Sunday, August 14, 2011

Charleston: the Drive, the Accomodations, the Shopping



The Drive
We began our trip to South Carolina at 11:30pm Friday night because we had to check into our Charleston accommodations by Saturday evening.

My husband had napped so he was well rested for the first shift. I had no problem sleeping in the car until he woke me at 3:30am in Pennsylvania to take over the driving.

I found the driving a little stressful because it was so dark but things improved considerably when he pointed out that my headlights weren’t on…Luckily, I hadn’t left the parking lot yet.

There was hardly any traffic but a lot of curves in the road which made it a tad disconcerting in the darkness.

We continued to trade off driving shifts, (ok, he did most of the driving). We travelled through West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, only stopping to fill up on gas and go for breakfast at McDonalds. We finally arrived to our accommodations in Mount Pleasant (Charleston) after 18 hours.

TIP: Before leaving, we filled an extra portable gas tank, just in case we ran low in the middle of the night or in an area without gas stations.

The Accomodations

We were delighted with our accommodations. Although this place is in Mount Pleasant, it’s only a 10 minute drive over the bridge into the heart of Charleston.

At $560 a week, Sandpiper Village is a great value. Although it’s a retirement residence, younger people can rent for a week or two. The two bedroom units are clean and spacious consisting of bedrooms with a livingroom and kitchen in between. Each bedroom has its own bathroom and all cottages have WIFI but no telephones. Units are outfitted with a number of small touches (railings, larger doors etc) perfect for seniors. There is also a recreation area with a swimming pool.

The residents are very friendly as is the staff.

We found this place on Homeaway.com but it’s also listed on vrbo.com. We would happily stay here again. The resort contact is Beth Jacobs at (843)884-5735.

The Shopping

Even after checking out Tanger Outlet Mall, I’m not seeing the cross-border deals that I used to see. Prices are pretty well the same as when I shop the outlet malls in Ontario. The main thing that I found a difference in is books. Despite the fact that the Canadian dollar is higher than the US dollar, prices listed on books are still generally more expensive in Canada.

Where shopping gets interesting is at stores not available in Canada. I love Trader Joes. Besides having many of their own healthy food products, they also had a good selection of $2.99 bottles of Charles Shaw wine, (many choices of white and red). I’m not sure if this is fact or urban legend but I heard the story behind the low price is that in the divorce settlement between Trader Joe and his wife, she won the proceeds from his winery so he priced his wine as low as possible. Urban legend or not, the price is right and the wine is actually quite good.

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