A few weeks ago I took a weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina. The Candyman’s aunt put together a “Cousin’s Retreat” for the Ladies Only. It had been a loooong time since I’d shared a bathroom with that many females….
It was a wonderful experience getting to know these women from two generations, most of whom I’d never met before, who I was now (if not remotely) related to. How strange is that? A single ceremony suddenly creates this whole new family that never existed before, the dynamics of which a new bride (or groom, for that matter) must navigate, and sometimes blindly. I had lots of reservations heading into the weekend. Would my potty mouth get the best of me in front of a slew of born and bred Southern Ladies? Would I be required to sit on a porch and drink Mint Julep’s? Not that I’d mind sitting and sipping, but you know, I wanted to be prepared. Were my Low Country adventures that same as theirs? Do we shuck oysters the same? Are boiled peanuts considered gauche by Charlestonians standards? Would I show my ass to these nice people who welcomed me into their lives and homes?
I hoped not.
I learned a lot about my husband’s family: they shared childhood photos and stories a-plenty. When The Candyman and I first started dating, I was a bit shocked at how well he dealt with me and my general surliness. I am still shocked by this. He told me then that he had “lots of strong women” in his family. Boy howdy, he wasn’t kidding! His aunts and gaggle of female cousins all fit into this “Strong Women” mold. I honestly can’t remember a time where I have sat around with such a variety of women, backgrounds and experiences and had such great conversations. Oh wait, yes I can. It was That Really Cool Thing. My bad. But seriously, it was so cool. The political representations were clearly divided in both young and old, yet our end goals and objectives always led us back to the same place. Is that a female thing? All the women there were highly educated and it made for thoughtful conversation. Me likey.
Our activities ranged from sitting around the breakfast table in our jammies sipping coffee and gabbing (until well into the morning) to watching the Citadel Knobs become fully recognized cadets. It was a mixed bag of activities, but they all seemed to end with several empty bottles of wine and slow, easy feeling of contentment. One of The Candyman’s first cousins lives locally and opened her lovely home to the festivities. And when I say “lovely home” I mean, a “holy shit” kind of house. I have fantasized about this house. I didn’t know the house actually belonged to anyone except to the house-I-want-to-live-in fantasy movie that plays in my head sometimes. (I know you have them too, don’t deny it.) I’ve dreamed of big, ol’ trees, dripping with Spanish moss (check), a long dock that leads out to a marshy inlet (check), a screened in porch (check), rocking chairs (check), a garden (check) and all the niceties one might want for a home (check, check, check).
Only in the South, I swear. The Garden & Gun Club, downtown Charleston.
A very rigid cadet, about to scream his brains out to a legion of “Knobs.”
A church in downtown Charleston.
A very cool chair I found for sale. It was only like, $800. Pa-lease! This is a DIY chair made in HEAVEN!
The following pictures tell the story of the outside of my fantasy house.
We spent a sunset here with a nice bottle/s of wine.
Because who couldn’t use a fountain?
Saltwater pool = cool.
It’s like an invitation home.
One of The Candyman’s aunts.
AH-mazing, right? Check out some shots from the inside (below). We had brunch there our first morning and I took some shots of our incredible table setting, the yummy cheese grits (with LUMPS of gouda cheese…) and everything in between! A word of warning: the homeowners are hunters. The “game” room is literally, just that – their hunted game. The family realizes that hunting is not for everyone and warned us of the room from the start (which I thought was very nice). So if you’re an animal activist, pleas skip the remaining pictures. I felt they made interesting photography subjects myself.
In the billiards room.
How Southern does it get? A little North vs. South chess set!
I really thought the wall paper was kick-ass.
OhmygodItotallyfantastizeaboutthis. It’s the “second kitchen.”Yes, that’s right. Industrial sized everything, for your serious parties. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to steal the 8-eye gas range. Any ideas?
This reminds me of a Disney movie for some reason.
Pretty pretty tablescape!
What the fuck is this?
The bathroom off the work-out room. Please note the massage table in the mirror reflection. Nice…
Private whirlpool-style tub with a lovely, private view.
I have no idea what this thing is either.
A random hallway.
So this post brings to mind two questions. I’m assimilating to a new family albeit very slowly. Much thought wasn’t put into this when we got engaged. I mean, we talked about our family differences, but not how to become part of them. I definitely think there are some families that need to discuss how to manage certain members before the knot is tied. What kinds of talks are you having? Are these tough talks or easy ones? Is there a sense of trial by fire (how we did it) or is there a plan of action? Do tell.
The second question is this: Are these pictures too obnoxiously big? I like to keep the same width for consistency’s sake, but is it a pain in the ass to scroll down a ton? Myself? I prefer large pictures on a blog. I want clarity and details. but sometimes scrolling annoys me.
Weigh in on either or both questions, will ya?