I’m excited to share more about what I actually did in Charleston the week before last! All blogging-related knowledge will be in a different post, but here I’ll fully recap what we did (where we stayed, what we ate, where we shopped, etc.). If you’ve been considering a trip to this charming southern city, I highly recommend you go–it’s everything it’s cracked up to be, and then some!
HOW TO GET THERE
Charleston is about an hour flight from DC, which makes it the perfect destination for a long weekend getaway. Some people make the 8 hour drive, but I’d probably fly since flights are pretty reasonable from here for most of the year (we flew Jet Blue for under $200; some girls got flights for $115 RT!).
A couple things to note: The airport is pretty small small, so if you’re coming from further away you might not have a direct flight and things may be a little pricier…check off-season, like February-March for a deal. And if you’re someone who hates humidity as much as I do, consider making the trip in the fall, winter, or spring. Summer is brutal!
WHERE TO STAY
Ashlee, Katie, Victoria, and I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Historic District, and it was wonderful. I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re going in a group–the rates are reasonable, the rooms large, and the bathrooms notably big as well. They also have a concierge service to help you plan activities, and fruit infused water in the lobby (always a plus!). There are some families, but that’s to be expected at such a hotel.
I’ve heard great things firsthand about The Belmond, as well as The Spectator and Zero George, if you’re looking for something very unique. We had drinks + a cheese board at Zero George and it did not disappoint…definitely a splurge to stay there, but everyone who has only says great things.
The courtyard at Zero George
WHERE TO SHOP
Charleston has most major retailers (particularly along King Street), but also the cutest little boutiques.
Mac & Murphy: The cutest little paper company, carrying candles, greeting cards, art, and little knicknacks. One of the owners was there and she’s so sweet…we had so much fun perusing this quaint little space and I wanted to stock up on cards for random correspondences over the next year or two :)
Candy Shop Vintage: The cutest little whimsical store that has a perfectly curated mix of new + vintage jewelry and accessories. I picked up the famous Charleston Rice Beads bracelet (their necklaces are super popular), which is hands down the best souvenir you could bring back for a girlfriend/mom/yourself!
Candlefish: Guys, this shop! It’s what dreams are made of. I wasn’t really a candle person until about the past year or so, but felt so at home in this dreamy space. They have a setup where you smell unmarked candles and jot down which ones you like (they’re numbered), and they’ll pull other scents that are similar. In addition to their house made candles and candle making class, Candlefish carries a bunch of other lifestyle + candle brands. Good news: they have $5 flat rate shipping! I’ll 100% be placing a reorder.
Moon & Lola: A happy little boutique on King Street (don’t worry, you can shop online too!). They were at the conference and I built my own charm necklace, which you’ll be seeing around here very soon :) This is a one-stop-shop for girly gifts, and the storefront is beautiful.
Roberta Roller Rabbit: This NYC-based resortwear brand makes the cutest printed tunics and dresses. The patterns are fun and the fabric light–just the kind of thing you need this time of year, especially in a humid climate like Charleston. I’ve seen their items available on Tuckernuck and a couple of other boutique sites, but never seen one of their brick and mortars.
WHERE TO EAT
Oooh boy. Where to start. It feels like all we did was eat! In a good way, of course.
Stars Restaurant: Stars is known for its lively rooftop, but Katie, Victoria and I ended up stopping in for dinner when we got in on Wednesday. It definitely has a more upscale vibe (which I wasn’t expecting…I think I looked at the wrong menu when I looked online, oops), but it ended up being a huge hit. Those two got the scallops + risotto and I had the burger–those and the cocktails did not disappoint!
The Daily: Guys, this place is the bestttt! From the well-known Butcher & the Bee, The Daily is everything you want in a cafe/coffee shop…cute, great drinks, amazing food, a little grocery section, and a beautiful wine selection (seriously!). We were all smitten–those breakfast tacos are incredible. The green juice was a little too ginger-ey for my taste, but is exactly what I needed after our long walk that morning and with the food I would consume the rest of the day.
Sugar Bakeshop: Annie raves about this place on the reg and given my sweet tooth, it was a must-visit for me. The cupcakes are definitely on the sweet side, but in a good way (personally, I think Sprinkles is overly sweet in a bad way).
Husk: A renowned Charleston restaurant that many say you must visit. We went for a late lunch on Thursday. Katie and I split their famous burger and the BLT, both of which were incredibly delicious. The burger comes with this yummy mustard sauce–consider asking for some on the side so you can dip your fries! Also, on the non-alcoholic beverage front: try the Bradford Cooler.
The Darling: The first thing that caught my eye before we even left for Charleston was The Darling’s branding, but the food + ambiance is equally good! I had clam chowder over fries (so.good.) and a side salad, because we’d eaten so much that day already. I can’t wait to go back and try something else, like the chicken sandwich! Major bonus points: they have matchbooks at the hostess stand.
Jeni’s Ice Cream: Everyone and their mother seems to rave about Jeni’s, and Ashlee and I couldn’t resist stopping in for a small scoop on our way back from The Darling on Thursday night. I think I had the brown butter almond brittle–SO GOOD!
Poogan’s Porch: If you’re looking for good southern food with a casual meets upscale space, this is the place for you! The service is wonderful and the food is so filling–I couldn’t even finish my appetizer portion of mac & cheese + two pimento cheese fritters. The biscuits they give you are everything!! Try making the menu tapas/share a couple of things since everything is so rich.
Taco Boy: Annie, Brittney, Katie, Victoria, Tara and I were looking for a place for dinner on Saturday and our options were limited since we hadn’t made a reservation. Luckily Annie had her car, and we ended up at Taco Boy just a couple miles away from the main downtown area. It was the perfect no frills, post-conference food…we happily munched on chips, salsa, guac, queso, and of course, tacos. Also, the margs are hefty and just $6! This Texan was a happy girl.
High Cotton: Katie and I went here for lunch after walking extensively on Sunday. We stayed for two hours and had a little Sunday Funday (only a couple of drinks were had, but it was fun). I had the pimento cheese burger–SO good–and K had the fried chicken sandwich, which was the hugest one I’ve ever seen.
Whisk: I picked up a green juice here on our way out of town–kind of a standard place with a good juice! I had the Tropical Verde.
WHERE TO WALK
Despite the heat, we definitely got some exploring in–how can you not when everything is so beautiful?! Grab your camera and put on your comfy shoes…there’s a decent amount of ground to cover, but you can do most of it by foot!
Rainbow Row: Everybody’s favorite instagrammable spot in Charleston…this row of thirteen historic houses are located on Easy Bay Street just a short walk from The Battery.
The Battery: It’s named after a Civil War coastal defense artillery battery, and is surrounded by massive, beautiful homes on one side and the water on the other. Grab your camera and soak up some rays with the breeze!
Historic Charleston City Market: This is a not so little market right downtown (sort of like Eastern Market in DC, for those who are familiar) with a bunch of vendors selling a range of things including locally made snacks, souvenirs, and general chachkies. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but it’s worth weaving through the crowds if you’re in the area.
Pineapple Fountain: One of my favorite sites in the city (I think many would agree!)… it’s in Waterfront Park, and the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. Children frequently splash around in the fountain–it’s allowed!–and this is a lively + photogenic place for a quick break as you venture through the beautiful cobblestone neighborhoods.
All the streets: Speaking of cobblestone neighborhoods, most of the streets in Charleston are unlike those in most US cities, so simply walking around for a few hours is the perfect way to get a feel for this charming place. There’s also no shortage of restaurants and cafes every few blocks…necessary since you’ll work up an appetite!