Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jan's Visit

I've been trying to get to this for some time and today I'm stuck waiting for someone to come and measure a window that needs to be replaced.  It's the usual run-around - I called this AM to reconfirm that I'm on the schedule and hoped she could narrow down the time frame.  All I got was "after 1PM", which means all afternoon.  Anyway, it does give me time to get to this entry.

It seems that I've been busy, beginning with Jan's visit and even before.  The Friday before she arrived, I attend the monthly concert and the Unitarian Church, which was very good.  Saturday Chris and I got together for a leisurely, enjoyable lunch, which was a belated birthday treat. On Sunday night I went to a Velvet Caravan concert on island.  It was actually a private party.  Two ladies I know from the synagogue gave a party for a few hundred of their closest friends and the Caravan was the entertainment.  They are very good and I enjoyed seeing them again, as well as all the folks from the synagogue.  I always like that part of it.

Jan arrived on Tuesday, Feb. 24, and the following day we went to Charleston for two nights.  We stayed at the Meeting Street Inn, which was delightful.  The people there could not have been nicer.  Their parking was not by the hotel, so when we arrived I went inside to organize things while Jan remained in the car to let people know our parking was temporary.  By the time I got back with a porter to take the bags, the guy behind the counter had already booked lunch for us!!  They were that efficient and helpful. It was probably at that point that it turned into the Great Charleston Food Tour.  Jan especially wanted to eat at Husk (which, to be honest, I'd never hear of) and it was there that we had lunch reservations.  Jan had Shrimp and Grits while I asked about the two vegetarian items on the menu. The waiter advised that they had an off-menu vegetarian plate that they were quite proud of.  Well......they have every right to be proud!!  Rather than being a collection of the sides of the day, it was a real masterpiece, totally delicious, and more than I could eat.  It was wonderful!  We were so full that for dinner we settled for a light salad at 82 Queen.

It was from there that we walked home in the cold, whipping rain!!  There were a couple of cold, miserable days, but we carried on.  It tried to ruin our time but we knew better than to let it.  The Inn is well located to walk to all the major old town attractions and to peruse the beautiful old homes. Due to the weather, we did as much walking as we could but also did a city tour and drove around the area to see the houses. 

One afternoon was spent at Middleton Place, which I hope to see again in more cooperative weather.  Even so, it was a beautiful spot on the Ashley River.  We had a lunch in the style of Miss Edna Lewis (again, someone I'd never heard of but am glad to know!).  She popularized Southern cooking and improved it.  It was another delicious, filling meal, which we enjoyed before taking the house tour and walking the grounds a bit. I especially enjoyed the farm animals and there were people to tell us all about how the plantation functioned in past days.  Since there were not many people around, we got lots of their attention and enjoyed it all.

That evening we ate at Cru; again, arranged by our hotel.  We had to "settle for" the chef's table, which was the bar overlooking the kitchen.  It seated four and we immediately struck up conversation with the couple already there.  It turned out to be the best seat in the house.  We got to see how the kitchen worked, which was like a well oiled machine.  In the down moments, we asked questions and chatted with the staff......thoroughly enjoyable (and delicious!).  

In between all these delicious meals, our hotel had a very good and varied breakfast, as well as wine and cheese in the late afternoon. On our final morning we walked around a bit before heading to Hominy Grill for brunch.  So, we covered as much territory as we could before heading home.  Charleston is so picturesque and I've always loved that part of it, but I was totally blown away by the good food and friendly people.  It was totally fun....in spite of the weather.

Once home, the bad weather continued but we regrouped and carried on.  On Sunday I was wracking my brain to think of something to do on a crummy day and finally I said to Jan, "It's Sunday in the South and miserable weather....there is nothing to do!"  We did go to Palmetto Bluff for lunch before heading to the movies.  Between the two, we found the Secession Tree, which I'd heard about but had no idea where it was located.  With a little help for a lady walking her dog, we found it.

At the end of her visit, Jan treated me to a night in Savannah, along with her friend Sharon, who came up from Jacksonville.  Jan then spent a few days with her.  Our time in Savannah was blessed with better weather and Jan did see the sun before leaving this part of the country.  It was a pleasure meeting Sharon as she is another liberal and as much of a geek about it as I!!  I think we bored Jan!  Anyway, we had another good dinner at Garibaldi's.  It all came to an end too quickly but I was left with very good experiences and memories.

Below are the photos.  I was disappointed that I'd forgotten to take my camera to Charleston so this is my first effort with my cell phone!

I've done a few other fun things but will save them for another time, which I hope will come soon.  I did want to tell you that I'm now a published author of a magazine article....thanks to Tom and Eileen.  After the reunion in York (September) they asked if I'd write an article.  I did and sent it to them but didn't hear anything.....and I didn't ask, not wanting to put them in the position of telling me it was crap and couldn't be used.  Then one morning I got a text from Maggie in Cyprus saying that she'd received her Alaela Magazine and we were on the front and the article was inside!!  You can imagine my surprise and pleasure.  You can see it HERE.  My article is on page 15.

Here's also a clip Tom sent of the reunion, bringing back find memories.

 That's enough for now....more soon!