Some trips require a lot of planning. You create a specific itinerary where you wake up at 6 am promptly each day and end the day with blisters and tears. Some trips you just throw a bag in the car (forgetting your swim suit) and hope for the best. This was definitely the latter.
Tyler and I rarely have days off together, so when he announced he had the WHOLE weekend off earlier this month we jumped at the opportunity to go somewhere together. I had been to Charleston before but each trip was brief and it had been a long time. When I was twelve or so I drove down with my dad in his car with a broken radio and a broken air conditioner. That’s genuinely all I remember of that trip. Another time I brought my study abroad friends from Australia and Canada to Charleston to visit another friend. That trip is a little clearer in my mind and yet I was shocked walking around downtown.
Why does everything look like a movie set?! Charleston is a remarkably beautiful city. Every building, every home is incredible. I can’t imagine what it must take to maintain one of those idyllic homes (I believe the answer is money).
Normally I resist spending any time in the hotel, visiting restaurants in touristy areas, etc but it really wasn’t that kind of trip. We got in pretty late on Friday night and after walking around lost for a while we split some bar apps at TBonz. It’s a chain, but it’s local and their draft selection was fantastic. I drank a Coast HopArt which is delicious and dangerous (two beers might have been a mistake). Luckily we retired to the hotel immediately afterward.
A friend had gotten us an affordable rate at the Belmond Charleston Place which couldn’t be more perfectly located. The proximity to the open air markets, King St and the battery was ideal. We definitely felt like we were living a life of luxury (a king bed and cable does that for us pretty easily) and spent a good bit of time hiding from the gloomy weather on Saturday watching cooking shows and Law & Order: SVU.
Despite that we also did a lot of walking around and getting lost in the little alleyways and eating some amazing sandwiches. I somehow stumbled across Brown Dog Deli on Yelp and insisted this was the place to go. Its restaurant was bustling when we arrived with the sort of quaint and quirky décor you’d expect to see in Asheville. We sat in the small patio garden and treated ourselves to a South Carolina brew, Westbrook IPA (yum!) and insanely delicious sandwiches. I had a pulled pork sandwich with cheddar, fig jam and apples. Tyler had a sort of French dip with cheese on orange rosemary bread. The smell of the bread alone had me drooling.
It was a great way to spend the day before having dinner with some of Tyler’s friends from Virginia. I wish I had gotten some photos of them but we were too busy goofing off.
Sunday I had arranged for Tyler to play golf with his friends from VA who lives outside of Charleston while I got a massage. We stopped at kitchen 208 beforehand for a quick brunch. Tasty! My breakfast sandwich had candied bacon. Need I say more?
While golf was being played I was relaxing in the hotel spa pretending I’m made of money. If you know me, you know I’m insanely cheap but sometimes…I get pretty indulgent. Totally worth it. Afterwards I wandered up and down King Street. Much of King Street is shut down to vehicles on Sunday to make way for pop-up restaurants and musicians. On my short walk I saw some amazing break dancers, listened to a woman with an incredible voice play banjo, ate “salted peanut butter ice cream with chocolate flecks” (re: indulgent), and visited the most wonderful book shop.
The ice cream was truly delicious but at $5 for a small scoop (it’s more than enough) it’s definitely a treat and not a place to visit regularly.
I visited Blue Bicycle Books at a dear friend’s recommendation and was very impressed. While not a particularly large shop, it had an excellent selection of fiction and non-fiction. When sections are labeled things like “Books on Books” they make it easy to find what you’re looking for. While I was browsing the store clerk was being visited by a group of her friends, all probably seniors in high school. They were loud and energetically talking about books they loved and art they’ve seen. It wasn’t really an ideal level of noise for a book store but it also made me pretty happy to see.
Our trip wasn’t nearly long enough to do all I would have liked, but with Charleston only being about a three hour drive I hope to go again soon!