Mr. McC and I spent last weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. It was wonderful.
In our thirties, with two kids, the perfect weekend away includes:
- Sleeping in and/or naps
- Delicious food
- Lots of cocktails
And we fit all of those things in and more:)
But back to Charleston. I had been dying to go there for a weekend away ever since we moved to Asheville. It's the new hot city in the U.S. to visit and it's only a four hour drive away. So basically it's been beckoning me for two years running.
So...for Christmas I gave ME (ahem, I mean...) Mr. McC a trip away to Charleston to relax, shop for some much needed manly work clothes and eat his way through the city with his wife. He saw right through this "gift" and still sweetly agreed anyway:)
I am by no means an expert on Charleston, but have plenty of friends, families and locals who gave us lots of recommendations. They didn't disappoint.
So if you are planning a trip there in the near future, here are some hot tips from a couple fresh off the boat.
Drinks in Charleston
- The Bar at Husk: Next to the iconic restaurant is a brick building paying homage to all things craft cocktail. While they have a newly opened patio, make sure to go inside and check out the full refurbished splendor in this adorable spot. We were just as in love with the upstairs vibe as the menu. The cocktail menu is full of historical mixology musings, a million types of bourbon and whiskey, and the bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable. This might have been our favorite spot of the entire trip.
- Proof: After a very forgettable dinner at The Grocery we popped into this spot on King Street for a quick drink. It was fantastic! Not only were all of the bartenders over 6 feet tall with full beards (let's go, hipsters!), but they knew their stuff when it came to classic cocktails. We stayed for a few too many rounds, but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves:)
- The Ordinary: I've heard mixed reviews about the dinner menu here (if you want oysters, head to The Darling Oyster Bar instead). Luckily, we were there only for a pre-dinner cocktail and it was a fun, festive spot. This former bank building specializes in rum and their list is fascinating. I had one of the best Dark & Stormy's of my life.
- Closed for Business: Eclectic is the name of the game in this beer house. They focus on unusual beer selections and a sense of keeping it fun. We stopped in for drinks after dinner at Husk and enjoyed talking to fellow tourists there for the long weekend. The Asheville beer scene is better, but this was a nice break from cocktails.
Eating in Charleston
- Husk: It's as good as advertised. This is the place everyone said we had to go to, and it didn't disappoint. I had one of the best duck legs of my life and we loved the ambiance. Go. Go. Go. (And I JUST found out a Greenville location is opening this year, so it will be only an hour away!!)
- Hominy Grill: Located in a historic home this local favorite specializes in the best that Southern Low Country cuisine has to offer. We stopped in for lunch just as we arrived into town and were thrilled there was no line. I had the most incredible shrimp and grits of my life, and I'd eat another plate anytime, anywhere.
- The Macintosh: We had Sunday brunch at this little spot on King Street and it was oh soooo good. Mr. McC raved about the chicken and waffles, and I had The Duke (fried chicken, biscuit, fried egg, gravy). We rolled ourselves out of there but we were blissfully happy.
- Butcher & Bee: We didn't get there on this trip, but I heard rave reviews about these classic, hand-crafted sandwiches. They excel on a twist on classic Southern food and use local ingredients.
- Kaminsky's Dessert Cafe: Another famous spot we didn't actually get to, but all the locals I know raved about this place. Mr. McC and I aren't huge dessert people, but if you are I recommend stopping in:)
Shopping in Charleston
They have everything you could possibly need on King Street and beyond. Here were a few notables that we enjoyed:
- M. Dumas & Sons: They had a bit of everything, from custom suits and shirts to Southern Tide and bow ties. If you're looking for casual but put together country, this is a great place to start.
- Gwynn's in Mount Pleasant: A short drive over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a fantastic little luxury goods department store with all the name brands you could ever hope to have in one small space.
- Trunk Club: You may have heard of the online shopping club, but they also have Clubhouses all over the country. The newest is in Charleston and we were blown away by the shopping experience provided. It felt like our own personal shopper had whisked us away (and offered us drinks as well). Mr. McC had a lot of success and walked away with a new sport coat, slacks, polos, dress shirts and more. SUCCESS!
- Blue Bicycle Books: A quick spin does not do this place justice. Take a long, leisurely stroll through the aisles to find a variety of used, rare and local reading options.
- Library by Lauren L.: I just did some window shopping but loved what I saw! It was a nice mix of high and low end pieces, and I saw a jumpsuit that almost convinced me I could actually wear one:)
And LOTS of staples from Vineyard Vines, JCrew and Banana Republic, to Louis Vuitton and Gucci. There is something for everyone.
A bit more...
- Make sure to walk the grounds the College of Charleston and see its lovely tree-covered lawns (it's just off of the main drag on King Street).
- Walk, run or bike over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The 6 mile path (round trip) is wide, provides beautiful views and is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Warning...it's a long incline for runners, but not too steep.
- Check out the art gallery district and many antique stores. There was a Carolina antique map store that caught my eye and I wished hadn't been closed on Sunday.
- Learn the complete history of the city (there is a lot to cover) by taking a horse drawn carriage ride.
- We didn't squeeze it into this trip, but check out one of the nearby plantations if you have a free half to full day. Boone Hall and Magnolia Plantations & Gardens were the two mentioned most to us.
So bottom line? Go to Charleston, with or without your kiddos. You'll have a wonderful time.