This past weekend I escaped the cold and headed to Charleston, South Carolina. Sure, there were highs of 50 here in NYC, but in Charleston the temperature never dipped below 50, and most of the weekend it was in the 60s and even low 70s, so Charleston wins.

I was there for the wedding of a lovely college friend, and I’d been looking forward to this weekend ever since she sent the save the date email last spring. She’d invited a number of college buddies so the weekend was basically a mini reunion, and I loved every minute, especially all the ones where we were able to spend time with the bride. It was a beautiful set of wedding events and a perfect vacation weekend.
On Friday afternoon I wandered the historic district and saw some of the gorgeous houses on King Street on my way down toward the Battery, where I stared out at

the water and wished there were benches to sit on. On my walk, I bought a chocolate truffle at a shop near the market, visited the Gibbs Museum of Art, said hello to a woman gardening along the beautiful and eerie Charleston Gateway Walk, and picked up a pair of flip flops on my way back up King Street, when my feet finally started to hurt.

Churchyard, part of the Gateway walk
The view from the Battery

I had dinner with friends at Two Boroughs Larder before we met up with the bridal party at Stars Rooftop Bar. It was a little chilly, but heat lamps helped! Saturday was packed with wonderful wedding festivities, ending with an after-party at Mynt (I was too tired to stay long!). Sunday wrapped up our time with the bride and groom with a brunch at Fuel, a gas station-turned-restaurant where waffles gave us delicious flashbacks to brunches in college.

Sunday continued with a visit to Cypress Gardens, a swamp garden where I wandered the paths with a few friends before checking out their birds, butterflies, and the animals in their “swamparium” or swamp aquarium.

Favorite moment: seeing the alligators in the pen near the swamparium stay as still as statues, except some eye movement, for several minutes and then slowly start to move their feet. Beautiful and terrifically creepy, all at once.

And then it was time for the short flight back to NYC and the long over-priced taxi ride that got me home just at the moment Once Upon a Time began. I fell asleep thirty minutes after it ended and went to bed similarly early the following night.

But it was all worth it to see my dear friend get married, to catch up with people I haven’t really seen since college, and to explore Charleston while soaking up some beautiful weather. You can pack a lot into a three day trip, and I hope to plan more short-but-sweet adventures soon! I took some pictures but need an adapter for my camera — hope to share those soon!

Thinking back on this mini trip, I realized that there were four key factors that it made it feel like a real vacation.

  1. Tourist time.I took Friday off from work and got an 8 a.m. flight. This meant I arrived in Charleston around 10:30 a.m. and had several hours to myself, since the first official wedding-related event I was attending wasn’t until after dinner.
  1. Semi-swanky accommodations. I booked a room at the Cannonboro Inn. Many of my friends stayed at the Not So Hostel, which was a perfectly fine choice, but I realized I’d sleep better, not to mention feel less stressed about getting ready for the wedding, at a B&B. And while I didn’t get to take much advantage of their breakfast or their wine and tea at 4 p.m. (too busy!), I did have a delicious parfait before rushing out to brunch one morning.
  1. Easy airport transportation. I splurged and took a car service to JFK and a taxi home. Next time I’ll take a car service each way – the cab fare was atrocious – but it was important to me not to have to stress about getting to the airport early in the morning on the subway, or about getting home on Sunday evening. I also bummed a LOT of car rides from friends all weekend. Thanks, guys – you are seriously the best!
  1. Sleep. I slept as much as I could, given how busy the weekend was. I knew if I wanted to enjoy myself each day – not to mention function at work on Monday! – I needed to be well-rested.

It would have been easy to keep this trip to a lower budget – subway travel, only staying one night, a room at the hostel, etc. etc. But I think vacations are important, and while I’m all for saving money where you can, travel is one of the few things I’m willing to spend a little extra on. I’m tired after this trip, but I spent the weekend feeling relaxed and comfortable. While most of the credit is due to the fabulous celebrations I was invited to attend, allowing myself time and space to really enjoy them also helped.

Where have you gone on your own weekend vacations, and what did you love most about being away?