not at all like in shag.

did you ever see shag? i have been thinking about this movie. the girls (with awesome southern names like carson and melaina) throw their mama's jam out of the car and skip fort sumter and go to myrtle beach. and dance and have sex (one with a guy named buzz) and drink beer.  well, they were a little crazy. but it was 1963. and a movie.

and a million years (well, 21 years) after i saw that movie in the theater, i can remember it all. and finally set foot in charleston. after months of rambling about it to casey, whose age at the time of shag's release i will not calculate. 
CHARLESTON, south carolina. i just knew i would like this place. it was like the time i read about portland (in like 1995) in the magazine on the airplane and i was like, OH MY GOD I HAVE TO LIVE THERE. and then spent many years trying to get to portland, which i loved absolutely.
and charleston was perfectly old. older than the civil war. old, old cemeteries messily arranged everywhere, but beautiful gardens draping through them. and a jewish cemetery dating to 1762. seriously. 

and fort sumter is right there. in the water. with confederate declarations and statues and history throughout the city in a way that is completely acceptable, with no "stars and bars" flying around. 

you just feel like you are in another country. just like that. 

and oh yes, the eating was good.
within minutes of arrival to our rented apartment from 1840, we were at hominy grill. yeah, it won a james beard some years ago. it was lovely and homey and full of tipsy arnold palmers and buttermilk pie and boiled peanuts snacks and i swear, i don't know what i ate for most of the weekend, but it was all amazing.
we spent our mornings with the dog (also on vacation, sleeping all day in luxury) caffeinating at hope and union. it was seriously incredible single-brewed coffee. each morning i chose coffee (all fair trade, of course) from a different country, based on the descriptions on the chalkboard. and a pastry. 
you can see the remnants of the nutella-banana turnover. there was an almond croissant the next day. and a very relaxed casey.
yes, we continued on to other meals soon after. but how would we get to them without delicious, delicious coffee?
we spent our saturday afternoon on a fancy drinking tour. starting in the husk bar, i had 2 different peach-bourbon cocktails. and after the chef brought in AN ENTIRE LEG OF PIG, proceeded to trim it, and then offer a bite, we could not refuse. it was frightfully exciting and decadent. and i knew it had to be something special when casey put a piece in his mouth.

soon after romantic stories of george washington, we went to mccrady's for another cocktail and deviled eggs, followed by the gin joint for 2 more drinks with homemade pretzels and fancy cheeses. and blissfully asleep before 11.

what else? fried-green tomatoes benedict. belgian fries. a huge pile of thai food, because you can't eat southern all the time. lots of strolls through the college of charleston and surprising parks. with streets of houses that are more than 250 years old. that is old old old for america.

and the tree.
about 10 miles outside of charleston, this tree: the angel oak. on someone's property. just growing like crazy. this photo barely does it any justice, but it is the best one i've got.

you have got to go there. next time, i swear i am staying for a week. and beaching and all. 

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