The last week of summer.
Not in a meteorological sense, of course, but in an admittedly selfish one. Next week brings the beginning of “teacher week,” when teachers get together to prepare for the school year, but before students arrive for the first day of school. In the sense that I won’t be able to spend an entire day building a patio, or a doghouse, or hanging out with Rebecca at the beach, summer is over. In the sense that still, after nearly a decade of teaching, I get butterflies at the beginning of August when care-free July and June have passed. Is it dread? Excitement? Some combination of goodies and baddies? Help me Disney’s Inside Out!
Either way, Rebecca and I approached this week with a sense of adventure, because she will also be starting school (hopefully finishing her Master’s degree this year) very soon. A last hurrah of summer seemed appropriate. In an effort to find a weekend away that was outside of Charleston, but close enough to make a weekend trip worthwhile, we settled on our state capital: Columbia.
“Columbia?!?!” cried everyone from Charleston. “Why would you ever go there on purpose?!?!” You see, our state capital gets a bad rap because it doesn’t have the historic significance, natural beauty, or architectural interest that Charleston has. There are also some places that have a distinctly Detroit-ish look to them. HOWEVER, we found it to be more charming than not, and more fun than not. A major highlight was the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, which houses and impressive array of animals in well-appointed pens and enclosures. They have an especially diverse collection of birds, tortoises, and snakes, as well as three adorable koalas, and giraffes that are more than happy to lick romaine lettuce out of your hands, whether you are paying attention or not.
Other highlights included the Conquest Brewing Company, the Saturday City Farmer’s Market, the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park, Cola’s Restaurant (in a restored 1930’s RC Cola bottling facility) and The Oak Table Restaurant. We also bought half a bushel of peaches at the South Carolina State Farmer’s Market on our way out of town (recently placed in the top 5 farmer’s markets in the nation).
So all in all: not bad, Columbia! The cards were stacked against you, but we managed to enjoy your top attractions and restaurants. Well done.
Leftovers (woot woot!)
Tuesday and Wednesday
Thursday and Friday
Wild Rice Gratin with Kale adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Green Salad
Dinner at Cola’s Restaurant, in Columbia, SC
Sunday and Monday
Uova al Piatto con Melanzane (Eggs with Eggplant) from The Silver Spoon
On the back burner (a to-cook list):
- Grilled Corn with Herbed Goat Cheese Butter
- Pickled Peaches
- The Glorious Monte Cristo
- BBQ Bean Burritos with Grilled Peach Salsa, from Thug Kitchen