Thursday, May 17, 2018

Postcards from a Northern California Road Trip

Our Northern California Road Trip took place in the fall and we managed to hit many of the top spots to visit: Yosemite, Big Sur, Point Reyes National Seashore, Monterey and Napa Valley. The weather, with the exception of rain in Yosemite one day, was borderline perfect. Some of the trees had turned a delicious yellow and we enjoyed wine tasting, a hike amongst the big trees of Yosemite, seeing the elephant seals along the coast and a dinner with friends in San Francisco. It was all I had hoped it would be when we booked our bargain basement flights. Here are some photos that are, for whatever reason,  my favorites. 

Views along Highway 1

Purple Beach on Highway 1

Elephant Seals

On the road to Napa

Yosemite Falls

The big trees at Tuolumne Meadow in Yosemite

Yosemite's Chapel

Walkway at Yosemite

Tunnel View - Yosemite

Point Reyes National Seashore

Waves crashing on 17 Mile Drive

Rainbow in Monterey

Sunrise at Monterey Bay

17 Mile Drive outside of Monterey

The golden rolling hills of Northern California

Hanging out at El Capitan

View from Glacier Point at Yosemite

The clear waters of Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay - Lake Tahoe

V. Sattui Winery in Napa all dressed up for autumn

Point Reyes Lighthouse

A view of the City by the Bay from a friend's house

Golden trees at Lake Tahoe

Purple sand beach off Highway 1

That Northern California fog rolling in

And just one out take for giggles - I kept saying how incredibly windy it was at Point Reyes National Seashore. So how about my hair?

Which picture is your favorite?

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Linking up with: WATW at Communal Global, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party , The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Eating (and Drinking) Charleston's Islands

Charleston, South Carolina has been ranked as the Number One City to Visit in the US for the last few years. The Holy City oozes charm and loves it's visitors. Any chance I get to visit Charleston, I take it. What many folks don't know is that Charleston has another side to it - it's waterfront and islands. The barrier islands surrounding Charleston include Johns Island, Daniel Island, Folly Island and Kiawah. There are three main beaches to Charleston: Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island. And many would say that you haven't received the entire Charleston package unless you visit at least one of it's islands.

You can get fresh-off-the-boat seafood on the islands at fancy restaurants or seafood dives. Each of the three beaches in Charleston have their own personality - and therefore, their own style of restaurants and bars. Here are a few that you can experience:

The Obstinate Daughter - Sullivan's Island
The Obstinate Daughter is located right on the main drag on Sullivan's Island in the top half of a two story building - Beardcat's Sweet Shop, with the same owners, occupies the lower half. Their menu includes a raw bar, wood oven pizza and pasta. Done up in beach style, The Obstinate Daughter claims "eclectic New American Fare" with Geechie fries - as a nod to the Geechie Low Country culture - as a signature dish, which is quite simply fried polenta shaped into long thin strips. And if you would like, you can just order a bunch of small plates, or tapas, for your group and try a little of everything. The next time I'm there I think I have to try the wood oven pizza - it smelled and looked fantastic. And if you want to know the meaning behind the name, you have to look back to Revolutionary War History in Charleston when a British political cartoon depicted "Miss Carolina Sullivan, one of the Obstinate Daughters of America"

The Obstinate Daughter
2063 Middle Street
Sullivan's Island, SC
Expect a 30 minute peak time wait without reservations

Home Team BBQ - Sullivan's Island
Home Team BBQ, like The Obstinate Daughter, is located on the main street of Sullivan's Island - and also in Downtown Charleston, a West Ashley location in Charleston and....Aspen. Go figure. We went with friends who recommended their wings as the best they've ever had. I'd have to agree. They have one style of wings - dry rub - that comes with an Alabama white sauce and man alive, they. were. good. I've been trying to get back ever since. I guess you could say that I highly recommend Home Team BBQ! If you're not into wings, you could order tacos, salads, pulled pork sandwiches or a pulled pork plate with that southern vegetable staple of macaroni and cheese. And don't go away without trying their signature drink - The Home Team Frozen Game Changer: a mix of gold caribbean rum, spiced caribbean rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut with a dash of nutmeg on top.

 Home Team BBQ
2209 Middle Street
Sullivan's Island, SC
No wait for us when we went

Paige's Okra Grill - Isle of Palms
Paige's Okra Grill is an extremely popular restaurant on Isle of Palms that serves Southern cuisine - hush puppies, fried okra, fried chicken and shrimp & grits. In fact, Paige's has been voted the Best Restaurant in Mt Pleasant, Best Shrimp & Grits and Best Breakfast by Charleston residents. Their brunch is legendary - and be prepared for an incredibly long wait if you choose to try it out. I was there by myself and sat at the counter so I was able to sneak in within a few minutes. But there were many waiting for tables on a weeknight. By the way, you have to try their homemade desserts - banana pudding, red velvet cake and pecan pie will all tempt your taste buds. 

Paige's Okra Grill
302 Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Bowens Island Restaurant - Bowens Island (but so close to Folly Beach)
Bowens Island Restaurant is the stuff that legends are made of. In 1946 May Bowen started Bowens Island Restaurant on the site of her and her husband's fish camp - and now I'm told that it's one of the top seafood pilgramage's in the country. That's right - the country.  It's known for it's no frills service, it's sunset views and the graffiti covered walls. You will stand in line with a long wait to make your way to the counter to order frogmore stew -also known as low country boil - hush puppies, shrimp platters and when in season, half or full platters of oysters. Famous for it's oyster room - where oysters where shoveled directly from the fire pit to tables - Bowens Island received a James Beard Foundation Award in 2006 for being one of eight so-named "American Classic Restaurants" It's not so much a restaurant as an experience. There are whirring ceiling fans, windows with only screens and plywood walls. I'm am an unabashed lover of all things Charleston and the Low Country, and I would return here again and again. What a wonderful spot.

Bowens Island Restaurant
1870 Bowens Island Road
The turn-off is right before the entrance to Folly Beach. It's a dirt road and if you see cars parked everywhere willy nilly then you know you have a long wait.

Forty-Eight: A Wine Bar - Kiawah Island, SC
Freshfields Village is located on Kiawah Island, across the street from Bohicket's Marina and a few miles away from the entrance to Seabrook Island. It's a multi-use center which means there are shops, restaurants and a hotel - Marriott's Andell Inn - along with a village green. In the summer they have free concerts, Music on the Green - which we attended - and right next to the green is Forty-Eight: A Wine Bar. Forty-Eight features, you guessed it, 48 wines available by the glass everyday, 840 bottles of wine and 48 craft beers. (Someone really likes the numbers 4 and 8!) They have automated wine servers where you can taste a 1 oz, 2.5 oz or 5 oz pour along with light fare: think salads, small plates and panini's along with charcuterie platters - and they offer Sunday Brunch along with Tasting Tuesdays. It's a very pleasant place to spend a couple hours or just stop in for a quick drink. Plus, you can try 48 different kinds of wine or beer. How about that?


Forty-Eight: A Wine Bar

547 Freshfields Drive
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Even though we were there for Music on the Green, we found a seat easily indoors - and there is also patio seating

If you find yourself in Charleston, enjoy the historical city center. Take a buggy tour. Eat at Poogan's Porch or Magnolia. Then make your way out to the islands for some seafood and some low country atmosphere. You'll be glad you did.

How about you? Have you visited Charleston's Islands? If so, where is your favorite place to eat there?

Linking up with: WATW at Communal Global, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Party and Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox!