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Serendipity on the Road

Suppose, hypothetically, that despite your best efforts (and much angst, as might have been documented here) to fly directly from Washington, DC to Savannah, the only solution the Universe offers you is to fly into Charleston and drive to Hilton Head. With the aggravation of the booking process behind you, what’s an intrepid traveler to do?

For starters, make a short detour into Charleston for lunch. Perhaps you might indulge in some truly righteous shrimp and grits at Hominy Grill, a classy Southern restaurant with big city bonafides; The Washington Post’s restaurant critic gave it a rave review in his selection of Charleston as one of the country’s best food cities. You’ll know you’re in South Carolina when they bring you boiled peanuts to start your meal. (You might even overcome your long-standing aversion to boiled peanuts and discover, to your chagrin, that you like them.)

As you leave the restaurant, with the humidity palpable even in February, palm trees lining the gravel parking lot, and the strains of a man singing coming from the back of the restaurant kitchen, you wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that you’d accidentally wandered onto a Caribbean island.

If you’re still not in a hurry after lunch, drive a little further into the heart of Charleston to walk the narrow cobbled streets. Surrounded by stately but slightly crumbling homes and an abundance of wrought iron, now you’re certain you’re in a European village. Geography is tricky here.

When it’s time to head further south, eschew I-95 in favor of the smaller state highways that run closer to the coast. Granted, there are traffic lights, but also roadside shops advertising cherry pie and peach cider (peach cider!), and Spanish moss hanging low over the road, and open stretches of marsh, and glistening tributaries dotted with boats. Turn your music up; sing along, and hit the high notes. And if you start to get antsy after two hours in the car, don’t worry, because you’re almost there: you’ll cross the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and then the ocean is within reach.

Just like the Universe planned for you.

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