Last weekend Richard and I took a super-mini-one-night-only baby moon to Charleston to celebrate a friend’s wedding and explore the city. While we didn’t have much time there... I can safely say it is one of the most charming and beautiful places I’ve ever been. And my expectations were high from all that Southern Charm you know I’ve been watching ;)
From the cobblestone streets to the pastel colored town homes with gas lanterns, not to mention all the AMAZING window boxes overflowing with blooms, the downtown area is picture perfect. It’s also such an easy place to explore on foot! We definitely got our steps in those two days, but with so much to see (and eat) it wasn’t hard to do.
I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share a few of the places we stopped at in case you find yourself in the happy position of spending a few hours in Charleston. Your tastebuds will thank you, I promise!
Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel - There are lots and lots of nice places to stay, but I have to say we had such a great experience here! The location was PERFECT, we literally walked everywhere we went, and the staff was so helpful with great recommendations and tips on what to do. (Though I think that may just be a Charleston / southern hospitality thing because even our uber driver from the airport was making us an itinerary -- so sweet!) The hotel was really well decorated and, not that it's a necessity or anything but, they lit TONS of candles in the lobby every evening and it just looked so romantic and magical to return to. It's the little things, right? :)
Cru Cafe - This was our first stop when we arrived for lunch and what a good welcome to Charleston it was! We really went for it with the fried green tomatoes (complete with maple honey pork belly “croutons”), watermelon gazpacho, and truffle fries to start, a veggie wrap and shrimp BLT for lunch, and a peach and blueberry bread pudding with vanilla custard and fresh whipped cream for dessert. We did not mess around and we were NOT disappointed.
Hot Little Biscuit - This spot on Market Street had a long line for a good reason. Richard got a trio of biscuits (buttermilk blackberry, cheddar and chive, and something with a lot of cinnamon butter deliciousness smothered on top) and I got my all time favorite southern situation... a spicy pimento cheese sandwich. Simple but done SO well, this place makes the perfect anytime snack while you’re wandering the market stalls.
Under the Almond Trees - We stopped in here randomly while browsing the shops on King Street and it was adorrrrrrable. I got to see many of the things I’ve been saving for our baby registry for the first time in person (exciting!) and the staff was so sweet and helpful. If you have a little one or need a really cute gift for one, this is a gem of a store.
Husk - We went here for their Sunday brunch. It’s in a beautiful old mansion (ask for a seat on the front porch if you can!) and highlights traditional southern cooking with a focus on super local ingredients. The menu changes daily but everything we got was delicious and beauuuutifully plated. Highly recommend!
Nathaniel Russell House - After our big brunch at Husk we made our way over to the Nathaniel Russel House for a guided tour. The tour was short and sweet, and I loved being able to see inside one of the grandest homes in the historic district. We also spent some time resting our tired legs in the lovely gardens afterwards which was delightful!
One Broad Street - Located in a beautifully restored old building on the corner of Broad and East Bay, this restaurant and cafe made a delicious iced latte and cookie that we picked up to-go for sustenance to stroll the Battery.
White Point Garden - After walking along the water and admiring all the gigantic old mansions that line the Battery, we ended at White Point Garden. With ample benches shaded by the most beautiful live oaks and a cool breeze coming off the water, this was the perfect place to put our feet up and rest for a bit. I may or may not have accidentally taken a nap...
Millers All Day - We stopped here for a very late lunch after walking back from White Point Garden. Their funky mid century design is on. point. people! The lighting alone is worth popping your head in to check out and according to Richard the craft cocktails (or “prescritions”) were also excellent. We had salads, trying to be good after a pretty decadent morning, but they were delicious and all the brunchier options at nearby tables looked, and smelled, incredible.
Historic Landmark Walking Tour - We opted to do a self guided tour vs. a carriage ride or something more formal. It was fun to go at our own pace and see what we were most interested in. Richard dutifully read all the info about each stop aloud and I definitely had some flashbacks to our semester abroad in France with all the tour guiding he did for me there as well. My favorite thing is when he tries to sneak in silly commentary or false facts as he reads the blurbs ;) always keeping me on my toes!
Pralines - I don’t have a specific recommendation here because we stopped at multiple candy shops to pick some up while out and about... I don’t think you can really go wrong. Just don’t leave without getting a warm, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, sweet praline. Or two! You’ll need the energy for all the walking ;)
Sigh... Another perfect window box... until next time, sweet city!