Good morning to you! I’m back at work and dreaming of the 6 consecutive days that I slept in. It was GLORIOUS. I’ve been thinking about the best way to blog about our trip, and I think the chronological path is the way to go. With that being said, let’s dive in…
(Please keep in mind that I am no photographer, and you’re getting a mix of iPhone and camera images. It may take time for all photos to load.)
We began our trip to Charlotte, NC on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. My goal was to be on the road by 4, but of course things never go as planned. And, since it was a trip designed for relaxation I tried to not let it bother me. There was a good reason for our delayed departure (hopefully I can post those details later), but regardless, we were so excited to start our trip!
We stopped for gas and a bite to eat for the hubby and set off toward Charlotte. Our goal was to drive as far as we could on Tuesday. Once we crossed into Kentucky we were feeling sleepy. We passed through Paducah on accident and I knew there were nearby exits so it was NBD. Wrong! It was a big deal. We drove two more hours because all the decent hotels were booked. Ridiculous!
We ended up staying the night in Clarksville, TN and were back on the road just before lunch on Wednesday.
Wednesday was a beautiful driving day. We had patches of sun, clouds, rain, rainbows… we had it all! The Smoky Mountains were gorgeously green and the rivers and lakes we passed over were beautiful. We crossed over into Asheville, NC and started looking for a dinner spot.
Because I am obsessed with On The Border, we had made a point to get Mexican at least once on our trip. We found a OTB restaurant in northern Charlotte and grabbed dinner. Then we headed to our hotel for the night.
We stayed at the Charlotte Center City Hotel Wednesday-Friday nights. Here’s where it gets interesting… Center City is basically Sheridan. There was no Center City sign or any signage inside for that matter. Also, they are building an adjoining hotel, Le Meridan, next to the Sheridan. It was all very confusing. It didn’t matter though! This was the most gorgeous hotel that I’ve ever stayed in. Fancy, fancy, fancy! The staff was polite and friendly, the modern decor was on point, and the view of downtown Charlotte was priceless.
Photo courtesy of Google Images
This was our view from the room. To die for!
Jeremy attended the APTA NEXT Conference during the day and I chilled by the pool. The hotel had four cute cabanas with padded seating and little chandelliers inside! I wanted to work on my tan so I opted for a padded “bed” near the pool. The sun peeked out from the clouds here and there, but all in all it was a super relaxing day.
I picked up Jeremy from the convention center and we headed to dinner. I spent (what seemed like) hours laying by the pool reading restaurant reviews on Yelp (check out my profile here). Jeremy left the decision to me. I chose Mama Ricotta for it’s pasta, fresh salad, and wine.
I’ll start by saying that I loved this place. The service, decor & atmosphere, prices, portions, and flavors were spot on! We each had wine, the goat cheese and mascarpone with marinara app, the family portion of the rigatoni bolognese, and the family size Mama’s salad. It was delicioso! The appetizer was different, cheesy and tomato-y. The salad was incredibly fresh and packed full of veggies and olives. We had the house dressing which was a sweet, creamy vinaigrette. The entree was a huge portion of wide rigatoni covered in their homemade bolognese. So yummy! We had it topped with two healthy dollops of hand-packed ricotta for an extra charge (totally worth it). There definitely was not room for dessert!
Sorry about the photo. I didn’t want to get glares for using flash photography in the restaurant!
We grabbed a glass of wine from the hotel bar and went up to our room to enjoy Game 4 of the NBA Finals. It was the perfect evening!
Another pool day for me! I also spent a large amount of the day watching TV. No shame!
When Jeremy finished at the conference we met up with two of his classmates from college for a local brewery tour and dinner. Here’s a photo of Jeremy and the Meyer’s presenting their research at the conference.
The Meyers, and Jeremy presenting their research.
He’s not a fan of selfies.
NoDa is a local brewery in the North Davidson district of Charlotte. The tap room at the brewery was bustling with people of all ages, and dogs. Several dogs. Weird. We each grabbed a beer, met up with the Meyers, and lined up for the tour. I had high hopes for the tour that were cut short by expansion construction. We literally stood in the same spot in a smoking hot room learning about how beer is made. I appreciated learning about the process but DAMN, it was hot! When we returned to the tap room I started asking the locals for restaurant recommendations. We were hungry for a burger and heard that Cow Bell was the place to go.
Photo courtesy of Google Images.
This downtown eatery had funky interior decor that I could have stared at during our entire meal. I snapped a photo because we would be eating out on the patio since we didn’t have reservations. I ordered a turkey burger with avocado, yummy garlic aioli, bacon, and more! Jeremy went with a spicy meat burger and loved his meal just as much as I loved mine.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel to relax and experiment with some of the therapy tools Jeremy purchased at the conference. (I suffer from headaches that are sourced from my neck and shoulders. Jeremy picked up two CranioCradles that should be helpful when he is not home to do manual therapy on my neck.)
Jeremy spent the final day of the conference learning about dry needling (ew!) and I went out on the town since we needed to be out of the hotel by noon. I spent some time researching nail salons and picked Modern Nails for a fresh Shellac manicure and pedi. There was no wait for my services and the ladies were friendly and happy to serve me! Not to mention, they were speed demons. I was trying to burn 4 hours waiting on Jeremy to finish, but these girls did not waste a second getting me in and out. They did a great job nonetheless! Lynn, my manicurist, recommended that I go shop at Southpark Mall and I did just that.
I browsed several stores and limited my purchases to a new workout outfit (motivation to get back on track) and a headband. Not too shabby since I had all that time to kill!
I picked up Jeremy from the convention center and we headed out of town, toward Charleston. The three hour drive seemed short! We decided to eat a Shem Creek Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasant, SC (just outside of Charleston). We had a little bit of a wait for a table, but we didn’t mind. The restaurant had a dock bar and plenty of birds and boats to watch as the time passed. Not to mention, Chardonnay. It will get you through anything 🙂
At Shem Creek, we ordered the spinach artichoke dip appetizer with bacon. It was nothing special, but it came out of the kitchen in no time, which eased our growling stomaches. I had been craving a steak, so I ordered the filet mignon. Jeremy is a seafood lover and decided on the snow crab legs boil. He was a happy camper cracking away at his legs!
We left Shem Creek and headed to our hotel in Mt. Pleasant for a night of relaxation. We were upgraded to a King Suite and took advantage of the huge jacuzzi tub!
Beach day – finally! We ate a delicious and entertaining breakfast at the hotel before heading out to the sand and surf. The ladies working the breakfast bar were comical and truly loved serving the guests. I would compare one of the ladies to a very soulful and boisterous Aunt Jemima!
We drove to Isle of Palms, SC and found a public beach. We parked and trekked out to the water. The beach was busy, but not too packed. We set up our towels and began soaking up the sun. We adventured into the water several times to cool off. The water was warm and refreshing each time we took a dip. The sand was light colored, but not white, and was perfectly fine and almost powdery. Not rough at all! One thing I did appreciate about this beach was the lack of seashells. Those boogers can be sharp on your feet!
We spent a few hours on the beach before we decided to grab an ice cream cone and head to Charleston. I wanted to see a few of the sights and grab a quick dinner before we started our trek back to Missouri.
Pizza sounded good to both of us. Trusty Google pointed us in the direction of D’Allesandro’s Pizza (or simply D’Als Pizza) in Charleston. We walked into a loud, eclectic pizza restaurant with a college vibe. We ordered two 10-inch pizzas with salads and were totally pleased with the unique menu and choices. We recommend the Get Gnarly and Public Educator. Yum yum!
The Public Educator: Red Sauce, Cheeses, Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese, Sausage.
Get Gnarly: A take on a white pizza, with garlic base, cheeses, spinach, balsamic chicken, etc.
We drove the coastal road and up and down a few of the streets in Battery Park so I could see the sights. I was dying to take a carriage tour, but we just did not have time.
The open road was calling our name again. We set a goal to make it to Atlanta and that’ s just what we did. We stayed in Douglasville, GA for the night and dined on some Popeyes fried chicken in our hotel room. We were both exhausted from our day in the sun and fell asleep super fast.
Eating fried chicken in bed, check that off the bucket list!
We had a big day of driving ahead and started at 8:30 a.m. (even though we planned to be on the road by 7 a.m., oops!).
Our drive seemed to go by rather quickly and we looked forward to stopping in Memphis for a BBQ lunch. I did a little research and picked out a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives spot near Graceland for our lunch. Marlowe’s was decked out in Elvis memorabilia, including records on the walls, photos galore, Viva Las Vegas playing on the wall-mounted TVs, and Elvis music blaring from the speakers. It was a true Memphis experience!
We ordered our food and were served full plates of BBQ in no time. I had the BBQ pork sandwich, with beans and fried okra. Jeremy ordered beef brisket and pork ribs with sides of fries and okra. This food was good. Really good. The best thing I ate were Jeremy’s ribs. They were easily the best tasting ribs I have ever had! The meat was perfectly smokey and the combo of the rub and sauce were just enough, not too much. We would definitely recommend Marlowe’s to anyone passing through or visiting Memphis. They even offer free shuttle service to local hotels in their pink Cadillacs! How cool is that?
The rest of our drive went fairly quickly and we made it home by 8 p.m. We managed to keep our luggage, snacks, and bags pretty organized so unpacking the car was a breeze.
It is crazy to think that we have traveled so much in our second year of marriage – mostly due to Jeremy’s clinical rotations – but we are so lucky to have the experiences. We are already talking about when and where we can take our next adventure.
If you’ve made it this far down in the post, congratulations! I know it’s a long one. Thanks for sticking with me! Feel free to comment below and give us some ideas on where to travel next!