Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Charleston Travel Diary

Now there's one thing the US has got on the UK: a bank holiday in February. Not that they call them bank holidays, but still the idea is there. February 19th was Presidents' Day, a national holiday celebrated on the closest Monday to George Washington's birthday. I don't get a lot of time off of work but I love to travel so this is something you just have to take advantage of. Luckily, I had Jess as a travel buddy. We both took the Tuesday as a holiday from work too and began planning our long weekend in Charleston and Savannah.


I wanted to visit these cities as I've not experienced a lot of the American South. I've been to both Texas and Virginia but wanted to experience some smaller cities. And not only that, it would be warm! I flew down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on the Saturday afternoon where I met Jess, who had driven down from Virginia. From there, we drove the 2-hour trip to Charleston. The trip went by so fast as we had a lot of catching up to do and some country tunes to get us in the mood for the weekend.


When we arrived, we headed straight for something to eat. Charleston is a city for foodies so we had a lot to choose from. We settled on Leon's Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop. We sat out in the sunshine and ordered frosé. Is there a better start to a holiday? We kept it pretty simple with some fried chicken and some hush puppies. These are a southern food made out of little balls of cornmeal batter that are fried. They were served with some honeyed butter which was fantastic. It was a strange taste but I was beginning to come around to them by the end of the meal.


Then we drove to our hotel to check in. We had a bit of an ordeal. We got to our room and realised that the door wasn't locking properly and whilst we were trying to get it to lock, the door handle fell off in our hands. We called the front desk and they said they'd send someone over to fix it. The guy got the door handle back on and insisted the lock was fine. We really were still not happy with it and then we asked to get changed rooms. The lock on our new door was not too dissimilar to the lock in the old room but felt a little more secure. Just not a great first impression. But by this time we were ready to go out for some drinks.

Charleston isn't a huge city and so for nightlife, King Street is where you really want to be. We got an Uber into town and headed for some cocktails at Proof, a small and cosy cocktail bar. It was dark, with soft lighting and a really unique cocktail menu. I opted for the penicillin cocktail - a whisky based cocktail with honey, ginger and lemon. It was delicious and definitely, a slow sipping kinda drink. After that, we had a wander down the street to look for other places we could visit during our stay. After that, we headed back to the hotel for a relaxing night's sleep before a day of exploring. 


Whilst I took a lie in, Jess drove out to the Wildflour Pastry bakery to pick up some of their famous buns. We discovered this bakery whilst researching our trip and their huge pecan buns are really famous. Jess was determined to not leave Charleston without one and they're only available on Sundays. She snuck back ino the room as a pastry goddess, brandishing a pecan bun for herself and a cinnamon roll for me. And whilst they were delicious, they were not the sorts of things that you can eat in one sitting.






After breakfast, we headed into the Charleston Downtown area for a look around. There wasn't really a whole lot we wanted to 'do' apart from take a look around at all the architecture and check out a few stores and markets. We started at the Charleston Visitor Centre ($5 all day parking, yes please) and headed down King Street, stopping at a few stores along the way. One store Jess really wanted to visit was Candlefish. It was a super cool candle store that has a library of fragrances. You can tell them your favourite kind of scents and they can point you in the direction of something.




After that, we went to the Charleston Historic Market and to Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is basically the most famous street in Charleston because of the multicoloured pastel houses lining the street. There was some serious Instagram husbandry going on. Basically a blogger's wet dream. By this time it was only about 2pm but we seriously felt so tired. We'd originally planned on going to Butcher & Bee for lunch but decided to go relax at the hotel for a few hours and go out for dinner.




Butcher & Bee was fantastic. I wrote a whole review of the restaurant which you can read here. This was my favourite meal of the trip and definitely one of the best meals I've had in the US. Bacon wrapped dates, cheese fondue, sweet potatoes. What more can a girl ask for, We stopped at a place called Stars on the way home for a cocktail on their rooftop bar. But by this point, it was getting pretty chilly so we headed back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep before our day trip to Savannah the next day.

Our time in Charleston was brief, but it was a lovely city to relax in.

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