Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day- Charleston, SC

USA Today ran an article in this weekend’s edition named 10 great places for memories with Mom. It just so happens that I am in one of those fabulous places -Charleston, SC- and Mom is with me. We are celebrating her birthday, as well as her being the best MOM worldwide. She is my number one cheerleader, and President of the Drink the Leaf Fan Club . Mom has never been to Charleston, so it was a perfect meeting spot. I spent the week leading up to our getaway working the Hilton Head and Charleston market. It was productive, successful, and encouraging. Wine sales were great. I love the South- it's rich with history, and the hospitality is warm, genuine, and refreshing. Charleston has a way of transporting you back to another time, and I find myself daydreaming of what it would have been like to live here during the 1700’s. However, being a Yankee, I’m not so sure I would have been allowed to stay!

Our weekend was filled with experiences like strolling through cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings, all the while taking in the confederate jasmine-scented air. It’s truly intoxicating. With the warm breeze against our skin, surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in our nation’s history, we felt honored to be able to spend the weekend in this charming city. We spent most days planning what and where to eat, and then wandered the town until nap time! A highlight was a Mother’s Day horse drawn carriage ride through the residential areas. Our tour was conducted by “Rebel St. Clair”. “Rebel” hails from Washington; she moved here 8 years ago, and is a tour guide by day and romance novelist by night. Rebel and her trusty horse, John, led us up Church Street to the Battery, and back down Meeting Street. She shared Charleston’s memorable history and left us with having a greater appreciation for this truly unique city. I highly recommend the carriage tours.

Today, as we ducked into a bar to avoid an impromptu downpour, we recapped our weekend festivities. We enjoyed lots of fresh seafood, all with a southern twist; food highlights were fried oysters, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, parmesan crusted flounder over lemon risotto- of course, all chased down with loads of delicious wine. We did not have any tea, but I did share stories about the Tea Drinker joining me for a weekend here a few years back. We basically ate our way back and forth through this city, and then back again. The highlight of that trip was visiting the only tea plantation in the United States, located just outside of Charleston. Dan and I had the pleasure of attending a Tea Festival celebrating the harvest. It resulted in a funny experience. We set out in our rental car armed with a GPS. I punched in the location -Wadmalaw Island. We got lost in conversation as we followed our trusty GPS, traversing through roads lined with moss covered oak trees, and ended up in the depths of a dense marsh. Our GPS chirped, “You have arrived at your destination”. Without a Camellia Sinensis in sight, we realized that our GPS had taken us to the dead center of Wadmalaw Island. Oops. Hey, who do you know that has actually been to the exact center of Wadmalaw Island??

I digress. The weekend with Mom was great, and tonight we look forward to dining at a well-known Relais & Chateaux restaurant. Last time I dined here, I devoured the tempura fried soft shell crab served with pimento cheese grits. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be on the menu tonight.

To recap, Mom told everyone she met, "From my first step onto the gorgeous tree-lined streets of Charleston, I was already planning my next trip back!" I have to agree. We will definitely be back.

So, go ahead and pour yourself a cup of soothing Drink the Leaf Organic Jasmine Pearl and dream of the fragrant, confederate jasmine-lined streets of this beautiful city, and plan to take your Mom to Charleston. Do it this year. Great resource:

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