Swings by the Ocean

Blog Title in black and white letters against a faint pink background: Beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, www.marianamcdougall.com. Picture of a fountain in Charleston in the background.

Ten years ago, I sat on this same swing and breathed in the ocean breeze. And for a moment, all was well in the world. Now, ten years later, as I sit here with my three beautiful children and we swing to our heart’s content while looking out onto the water, the happiness is just as palpable as all those years ago, when it was just Dan and me on a great adventure across Canada and the U.S.

Mother, two young daughters and a young son sitting on a swing in Charleston, South Carolina


Charleston is alive with culture, and the food scene is vibrant. I had read in passing that the crab rice at Hannibal’s Kitchen is not to be missed, so we head to the restaurant for lunch. 10 years ago, we didn’t come to this end of the city, so we didn’t know what to expect. The contrast between the touristy centre and this area is slightly jarring.



Houses in this part of town are run-down, and as we pass by a school, stuffed animals and a bunch of silk roses indicates some tragedy has likely take place here. A man yells something out to people passing by on the other side of the street. A car stops and 4 ladies get out, exchanging joyous greetings with the man who had just yelled. What first seemed like people getting ready for a fight was actually just an impromptu party on the sidewalk. The ladies and the man talk loudly and seem to be doing some kind of happy dance.


Charleston, South Carolina pier


We finally find Hannibal’s Kitchen, and if the amount of people placing orders is any indication, this is a very popular place to eat. The editor in me mentally corrects the tagline, “where local’s hang out,” and the service isn’t the best: We’re served rice without utensils, and the server forgets the drink we ordered (and paid for ahead of time). But once we dig in to the crab and shrimp rice, I can forgive just about anything. This dish is absolutely heavenly, and I believe I’ve never tasted shrimp this good. I’m glad I opted for the slightly more expensive crab and shrimp rice, rather than going for the crab rice alone.

After enjoying our delicious lunch, we head to the swings. Walking around Charleston is really enjoyable on this gorgeous day, and we see a few things I didn’t remember from the first time we came. I do, however, remember the pineapple fountain.


Two girls are seeing from the back, looking at the pineapple fountain in Charleston, South Carolina


The girls and I take off our shoes to enjoy the cold water on our feet, as encouraged by the sign. But not without being told by a young boy that “there’s cooties in there.” We take our chances though, and enjoy ourselves.


Mother and three children sitting by a fountain in Charleston, South Carolina


After walking through several parts of Charleston and enjoying the beautiful weather, we end the day with dinner at Minero’s. The complementary tortilla chips are a bit on the hot side for me, but the salad with shrimp is absolutely perfect. I especially loved the avocado dressing.


Minero's Tossed Salad with shrimp


One day, I’d love to come back to Charleston and spend a more significant amount of time, really getting to know the city (and possibly even staying at one of the more swanky hotels). I feel like this city would be the perfect place for writing inspiration.

Have you ever been to Charleston? What’s your favourite thing about this beautiful city?


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