Whether it’s getting away from work stress, parenting stress, life stress, sometimes you just need to grab a girlfriend, hop in the car and GO.
Thankfully, Toyota offered me the chance to test out latest RAV4 and invited me down to Charleston. So I promptly packed my bags, picked up Andrea and hit the road.
Where to stay:
There are MANY, MANY options of places to stay in Charleston. AirBNB, boutique hotels, Bed & Breakfasts…you name it, it’s there.
Toyota put us up at the Francis Marion Hotel, which in it’s hayday was the largest and grandest hotel in the Carolinas. It is old-school southern charm at it’s best. The rooms were super cut;, the beds were super comfy. The ONLY draw back was a teeny bathroom. BUT we learned that the Francis Marion was one of the first hotels to build private bathrooms in each room. (I, for one, am very thankful that no longer have community bathrooms on each floor.)
Where to eat:
One thing is for sure about a visit to Charleston…you will never go hungry.
It can actually be overwhelming trying to decide where to eat as there is an amazing, gourmet restaurant seemingly at every turn. Luckily, Toyota took out a lot of the guess work as we already had reservations at some of the most sought after places in the city.
– 492 King – I had the most delectable swordfish dish with a salsa verde on top. It literally melted in my mouth. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a crumb left on my plate.
– Husk - The cool thing about Husk is that their menu changes daily. The only thing that stays the course is their cheeseburger. Now I’m not a wings kind-of girl. But we ordered an appetizer of their dry-rubbed chicken wings and OMG, they were delicious. And their pimento cheese toast??? Heaven on bread.
– Cru Cafe – Another super cute retaurant. We were upstairs in a private room that walked out onto a wrap-around porch. I’m still dreaming about their Fried Brie appetizer.
– Charleston Farmer’s Market – On Saturday mornings, in Marion Square, which was directly across the street for our hotel, they have a farmer’s market set up. There was produce, food and other wares all ready for the purchase. We wandered over for some coffee and found MANY vendors with breakfast items. It was hard to choose what to eat!
– Magnolias – We had one night during our stay where dinner was on our own. Andrea and I sort of meandered around downtown looking for somewhere we could pop into quickly for some tasty food. Well, lucky, lucky us, the bar at Magnolias was EMPTY so we were able to snag a meal at this popular establishment and we didn’t even have to wait!
– Poogan’s Porch – We ended our trip with brunch at Poogan’s Porch. (Poogan was a dog who used to hang out on the porch. Fun fact ,his grave is right inside the gate when you walk up to the stairs.) Now this was not your ordinary brunch. Oh yes, there were eggs, and other breakfasty type items…but all prepared in a very “foodie” way. I had their shrimp & grits (yes, for breakfast!) and it was absolutely delicous.
What to do:
– Bulldog Ghost Tour – This is something I’ve always wanted to do but just couldn’t ever justify it to myself. I’m not entirely sure I believe in ghosts, but the history alone in this tour made it TOTALLY worth it. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable and shared all sort of fun facts. We went down into an old dungeon (where they would shackle pirates and other criminals to the walls) and meandered through a cemetary. Super creepy and VERY cool.
– Carriage Ride – The best way to learn about historic Charleston is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Our buddy, Luke, took us south of Broad St and around the Battery while our awesome tour guide pointed out some simply phenomenal homes with crazy stories to go along with the architechure.
– Boone Hall Plantation – Established in 1681, this is one of the oldest working, living plantations in America. There’s SO much history here; it’s well worth a visit. (Plan to spend a few hours to take part in everything they have to offer!)
– Check out The Gentry. It’s a bourbon bar owned by J.D. of the Bravo show, Southern Charm. I’d never had “good” bourbon before and now I can check that off my list. (Surprise, surpise…I’m not a bourbon girl.)
– SHOP! Whether it be through the Market or just roaming down King Street, there is something for everyone.
It had been over ten years since I was last in one of my all-time favorites cities, and while much has changed, much has stayed the same. Charleston did not disappoint.
A successful girl’s weekend rides on a cool city, comfortable lodging, lots of yummy food and drinks, plenty of shopping options, a fun partner in crime and a smooth ride.
*Southeast Toyota provided lodging and meals for most of my trip to Charleston. All opinons are my own.