Updated: Jan 12, 2019
How to embrace adventure, learn to explore, and fall in love with a story book town … in the middle of nowhere with your 5 year old.
While on a recent family get away to South Carolina, Jax and I dropped Dustin off on a four wheeling adventure in the woods, in the middle of no where, about 45 minutes from where we were staying. We checked him in, found him a map, unloaded the four wheeler, and started to say our goodbyes. He asked us to bring him back lunch if we found a cool place, helped get Jax back into the car seat, kissed my forehead, and told me to pick him up in three hours or so. THREE HOURS OR SO. Although I was extremely happy Dustin was getting to do something he loved on this trip (I mean he did drive us 9 hours to get here) what in the world was I going to do for three hours or so. When he sped away on the 20 mile trail I looked in the rear view at Jax and thought "now what?" In the parking lot I quickly googled *things to do near me* and hit directions to the only town that appeared in the results. Twenty minutes later we arrived in McClellanville and a piece of my heart never left.
“He asked us to bring him back lunch if we found a cool place, kissed my forehead, and told me to pick him up in three hours or so. THREE HOURS OR SO.”
Being our first outing to this story book town I was not prepared in the least bit of how it would never leave my mind. From the sweet shops, local eateries, museums, playground, fishing pier, and its natural beauty in general would make any small town explorers heart skip a beat. But here let me show you before I keep rambling on and on about this piece of heaven.
Hold Onto Your Hearts
Upon driving into this small town I found the public parking, and Jax and I hopped out and stretched our legs. While I continued to google things we could do to fill our time up Jax found a rope swing and had begun to play. When I looked up and saw his joy I realized he was just along for the ride, and anything we found to do that day would be perfect because we would be together. After we were played out we decided to head over to the main street so we could explore the town.
Our first stop we was the most delicious sandwich shop around. It is owner operated and they were they most welcoming souls I had encountered in a while. It really set the feel for the whole town and the magic we were about to experience. Jax is the pickiest eater I know, which is saying something coming from me. The talented couple reassured him no matter how picky he was they would make something he would love even if it wasn't on the menu. That was it for me, not only was the food out of this world, their recommendations on things to do spot on, they made Jax a grilled peanut butter and cheese, of course which was not on the menu! After we said our goodbyes we set out to experience the awesome places those kind souls recommended.
The first stop was a local gift shop located right next door. With local art, children's toys, clothing, homemade soaps, a Christmas corner, and so much more it was easy to get lost for a while and shop local items unique to this coastal town. After we made our purchases we headed down to the pirate park (the next recommended stop) to enjoy our lunch. Oh boy did we enjoy it, not only was it the perfect location right on the water, we were able to play the day away until the reminder to start heading back to pick Dustin up went off on my phone. Jax and I had enjoyed the day so much we hadn't even kept track of how much longer we had until we had to leave McClellanville. We headed back to the truck and headed to the last place we wanted to see before we made our way back, to the St. James Chapel Of Ease. This church is always open and is the most peaceful place I have ever been to in my life. As I sit here trying to put my feelings into words when it comes to that beautiful landmark there is truly nothing I can say to describe to you in justice the serenity of this place. When we left that day a piece if my heart stayed behind in that story book town, and I will day dream about it everyday.
When You Can't Stay Away
“When we left that day a piece if my heart stayed behind in that story book town, and I will day dream about it everyday.”
The day before we were due to go home we dropped all plans to return back to enjoy our last full day at the places we loved. We dropped Dustin off at the four wheeling trail (Wambaw Cycle Trail) once again, and Jax and I were on our ways full of excited ready to spend another joyful day at the place we had grown to love. This time we brought the fishing pole, and decided to explore a bit before lunch and play. Boy was it worth it! This school is something straight out of a movie. We returned to our favorite little restaurant and the chocolate cover waffles were mouthwatering. Jax's favorite part of the day had to be relaxing at the fishing pier, and watching the boats come in for the day. Our hearts were full when we drove away that day, but I dream about going back to that sweet sweet town almost every day.
How I Aced the Adventure
1. Stay Calm.
When Dustin decided to spend an ample amount of time enjoying his part of vacation it was very important for me to encourage it, and keep my cool in front of Jax. Kids don't respond well to adults in tense situations or the feeling of being lost. Staying calm benefits all parties.
Its okay if you aren't sure what you are going to do in a new place before you get there. As long as you have cell service it is always possible to find an activity of interest to get into for the day. Also if you are a planner like myself, don't limit yourself to your research; ask a local, check on social media, or get moving and go explore on your own! You are more than likely to find exactly what you were looking for.
3. Get Lost
Enjoy the moment. Don't worry about your watch, or trying to fit all the things in. Focus on being present. I promise that's the only way you will enjoy your surroundings and make the most memories. After all isn't that what we actually intent to do on vacation.
4. Follow Your Heart
If given the opportunity to return to a place you love DO IT! this should go without saying but hey! Sometimes you don't need to travel to new places to find new things, when exploring places you love it's easy to come across new places or events you didn't know about before.
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