If you are a golfer, Charleston, South Carolina is the best city to visit. Or at least, you can claim it is your favorite city if you stay at Kiawah Island Resort, and play ninety-nine holes of golf in a long weekend. Out of a group of three couples on a golf/beach vacation, the husbands swear it was an enriching weekend and that they would eagerly return to Charleston. Then again, their tour of Charleston was seeing the developed pictures and hearing our travel tales at dinnertime. In turn, the ladies got to hear and re-live magic moments on the golf course, along with a re-enactment of alligator encounters.
So, plan a long weekend to tour Charleston, South Carolina, and pack your clubs for monster rounds of golf. Kiawah Island Resort is a short drive from Charleston and is located on 10,000 acres of semi-tropical maritime marsh wilderness. Wide Atlantic private beachfront gives plenty of room for vacationers to sail, surf, sun, or stroll along the dunes. Four golf courses await the sportsmen in your group.
Charleston is a walking town, or should I say strolling. The languid heat and humidity slows the momentum, and you find yourself keeping pace with the horse and buggy tours. You glide as if you are wearing hoop skirts and carrying a parasol. Home tours abound, so get a ticket and visit glorious architecture built in the 1800’s. The Nathanial Russell House, the Edmonston-Alston House, and the Aiken-Rhett Mansion are a few of the choices. Be sure to chat with the docents, who are filled with historic tid-bits and are eager to share vignettes of the Old South. They are proud of their city and wish to share its charm.
After a day of touring, come back to Kiawah for a dip in the ocean and a seafood dinner. One fellow in our group had a bucket plunked in front of him for his meal. Any one of us could have gathered this collection of shellfish two steps from our patios. Gnarly looking shells yielded fresh meat and he slurped, pried open shells, and clunked his way through the meal. We swear he worked up an appetite eating his dinner. The best part of the meal was the alligator golf tales.
Apparently, the alligators have the right of way on Kiawah Island, and the golf course is no exception. Signs showing general expected alligator locations serve as warning to those who choose to tee off for the day. On one hole, an alligator was hanging out, observing the action. Tee off required a turned back to the gator. Not taking any chances, our gang took turns spotting the big guy, while the golfer quickly took his swing. Understandably, there was a lot of hooking (and cursing) on that hole. Needless to say, as the years have passed, the underlying tone of danger has increased in the story telling. If you visit, Kiawah, give the gator our regards. I’m sure he will give a wide toothy yawn in return.
Another day breaks, and plantations await. Take a step back into time and marvel at the size of the magnolia trees lining the approaches to these glorious homes. Boone Hall Plantation, Magnolia Plantation, and Drayton Hall offer American history and architecture lessons. Be sure to bring something to fan yourself. Thinking of the clothing in the 1800s makes you sweat. Looking out over the Ashley River from these plantations, you can appreciate the preservation efforts. You also desire a mint julep on the veranda. The South Carolina heat can be draining, so head back to the Kiawah beach and the lounge chair awaiting you.
Share stories at dinner. The guys love Charleston. They are delighted to hear plantation tales. Yeah, right – more alligator tales fill the air. A miss-shot ball plops into some marshy water. Ready to reach in and retrieve his ball, my husband realizes it is in a nest of baby alligators. They have claimed their new prize and are not giving it up. A lot of balls are left in the marshes of Kiawah, and the golfers stride away with all legs and arms intact.
The long weekend flies by far too quickly. Ninety-nine holes of golf were played – a group record for this crew of part-time hackers and whackers. Charleston, South Carolina is a charming city, full of history at every turn of the road. Enjoy a long weekend with friends. Everyone will agree it was an excellent vacation.