When my mom told my brother and I that she was surprising us and our significant others with a fun weekend trip for our birthdays late last fall (my brother and I were born 8 days apart – albeit with almost 8 years in between), and that she wasn’t going to tell us where we were going until the plane landed, I knew almost immediately where she was taking us. I kept it to myself, knowing she was bursting with glee to keep it a secret from us. However, I just knew she was taking us to South Carolina. She frequents the gorgeous southern state pretty often for tennis retreats and girls’ trips and I’ve repeatedly mentioned to her how badly I’d been wanting to visit a specific part of the state – Palmetto Bluff and the surrounding area.
Sure enough a few months later when our plane landed in Atlanta, GA and our driver announced we were just a short 45 minute drive away I knew I’d guessed correctly! When we pulled up to our home for the weekend – a gorgeous rental property on the Montage Resort grounds – I was giddy. Even though it was dark by the time we arrived and impossible to see the beautiful scenery, the cool, crisp air and sound of the cicadas buzzing around our back porch was almost a direct dose of bliss.
Our first day we woke up to the most beautiful morning and enjoyed coffee on our screened in porch while the guys played a round of golf. Us ladies were happy to relax and read before meeting them for a late breakfast. After we fueled up on mimosas and southern fare at Buffalo’s, we took a walk down the wharf for some more fresh air. I don’t know what it is – maybe living somewhere with one season year round – but I just couldn’t get enough of the crisp late fall South Carolina air and gentle breeze. You could have chained me to a chair outside by the water all weekend and I would have been a happy camper!
After taking a survey of the water and surrounding natural scenery, we hopped on bikes and went for a long bike ride to see the rest of the property. Palmetto Bluff has several trails and little lakes and picnic areas so you can bike all day and never see the same thing twice. We stopped a few times along the way for photo ops of course!
After our long ride we were thirsty, naturally, so we decided to grab a cocktail at the main Montage lodge. They have a bar, restaurant, spa, pool and gorgeous water feature with an adjacent patio, which is where we plopped ourselves for the next hour or so. We sipped on gin & tonics and rosé while we caught up and watched the gators float in and out of sight (yikes).
Time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to head to our first scheduled group activity – a visit to the Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club! Because you should always get a little buzz on before handling rifles! (Just kidding, don’t try this at home, lol).
Our time at the shooting range was definitely the highlight of the trip for me! I don’t have the best eyesight and despite being born and raised in the great state of Texas, I’d never shot a gun of any kind prior to this trip, so I didn’t know if it was going to be my thing… well, I was wrong. It’s TOTALLY MY THING! I had so much fun learning how to shoot the clays from each launch point and seeing who could hit each clay first (a little sibling/significant other competition is always interesting lol), I didn’t want to leave! I enjoyed it so much, I’ve vowed to head out to one of the shooting clubs here in Temecula on my next free weekend at home! I think I have a new hobby y’all, lol.
When we returned home from shooting it was more porch time, albeit this time with a bit of champagne instead of coffees. Before we knew it it was time to get ready for dinner! All dressed up and ready to go, we headed into town to a local steakhouse that was phenomenal! I wish I could remember the name but I’ve Googled repeatedly to no avail. I promise to update if it comes to me
The next morning we hopped back on our bikes in search of some breakfast and another walk down the wharf before it was time to meet my mom’s friends for a little boat ride! Some friends of hers live in Palmetto Bluff and were sweet enough to take us out for the day. We got a wonderful tour of the Bluff and adjacent waterways, before anchoring up in a little spot out of the wind and enjoying some conversation over a cold glass of white wine. Gradually we all decided it was time for lunch, so we cruised up and tied up the boat in front of Skull Creek Boathouse on Hilton Head Island for some fried shrimp po’ boys and crab cakes. Deliciously full and a little buzzed (always), we hopped aboard and made our way back home for some down time.
Eager to soak up every minute of South Carolina, Luke and I jetted off by ourselves and opted for some more exploring by bike. After a stunning ride through a canopy of trees – and a few more photo ops – we stumbled upon a nice quiet little corner of Palmetto Bluff with newer homes, a gift shop, a grab and go restaurant and a gorgeous oyster shell-stucco’d bar (that wasn’t open unfortunately) and just took our time puttering around and perusing the tiny village. Just across the way, we found a small pond and with a tiny dock and just sat for a while, which was glorious. Well, funny story, I sat. Luke paced, as he was a little spooked by potential gators! HAH. Don’t tell him I told you that.
Once Luke had enough of gator watch, we rode back to the house to grab our swim suits and meet my mom at the pool for a sunset cocktail and a dip!
Pretty tuckered out from two full days, we were all feeling a low key evening so we rode our bikes to a sweet little bistro, the Canoe Club, also on property and dined on a wonderful last meal together.
Luke and I had a superrrrrrr early flight the next morning as we were heading straight to Panama but luckily my mom, brother and his girlfriend all had another morning before flying back to Dallas. Lucky dogs!
All in all, I could just move to South Carolina right about now. I love the weather, the scenery, the vibe, the people, the FOOD!, and pace of life so much. I felt so at home there somehow when we visited in Charleston the year before last, so I have a feeling we’ll be spending a bit more time there in the coming years.
What about you, have you visited South Carolina? Did you love it? What other parts of the state should we explore? Please tell me in the comments below! Xo