This weekend was the best. The absolute best.
I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful trip to Charleston to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! This was both Nick and I's first visit and I can say with 100% certainty that it will not be our last. We both fell in love with the charming, quaint town and the people that live in it. I mean, everyone was SO friendly -- southern hospitality at its finest :)
We arrived in Charleston on Friday, July 25th in the middle of a storm. We decided to pass on renting a car so my thrifty self had intended on us taking the bus downtown. But in the rain, thunder and lightening? Not so much. An airport shuttle it was and for only $14/person, it wasn't a bad deal.
We stayed at the most adorable hotel right off King Street, the Kings Courtyard Inn. Upon arrival, we found out that we were upgraded to a King Deluxe room -- definitely a great start to the weekend!
After getting settled in, we headed down to the nightly wine and cheese hour in the courtyard. When researching hotels, I knew this alone would sell Nick. Two of his very favorite things :)
After indulging, we decided to head out and explore the area before dinner. The rain had finally let up but the humidity was really settling in... and lets just say, my hair does NOT do well in the humidity! After a few blocks of walking, we were already sweating so we ducked inside 82 Queen for a much needed adult beverage.
Our next stop was Poogan's Porch for dinner -- but not before a picture taken outside Husk. Cutest building of all time!
I had wanted to eat at Poogan's Porch just so I could order the sweet tea salmon and had been looking forward to this meal since I made the reservation. So what do I go and do but order a shrimp + crab pasta. I changed my mind last minute and it was a bad decision that I can only blame on travel tiredness. The pasta wasn't bad but I was kicking myself the entire trip. Nick had the fried chicken though and so, so, so delicious. He claims it was his best meal of the weekend!
We were pretty beat after dinner since we'd been up since 4am traveling so we decided to call it a night. When we got back to the room, we found a bottle of champagne and sweet note courtesy of our hotel! Another point for Kings Courtyard.
The next morning, we were up bright and early, ready to go! First stop was complimentary breakfast in our hotel courtyard and then up to the farmers market at Marion Square. I didn't plan on spending too much time there but we were kind of blown away -- this was no ordinary farmers market. While there were the usual produce stands, they also had everything from gourmet cheeses to candles to paintings to jewelry. It was fun to just wander through and check everything out.
The hair is already a mess.
At 11am, we made our way over to the Palmetto Carriage barn for a carriage ride. This was one thing we were really looking forward to. We did the traditional group tour and it was great -- highly recommend. Our tour guide was full of information yet still laid back and made us laugh.
I will admit that I was worried the heat was going to take the enjoyment out of the ride but there was actually a nice breeze while we were moving so don't let the warm temps stop you from enjoying this. It was an hour long tour and I took about a million and one pictures but I'll just share a couple of my favorites ;)
Photo bombing children
For lunch we headed back to King Street to try out Virginia's on King, thanks to Zelle for the recommendation! We both had the best sandwiches and were just so thankful to be inside an air conditioned building. Since we were right in the middle of the hottest part of the day, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon shopping. As if I need an excuse to shop...
King Street has the cutest boutiques -- Impeccable Pig being my favorite. After a couple of hours, we headed back to the hotel for the wine and cheese reception and to figure out our game plan for the rest of the night. We had late dinner reservations so we decided to keep on plugging along. Next stop was the waterfront park!
I couldn't wait to visit the Pineapple Fountain but I was surprised to find it was more of a splash pool for kids. The fountain wasn't going and we couldn't get a picture without random children in the background (see the legs in the bottom right corner? Haha).
We didn't last long out there since we were sweating to death so back to the hotel it was to get ready for the evening.
After freshening up, we headed over to the Charleston Grill for drinks during their live jazz set. Nick is a big jazz fan so I definitely wanted to include that in our weekend plans. He loved it and the cocktails were refreshing after a long day outside.
We could only stay for a little bit but we definitely want to come back for a meal the next time we are in Charleston. As for our dinner that night, it was nothing short of amazing. Our hotel treated us to 3 courses with wine pairings at Circa 1886 -- located at the Wentworth Mansion -- for our anniversary. Pretty great, right?
Everything about the meal and the experience was just fabulous. The service, the food, the ambiance, the perfectly paired wines... we just had the best time and it was a great way to kick off our anniversary the next day.
For dinner, Nick had the heirloom tomato starter, the antelope loin and the strawberries + cream souffle while I went with the foie grass, chicken fried halibut and transformations in chocolate dessert (naturally). Seriously, check out the menu yourself and tell me you aren't drooling!
We pretty much had to roll ourselves home after that one. Thank you again to Circa 1886 for the wonderful night!
The next morning, Sunday, was our first anniversary! I had intended on checking out Hominy Grill for brunch but breakfast in bed won out and that was definitely the right decision.
We had a big day planned including a visit to the Boone Hall Plantation. I love the movie "The Notebook" (who doesn't?) and knew I had to see the plantation for myself. Since we didn't have a car, we used Charleston Venture Tours. It was $84 for the both of us and that included transportation (picked up and dropped off right from our hotel) and the admission fee to the plantation -- not a bad deal.
Boone Hall was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. It was actually better than I even thought it was going to be. The Avenue of Oaks is stunning and the house has been beautifully preserved. I was a bit bummed that you could only tour the main floor of the house but the grounds totally made up for it. Make sure to visit the slave cabins, see the Gullah presentation and check out the Cotton Dock while you visit. We could of spent all day long there!
Love love love. We had about three hours on the grounds before our shuttle came back to get us. It was perfect timing because we were in desperate need of some A/C! I couldn't get over how hot it was all weekend.
When we got back downtown, it was almost dinner time and we were starving. We headed out to Pearlz Oyster Bar and I think this may have been my favorite dinner of the weekend! It's a casual spot and we just sat at the bar but the food was so great. Our waitress suggested the lobster roll and she was spot on. I also got my first taste of Firefly sweet tea vodka! YUM and I will definitely/hopefully be tracking some of that down to buy in Chicago.
We had to work off our dinner so we made our way down Bay Street towards the water. We checked out Rainbow Row and the Battery and were just in awe of everything. The houses down there are amazing -- all of lion head door knockers and flower filled window boxes? Obsessed.
After we had successfully walked off the food, it was time for more of course -- dessert! We made the trek back up to Market Street to visit Kaminsky's. An entire restaurant devoted to dessert and drinks is my kind of place. It was a tough decision but we went with the Butterfinger Cake and it did not disappoint.
The next morning was our last one sadly. We did some souvenir shopping at the Charleston City Market and had breakfast at Kitchen 208. Breakfast was so good -- I was almost to the point where I couldn't eat anymore but I powered through! Nick had no problems and scarfed his meal down in about 5 minutes flat.
And just like that, our vacation came to end. We had the absolute more wonderful time and can't wait to return one day. Thanks for a wonderful trip, Charleston!