If there is anything that can make you forget about a breakup, it’s a girls trip. We have had this trip planned for months, it just happened to fall three days after Patrick dumped me – perfect timing.
Kathlyn and I started our girls trip in North Carolina! XNA actually has a direct flight to Charlotte, NC. This trip was all about trying new things, I had never rented a car before – now I know why. You have to be 25 to rent a car without paying an enormous upcharge. I am going to shamelessly plug for Orbits. I adore them, that is where I always book my flights. Kathlyn used United’s website for our flights and it was literally the most expensive flight I’ve ever been on. BUT our rental car was $35 dollars a day, which isn’t too bad. Until we show up and the lady is pissed I’m twenty-four, the surcharge was going to add $200 to our already $175 rental. Luckily, Kathlyn is 26. She fixed everything and saved the day. If anyone thinks they have the best, best friend, they’re wrong. I do. The lady helping us with our rental said she was going to upgrade us, we had no clue what that meant but we were told there would be no additional charge. We get to the garage to get our car, and it is literally a TANK. A massive 4runner. Another huge shout out to my best friend, she can drive that, I cannot.
We were finally on the road. I had been to North Carolina almost three years ago when Bill and I had left Florida for Michigan. This time was different we actually were exploring. Our first stop was, of course, CHICK-FIL-A. Working for Chick-fil-A somehow makes you obsessed with Chick-fil-A, it also makes you a Chick-fil-A snob. So if you ever go to a new CFA with me, be prepared for me to time them, to judge them, and to give you the low down on everything they’re doing right and wrong. You may even see me trying to peek into their kitchen to see which layout they have. And don’t worry, I realize I have a problem. Kathlyn and I actually visited her first CFA she ever worked at. She got emotional, I know that when I go back and visit Jim after not working there, I’m going to be an emotional mess. Her old operator was super sweet, he let me see his kitchen, and we talked about his journey of becoming an operator. I love hearing people’s stories, especially success stories.
As our day went on we made our first stop Willmington, North Carolina. If you know me at all then you know I love One Tree Hill. Chad Michael Murray is one of the loves of my life. And Sophia Bush is who I wish I could be. Her character Brooke Davis is one of my favorites. ( Obviously, I’m a Peyton girl – we have similar souls), but One Tree Hill was filmed in Willmington, NC. Brooke Davis’ house with the red door does exist, along with the Naley bench, Karen’s Cafe, the Riverwalk, and even the cutest little shop that sells Clothes Over Bro’s merchandise. Unfortunately, the river court used to exist but was recently built over. I even got to take a photo in front of the fountain where Jamie and Quinn go on there scavenger hunt towards the end of the show. I was in a One Tree Hill daze, I made Kathlyn listen to the soundtrack and the Holiday song that is stuck in Nathan’s car on the episode where Nathan and Lucas go on their first brother road trip to see the Charlotte Hornets play.
After we finished the One Tree Hill memory lane, we were on our way to dinner in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I have been listening to Kathlyn rave about this place called Cookout for literally months. I finally got to have the famous Cookout, it was so overwhelming. They have this menu that has things from chicken nuggets, burgers, to quesadillas and you can get it all on a tray for $5.99. I ended up just getting a bacon cheeseburger and a magical oreo shake because I couldn’t make up my mind. I come from a family where I only have one sibling. It was exciting to meet Kathlyn’s family. She has three siblings, we had dinner with her youngest sister at Cookout, and then we were headed to visit her family in Myrtle Beach for the evening. I love her family. They are loud, blunt, funny, and very hospitable. I also love traveling places where I know people and getting to do things more locals do versus what the tourists think they should do.
Her parents live literally 2.5 seconds from the beach. I was in heaven. Kathlyn woke me up the next morning with a boberry biscuit from Bojangles. I had never been to one, a boberry biscuit was basically a blueberry scone. We also made chocolate milk and pretended we were in 5th grade at a sleepover, it was great. This was probably my favorite day of the trip, our next stop was Charleston, South Carolina. I honestly could see me living here (as long as I could find a little liberal hole). Quick question, are y’all sunflower seed fans? Kathlyn made us stop to get sunflower seeds and a cup to spit in. I was not a fan. Our first stop in Charleston was Fort Sumter. As I’m sure many of you know, I am a huge history buff (thanks, Charles). This was such a cool experience. We got to ride this massive ferry out to the Fort. They gave a history lesson while you’re riding. I was nerding out. Once we got there we watched the flag ceremony, with everything going on in our world it was nice to see Americans coming together and enjoying a patriotic moment. I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m the biggest fan of America at this moment. But I think every country has a past, and every story is going to have bumps. Hopefully, Trump is just a very short chapter. But I respect my country and my flag. After the flag ceremony, we went through the museum inside the fort, we saw an old flag, so old that it was falling apart and had to be kept in a box at a specific temperature and lighting. After I had learned everything I wanted to learn – we headed on outside to look at all the cannons. There were so many and so many different sizes. I can’t imagine what it was like back then, or what it would be like to be stuck in one of those small forts for such a long time. Traveling with Kathlyn is perfect because she has a passion for taking photos and I have a passion for having my photo taken. We took so many photos with cannons and scenic spots. I tried to teach her how to selfie, it’s a process. Also, when looking at these photos please ignore my windblown hair. The wind was insane.
After Fort Sumter we went to explore Charleston, the first icon I wanted to see was the Pineapple Fountain. Pineapples are the symbol of hospitality, they’re also one of my favorite fruits. This fountain was so cute, it had a wading area in front of the fountain. Warning, there are a TON of acorn trees and they aggressively fall off the trees and may hit you in the face. *not kidding*
Charleston is full of Instagram worthy places, Rainbow Row is so cute. I want to live there with Bill and just relish in his gayness and throw glitter at everyone that walks by. No? You don’t feel that way? … anyways, we ended up getting a little hangry. So, our next stop was very adventurous an OYSTER BAR. We chose Pearlz Oyster Bar only because we wanted $3 champagne. Neither of us had ever had any type of oyster, so we asked our waitress what kind she suggested. We ended up having them raw, I want to try them steamed, I’ve read they’re saltier when steamed. But raw was a good start, I also learned I don’t like cocktail sauce with shrimp, but I do enjoy it with oysters. For my actual entrée, I had a crab cake sandwich, which is officially in my top five favorite travel foods. When we finished dinner and had a good champagne buzz we headed out back into Charleston. We walked through the Charleston City Market – which is full of history. The whole day while we were walking around they had all these historical markers, most of them made me shudder with embarrassment for the south. It is so hard for me to understand how we could have endured slavery for so long. My sophomore year of college I took a class called African American Literature – I read a book called The Garies and Their Friends – you should read it I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re from the South. http://www.thecharlestoncitymarket.com/main/history That is a link that will give you the history of the City Market. I think one of the best parts of Charleston was all the different architecture. The buildings were beautiful, intricate, and very old. On our walk to lose our buzz we decided we needed dessert. We ended up at Cupcake Down-South, Kathlyn ordered a red velvet and I ordered a pumpkin spice. We split them down the middle. I’m telling ya, you need a bff like Kathlyn.
We woke up early the next morning and took the golf cart down to the beach. I love watching the ocean, there is something so calming about the waves. It is so enticing. It was perfect weather – 75 degrees and a little windy. I took the ocean for granted when I lived in Orlando, I should have gone to the beach more often. I’m making that a 2018 resolution, see the ocean more often. I would really like to go to a beach in Alabama. I don’t know why I just think it’s strange I’ve never been. I also really want to see Sarasota where my dad grew up. I need to add that to my travel list. My list is so much longer than I have written down. I need to work on that.
Kathlyn is from the Carolinas, so is her husband Trey. Kathlyn has been talking about “fat back” which doesn’t sound appetizing at all. I am from Arkansas, I get mixed answers about whether I’m southern – I have been told Arkansas is midwestern. I consider myself southern most of the time, this week I would have to say I’m not. I don’t spit sunflower seeds; fat back was something I had never even heard of, don’t even get me started on boiled peanuts. Fatback reminded me of a pork rind just not fluffy. I prefer pork rinds from Silver Dollar City. Boiled Peanuts were basically just beans – not impressed. If I’m offending any of y’all, I’m semi sorry.
I met Kathlyn’s Memaw – she was very surprised I had never had any of these southern classics, and she was very upset I was single at twenty-four. I wanted to be like well Memaw I’m upset I got dumped too, but shit happens. After our visit with Memaw, we headed back to North Carolina to go pick up Trey from the airport. Our girls trip was coming to an end, and my third wheel experience was about to begin. Typically, I don’t like being the third wheel, but with Trey and Kat, they don’t make you feel like one. I love being with them. On our way in we took a pit stop at Freeman’s Bakery – to get “cake squares”, literally they’re petit fours But I’ll give it to Kathlyn, they were damn good. I also had a red velvet cookie. My stomach was so happy. We ended up getting stuck in 5 ‘o clock traffic in Charlotte, so Trey’s brother ended up picking him up from the airport. We met up with them at Chan’s place. He has the cutest townhouse in downtown Charlotte. I didn’t expect to love all these big cities, but I really do. I don’t know how Arkansas raised me.
I am obsessed with pulled pork and trying different BBQ sauces. So far Kansas City BBQ always wins – Texas is a close second. I made Chan pick out his favorite Carolina BBQ and for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it. I didn’t even take a picture of my food, I think I was so hungry I didn’t even think about it. I had a raspberry beer, and it was GREAT. But KC still wins in my heart. After dinner, we went to go meet up with Trey’s parents and grandparents. Trey’s mom is my goal of who I want to be when I’m an adult. She is the sweetest little southern lady, who dresses better than me. Her house is literally my dream home, and I told her when I’m rich she is designing my house and decorating it. His grandparents were like out of a movie, the grandma couldn’t see, and Chief (his grandfather) couldn’t hear and he literally mumbled so much I had no clue how people were answering his questions, Trey had to translate for me. They were watching Davie football on television. I couldn’t believe high school football was on tv. Kathlyn and I told Trey we wanted him to DD and take us downtown to drink. We went out for a couple blue moons and apps. I had never realized how much of a lightweight Kathlyn was until that night by the time I had finished three beers she had finished one and was slurring. It was hilarious. When we got back to the house Trey’s father offered us pumpkin beer and my basic heart was soaring. I had such a good buzz going when I went to sleep, best beer I’ve had in a while. I’m wishing pumpkin cider was a thing.
We woke up bright and early the next morning for our FOUR-hour drive to Richmond, Virginia. The only reason Trey was with us. They were attending a wedding in Richmond, I was just tagging along to mark another state off my list. I am officially in 35/50 states. We stopped two hours in to get lunch with one of their married couples from college. We went to this little Mexican restaurant in the middle of North Carolina – surprisingly I had the best quesadilla I’ve ever had. The restaurant was called La Cocina (The Kitchen). We drove the next two hours jamming to literally everything under the sun, veggie tales, Avril Lavigne, Disney, Rent, Tim McGraw, you name it we probably listened to it. Get you a friend that can go from one spectrum to the other.
Now you’re probably going to judge me for this next paragraph, but here it goes. So we get to Richmond, Virginia and they’re leaving for the wedding and I am hanging out in Richmond alone for the evening. Now remember I am not driving the Tank, its massiveness gave me anxiety. So I decided to redownload Tinder for the evening. I made the funniest profile that said I was only in town for the night and was looking for an adventure partner/ someone to eat a burger with for the evening. I made 24 matches in under an hour. I decided not to wait and go ahead and got out exploring. Our hotel was in downtown Richmond, so I walked around just taking it all in. I ended up at the capital of Richmond, the prettiest, biggest capital area I had ever seen. I was so impressed. I then took myself to the Edgar Allen Poe Museum. Next time I’ll need more time, I only had an hour. I finally had started messaging someone on tinder his name was literally “Guy”. We were going to meet up at an Ale House at 8 pm. So, I took myself to dinner. I went to Siné Irish Pub and had another amazing Crab Cake sandwich, once I know what I like it’s hard for me to branch out. I had a spiked fruit punch as well. It was a little nerve-wracking to go to a sit-down restaurant alone, but I ended up having a good time. I read and ate my dinner. After dinner, I called my best friend Bill and just walked around downtown Richmond. At some point, I made it back to my hotel and checked my tinder one more time. He had sent me a message saying he had gotten a flat tire and wouldn’t be coming to meet me. I took that as a sign. I crawled into bed at 9 pm and watched HGTV and waited for my married couple to come home. I deleted tinder and I haven’t gotten it back since. Too soon. They finally came home around midnight and were very disappointed to find me chilling in bed. I had a great night relaxing. I don’t do that very often between full-time school and work. I played mom for the evening and tucked my drunk married couple in, got them water, and made sure their phones were plugged in.
The next morning we had to head back to the Charlotte Airport to go home, unfortunately. But we made one pit stop on the way there – Jersey Mikes. It is Kathlyn’s favorite. We don’t have one in Arkansas, so every time she sees one somewhere we have to stop. I don’t think they’re anything to write home about, but the buffalo chicken wrap is pretty good.