For New Year’s Eve I felt like Anthony Bourdain from The Layover. Starting off early with a local cup o’ joe at Collective Coffee. The locals love this little spot. Not only can they brew a tasty cuppa, they serve great breakfast. I didn’t eat anything because I was under a time crunch with for meeting the girls, but I saw the faces of many a breakfast eater when I was there. Lovin it!
As I raced back to the Air BnB apartment, which was wonderful, I saw another shopping area. Well wouldn’t you know, it turned out to be more than just shops. It was a neighborhood built in the late 90’s called I’ON. I made a note to self to bring the girls back to see this idyllic neighborhood and its million dollar homes, its shops, and placid ponds.
We wanted to start our hike a bit early, but parts of the Francis Marion Park was closed, thus causing us to get lost. So much for the early hiking plans. After quizzing the local post office patrons and a bait-and-tackle gas station clerk, we found The Palmetto Trail Head. The trail was created by the locals in the late 90’s, and it spans over 40 miles. I’m in shape, but not that good of shape.
A beautiful Palmetto Palm Tree at the beginning of the trail head.
Of course I had to bring the little kid out. Who doesn’t try to climb this baby!
As we walked through the pines and palmetto forest I noticed that we were walking along side a lake. It reminded me of the Serengeti in Africa with its high golden grass in the middle and trees along the edge line. Beautiful and eerie at the same time. The breeze was whistling through the tall trees and then swooped down swiftly through the tall grass. It briefly reminded me of that scene in The Ghost and The Darkness when Michael Douglas was peering into the tall grass looking for the signs of the lions that were hunting him. I know, I know I have some imagination. Reel it in Portia!
Girlfriend was tired!
We hiked for 3 hours and realized…”We’re hungry!” Time to go! We grabbed a quick bite. Then headed to I’ON.
The Community of I’ON
For the New Year’s celebration we decided to bypass all the expensive parties on the ships, in bars, and lounges in downtown Charleston. Instead, we drove 30 minutes southeast to Folly Beach where they had the Flip Flop Drop. It’s like a much smaller version of the ball drop in Times Square except with a gargantuan pair of red flip flops that dropped in the middle of the quaint seaside town.
It was early yet so we hunkered down for a few hours at St. James Gate, a local Irish Bar to get out of the cold drizzle until the flops dropped.
As the hour got closer to midnight the locals started rushing in to hydrate with a little local ale and something stronger, and to be seen in their most festive outfits.
With awaited time just minutes away we walked outside for ‘the drop’! The streets were packed with the red flip flops dangling above us waiting to come down. …3,2,1 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
“We’re not done yet!”, I said. We didn’t want to be trapped on the island with only one way in and out. So we got out of there, and raced back through Charleston, over the bridge, and into our new favorite neighborhood, I’ON and its local pub O’brian’s. If you want to meet down home, unpretentious, fun people, O’brian’s Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasants, SC is the place. Wrapping up our festivities there was perfect! I will go back, stay at the same Air BnB again, and visit my new friends in I’ON of Mt. Pleasants.
Happy New Years everyone!