Travel | Charleston, SC (and a day trip to Savannah, GA) | Part 2 of 3: Itinerary, Tips, and Experiences

 

PART 2 – Traveling with an 11 Week Old Baby

Itinerary, Tips, and Experiences

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(To skip to see some tips for traveling with a baby and for our itinerary, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

Read Part 1: Travel | Charleston, SC | Part 1 of 3: Baby’s First Flight

Read Part 3: TRAVEL | Charleston, SC (and a day trip to Savannah, GA) —  PART 3 – My Reflection

In Charleston, we stayed in the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood in an Airbnb at 118 Cannon Street.  Here is the listing.  This house was a really great spot, definitely recommend it. Location was excellent. Close to so many restaurants, a few wine bars, bars, shops, and easily walkable to King street. There is parking in the back of the house. The house itself is very clean. It is an old home with very nice finishes and actually the same pine floors we have in our home in Philly. It is a two bedroom, has a galley kitchen, living room, one bathroom and a porch. Washer and dryer were in our bedroom, which was perfect for washing Weston’s diapers (though we continue to forget our Dropp’s laundry detergent and had to get some scent free gentle Tide at a Walgreens a few blocks away).

 

As I always say, Airbnb is great.  We use it, or something similar, almost everywhere we travel.  It is so much more comfortable and affordable than a hotel. If you are new to Airbnb, use this link to sign-up and stay!

 

Our check-in was scheduled for 4p but we arrived around 12:15p. We couldn’t get in yet, but we could park there and even put our bags inside if wanted. We used the bathroom but left our bags in the car. We waited a bit to let Weston nap a little longer then transitioned him to his Joolz stroller and walked to King street.  We needed some lunch, though it would be a while before we would actually eat.

We ended up walking pretty far down King street to Queen Street. My cousin suggested a restaurant called Husk that he went to in Nashville. So, by the time we passed all of the other places and saw it was close we figured we would check it out. They had quite a wait outside and they couldn’t take the four of us plus Weston in his stroller without a reservation.  It was just too busy on a Saturday.  So we popped right next door to 82 Queen, which we didn’t realize until later was actually recommended to us by Kait’s cousin.  We had a lovely lunch outside. Weston napped through most of it, then Kait nursed him at the table while we waited for food, then I held him and ate. It worked wonderfully.

 

My Mom and Dad have been with us the whole time, loving the time they get to spend with Weston. Before we left, we all hit the bathroom. When I was waiting in their outdoor area with Weston, a waiter came up to me and in his southern accent said, “Did you ever think you could love anything this much?” I said, “no” to be polite while looking at Weston, but honestIy I knew I would love him this much, based on how much I love Avett.  He said, “I have a 10 year old daughter, she has me wrapped around her finger. When she says jump, I don’t say how high, I say tell me when to come down.”  We chuckled. Then he asked where we were from, asked if we were Eagles fans, looked at Weston again and said, “He’s a stud, man. Congrats.” I said, “I sure think so.” He said, “Rightfully so.” Haha, it was a lovely interaction.

We headed back out to King Street to hit a couple of stores we saw on the walk down. The first was the Preservation Society. Wow, what a great little store. All locally and thoughtfully made products. They had some really great things such as bags, soaps, socks, and the like. They also had these amazing pop-out books – Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Harry Potter.  They were very cool, something we may get Weston in the future.

Next we hit a baby store called Under the Almond Trees. Kait and I had one thing we wanted to find while here, a pacifier clip. For some reason, that has been quite difficult for us to find. We had a feeling we’d find one in Charleston and we did. First baby store we stopped in, we picked up a Loulou LOLLIPOP clip. No more pacifier on the ground! Beautiful.

While in the store, the young woman behind the register asked if we are from Philly – taking a clue from my Dad’s U of Penn hat.  He responded South Jersey, and she said “Oh where about? My Dad is from South Jersey – Pitman/Glassboro area. I had to bail him out of the Vet Jail for fighting back in the day.”  Which are the towns directly next to where my parents live and I grew up.  These things seem so random, but are they?

After that, we got caught in a random rainstorm, which we quickly learned happens often in Charleston. We headed back to the Airbnb, rested then went to dinner at a restaurant in our neighborhood, Xiao Bao Biscuit. Asian food that packs a lot of flavor, especially salt and heat. The space is an old gas station, definitely with a cool hipster young crowd vibe.

Weston was amazing in every restaurant, never a bother at all – whether in the stroller, being worn or held – he was excellent. This particular night, he had a dance party on the table with Gigi, my Mom. It was adorable and very funny.

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The next morning, we headed north over the bridge to Shem Creek Park in Mt. Pleasant. This area has kayaking and paddle boarding, boats, and a boardwalk through the marsh.  We walked on the boardwalk, which was a pretty short walk but nice. There were a lot of restaurants in the area including one that came recommended from Kait’s cousin, Table and Tavern. Since we didn’t make reservations, we had to eat inside which didn’t give the nice seaport type vibe, but the food was pretty good. They were very kind in allowing Kait to breast feed in their private party room and letting us park our stroller in a back room since Weston needed to be held for this one. Shem Creek Park area is on the way to Sullivan’s Island, which is where we went next.

 

The quick drive to Sullivan’s Island was simple.  We parked on some street and station 19.5.  Their cross streets are stations and include full and half numbers. I’m guessing something with the armed forces or the coast guard. The walk to the beach and from the beach was beautiful, especially when we walked back on Station 18.  It was like walking through a small jungle. 

I love the beach down there. It feels more like nature than the man-manicured (and often man-created) beaches (meaning dredging of sand to make sure there’s enough beach for people to lounge on) of the Jersey shore. The dunes were bountiful, no lifeguards, warm and very active water.  The sand is silky smooth. The wind was intense that day, a little too intense for Weston. He didn’t love it at moments but we did our best to calm him and keep him peaceful, which we did until he eventually fell asleep. As we decided to walk a bit further rather than return to the car, we got caught in another random rain storm on the beach that lasted less than 4 minutes probably, but we got pretty wet and decided to head back to the car. Weston was pretty chill about it, actually.  Though there were really nice houses and the I loved the nature, we didn’t really catch a vibe from Sullivan’s Island.

 

We headed back to the Airbnb to rest, change and get ready for an early dinner reservation at the recommended Italian restaurant Indaco. It was delicious. I had the fall menu addition of the casoncelli, which is thin stuffed pasta shaped like half moons. It had ricotta, mozzarella, butternut squash purée, Vincotto, and pumpkin seeds. It melted in my damn mouth! The shoshitos and fried artichokes were also lovely. Definitely a pricier restaurant, especially if you do a three or four course meal. They easily accommodated our stroller. We started making a note to restaurants about our stroller when we make reservations, which is helpful for them when they decide the table for us. The service was amazing too!

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When we were about to leave, another rain storm!  It was pouring but it was very quick. We walked in drizzle about a block to get some Jeni’s ice cream. We have gotten pints of Jeni’s from Whole Foods from time to time, but we don’t have any of her shops near us in the northeast.  With Kait not eating dairy, Jeni’s was great because they had a ton of flavors, including five non-dairy options. Solid. Weston held out well, though he needed to be held in the shop. We headed home to get him down by 8pm. Kait and I were also beat and were down by 9:30pm.

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On Monday, we drove to Savannah, Georgia. This was both an excellent and challenging day.  My Mom had always wanted to go to Savannah when we planned this trip because it is so close, only a 2 hour drive South from Charleston. Honestly, I was indifferent to the idea. But I am so glad we did this. Savannah was gorgeous, interesting, vibrant, and fun. I loved it, we all loved it, and wished we had more time there.  I knew it would be pretty, but I had no expectations.

The 20 some squares throughout the historic district of Savannah with Live Oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss decorated the city.  It’s what dreams are made of, seriously. Just truly blew us all away. The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and a preservation society have preserved all of their rich architectural history. The architecture of the old homes and buildings surrounded by the nature is simply beautiful. I wish Philadelphia did preservation similar to Savannah in any degree. I will get into my feelings about the history of Savannah in Part 3.

 

That day was challenging because it was a lot of time in the car for Weston, again. It was humid, and we did a trolley tour (which I’d highly recommend) that was 90 minutes long. Unfortunately, the air flow was not great. We had to hop off with Weston because he was screaming.  Luckily, it was a hop-on hop-off tour so we were able to get on another trolley after he chilled. It was fine, just a little wearing.  That is definitely one thing you have to be cool with when traveling with a baby, the unexpected. 

Our poor little guy was so uncomfortable and whaling his little lungs out. Prior to that, he did pretty well. He was great at lunch.  We ended up eating at Husk, as they have four locations including Charleston and Savannah. We changed him on a bench in Forsyth Park.  Kait fed him where she had to, which seemed everywhere that day. He got over tired, hungry, hot, and cranky. Ultimately though, we were able to finish the tour and do everything we set out to do without any issues. 

During the car ride back to Charleston, Weston required a lot of attention and shhhh’ing by Kait in the back seat while I drove and my parents just helped as they could. It was about an 11 hour day. Long but great. Kait is such a great mom. Weston is awesome, as are my parents.

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Parking was cheap in Savannah. We did a garage that was only $6 for the 6-7 hours we were there. You can park for free in one of the trolley parking lots, if you buy tickets for one of the trolley tours.  On the tour, we saw a waterfront area which looked really cool, homes to tour, and restaurants we would love to try.  They definitely seem to have some great food spots.  Next time we head back to Savannah, we will spend about three days.  We think that will be good to do all that we would like, such as walking tours, ghost tours, home tours, restaurants, and some more exploring.

The drive went by quickly, even though Weston had his fussy periods. We decided to eat close to our Airbnb so we could get Weston to bed on time. Unfortunately, a lot of the restaurants in Charleston were closed on Mondays, especially the ones we wanted to try. So, we ended up at this place called Fuel which says it’s Caribbean inspired cuisine. I’d say that’s a bit of a stretch. It was ok, but definitely not anything to say more about.  We got home in time, again, for Weston to be down for bed by 8pm.

That night, Weston had his best night of sleep ever. He’s been sleeping 7 hours consistently to start the night, as of late. So he slept 8pm-3:15am, AND THEN, from 3:30-6:45am. That second part is huge because he’d usually wake up several times in that period OR one of us (typically Kait) would have to hold him so he could sleep because he’d have gas or some other discomfort going on. Best yet so far!  Actually, Weston seems to sleep better when we are traveling than he does at home.  It’s probably because of all of the stimulation.  Travel is great for all of us!

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On Tuesday, we hit Millers All Day. It was recommended by two young women Kait and I passed on the street when we were looking for a coffee shop on Sunday. Kait asked them about a coffee shop, because that’s another thing in Charleston, a lot of places are closed or open quite late on Sundays. It is still very religious down there. Every place we tried in our neighborhood was closed or opened after 10am, aside from Starbucks and one very small place that was more of a smoothie and juice shop.

 

Anyway, those women recommended Millers All Day and it did not disappoint! Straight from there, we went to Boone Hall Plantation. We decided to do this plantation because it seemed most intriguing to us when comparing them online. I’m sure the same reasons why a bunch of movies have been filmed there, such as the Notebook, as well as hosting 100 weddings a year.

 

We were there from about 10:30a-2p. It was beautiful. I think one of the most beautiful drives I have ever done was up that driveway with the Live Oaks creating the canopy along the avenue, as they call it. Stunning. I took this short video, but it really is not the same as in person – view the video on my Instagram.

None of us had been to a plantation before, so we didn’t have anything to compare it to, but we all thoroughly enjoyed and were educated during our visit to Boone Hall. A few quick notes about visiting with a baby: 

  • They do not allow strollers in the house for the tour. 
  • You also have to sign up for the tour in the tiny dwelling where the bathrooms are, which we didn’t realize because I didn’t read the little description close enough until it was time for the 11:30 that we were waiting for and then I realized. The 11:30 was full so we had to wait until 12. Not a big deal, right? Well, in that time Kait fed Weston and then he fell asleep, in the stroller. When we went back for the tour at 12, the not so generous lady told us that we can’t bring strollers in the house (meanwhile she saw us there for the earlier tour, didn’t say anything. Was sitting next to us for 10 minutes prior to the 12 tour, didn’t say anything.) So, I missed the house tour, which I was truly totally cool with.
  • Definitely see the Gullah show and the talk about the slaves
  • Benches under the Live Oaks along the drive or beyond the garden are great places to change and feed a baby. Plan to be there a few hours.

(I will go more in depth about our visit and my feelings in Part 3.)

Afterwards, we went back to the Airbnb. Kait and my Mom had work calls, and Weston needed to eat and nap.

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We then finished our trip to Charleston with a long evening walk down to the South of Broad and the Battery areas. It was just perfect weather to stroll around the streets and gaze at the wonderful homes south of Broad. Weston fell asleep for most of it. Then on our way back to find a restaurant, he awoke. We stopped at some random benches near a firehouse so Kait could feed him. Then we continued on and found our dinner spot. I think we saved the best for last. The Grocery. 

The Grocery was exactly what we needed after a few days of all the rich southern flavors. They served very high quality food made with locally sourced ingredients, and they had a whole section of VEGGIES. It was delicious and service was excellent. I highly recommend. They were super accommodating for Kait’s non dairy requests and they made a delicious mocktail for Kait.  I had this great tequila drink, the Diablo Verde. Weston fell asleep on Kait in the wrap halfway through dinner. We hit Jeni’s again so Kait could get her non-dairy treat and my Mom actually got a cone of ice cream this time because she liked my Dad’s so much the other night.

We had a 5:30am flight out so we all woke up around 3, left at 3:30ish to drop off the rental car, check the stroller and car seat. Weston was great again on his second ever flight. The rest of the day, however, he was a bit thrown. We had to wake him up at 3am, he was still sleeping. Then he was in and out on the drive, through security and on the plane. After we got our car in Philly, we had to pull over because he was freaking. Kait nursed for a good 10 minutes then we were able to head home. All day he seemed to be a little more irritable. Maybe it was the sleep disturbances, maybe just the travel, or maybe he still wanted to be traveling like the rest of us did.

More about Boone Hall Plantation, Savannah, and my reflection in tomorrow’s post – Part 3.

Read Part 1: Travel | Charleston, SC | Part 1 of 3: Baby’s First Flight

Read Part 3: TRAVEL | Charleston, SC (and a day trip to Savannah, GA) —  PART 3 – My Reflection

 

First time flight tips with a Newborn Baby:

  • Children under 2 fly for free if on a lap
  • Car seats and strollers get checked for free – kait carries him in a wrap, seamless, so we checked them at the ticket counter, but can also carry them through to have them checked at the gate, but get a tag at the ticket/baggage check counter
    • Get a stroller bag to protect
  • Buckling newborn car seat into car without the snap in bottom attachment is super easy
  • Call the airline when book tickets to let them know you will have a baby so they will attach them with one of the parents
  • American Airlines does not do pre-boarding for parents, as far as I read and we experienced. But may be able to ask the workers at the gate if feel it’s needed
  • Guava Travel Crib – it fits in the overhead bin so it can be a carry-on item
  • If you are not used to going out to eat with a baby yet – don’t be afraid of it!
    • Bring a stroller, car seat, carrier, be prepared to hold your baby too
  • Give yourself more time, for everything!
  • Keep your plans loose because you’ll never know exactly what is going to happen, and what your child will need – so stay flexible!

Our Itinerary:

Day 1 – Saturday:

  • Arrived in Charleston ~10:40
  • Coffee to go at Caviar and Bananas
  • Walked up and down King Street down as far as Queen Street
  • Ate late lunch at 82 Queen
    • Food was pretty good 
    • Everyone else enjoyed their food more than me
    • cool outside atmosphere
    • Southern cuisine
  • Xiao Bao Biscuit
    • Dinner
    • They do not take reservations
    • Asian – intense flavors, salt heavy, and packs some heat
    • I loved this place – chill, hipster vibe in an old gas station
    • I Recommend!

Day 2 – Sunday:

  • Early wake-up – walk to Walgreens to get laundry detergent for Weston’s diapers
  • Tried to find coffee – very challenging – got some at Five Loaves Cafe Juice Bar
  • Drove to the Shem Creek Park
    • Walked the board walk
  • Brunch at Tavern and Table
    • Pretty good, best to make reservations and sit outside on the deck, much cooler vibe
    • Southern menu
  • Drove to Sullivan’s Island
    • Walk on the beach
    • Drove around the Island a little
    • Recommendation: Go to station 18 to see the great jungle-like area (it’s short and small, so don’t expect anything too spectacular) – but the beach is great down there. Chill and not crowded. Remember, no lifeguards. 
  • Dinner at Indaco
    • made reservations, recommended especially with a baby
    • If have a baby, let them know when you make reservations – stroller or not – it’s helpful
    • Italian
    • Excellent food and service – good vibes
    • Expensive
    • I Recommend!
  • Ice cream at Jeni’s
    • Yes, I Recommend!

Day 3 – Monday:

  • Drove to Savannah – 2 hours each way
    • Easy drive
    • Walked to Forsyth Park
  • Lunch at Husk Savannah
    • Very good, everything we ate was perfectly executed – menu didn’t blow me away, a little boring – but very good
    • Southern
  • Old Town Trolley Tours
    • Recommend
  • Would have walked around more if we had more time or more days
    • Would do more tours, explore restaurants and down by the river, more squares
  • HIGHLY recommend visiting Savannah for 3 days or so

Day 4 –  Tuesday:

  • Millers All Day – breakfast
    • Southern Cuisine – open 7am-3 or 4pm
    • Same menu all day (though they can’t serve liquor until after 10am)
    • Casual – good vibes
    • great breakfast, Midcentury modern digs (my fav), old pharmacy, super nice people 
    • I Recommend!
  • Boone Hall Plantation
    • Beautiful, sad, interesting
    • Recommend taking a few hours to go to this plantation or another one
    • I Recommend!
  • Walk around South of Broad
    • Beautiful homes
    • I Recommend!
  • The Grocery
    • Dinner
    • Excellent – Food, Service, and vibe
    • Probably my favorite (along with Indaco, Millers All Day, and Xiao Boa Biscuit)
    • I Recommend!
  • Ice cream at Jeni’s
    • Yes, I Recommend!

 

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