Checking off Charleston!

Checking off Charleston!

It’s no wonder Charleston has been named  “Most Romantic”, “Best Foodie City” and even “Top City in the United States.”  Charleston is charming, friendly, and small enough to walk everywhere!  Colorful mansions line the waterfront, the climate is warm, and the food is heavenly.  We will definitely be back, but next time with baby H in tow!

Where to Eat

Mark and I consider ourselves MAJOR Foodies, and when working on the cruise ship we met many couples from Charleston who told us we needed to go here!  We put Charleston at the top of our list of US cities that we wanted to visit, and the first chance we got we headed North.  North, only because we rented a car and drove from Florida.  I did tons of research before we arrived in Charleston, especially regarding their restaurant scene, and we made reservations at some of the top places months in advance.

Favorite restaurants we visited while in Charleston:

R KITCHEN – This was a unique experience and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Every night the menu is a complete surprise and and consists of 5 courses decided by the 2 talented chefs. We sat at the counter, which allowed us a close view of the action, while the chef’s explained as they prepared the food right in front of us!  R Kitchen only sits about 16 people which is why it books up far in advance. I still remember the delicious shrimp and grits!  They claim to be a Kitchen, not a restaurant.  Great value and a fun foodie experience!

FIG – FIG stands for “Food is Good” and at this restaurant it definitely is. The gnocchi was amazing! It was not typical and was made entirely out of ricotta (no potato involved). My hubby loved his chicken liver pate! Our server was excellent and described each item in detail.  He was also very knowledgeable with the wine list and recommended a delicious Pinot Noir pairing!  I want to go back here!

HUSK – Said to be the most “sought after” dinner reservation in Charleston, we booked this one well in advance.  My favorite part was the ambience of sitting in a beautiful old mansion on Queen Street.  I first heard about this restaurant as it was featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain and specializes in heavy Southern fare.

CRU CAFE – I loved this spot!  It was gourmet comfort food served inside an 18th century home.  I remember the delicious “Friend Green Tomatoes” with Pork Belly Croutons, Sheep’s Milk Feta, and Smoked Tomato Caramel. Yum!

THE GREY – This was a buzz-worthy spot housed in an old Greyhound Bus Terminal, which made it very retro.  It was a very happening atmosphere with cool cocktails and a huge selection of fresh oysters!

What to do

Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

We took a guided horse-drawn carriage tour through the heart of historic Charleston. We enjoyed soaking up the old fashioned charm of the city, with it’s cobblestone streets, gorgeous antebellum houses, lush gardens, and historic churches.  We listened to stories about the history and culture, as well as tales of the famous residents.  This was a great activity for the start of our visit in Charleston.  We were able to scope out pretty spots to return to, and I loved taking photographs of the colorful buildings and architecture.

Riley Waterfront Park

We enjoyed strolling along the famous waterfront of Charleston. I also went running here one morning as one of my favorite things about visiting a new city is getting up a bit early, putting on my running shoes, and pretending I’m a local while taking a jog!  The waterfront and harbor area was only blocks from our downtown hotel and super accessible.  This is where you will find the “famous” Pineapple Fountain, and romantic swings on the pier.  A very southern spot not to be missed.

Historic King Street Shopping & Rainbow Row

Charleston is a great place for shopping and I found the best shopping (especially women’s clothing) on King Street!  This historic street is lined with adorable coffee shops, great eateries, art galleries, and just interesting and unique shops. King Street is uniquely Charleston and from almost every angle you can see the tall white spire of St. Michael’s church.

When in Charleston, don’t miss the famous “Rainbow Row” consisting of 13 Georgian houses, and the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States!  This was a feature of the horse-drawn carriage tour and I actually wish I had taken more photos here.

Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms

Only 20 minutes drive outside of Charleston you will find miles of palm trees and long stretches of glistening sand. Sullivan’s Island is home to a historic lighthouse, water-sports, and plenty of ice cream shops. We loved driving the along the tree lined streets of neighboring Isle of Palms, and wish we had more time to explore and swim here.  I can just imaging living in Charleston and coming here on weekends with a picnic basket and watching Hudson splash in the sea.

Where to Stay

There are so many great hotels in Charleston, I had a very hard time deciding, but because of the gorgeous Rooftop Pool – we chose The Market Pavillion Hotel.

We loved the location of this hotel and the luxurious room! We were so delighted and lucky enough to have a small Juliet style balcony that looked out over the customs house. The turn down service each evening was great and the coffee and pastries on each floor in the morning was a bonus. The rooftop pool and bar was a great addition to our stay especially when we needed a break.  Overall this hotel was a great stay and we would definitely return while in Charleston.

Is Charleston somewhere you would like to visit?  If you’ve been… what were your favorite spots?

Post Coming Soon: Savannah, Georgia : Another favorite southern city of mine!

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