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  • Writer's pictureperrinconrad

My Exotic Summer Travels of 2020

There is a saying to the effect that you don't know you're in the good old days until they are over. I often think of 2019 fondly as the good old days. I traveled to France last year. I took a cruise to Honduras, Mexico, and Grand Cayman, and then I took another cruise to the Bahamas with my best friend on my birthday. We spent a week boating and fishing on Edisto Island, about an hour from here, in an amazing rental house where we were repeat guests. (Video below is actually from a boat ride this year but gives you a taste of what we love about it down there.)

On my 2019 "greatest hits" list, I'll even include a fabulous conference I attended in Fort Lauderdale where my hotel room overlooked a marina. I'm sure I'm forgetting some other short jaunt here or there. I knew it was a great year, but I didn't realize just how great until we were all grounded and unable to travel due to the pandemic. 2020 just stinks so far.

As the world slowly tries to crawl back to normal, various limitations will still keep most of us close to home this summer. We did manage to get to Edisto Beach last week, but the wonderful house on the creek we had rented in the past had been sold and is no longer offered for rent. So we were relegated to the beach side of the island with everyone else. Now this is not a place I would send my clients if they aren't from here. This is "the locals' beach." If you're arriving from another state, I will send you to Hilton Head, Kiawah or Isle of Palms for the best beaches, location, and amenities. Edisto is just for those of us who already know what to expect, because otherwise, you won't like the coarse sand, the strong currents, the rock jetties on the beach, remote location, or the musty old beach houses. The smooth, vast expanse of sand, the closer proximity to Charleston, and the more upscale properties and restaurants of the other beaches are what draw people to the state.

But as it turns out, Edisto Island may just be the most exotic place I go this summer. I bought the t-shirt in the picture above to commemorate the trip. The Edistonian is a general store that has been there for about 100 years, I think, but what it really is now is a gas station/convenience store with a $20 t-shirt store on one end of the building, and a nice gift shop on the other end. And it's great. Where else can you get fuel, Biltmore wine, a beach themed onesie for your new niece, high end leather wallets and purses, bait and tackle, car batteries, ice cream, and a $300 decorator lamp all in one place? As you shift from one end of the building to the other, your olfactory senses take a journey from t-shirt dyes made in India all the way to the bread section in an old Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Next, you will veer around the cash registers and close your eyes for just a moment, imagining that you are in a repair stall at Firestone. But don't stop there. Proceed past the bait fridge (which thankfully doesn't smell like anything) until you enter the gift shop, where your nose will finally transport you back in time to the potpourri in your best friend's mother's powder room in 1984. Take it in slowly, though, because otherwise your senses will become overwhelmed and confused. And I almost forgot to mention the fancy beer cooler in the back of the convenience store section. As you can see, this one-stop shop is perfect for quick grabs. Just a can of Pringles or a package of Q-Tips? Down the road to the Edistonian I go. And before you make a trip down there looking for some funky, vintage spot that belongs in Southern Living, let me disappoint you in advance. It just looks like a BP station from the outside. That's part of why I love it, and I am so happy with my t-shirt choice. Others will pass their time in the gift shops on Jungle Road or finding shell necklaces with their children's names on them in the pavilion. I'm over at the Edistonian, sniffing the 1980s, considering some truck parts, and standing in the beer cooler to beat the heat.

Pictures above are resident alligators at the serpentarium, deer tracks in the dunes, and the beach at low tide.

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