The East, the East! The Atlantic Ocean—the real ocean! It was such a short flight—just 4 or so hours to Atlanta—and there I was, back again on the side of the country I consider home. Even the air felt more substantial, heavy and thick with muggy heat, unlike the thin, dry atmosphere of California.
I met Michelle at the Charleston airport Friday afternoon, and we spent the day walking around the city. Charleston has a lot of charm—beautiful old homes, cute shopping streets, and lots of excellent restaurants serving seafood and Southern specialties. When Rachael and Barbra arrived, we went for dinner at Coast, a great seafood restaurant, then headed to our bungalow on Kiawah Island.
I’ve always loved South Carolina’s beaches, and Kiawah was wonderful. It’s a private island, unspoiled by development, and there were broad expanses of sand and perfect water temperature. The weather, despite the forecast, was ideal, sunny and hot, and we spent the day swimming and chatting on the sand. We had local Southern cooking for dinner, sitting on the restaurant’s broad front porch.
Sunday lunch was at Jestine’s in Charleston, with more excellent Southern cooking, followed by a tour of the historic Aiken-Rhett House—apparently inhabited until 1975, a fact made hard to believe by the peeling paint, faded wallpaper, uneven floor, and seeming nonexistence of a kitchen.
It was a fast weekend—a bit of stolen time together—and just a taste of the East Coast that, soon enough, I was leaving behind. It was late when my flight arrived in California. Andrew met me at the airport, and we made the long drive from San Francisco to our apartment, together once again in this version of home.