propane than it could hold and made our way back to a part of town that looked really interesting.  Landing ourselves on King St. we were surrounded by upscale boutiques and designer labels that are usually only found in Manhattan.  We didn’t go in any of the shops but consumer part of me still let my mouth water as we passed Kate Spade and Anthropology.  What consumer part of me also realized was we were severely underdressed in this area with our cruising uniform of sneakers, jeans and sweatshirts.  Everyone else was wearing the designers being sold on this street and dressed down meant you were in designer athletic wear.  Peeking in some of the windows we circled around the other side and kept walking until the shops went back down to our social class and were starting to find bars and restaurants lining the road.  Stumbling upon a park we found there was a farmers market going on and went in to check it out.  Although there were a few goods actually being sold we were more interested in the foods and wandered from booth to booth where there was Nutella Crepes, homemade ravioli, and gyros.  Landing on the Mediterranean cuisine we sat down at a plastic table in the park and listened to a live performance of someone playing on a stage with their guitar.  Even better was the park offered free wifi and I was able to get some work done before my fingers went numb from keeping them exposed for so long.

Back on the road we were just walking up and down random streets when we got a message from Tasha and Ryan.  Their friends Bill and Grace whom we had met in Manhattan were in town visiting and everyone was going out that night to celebrate Ryan’s 40th birthday.  Jumping at the chance to get out and explore the town at night while at the same time hanging out with friends sounded like a good idea to us.  Back at the boat Matt napped to prepare for the night while I tried to get myself a little more fancy by actually styling my hair and trying to find the classiest outfit I could wear while still keeping warm.  These bars deserved more than my U of M sweatshirt.

We started out at  Hideaway for a pre-bar cocktail that evening and before I knew it cabs were being ordered to take us into town.  Assuming it was just going to be a bar hop the two of us had already eaten but it turns out dinner was in the plans for the evening as well.  Trying to make last minute reservations in Charleston on a Saturday night does leave you with a 9:15 reservation though so when the cab dropped us off on East Bay St. at eight o’clock we had a little time on our hands to kill.  Trying to find a wine bar to pass the time at, Tasha and Ryan starting asking a girl at a local shop what places we could visit and she made it abundantly clear that our jeans and foul weather jackets would not get us in the door to the wine bar here and our choices because of our attire would severely limit our options.  Not even realizing that jeans might be an issue in the area Ryan quickly ran over to where we were having dinner next door at Magnolias to see if they would let us in.  Coming back he stated that there might be somewhere in the back they could stick us in as not to offend the other classy diners but our reservation still stood.  Still having that hour to kill we found a microbrewery just down the street that would accept us and threw back a pint while waiting for our reservation.

When it did come time for dinner we were in fact lead to to a back room of the restaurant and were sat down with white tablecloths and lots of silverware that I was once taught what to do with but now can’t really remember.  I had only been planning on drinking a beer while the rest of the group ate but before I knew it there was a wine and a champagne glass set in front of me where the champagne glass was filled up and a bottle set on the table with instructions to bring another as soon as it was empty.  The four members of Hideaway ordered steak and seafood meals while Matt and I  were forced to get something so I went with a blue crab soup while he put in an order for dessert.  The food was absolutely delicious and the company was even better.  Who would have ever thought that the six of us would wind up together at some swanky restaurant in Charleston?  Raising a glass to toast Ryan I commented on what a bit of serendipity it was which started each member to go around the table and add to the toast with their own boat name.

As the glasses emptied our voices grew and you could tell the people around us trying to have quiet dinners or enjoy a special occasion (hey, we were too) were surprised that such despicable company was allowed through the door.  It unfortunately did not help us to become quiet and we closed down the restaurant with the staff glad to get rid of us I’m sure.  They were very persistent on trying to order a cab to take us out of there as soon as possible.  Instead of going back to the microbrewery or any other bars in the area we made our way back to Hideaway where the party continued until 4 am.  Cats were cuddled too hard, drunken hugs were abundant and we even picked up a stray college kid to come aboard and have a few drinks. If this is how you ring in 40 I have no problem getting there. Even though it was someone else’s birthday we were wined and dined in one of the most beautiful places, had the best time ever, and it will surely be a night to reflect back on for years.  The time the sun went down on Chuck Town…..

Birthday boy Ryan and his beautiful wife Tasha.

And the silly-ness begins.

Tasha, Grace, Ryan, Jessica, Bill & Matt