Last Sunday to Tuesday, my husband and I were lucky enough to get away for a few days of adult time and headed off to Charleston, SC. Note – The beauty of my husband being self employed means you can go away random days. Ha!
I’d been wanting to go Charleston for awhile now (even before my favorite show Southern Charm started to air) so it was actually the perfect place for us to take a little trip. We did it in 36 hours and it was perfect. From DC, it was a really easy 1 hour and 10 min direct flight (We flew on Jet Blue). We left on a 7:30am flight and were getting our bags by 9am.
By 10am, we had dropped our bags at the King Charles Inn (centrally located on Meeting Street) and were sitting down to Brunch at Poogan’s Porch. I had read before that Poogan’s Porch, located in a house with a pretty front porch, has been known to be haunted so the ghost lover in me was very intrigued by this. No ghost sighting that day unfortunately but we did thoroughly enjoy the Fried Green Tomatoes and Biscuits.
After that, we headed out to find our way around what is called “Historic Downtown Charleston” which is basically the main city area of Charleston. Since it was only a bit after 10:30 when we were done with Brunch (we apparently ate really fast that morning, haha), we had to kill time since it was a Sunday and we knew not much would be open before 12. So we took our handy little map and started exploring.
I let my husband become the tour guide and we literally walked down a bit of King Street to Tradd Street and then took that all the way down to the Waterfront, pretty much walking by Rainbow Row and not really realizing this until later. In any case, the weather was beautiful so it was the perfect day to be out exploring the city. We basically made our way around that area of the Waterfront, walked a bit along East Bay Street (where we stopped in an art gallery and walked by the Gentry Hotel I know from Southern Charm) and came to the one end of the famous Market. I would really recommend exploring the Market more then once. We took the time our first day walking through and checking out everything that the vendors had to offer. It was quite interesting!
Eventually, we were back up on King Street, did a little shopping, grabbed some ice coffee for a local coffee shop, and then frankly, needed a break. The hotel had called to say our room was ready so we headed there to check in and just re-group for a bit. That was the beauty of where our hotel was located, it made this “time out” super easy. We’d been up since 4:30am and walking for about 2 hours already so it was only natural we were tired. 🙂
After re-grouping, we decided to back out for a little more shopping/exploring on mid/lower King Street. We grabbed a little bit to eat at the bar of this place on King Street called CO. It is Asian, so completely different from normal “Charleston” fare but they have delicious dumplings and the small portions were just what we needed. From there, we hit up 2 adorable little local shops I’d seen earlier called Savannah Bee Company and Candlefish. Savannah Bee Company has EVERYTHING you can think of that honey can be used to make besides just honey – lotion, sauces, and more. They even have a little tasting bar set up for you to try their different kinds of honey. I walked out with a little jar of honey that I can’t wait to use at home. Not far away was this cool candle shop called Candlefish. They do sell other vendors candles but their claim to fame is that the make 100’s of their own candle’s. Plus, they offer a candle making workshop. After some smell testing, I decided on 2 candle’s. An added bonus, in my opinion, is the candles come in tins with lids which are great for travel!
Before heading back to our hotel to rest before we dinner, we checked out a bit of College of Charleston campus. It’s cool to see how there are all these really old buildings housing the administration buildings for the various Schools. So different from where my husband and I went to college in Miami! For dinner that night, we ate at The Macintosh, located on upper King Street. It has a fun drink menu and an interesting choice of food, which included Bone Marrow Bread Pudding. We passed on trying that, maybe a little too out there for our taste, but I thoroughly enjoyed my drink (I got the Sage Before Beauty) and my fish. Across the street is The Republic, which was playing some live music that night we enjoyed listening to as we waited for our pedicab to take us back to the hotel. Note: DO NOT WEAR HEELS AND WALK 15 MINUTES TO DINNER AFTER WALKING MUCH OF THE DAY ALREADY.
The next morning, we took a walk back down to the Waterfront. My husband is an early riser so I don’t get to rest quite as much as I’d like on vacations with him. Lol. But is fun to get out and explore when it’s still quiet out. I loved the Pineapple Fountain and got a great photo of it that morning. I think it’s so pretty! From our morning walk, we ended up at Toast. Our concierge had mentioned it the day before as a brunch option and since it was close to our hotel, it was an easy choice. It has a casual, laid back vibe and good breakfast options, including traditional Charleston fare but I enjoyed my open faced omelette with vegetables.
This morning I had scheduled us to take one of the famous carriage tours. I made the reservation before we left town just to put a little less planning needed on the actual trip. I picked Palmetto Carriage Works for the tour based on reviews on Yelp and we were not disappointed. There are about 4 or 5 carriage tour companies but I think Palmetto seems like it’s one of the best. There are a few different routes the tour companies are required to take to avoid too much clogging of the streets so our tour did cover some area we had walked around already but it was quite interesting to hear the history behind what we’d seen. I was especially happy to learn more about why a common style of the house has the front door facing sideways and not on the street (it has something to do with airflow with windows open). They have these long porches running perpendicular to the streets and I had been trying to figure it out! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and shared some interesting tidbits with us. The tour was just an hour long and it was perfect especially since we lucked out with the weather that day. It was still completely comfortable in the 70s and riding along in a slow carriage could become uncomfortable in the heat, especially if you’re sitting close to a stranger (luckily we had 3 out of 4 people in our row).
From the tour, we did some more exploring heading down Church Street to Battery Park and White Point Gardens, walking along Waterfront again, finally checking out Rainbow Row, and then catching the trolley (it’s free!) to head back up to King Street. By this time, we were tired and starving so we just grabbed a quick bite to eat at Boone’s Bar in the middle of King Street. We did some more shopping on King Street after lunch, mostly local clothing boutiques, and then headed back to the hotel for a bit to relax. We realized we needed to decide about the art work we’d seen at the gallery on East Bay Street the day before and I was in need of a snack. So we headed back out and walked along Market Street to get to East Bay Street where we stopped in a few shops outside of the Market there. My husband tried one of the Praline’s that are everywhere there in Charleston and said it was delicious. I totally regret not trying it and opted for a more simple snack from River Street Sweets. Oh well. BTW, the artwork we went with is a picture of Rainbow Row.
That night we went to Eli’s Table for dinner and loved it! Again, the weather was just amazing so sitting out back on pretty courtyard we were perfectly comfortable. The drink menu was a little blah but we fully enjoyed our food. I had the pear salad to start and the Forager’s Filet as my main course and my husband had duck and waffles. We both thought our meals were delicious. And this night I opted for flats after making the mistake with the heels the night before but the walk to the restaurant was also a lot shorter.
The next morning we had to check out of the hotel by 12 so we grabbed a quick bite to eat from the cafe in the hotel next door (Maison Cafe in the Grand Bohemian Hotel) and then headed back to the Market to make our purchases for our girls and my parents, who graciously were babysitting for us. That’s why I think it helped we had checked out the Market the first day, so we knew what we wanted to go back for.
After that, we had just enough time to rent bikes for an hour from The Bicycle Shoppe. They were very helpful there with some recommendations on where to ride so we got our bikes and took off to explore the one little piece of the city we had yet to check out, which was basically along the other side of the peninsula that makes up downtown Charleston. This is where the marina is located and is essentially on the opposite side of King Street then the Market and Waterfront. It is a much more residential area but I thoroughly loved riding around and seeing it all and trying to imagine how it must be for the people that live there, especially the ones raising their kids there. It is really quite a pretty city! And then we basically checked out of our hotel and headed to the airport just in time for the rain to start.
So, there you go! How we spent 36 hours in Charleston. I definitely recommend checking the city out. It was a lot of fun to explore because it’s pretty, has a lot of history plus great places to shop and eat as well!