Memorial Day weekend is one of the three summer holidays we spend the other 49 weekends looking forward to. A close second to the Fourth of July, it marks the beginning of a season non-Charlestonians think we make up. One look at my favorite social platform and you would chalk this four-day weekend up to an epic case of Pretendstagram. Which is why I think the only way to break it down is to the tune of country music- the most authentic storytellers we know.
Our Jamaican staycation started right here. The Thursday before Celebration Nation weekend is always a tough one. The sun truly is hot, and that clock is absolutely moving as slow as I am. Daydreams of the next four days pranced in our heads and by half past twelve we were avoiding the “What would Jimmy buffet do?” thought process. Don’t worry; we kept it between the navigational beacons until it was 5:00 here.
Pedicabs. The best transportation in Charleston. Especially when your wearing evening gowns and arriving at the S.C. Aquarium for a fun filled night. The open-air factor is ideal for burning down the night & shooting bullets at the moon. So, this is how we roll.
The days are getting’ long and we waited all winter for the time to be right…for Charleston Water Keeper’s Fifth Annual Waterball– a fundraising event we look forward to every year. Because who doesn’t love a six-piece reggae band, a glass tank of tropical fish at the Aquarium and a drink called “The Keeper” that is rightfully named for a tendency to keep ordering it? Down by the (Ashley) River in the full moon light, we all fell in love in the middle of the night. (And not just with Natalie’s grad-school-aquaintence cutie taking my ticket). Between the Cobblestone Diaries initiated dance party, about 500 pictures in the photo booth and a quick hello to our favorite lemurs, these memories are hook, line and sink some of our favorites.
Trio is an old bar with a new idea: exclusivity. We met Elliott Kennedy (with her key) about the time all the parties on the streets were talking and the storefront mannequins were sleeping in lights. We drank out of the plastic aquarium cups in evening gown attire, put in DJ requests and made new friends well after midnight- there was no pumpkin time for these Cinderellas.
Friday some of us had the day off. So while Kleckley, Jenni and Porter reported for their 9-5’s; Natalie and I were just a summertime strolling at our favorite Sullivan’s station. Nothing like a little sunshine and sand to make sure we don’t worry and remember to be happy.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter, we fell in love with the Avett Brothers. Saturday’s shenanigans were the highlight of my Memorial Day weekend. We came packing for the First Flush FesTEAval at the Charleston Tea Plantation in Wadamalaw. There is nothing quite like enduring 93 degree heat with 8,000 of your “closest friends” to remind you of the extent we go to for a good show.
Once at the festival, our group of 9 picked a spot based on the amount of shade the VIP tent would produce as the sun set. (decisions like these are best made with a “what would my Eagle Scout father do?” perspective) We then proceeded to become friendly with our neighbors (and their 6 children under the age of 6). We also found ourselves ruining the VIP tent’s black tie affair (note to FesTEAval: don’t place all 200 of the port-o-potties on one side of the event. This will cause people in lower places to become creative with attempts to enter the VIP tent for the facilities.)
There is nothing more American than a tea plantation overflowing with people from all walks of life on Memorial Day Saturday. Especially with that guy from Stoplight Observations rocking a pair of overalls and an American Flag bandana. You know everywhere has something’ they’re known for, and in Charleston this is just another American Saturday Night.
Something about a front row seat to the Avett Brothers with Kleckley by your side and Porter + Natalie singing every word behind you makes you feel like it is okay to dream. Every note just wraps around your soul. And in this case, every note packed into the two hour set was a total dream come true. A VIP backstage tour brought to me by Natalie’s wing woman skills, had me completely convinced that some dreams keep on getting better and you gotta keep believing if you wanna know for sure.
We grew up good; we grew up slow- like American Honey. One of my favorite childhood memories is watching Top Gun for the first time with my Dad. And, boy, was this movie calling’ out my name like a long lost friend as Porter, Kleckley, Natalie and I patriotically recuperated from the festival on Sunday morning. There is nothing sweeter than summertime and a Maverick + Goose team, right? Volleyball scene? Enough said.
Sunday afternoon’s beach session went a little something like this:
Mind on a permanent vacation,
The ocean is my only medication,
Wishing my condition ain’t ever gonna go away .
Cause now I’m knee deep in the water somewhere,
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair,
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair?
This leads us right into the main event. The bus left early (by Cobblestone time zone) to the beach for Memorial Day Monday. It is always bumper-to-bumper when we hit that road to Sullivan’s. Since Natalie woke up on our couch, Porter and I proceeded to pack the most well planned beach bags known to beach-goer history: Tunes. Check. Water. Check. Snacks. Check. Towels & Chairs. Check. Is that lemonade or Lime-a-rita? Check.
And our car ride was even more successful: Windows down. Check. Tunes way up. Check. Ravenel Bridge. Check. Rutledge Morris sighting. Check.
After a two-hour effort to make it on the beach, we were sitting pretty in suntan city with the best view in the world for the rest of the day.
Sun kissed and happy, an end-of-weekend meal left us to the Cobblestone Diaries pre-dinner routine. One round of “I am thankful for…” and a strict no-cell-phone policy later, we reflected on the incredible weekend we shared. Add in a killer Charleston sunset, an acoustic cover of “Brown Eyed Girl” and a blue moon + orange slice, and I was absolutely thanking my lucky stars to be living here today. As for Cobblestone, we could not be more thankful for the freedom we have from the shore of our shining sea.