Sloane and I packed the car and headed south for some sunshine and warm weather this holiday season (not that it wasn't warm up north). First stop was our old home in Charleston, SC - I apologize to the folks we didn't see while in town - we wish we could have stayed longer and seen everyone. We arrived in town on Saturday evening, before Christmas. On our way into Charleston we were able to swing by our friend's amazing new design studio and pop-up shop and surprise them. They sell all kinds of incredibly designed things - check them out here. It was pretty awesome to see what they have created, they have been talking about doing it for so long now. Afterwards we headed to Folly Beach to set up our living quarters for the few days we were in town. We are lucky enough to have a permanent place to stay with our good friend (and adopted Grandmother) Barb at her condo. We visited for about an hour then headed back downtown to meet some friends for dinner.
The following morning we headed into West Ashley to have brunch with Sloane's Uncle who now lives in Summerville, and her mom who flew down for the holidays. I had some good old biscuits and gravy at Ms Roses, visited for as long as I could then took the car to meet up with my adventure crew for our trip into the swamps. I met Brad and Beth at their house in West Ashley, and helped load boats from Brad's Boat Rental - he has at least 7 kayaks - onto the car. We met Mr Jeff at the Limehouse landing around 130, packed the boats with gear and were on the water by 2.
As usual, I planned this trip around the tide, which was on its way in. It pushed us gently into the bowels of Caw Caw swamp. The skies were clear, sun was plentiful and the temps were in the high 60's.
We arrived at our campsite around 5, with just enough light left to get things set up.
We set up camp, got a fire going and Brad began his ritual dutch oven meal.
We began to drink a bit more heavily once camp was set up, and harassed Brad for taking so long to cook us dinner while we did so. The wait was worth it as usual, beef and bean chili, with cornbread baked on top, covered with melted cheese - so good. After our meal we cleaned up hastily, and headed to the boats for a moonlight paddle. We paddled around in the marsh for about half an hour, until we decided drinking beer around the fire was preferred. So we got back on land, stoked the fire and did our best to lighten the load for the paddle out the following morning. The temps that night only dipped to the high 40's - so we were all very comfortable.
I woke the following morning to the sound of rain. I quickly went back to sleep, and when I woke the next time, around 8, the rain had thankfully stopped. I got up and took a few photos around our island, but it was gloomy and cloudy, so the light wasn't doing what I had hoped. I returned to the camp and began packing up while every one woke up. We were packed and on the water by 930, just in time to catch the falling tide on the way home. Which would have been easy, but I decided we should paddle further inland once we got to the main river - since I hadn't been here for over a year. So we turned against the tide and paddled against the current for about 20 minutes. Once we reached the top of our loop, the tide was once again with us, and we mostly floated our way back to the boat landing.
We arrived back at the landing around noon, just before high tide. We quickly packed all the gear away, loaded the boats and headed for the new Tattooed Moose on Johns Island. I had placed a custom order for bacon from the Meathouse butcher shop that will soon be across the parking lot from the restaurant, and we decided we would eat there as well, cause it's delicious.
I headed back to Barb's place to take a shower and prepare for the Telfer-Whelan christmas that was about to happen in Summerville that evening. We all headed to Summerville around 530 Monday night for our gift exchange and a feast of pasta with some fantastic home made sauce, compliments of Sloane's Uncle. Dessert was home made banana pudding, prepared by Barb's friend David, and it was amazing. We exchanged gifts, drank heavily and turned in for the night (Sloane and I stayed in Summerville that night). The following morning we went for brunch at a greasy spoon joint in downtown Summerville, and went to a few shops along the main drag. Afterwards we packed up our things, and headed back to Barb's place on Folly. We had dinner and drinks at the new beer works that night with more friends, said our sad goodbyes to downtown Charleston, and headed once again back to Folly Beach. I was up early the next morning, to go hike out to the end of Folly and put my feet in the Atlantic before we left. I found a scrubby old tree near a tidal pool and took some shots. I was hoping the sun would come up, but of course we had planned to leave before sunrise, so I was in complete darkness and fog.
We met Sloane's family one last time for breakfast before hitting the road down to see my family in Florida. It was much warmer and sunnier in Florida, and although I am still sad my folks didn't purchase a home in Charleston for retirement, I think they made the right choice. We got into town around 5 on Wednesday, just in time for dinner and drinks.
The following days were a mix of drinking, eating and celebrating. My Brother, sister-in-law and nieces were there as well. It was great to all be together for the first time in a few years at Christmas time.
The day after Christmas was our annual bacon festival. You've see the posts before so I'll keep it brief. My Uncle and cousin came over from the Orlando area, and we had a good old time as usual - more kayaking, more drinking, and lots of bacon to eat.
We waited until it was almost dark to start cooking, it was a little too warm with the sun out, to be sitting around a fire. And since it was dark when we started, I didn't take very many pictures.
This was by far the best tasting bacon I can remember, probably since the last time we ate a happy pig. I think I may have gotten the family hooked on it too.
Our last few days in Florida were spent in the pool, kayaking, and generally being lazy. The Brother and his family left on Monday, and Sloane and I headed out of town Tuesday morning for Alabama, to see some long lost friends from Charleston. When we got there, another 8.5 hour drive later, they informed us they are moving to DC in May, which is pretty awesome news. We spent 2 quick days in Montgomery with them, again eating and drinking. We rang in the new year with a delicious meal of slow cooked ribs, mac and cheese and a salad. The next morning we were up early to start our voyage back home, all 12 hours of it. It was rough, but we made it. I hope everyone else out there had as good of a Holiday Season!