I had read about the Boone Hall Plantation before my first trip to Charleston last year, and was dying to see their famous Avenue of the Oaks. (Boone Hall is also known for its role in the movie The Notebook (Allie’s family’s summer house) and as the site of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ wedding.) I wasn’t able to get out there that time, but this time around I was determined not to miss it. We headed out to the plantation on what we thought was our last morning in Charleston (until Delta cancelled our flight that afternoon and rebooked us the NEXT DAY, after we had already checked out of our hotel – more on that later). We turned down the driveway and were mesmerized by the almost mile long approach to the house lined on either side by massive oak trees draped in spanish moss. The parking lot was just to the right of the main house once you got to the end of the drive, so as soon as we parked I wanted to head back to the Avenue of the Oaks for a few pictures. It was seriously so stunning in person, and felt very quintessentially southern.
There was a bench right in front of one of the big live oaks that looked out at a paddock full of horses, and Declan sat down and called us over. When I sat down on the bench with Arabella, Declan put his head in my lap and just snuggled in as if ready to take a nap. Bella had just seen the horses at that moment and started pointing and making her click-clack horse sound excitedly. I am so glad Chris captured this photo, because sitting there with my two babies like that (especially with Declan all cuddly) was honestly just heaven. It only lasted for about 30 seconds, but it was awesome while it did and looking back on this photo makes me so happy.
After that short-lived blissful moment, both kids were on the move again. Declan went in search of sticks and Bella made a beeline strait to the edge of the horse paddock. It is so cute how she gets so excited about horses and dogs – such a little animal lover. She kept pointing at the horses and looking back at me while making her horsey sounds, then looking back and pointing some more, as if she wanted to make sure I was seeing them too. I bent down to be near her and she was so happy about the horses she wanted to hold hands and give me kisses. Again, topping my mommy moments chart (so far Boone Hall was the best place ever).
I bought this little bubble romper for Bella right before we left on the trip, originally planning to save it for Easter, but it was so cute I decided to put her in it immediately. I love the flower appliques on the collar and thought it had the cutest shape, plus the seersucker was lightweight and perfect for the hot southern humidity.
After watching the horses a bit more and climbing the fence a few (dozen) times we decided to head back down the oak-lined lane to get the car.
We didn’t have time to do the tours of the main house or the rest of the plantation (we thought we were flying out that afternoon), but I wish we had been able to learn more about the history of this gorgeous place. Good excuse for us to go back sometime. 🙂
We rushed back to the hotel, changed into our plane clothes, packed up, checked out, and drove back to the airport/rental car return. As we were about to pull up to the car return I checked my email and saw that our flight back to NYC had been canceled and we were rebooked on a flight the following day at 12:15pm! For a second we were just in shock, and then realized that we needed to find a place to sleep that night. We loved The Dewberry, but the day we checked out was the start of some big conference they were hosting and their restaurant was closed down for private events, so we decided to try our luck at another hotel. On my last visit to Charleston I had stayed at The Restoration and loved it, so I gave them a call. They said that they only had a 2 BR suite available (perfect!) and because it was the day of they knocked a decent chunk off the nightly rate (even more perfect!). My next call was to the car rental agency to extend our car rental by a day. As we drove back to town both kids passed out in the car. One rule of traveling with kids: Cherish the car naps! I grabbed some iced coffees for us and we drove around town for about an hour, exploring parts we hadn’t had a chance to walk through and admiring all the gorgeous architecture. Eventually, we pulled up to The Restoration to check in (they also have valet parking onsite which was great). When we walked into our room we were FLOORED. It was basically a fabulous NYC loft transplanted to a lovely hotel in Charleston. 2 huge bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a massive open concept living room/dining room/kitchen area with a patio off one side, 14+ ft ceilings – just insane (iPhone pic below of the living room).
We enjoyed our last Charleston dinner at The Watch, the rooftop restaurant/bar at the hotel. While we were eating, it started pouring rain, but 20 minutes later the storm had passed and revealed the most gorgeous rainbow. St. Patrick’s Day had been about a week before our trip so Declan still had leprechaun’s top of mind. He saw the rainbow and immediately wanted to go find the leprechaun and his pot of gold (or as he put it, his “tweasure”). 🙂
Having separate rooms (and a kitchen!) when traveling with kids makes everything so much easier. Chris and I put the kids to bed and then were able to hang out in the living room, have some wine, and actually TALK to each other. It was awesome, and the best way to end a truly wonderful trip. We really loved our time in Charleston and I am already looking forward to our next trip back.