I had an amazing time last year, but this year was better. Sure, it was missing some of my very favorite people (TOO MANY of them)(Lacey! Heather! Lara! Carla! Shalini! Megan! Susie! Erica! Emily! I could go on and on), but I feel like the smaller group was so much easier to navigate. I had a meaningful conversation with almost everyone this year. Last year felt like there just wasn't enough time to get to know people, enough time to relax, enough time to sleep. Too many activities, too much noise. It was all a little bit stressful, to the point that I bailed out of Saturday dinner early due to a pounding headache. This year was 100% stress free.
And how crazy is it that you can get that many people together and feel like you would be real life friends with EVERY LAST ONE of them if we all lived in the same city? This really was a great group, even though it was incomplete. I left with phone numbers, drunken roomie promises, brand new friendships, and deeper existing friendships. We laughed, we cried, we sat in salami (or at least one of us did). It was great. [Note: I'm not going to link to every last person this year, go here to see who I'm talking about.]
The weekend started on Thursday with flying to Atlanta, meeting up with Tara D, flying to Charlotte, and driving to Charleston. It saved us money, but I mostly did it to get to know Tara better. She is just how I pictured her - super sweet, intelligent, passionate. All of the things I look for in a friend and a road trip buddy.
We got in to Charleston, dropped our bags, and headed out to Social Wine Bar to meet the group. I took no photos, which is sad because the swordfish and the chocolate toffee cake were amazing. As was my company - I ate with Ginger, Sonya, Ashley, and Tara G. I was SO EXCITED to finally get to spend more time with Ginger, since this is our third gathering and we didn't really get to know each other the last two times. We nailed it this time though! And Ashley and I were called sluts in the bathroom, which was an unexpectedly amusing icebreaker.
Then about half the group met up at Henry's House for drinks on a roof. Again, no pictures. It was nice but I was definitely getting tired by that point.
Friday morning began with breakfast at Eli's table. I STILL didn't take a single picture, oops (pic below courtesy of Jessica). I had already met Noemi, April, Sarah, and Hillary before, so it was nice just sitting around and playing catch up without the pressure of meeting new people. I ate shrimp and grits, since that's what Charleston is known for. It was delicious. As were the bottomless mimosas.
Jessica, Sonya, Ginger, and I tried to find a place to get massages, but apparently it's a big wedding weekend and everywhere was booked. We met up with a bunch of other people at the Charleston City Market instead.
Then a bunch of us hung out by the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina pool and it was glorious. There was plenty of time between pool and dinner to relax in the room, which is something I kept forgetting to do last year. Jessica, April (my roomies!) and I read / napped chatted / played on our phones for a couple of hours before getting ready. I finished Fangirl and LOVED it (aside from the ending). Thanks, Shalini!!!
So I choose to accept that it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship as opposed to a horrifyingly embarrassing incident. After that we enjoyed some adult beverages in the bar:
|Love these girls! Turns out Drunk People are My People.|
The next morning it was a little rough getting up for Jen's beach yoga session, but I was SUPER excited for it so there was no stopping me.
A bunch of us crammed on the trolley and then headed off to breakfast at the Vendue Inn. I don't think I had a single bad meal in Charleston; the Maryland style eggs benedict was delicious. Mmmm crabcakes.
This group decided to do a self-guided walking tour of the city:
|Jenna, Hillary, Jen, Sarah, Michelle, Sara, Me, April, Jessica, Elsha, Kori. Love these girls too!|
|Harbor, Cobblestones, Rainbow Row, the wall|
|Loved the Halloween decorations - the witch hat was HUGE!|
|Battery Park area|
The last event for me was bowling at The Alley (Tara and I had to drive back early). It was fun, but it ended WAY TOO FAST. I felt like one second we were bowling, and the next people were crying in the parking lot. It didn't even occur to me that the night was over until it WAS and there were tons of people I didn't get to say goodbye to. Thankfully the late night crew kept drinking so I did get to say SOME goodbyes, but seriously, it all ended too soon.
I'll miss you, Charleston! And goodbye, all of my wonderful internet friends! Until next year :)