I was lucky enough to be invited on a bachelorette weekend for my friend Jennie. It was my first bachelorette trip of my whole life! And, in a state I haven’t visited which made it even better.  We flew into Charleston and then headed straight to Folly Beach, where we rented a house. The house is on the beach and big enough for 11 of us, with four bedrooms and a screened in porch.

Because we went at the tail end of hurricane season, I chose a few hurricane related books before the trip. I already read Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, a fictional story of a family during Hurricane Katrina. After a quick Google search on “books about hurricanes,” I picked up Zeitoun by Dave Eggers and Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. I didn’t end up reading Isaac’s Storm but did read Zeitoun. I had not read a Dave Eggers book before and am glad I started with this one.  Zeitoun is the last name of a Muslim family living in New Orleans during Katrina. This is a true account of the Zeitoun family’s experience of Katrina and in addition, the handling of Katrina by the government, which is quite shocking.

Besides just reading sad hurricane stories, I wanted to read a book based in Charleston. I noticed I had Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings on my Kindle so that was an easy pick. After I finished it, I realized I had read this book before but it is a good one, so I didn’t mind reading it twice. The story focuses on Sarah Grimke and her maid, Handful, who is ‘given’ to Sarah at her 11th birthday party. Sarah tries to refuse Handful because even though she is only 11, she already knows she doesn’t want to own another person.

At the end of the book, the author talks about her process of fictionalizing the sisters Sarah and Nine Grimke, who were early pioneers in the fight against slavery as well as the fight for equal rights for women. These notes at the end were almost as interesting as the book itself, learning where the author took liberties and where she stuck to real life details. Monk Kidd lived in Charleston and had never heard of the sisters until she saw their names as party of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party art exhibit.

We took a horse drawn carriage history tour of Charleston, pulled by a horse named Rodney. I didn’t read the end of the book and the author’s notes until after the tour and I wish I had read them before, so I could’ve asked to see the Grimke home, which still stands in Charleston. I must go back to see a 500-year-old tree; I’ll try to see the home at that time. I’m planning a southern road trip next year around this time of year, although I will probably make sure it’s after hurricane season!

Restaurant recommendations Folly Beach:

  • Low Life Bar (Where we think all the servers were drunk on or drugs but it made for a really good time.)
  • The Crab Shacks (Great straight forward sea food platters and delicious Pain Killers.)
  • Chico Feo

Restaurant recommendations Charleston:

  • High Cotton (We went for fancy brunch and saw a reality TV star! I don’t know who she is but others were quite excited!)