Mister and I made it back from South Carolina just as the latest snow storm was hitting New York. It wasn’t the welcome back we were looking forward to, but after 8 days of traveling around it felt good to be snuggled up with our dogs on a cozy snow day.
This was part vacation, part family visit, and part Mister’s birthday present; we went to visit his parents [who split their time between Binghamton, NY and Surfside Beach, SC], with an added stop in Charleston to visit a friend while taking advantage of the cheaper flights through their versus Myrtle Beach.
We ended up in downtown Charleston pretty late on Wednesday, and I was excited to see everything but also hungry and tired – add that to the fact that it was way colder than we were anticipating and I was getting a little bit cranky.
Mister spotted Poogan’s Smokehouse and it was exactly what
we I needed.
Local IPA’s, live music, smokey pork belly, and a pile of BBQ. Two sticky thumbs up.
The next morning I made a quick trip to a local supermarket for yogurt, fruit, and muffins that made an easy breakfast. My biggest budget travel tip for anyone is don’t go to a restaurant for every meal – buy like you would at home. Bananas were a cheap snack that we could take with us, and smaller things like a box of granola bars and bringing reusable water bottles meant the snack/water break costs didn’t add up as fast.
On our way from Charleston to Surfside Beach, we stopped at Drayton Hall. I’ve always had a love for visiting historic sites – particularly homes. Coming from New York, plantation houses have always been sort of a fascinating existence within the realm of history and Hollywood. While they are always associated with the dark history of human enslavement, they are also landmarks of a way of life, an era of American history, and a display of a culture I havn’t really gotten to “touch” in person before.
Drayton Hall is incredible in the sense that it is entirely preserved rather than restored. The building hasn’t been turned into a Disneyland approximation of how grand southern life was; its a house that holds so much history that even the vacant rooms breathe whispers of the lives that have passed through.
The preservation versus restoration issue was something that Mister didn’t quite understand; and coming from a History/Public History background, I wasn’t sure if it was something that didn’t really make sense to everyone else as well.
Preserve: They do the minimal amount necessary to maintain the house exactly as it was when it became a historic site. They interpret the paint colors as they were found, instead of repainting the house the original color from the first moment of construction. They point out where the outbuildings once stood, instead of rebuilding them for an easier tour.
Restoration: Bringing the building back to the way it looked when first built, or back to a specific time period. This includes furnishings being brought in or custom made, sometimes costumed interpreters, and often times erasing the changes that were made over time.
Whenever visiting a historic site of this magnitude, I relish the opportunity to consider who built this house. Why? How? Where did the wood come from? Who made the bricks? Why was the house built in this exact place?
Imagine the first owners crossing the threshold. The last family to run down the stairs. The first tourists to open the door.
After a few hours spent taking the formal tour and walking the grounds, we had to switch cars and found ourselves looking for food outside of town, in a highly commercialized area. It wasn’t looking promising.
I pulled up Yelp and did some serious reading before finding Boxcar Betty’s. Perfection. Small menu, specializing in chicken; fast, cheap, good.