Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Anniversary Story {in which I am a pretentious know-it-all towards all things Charleston}

Recently, Andrew and I celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary. Since we've been in the South, I've been begging to go to Charleston. I seem to have some romanticized notion of Charleston that may stem from Scarlett O'Hara, or country music, or my feelings that South Carolina is like the California of the South. Thankfully, Andrew doesn't have romanticized notions about anything in life and definitely not about cities he's never been to, so he let me navigate the weekend celebration.

While there are many things to do in Charleston, somehow I got it into my head that I really wanted to visit a plantation (that is a southern thing to do, right?). So I found the oldest and largest plantation that South Carolina had to offer, and Andrew and I started our anniversary bash with a trip to Magnolia Plantation.

All seemed impressive enough. There were large mansions:

Some famously photographed bridges:

And even some friendly Flannery O'Connor peacocks:

Things went a bit south for me (punnn), though, when we decided to take a trolley ride around the premises. It seemed innocent enough. We were happy. Someone had given Andrew a green sticker. And it was only 95 degrees instead of 105:

But...I'm not sure where I missed the memo that this entire plantation is built on a swamp:

And by entire plantation I mean most of the South. There was a little too much of this:

And a little more of this:

And a bajillion of these. There were seriously the biggest banana spiders, an arms length away, on every single tree we passed. This caused a rather large case of immediate onset PTSD (Post Traumatic Spider Disorder) in which I basically started to, in the words of Andrew, "freak out."  I then copped some type of, to use a southern word, "ugly" attitude (as in, "I wanted the guests to leave my house, but I could never be ugly to them").

I thus felt it necessary to share the following advice with Mr. Tour Guide Trolley Man: calling them "Golden Silk Spiders" for their "golden" webs does not make me think they are pretty or valuable. 

The spiders, coupled with the heat, tripled with the alligators and quadrupled with the gnats, led to a minor nervous breakdown.

But like any childlike tantrum, my attitude was pacified by diversion. So we left Spider Farms to go see the final Harry Potter installment. I thought this would be a good idea, but then I remembered why I haven't gone to see the movie yet: Because once I did, I would have nothing to live for. Ever again. Except maybe this.

I need you, Peter Jackson. Now more than ever.

Finally, on our way home, we stopped at a little roadside stand to try some boiled peanuts (this has been on my southern to-do list for awhile). Unfortunately, where I come from, "boiled" means you do in fact eat the product that has been boiled. Thus I tried to eat the whole thing, shell and all, which was a bit like chewing on a stick, before choking violently and being informed matter-of-factly by the store owner that you do indeed have to peel boiled peanuts.

My advice to Roadside Cider Ma'am: Maybe you should have a sign with instructions? Not all of us know how to eat boiled peanuts. Or jambalaya or low-country boil for that matter. 

In the end, though, I feel I owe Charleston an apology. While the hostile wildlife and tree-bark-eating experience made me feel unwelcome, the locals should be respected for their knowledge of arachnids and legumes, and my husband should be allowed to enjoy a swamp vacation if he so desires.

And on my end, I did receive two of the best lattes ever (complete with organic milk from glass bottles), and I am easily persuaded by all things coffee. So I think we can call it even.


Karyn said...

Whoa, a real swamp! Cool adventure.

SarahJohnson27 said...

Karyn, I can't believe you didn't comment on the bird that was pictured...have you overcome your fears?

lyndsey said...

Good point, Sarah. I doubt she even read that part.

Karyn said...

Lol. I didn't comment because Joel and his dad "cured" me of my fears by looking down their big Italian noses at me. It worked! Sort of. Slash I resented you for putting those pics in, Lynds.

Unknown said...

Lyndsey! We visited the set of the Hobbit a week before filming, in New Zealand with Amanda. We saw Bag End and walked the paths by each home. I'm pretty sure we mentioned how much you would have been freaking out.