Fresh off a fantastic little get away to Charleston, S.C., one of the most charming cities in America, I thought I’d share some of the sweet spots we discovered. Having never been to Charleston, we thought it’d be fun to fully envelop ourselves in the southern charm and historical ambiance that this beautiful city had to offer. Arriving to town late on Sunday night, we checked into our hotel and set out to explore and grab a little southern fare. Charleston has made a name for itself as a foodie haven and it did not disappoint! We stayed at a quaint little Inn on Queen Street sandwiched right in the middle of two fantastic restaurants, Queen 82 and Husk. If you are in the area, I definitely recommend calling ahead for reservations, especially if you want a prime spot on the front porch at Husk. As we walked along the streets, we were happy to lose ourselves within the historic district taking in the charismatic and enduring allure of the many different styles of architecture that line the southern end of the city, but our stomachs had other ideas. With the persistent growls continuing, we headed over to a great spot called High Cotton. This restaurant offers an elegant feel for a proper sit-down dinner if you want to dress and impress, but being in jeans, we opted to head straight to the bar, grabbed a high-top table, and as luck would have it, were in perfect view of the live band which was an upbeat Bluegrass/Jazz duo. As we ordered drinks and popped truffle parmesan popcorn into our mouths, there was no doubt that this was a great start to set the tone for what we hoped would be a week full of true down south hospitality. Did I mention this was late Sunday night? There was no shortage of live music somewhere in town every night which is one of the many reasons I instantly feel in love with this town. The quaint gas fired coach lights that hang from many porches as well as the cobblestone alleyways will also capture your heart and immediately inspire the inner photographer in you. There are certainly many things to do to keep you busy in Charleston, but a must-do are the horse drawn carriage rides around the city. This is truly a great way to cover a lot of ground in seeing the city and gain some historical insights. The tricky thing about the carriage rides to remember is that you are not in control nor is the driver of what routes you take. Charleston employs the most old-fashioned, bingo style approach to picking the routes for the carriages. There is a city employee who actually drops the Bingo ball to see what number it falls on which apparently lends itself to a particular path the carriage will take you. Due to so many of these carriages around town, this helps to manage the traffic flow. You could literally take a carriage ride every day you are there, get a different route, and most certainly learn something new about the city. Hopping around town all week to try different restaurants for lunch and dinner, led us to Poogan’s Smokehouse for the best southern fried chicken, Craftsmen Kitchen and Tap House for a delicious sandwich called The Dame, and Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill for amazing Wagyu beef. Eating out can get quite expensive in this town but the places are all great and the food is just so darn good. Have no fear though! There is a way to check out these places and others without breaking the bank. Many, if not all, have great happy hour specials off their menus. You may need to sit at the bar to partake in the happy hour specials, but we found it to be a great way to talk to the bartender and others and get pointers on where to go and what to see around town, so don’t be shy! The happy hour specials will offer the opportunity to try out each restaurant’s flavor and still fill you up for much less. Another great option to visiting these yummy hot spots without going broke is a late lunch off the lunch menus. You will still get to admire the ambiance of the restaurant and savor the delectable delights of master chefs. Rooftop bars are all over this grand city, and what better way to take it all in then to hop that elevator to the top floor and check out the views. It doesn’t matter whether it's day or night, you will not be disappointed at the bird’s eye view of the city. We visited both the Pavilion Rooftop and the Vendue but there are others and each view overs a different perspective. Last but not least, Charleston is known as one of the most haunted cities, so it is a MUST-Do to participate in one of the numerous ghost tours offered around town 7 days a week. From haunted graveyards to the old city jail (which many locals told us they’d never step foot in again for the fear factor was too much to take). You will not only get a wonderful education and possible haunt, but also an idea of how the history of Charleston has affected its local culture. We did two ghost tours while we were there, one on Halloween night and then we braved the old city jail tour a few nights later. Neither disappointed. We were both entertained and awed.
On the next visit back to Charleston, we plan on hitting the beaches that surround Charleston and soak up the sun! With so much to offer, I’d definitely recommend adding this to your list of places to visit. ‘Til next time……
~In my mind I’m gone to Carolina