Our week in South Carolina turned out to be just the breath of fresh air we needed. It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine and ocean breeze can do for team morale! This state presented us with one good surprise after another.
We started out by hitting the Mexican-themed roadstop South of the Border (which is, quite literally, just south of the North Carolina state border). After reading about it online and hearing it described as such a unique place, we were excited to see it in person.
It turned out to be everything we’d hoped it would be- weird and beautiful in the corniest of ways. The buildings were terrifically cheap and insubstantial; glowing with plaster possibilities. Animal sculptures populated the entire premise- an improbable zoo of lions, tigers and bears- jackalopes, dinosaurs and dogs. Copious sombreros (atop a restaurant, overflowing gift shop aisles, even capping the water tower!) aggressively reminded us that we were meant to feel as though we were in Mexico. The sprawling shops felt like Amazon.com warehouses, with bedazzled baseball hats, bamboo windchimes and hundreds or versions of the same mug. The surf-themed shop (no matter that we were a hundred miles from the coast) played the Beach Boys on a loop, and we imagined the cashiers being slowly driven insane by the upbeat repetition.
We soaked in the neon lights, technicolor animals and cheap tacos while camping overnight at S.O.B. (their nickname, not ours) before heading on to Myrtle Beach the next day.
Myrtle Beach State Park was a beautiful spot right on the beach, with a cute-as-can-be campground tucked into a forest just off the water. We happened upon the park at night, so we set up camp in the dark; we didn’t realize how pretty the park was until we woke up the next day. We wished we could’ve stayed here forever- the cove of trees shading our campsite, the patch of sunlight to work in- the walking trails full of dappled light- the closeness to the beach- it was heaven. We soaked in every second here and left a couple of days later with a renewed sense of purpose and wonder.
Charleston, too, was a bright surprise. Buildings in candy colors, pastel mints and ice cream tones lined the narrow streets. Much of the city felt delicately shabby- crumbling in spots if you looked too closely.
Several buildings in historic downtown Charleston are painstakingly preserved- you can saunter up to the plaques denoting historic information and learn that some of them are from the 1600’s! It’s so rare in a contemporary American city to have such a high concentration of historic architecture. We also ate some truly memorable food- we inhaled the seafood sandwiches at 167 Raw and scarfed down more biscuits than we’d care to admit at Callie’s HLB (oh, okay, you can see in our photo that we ate a whopping SIX. Oops.) Thanks to our friend Kat (of US Anywhere logo-fame) who recommended those spots to us. FYI we are ALWAYS in need of more recommendations!
We took a load off by staying at an Airbnb outside of town, which allowed us to get mail and packages.
Lastly, we stopped in the town of Beaufort (one of the spots listed in the New York Time’s ’52 places to go in 2016′). We were so glad we did! Despite some rain at the start, Beaufort was another completely gorgeous small town surrounded by islands, parks, ruins, and blankets of Spanish moss. We were lucky that a passerby named Philip stumbled upon us while taking some pictures in the morning. He recommended some Beaufort spots to check out that we wouldn’t have thought to go otherwise, including the St. Helena Chapel of Ease ruins and Hunting Island State Park. He mentioned that many scenes from Forrest Gump were shot in here (despite taking place in Savannah). We couldn’t get enough of Beaufort’s beauty; leaving for Georgia was bittersweet.
South Carolina COMPLETELY F’ING RULES! (Jokes aside, we really loved it here). It has a great mix of elements, naturally and culturally.
US Anywhere is a year-long, cross-country documentary project by newlyweds Carl and Anna. They are taking the 52 weeks of 2016 and are using them to travel the country and make short films about all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.). The project will seek to illuminate the states and the hugely diverse urban and natural landscapes of the US. They hope to inspire others to dream, travel, explore, and connect with the United States.