We pile into Heidi’s shiny black Toyota 4Runner in Jacksonville and off we go, zooming across state lines, first Florida, then Georgia, and finally South Carolina, our voices twanging to Doo Wop tunes of the 50s and 60s: All Good Vibrations as miles melt away.
Bouncing along with our luggage are my sisters, Janice and Jean and our daughters, my niece Heidi and daughter Crista, who have masterminded a Mother’s Day retreat for mothers and aunts.
Waiting for us in Charleston are historical venues and shops, restaurants oozing Southern charm, and a rented house in Mt. Pleasant on an island close to Charleston where for four days we’ll relax, exchange stories from the past and enjoy the sites.
There is a separate bedroom for each sister/aunt and a blue attic loft with two single beds and play table and chair, a little-girl hideaway for Crista and Heidi, wives and mothers themselves.
We enter the city in a downpour: flooded streets and a 4-day weather forecast fit for ducks. (I’m talking over a foot of water in the streets grazing the belly of our car!) Fortunately the weather system soon bubbles away into the Atlantic, and we roam the city without umbrellas. A miracle!
Property taxes were calculated by the number of feet on frontage of the house. Thus, modest homes like the one above were narrow and tall. Fancy, opulent ones were also long, narrow and usually three stories high.
Window boxes offer extra garden space for historic homes that don’t have large front lawns. Simply glorious on our first cloudy day.
Charleston with many Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, along with Jewish synagogues, is called the Holy City because of its large number of houses of worship.
How We Saw the City: Horse-drawn Carriage and Rickshaw Ride
Our storyteller/guide with a salty Southern drawl says, “Our horse, Big John, has been imported from an Amish farm in Ohio.” We believe him though we don’t buy his line that he’s originally from The Bronx.
* * *
Our handsome bicycler hunk muses, “These ladies look loaded. What’s my tip gonna be?” (Charleston Rickshaw Company)
The former plain girls’ stash of jewelry and scarves from the Charleston Market on Market Street
Mt. Pleasant Mall on Mother’s Day
“Are these my colors? my sisters ask each other . . . Then I hear: “Remember when we played dress up with Mame Goss’s hats? Or Wedding under the Willows?” Ha ha!
Time to Eat
Mother’s Day brunch at Five Loaves in Mt. Pleasant with (below) a clearly scripted reminder to reflect and share our bounty:
A magnolia bloom (with Janice), foxglove stem and a peacock about to unfurl fan feathers . . . in the gorgeous Magnolia Gardens
A Smidgeon of History from Charleston SC, A Photographic Portrait
Founded by English colonists in 1670, Patriots fought–and won–the first decisive battle of the Revolutionary War here [Charleston] . . . .
Decades of growing strife between the North and South erupted at Fort Sumter in April 1861, launching the American Civil War:
Four cadets from the City’s military college, The Citadel, were among the soldiers who fired the first shots of the Civil War across the Charleston Harbor.
The city has also sustained more than one fire and an earthquake.
Research shows that sibling relationships are the longest-lasting relationships any of us will have in our lifetime. In the natural order of things, our parents will die before we do. We can lose partners and spouses through death or divorce. Typically, our siblings remain.
Road trips, siblings – your comments welcome!
Coming next: My Dad’s Bachelor Trip to Florida
Oh my goodness–thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us! I imagine all of you would still have had fun if it had rained the entire time, or if you had been stuck in a cabin the entire weekend, but I\’m glad you got to see and explore Charleston. I\’ve heard it\’s a lovely city, and now I can see it is.
It\’s great you were able to take this sister/daughter trip! I can\’t see it happening here. No one would want to drive. 🙂
Good morning what a blessing to do this with each other and daughters. You all look so beautiful. So nice to see you all again. Thanks for sharing this trip with all of us.
Where I live in Chicago it is considered the holy town also for all the churches we have. Funny true story, I was working as home nurse for a doctor who had brain surgery. Since I was trained in trauma care when I was a nurse my sister recommended me to this family all doctors. The father two sons one daughter werecardiologists. They were talking about a brother living in St Louis moving his family back to illinios. His statement was that they can move to Wheaton, the Bible banging town. I kindly said we really don\’t bang our Bibles – we read them. His face got red from embarrassment. He said, Do you live there?\” Yes, I relied. He apologized, but I said, \”You don\’t have to. It is a great place to raise children, and I\’m sure your brother and family would love it.\” You doing this makes me want to gather my sisters to take a road trip. Enjoy great memories.
I\’m thrilled when a story sparks other stories like here. You were so gracious to respond the way you did. About a sister\’s\’ road trip, you can start planning one now, even if you can\’t take it just yet, Gloria!
It looks like you are having a good time. Well, enjoy your time together. Isn\’t it great to have sisters?
Yes, indeed! Have you and your sisters ever gone tripping?
Maybe a trip to Florida is in order . . . probably when it\’s cooler though.
Thanks for letting us share your fun trip. I\’m grateful also for the tour as I have a friend with a business in Mt Pleasant and you\’ve shown me more than he ever has.
xxx Huge Hugs xxx
Nice to see you here again, David. Yes, Mt. Pleasant was less than a 15-minute drive from downtown Charleston, across the bridge to a quieter, more residential island with great restaurants. We also like The Red Drum.
Heidi has a friend who lived here for 10 years, so we had a built-in tour guide. I hope your can visit Charleston some day. This will serve as a primer. Ha!
The pictures are stunning. What a wonderful way to spend a Mother\’s Day\’s. No retreat. I look forward to something like that with the daughter when the grandkids are bigger. 🙂
Your time is coming, Susan. One of the daughters/nieces couldn\’t make it because she still has pre-schoolers at home. In the meantime, you can dream about where and when!
I never heard the \”why\” behind the tall houses in Charleston. Fascinating! Did you tour any? How nice of your daughters to mastermind the get together. I tell you, scheduling such things takes weeks sometimes, at least for us! But well worth it in the end.
I\’m betting they mostly hire hunks for that pedicab job (or whatever you call them). I\’m sure your daughters enjoyed time away from their children and I hope it was a bonding time for all. Some great pics!
We didn\’t tour any homes, Melodie. Maybe the next trip. The girls planned things so we would have a nice variety, with an emphasis on SHOPPING!
Heidi has a friend who lived in Charleston for 10 years, so that inspired many of our choices. She also decided to use AirBnb (highly recommend this) to find a house to rent instead of separate hotel rooms, which added immensely to the bonding experience. Less expensive too. I can imagine you and your daughters doing this perhaps when the children are older. Heidi and Crista\’s children are all in elementary school now.
It all sounds magical to me. And you\’re staying out of trouble, too! Bill and I have been wanting to go to Charleston for years and everyone says that this is the best time of year to be there. Have fun, laugh a lot, and be wild, ladies!
We did all of the above, Joan. Our evenings were very similar to those in Chincoteague without the critiques. Too tired to be too wild actually. 😉
And, yes, there was a lot of story-telling. I highly recommend Charleston to you and Bill. You both love the arts, and this city has lots to offer in that department.
Excellent. You perfectly captured our trip with words and pictures. I wanna go again!
Yes, it was great to just kick up our heels and explore a new city. And yes, we must do this again. I think we all agree an annual fling is in the cards for us.
Looks like a good time was had by all. What a wonderful idea your daughter and niece had. Charleston looks like a very interesting place to visit, especially with your sisters.
I know you love to travel. In fact, your travels led you to a new home in Spain – wow!
Charleston awaits, Darlene. Spring and fall are particularly nice.
It´s on my list!
Marian — Oh my gosh, you and your sisters have the EXACT same smiles. I\’d know ANY of you, ANYwhere, just by your smiles! Clearly you\’re having a complete and total blast! THANK YOU for sharing your adventure.
And thank you for reading and commenting. I can always hear your enthusiasm on the \”page,\” Laurie.
About our looks: I think we sisters notice our differences, but those outside the family notice similarities more easily. Actually, I think you are right about our smiles.
This was such fun to read Marian thank you! I\’m smiling! Road trips are the best! Lovely to see you with your gorgeous family. 🙂 🙂
I\’m happy to hear this post made you smile. It may have evoked some pleasant memories as I know you like to travel too, Susan.
I love to see your lovely family and home , it makes me feel that I live just around the corner . I think it is a great thing to do to spend time with the women folk of your family . Something we should all do on a regular basis.
I must arrange a few days with my sister . We text , email every day, phone once a week and aim to meet up once a month . So we keep in touch but having that time to remember our childhood , tell stories and a have a good old belly laugh is definitely on the cards .
You have a strong connection with your sister, I can tell. A road trip would be icing on the cake for you both – you could write about it too. Yes, it is definitely in the cards for you.
About living \”just around the corner\” – ha! I guess we have just \”the pond\” between us. By the way, the house you see was the one we rented for four days close to downtown Charleston.
I did realize that was a place you rented , a beautiful place too . I think when I mentioned home I meant your homeland it\’s so different to here in U.K and that\’s what I find fascinating . Yes Jan and myself will take to the road you can bet …at least it gives our husbands some breathing space .
Thanks for setting me straight. Now I get it! I believe the breathing space for our husbands works both ways, Cherry – ha!
SO glad you had such an amazing time! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂
And thanks to you for enjoying our trip vicariously, Jenn. You may have posted the story of a trip on your own blog. If not, it would be a fun excuse to travel, that\’s for sure.
What a wonderful adventure!
Charleston is a lovely city, one of those that can transport you back in time. Woody and I were there in 2000 and, on the way home to Philly, stopped for the night in Chincoteague. … The rest is history.
Really! You have a sweet connection here. Charleston has lots of stories to go with its history. Thanks for sharing yours, Janet.
What a fun time you all must have had! I\’m jealous… But, most of all, I\’m happy for you! Thanks for sharing this precious time of mothers and aunts! 🙂
I know you have had to say a lot of goodbyes lately, so you feel the loss of close connection right now. But it\’s probably just temporary as things cycle around, sometimes quickly, with young people. I can imagine a road trip in your future too.
Also, I think you are going on a mission trip with a grand-daughter. Right?
Yes, Haleigh and I are going on the missions trip together. It will be great! Then she off to college in the fall. I\’m very thankful for this time we\’ll have together!
Now that looked like one fun time Marian. You guys did so much it seems, the pictures are beautiful, especially the flowers and you all look so happy in your little reunion. I take it you did some good shopping too! 🙂
The girls, especially Heidi, did all of the planning and allowed ample time for shopping. They shopped, and I \”dropped\” often to a chair nearby because of my sore foot. Thanks for enjoying this excursion along with us, Debby.
The pleasure was mine. 🙂
Delightful. I\’m so, so, so behind, but want you to know how much I enjoyed this, especially after the first road trip. I love the photos and a taste of your feminine family and of Charleston. What a treat to have sisters, one I don\’t know. For me, close friendships of many years fill that space.
I know that emotion, feeling behind. As far as reading these posts, please feel no guilt – or pressure.. You are in a season of promoting your fine book, one that seems to have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. So, dear one, \”just go with it\” and read these posts when convenient. I am honored that you take the time to read and comment here, Elaine.
One of my sisters lives about 2 1/2 miles from me here in Jacksonville; the other has stayed close to home in Pennsylvania not too far from Philly.