We left Savannah early Thursday with the intention of driving to Beaufort for a stop and walkabout through its historic neighborhoods before going on to Charleston. Jack the GPS guy was fairly adamant that we head for I-95 north, but I kept asking for detours until we ended up on the route through beautiful low country.
The drive was wonderfully soothing – especially knowing that we are heading into the congested areas of Washington, DC and the Northeast Corridor of I-95 on our last leg of the journey. For the most part, we were on a quiet two-lane country road through some of the most beautiful Carolina low country (which for us back home would be the marshes…).
My friend, Katy, had suggested taking this route – and stopping to see Beaufort – and I’m so glad she put me onto it. Beaufort is a gorgeous old town, with some really remarkable southern mansions looking out over the water. The downtown had a number of interesting shops, and a beautiful waterfront park. Carriage rides seem to be de rigueur here in these old southern cities, and Beaufort was no exception.
We spent an hour walking around, taking pictures, seeing the sights, and in Max’s case, leaving our mark here and there…
Then it was on to Charleston for another visit, this time with temperatures in the 80s – a far cry from the bitterly cold January day when we first visited.
We arrived too early to check in to the hotel, so headed downtown (where I recognized places we had seen before!) to walk around and have lunch. What a difference in the weather! January was too cold, Thursday was almost too warm. Anyone else thinking Goldilocks??
I found South End Brewery, on Broad Street, with outside tables on the sidewalk – and had a lunch of She Crab Soup and Caesar Salad for the third day in a row! Give me a break! I have to compare… This soup didn’t measure up to the one at Rocks on the River in Savannah, but I cut them some slack. If I hadn’t had the one at Rocks, I would have found this one to be perfectly fine!
Battery Park was a beautiful spot to cool off – with breezes coming in off the water, and lots of shady trees. In January, that “breeze” felt more like gale force winds.
Later, after cooling off with a nap in our room, I decided to drive out to Jack’s Cosmic Dogs (another recommendation from Katy) for my dinner. As we left to get in the car, the sky was ominous – looked like a big T-storm was heading our way.
Not being one to shy away from a little rain, I got us in the car and headed for Route 17 north – right into the storm, as it turned out! I watched (and jumped in my seat a couple of times) as lightning flashed in big bolts down to the ground (all off in the distance, but still startling to see). We hadn’t driven more than a couple of miles when the skies opened up, and the rain came down hard.
We were stopped in traffic at a light, waiting to turn when things started hitting the car. At first I thought they were little bits of tree branches. AHA! All became clear quite quickly as I realized they were hailstones… Traffic started moving, I turned the corner and the hailstones got bigger. Even BIGGER…
Without really thinking, I pulled over under a big live oak to wait out the hail. Up ahead, several cars had pulled off to the left under another bunch of trees. So, this must be the wise thing to do…
Meanwhile, the wind had picked up and poor Tumbleweed was being pummeled by hailstones ranging from 1/4 inch up to almost TWO INCHES! I was cringing and occasionally shouting – until I realized I was upsetting Max back there in his crate. I thought the hail would break the windows – and was certain my beautifully restored car would be pockmarked. What would I tell the insurance company now???
We sat under that tree for a good ten minutes, waiting out the storm. While it was going on, I grabbed my alpaca shawl from the back and wrapped it around me. If the windows broke, I wanted some protection!
The good news is that we came through unscathed. Not a scratch or pock, not a chip in any glass. The bad news is that I left the trusty iPhone back at the hotel so couldn’t get any pictures… Not of the dark sky, none of the hailstones and leaves littering the streets, and not a one of the beautiful rainbow that followed after…
Today, we are heading inland to High Point, NC for another visit with our friends Katy and Scott and their dogs Loolie and Hershey before continuing on towards home. It should be interesting to see how Max interacts with these two – he was such a puppy when we were there in January.