As I’ve said before 2016 has been our year for travel. 2015 ended in disappointment and 2016 started the same way. So we decided to give it all up and just live our lives exactly how we wanted with little regard for being responsible.
Our weekend trips to Vegas and Cabo were great but this June week long adventure in the Carolina’s will forever be one of our top vacations of all times!
My sister’s best friend from college is from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her family has a beautiful home on many acres. They also have a beach house in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. So for 7 days, my husband and I, our dog Gia, my sister and her boyfriend spent our time with two of our absolute favorite people traveling through these states and having the time our lives. We met some really great people and have memories that will last forever.
We flew into Charlotte on a Sunday. The green landscape and beautiful homes are a huge part of what makes this place so appealing. We spent that night watching the NBA finals, eating pizza and planning our week. The next morning we ate at a cute street side cafe and explored downtown Charlotte. We got to go inside Panthers stadium and see where Carolina football takes place. This city is beautiful!
That evening we headed over to the Ward home and the best night of our trip (according to my sister) took place. We walked into their gorgeous huge house and into the kitchen where a very thoughtful welcome sign was waiting for us. We raced on golf carts and scooters through open land with the GoPro capturing some funny moments. They have a huge pond/lake on their property. We fished and kayaked while the sun went down and after dark we watched TV on the back patio and ate some delicious food. Fire flies or “lightning bugs” were everywhere and being from California, it was something I’ve never seen before. Our dogs played in the yard and we relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. Our 1st full day was an amazing one!
The next day we left for Surfside Beach. It was about a 3 hour drive and we started the morning with a little Bojangles Famous Chicken and Biscuits. This is a place we’ve heard a lot about. It was a huge hit! We drove through rural areas and saw homes much different from those in California. The beach town of Surfside was cute, quiet and charming. The family home was two blocks from the beach with a pool, two decks and 4 big rooms. It was the perfect place to spend the next 3 days. People get around on golf carts and bicycles so we took many rides exploring the beach houses and little shops. But our favorite was riding to the grocery store, the Piggly Wiggly. We spent our mornings riding to get coffee, our afternoons on the beach and our nights in land mark cities or barbecuing and swimming. After dark we’d walk to get ice cream and there were many corn hole tournaments with some serious competitive moments. Our first night we went to Mrytle Beach, had dinner at Margaritaville and watched some awesome fireworks. Our last night in South Carolina, we decided to drive down to Charleston. This town was the most beautiful I have seen. We ate at Poogan’s Smokehouse which was a ritzier type of BBQ joint. By the time we were done eating it was dark but we still walked to see Rainbow Row and Battery Street. We ended up in a park with a gazebo where a couple slow danced in the dark. It was straight out of a movie. We waited on the curb for a couple of Pedicabs to pick us up. We rode through downtown and right by the Calhoun Mansion where part of the Notebook was filmed. There were so many amazing homes and buildings. After we were dropped off we walked down King street where we saw the 1940s deco American Theatre and the intersection of King St and Mary St where Noah and Allie laid down to watch the traffic lights. We again ate ice cream and admired the night life in this lively city.
The next morning we left South Carolina and drove back to Charlotte. That afternoon we drove out to Cabarrus into an open field next to a creek where we met up with some friends for a few hours of skeet shooting and target practice. It was so fun to be outside instead of at an indoor shooting range. It was so hot and humid but it didn’t matter. I tried dipping tobacco “dip” for the first time because when in Rome, right?! I kept the pouch in for a good 2 minutes before I got rid of it. Pretty gross but I’ll try anything once. We shot smalls guns, big guns, shot guns and rifles. And I actually hit 2 out of 5 clay discs with a shot gun. I definitely felt like a bad ass!
We got back to the house a couple hours before sunset. We picked up the dogs and went on a long walk on a trail behind their house. There were open fields where the dogs ran free and a big bridge that was full of graffitied artwork. We were chased by big beetles and the dogs jumped into some nasty water but we saw some beautiful things. That night we were exhausted so we got some greasy food and the best milkshakes in town from a fast food place called “Cookout.” All of us fell asleep in the living room while watching a movie.
Our last full day in Charlotte was my favorite. My sister and her boyfriend left this day which was disappointing but later that evening we drove out to New Salem, North Carolina to a family friend’s property where they had beautiful horses. We rode Pistol, Daisy and Sage. I’ve had an obsession with horses since I was a little girl in Montana. I love riding them, brushing them and just being in their presence. It’s been years since I was actually able to spend quality time just being with them so this evening was the highlight of the trip for me. My husband made a comment that he hasn’t seen me this happy ever. I thought it was funny but I think I might be happiest in moments like this. The family that owned the horses were so kind. These horses had an amazing life and this family opened up their home for us to come and really spend time with them. After an hour or more of riding, we were able to take off their saddles, brush them, let them graze and love on them. It was AMAZING! Being in the presence of an animal with such power is like nothing else. Riding is one thing but caring for them is on a different level. I was absolutely in heaven. Later that night we rescued a dog from the side of the road, took it home and the next morning found it’s family. All in a days work 🙂
It was day 7 and time to leave. On every vacation I’ve ever been on I was ready to go home by the end of it. But not this time. I could have stayed there in those moments forever. By far the best vacation I’ve ever been on. I know it sounds a little funny. Better than Hawaii or Cabo??? Yes, it was! The Carolina’s hold a special place in my heart and the amazing people we spent time with are more like family then friends. I highly suggest visiting the Carolina’s for your next vacation. We will definitely be back because there is so much more to see.
7 Day Trip: Fly in/out of Charolette and spend time driving around the area and admiring the beautiful homes. Visit downtown and Panthers, Bank of America, stadium. Visit or rent a home on beautiful land to get the full experience of living in North Carolina. Head to South Carolina and visit a beach town. East Coast beaches are completely different than West Coast beaches. Visit Myrtle Beach, it’s a fun fair/marketplace like environment but if you like a little more of a calm home base, stay in Surfside. Drive to Charleston and immerse yourself in history and beauty. (We’ll be going back here specifically because we want to really see everything we can.) Walk by Rainbow Row and admire these gorgeous colorful historic homes. Take a pedicab through the streets at night and admire the lit up buildings and the fast paced feel of the historical city. Don’t take for granted spending time in the small counties that are rural and back woods-ish. These places are open, green and absolutely beautiful. Shoot guns, ride horses and fish. Eat BBQ, Bojangles, Cook Out and any other staple place you can find. Most importantly embrace the way of life, try things you normally wouldn’t and enjoy the stunning land that make up these beautiful states.
Now on to the next adventure!