Months ago, Jody and I decided that we wanted to go on a weekend getaway to celebrate six months of marriage. Since the actual anniversary fell on Christmas Eve, we chose to wait to celebrate over the long New Years weekend. Wanting to escape the North, and needing to find somewhere that would allow us to stop in Richmond and celebrate Christmas with the Cox side of the family, we ultimately decided on one of my favorite southern cities, Charleston.
While I had been to the Holy City once before, it was only for the day, and it was super rainy so I didn’t get the chance to truly explore the city. Jody had never visited, so we were excited for three days of roaming through the historic town.
I decided to break this post down into what we did and what we ate, since one of the main reasons of going to Charleston is to eat your way through the southern delicacies, which we had absolutely no problem doing. 🙂 It is also worth mentioning that we decided to stay at an Air b+b on James Island, rather than in the downtown area to save a little money. Honestly, it wasn’t that far (maybe 10 minutes into the historic district), and it was definitely cheaper than one of the gorgeous, historical hotels that are scattered through the district. I do hope to stay in one on our next visit though!
What We Did:
After grabbing something to eat, Jody and I took our time strolling through the market place. It was probably four blocks of vendors, each with unique products and local gifts. It was a nice start to the morning to slowly make our way through the vendors, while sipping on coffee, as well as a nice way to start our trip.
Before leaving for Charleston, my dad had gifted us with a reservation for a carriage ride through the city. This is not a tour I would have typically planned for us to do since they can be a bit cliché and pricey, but I’m so thankful that we did. Our tour through the historic district was so informative, and it was so cool to learn how to identify the buildings that were built prior to the Civil War. Plus, Charleston is absolutely breathtaking, so it was the perfect way to see different parts of the city before exploring it on foot. I highly recommend looking into carriage tours if you find yourself in the Holy City!
The famed Rainbow Row. We walked to find it since it was such a beautiful day. It took a little longer than anticipated thanks to a faulty GPS but it was still just as beautiful. I can’t imagine walking past these homes every morning without stopping and staring at them!
After we found Rainbow Row, we made our way to Waterfront Park. We grabbed our picture in front of the iconic Pineapple Fountain and then walked along the pier, waiting to see if we’d see the cruise ship that was docked sail off. Unfortunately, it didn’t leave before we were ready to find a drink and an afternoon snack and head back to our home away from home before our evening in the Holy City.
One of the things we really wanted to see while we were in Charleston was Fort Sumter, which is recognized as where the first shots were fired to begin the Civil War. Being a history lover and frequent visitor to various national parks, I was definitely excited to learn more about the Fort. Since it was the off-season for traveling in Charleston, there were limited ferry rides out to the Fort, and due to our carriage reservation the day prior, we ended up going out to Fort Sumter on New Years Eve. The temperature had dropped overnight so everything about this part of the trip was cold. The ferry did have an educational recording playing during the 20 minutes cruise to the Fort, as well as a Park Ranger talk once we arrived. We walked around the inside of the walls, and tried to walk on the side that was built up to be level with the height of the walls, but the wind coming off of the ocean and cold temps was too cold for me. We spent the rest of our time in the museum strolling through the museum before catching the ferry back to shore. It was Jody’s first time to a National Park, so I was happy to share some of my past experiences with him. Fort Sumter ended up being one of our favorite parts of our trip!
We made the rookie tourist move of not making reservations far enough in advance to eat at any of the fancier restaurants in Charleston, but still had a fantastic dinner at the bar of Stars Restaurant on New Years Eve. This restaurant had such a great atmosphere (and a rooftop bar!) that we ate late at the bar and stayed through ringing in 2018 at midnight. While it was entirely too cold to celebrate on the roof, we really enjoyed ourselves, and made a couple of friends in the process. 🙂
One of the main attractions that we hadn’t seen at this point was the Battery, which is a defensive seawall and promenade at the tip of the peninsula. There are also a ton of stunning, historic houses near there so Jody and I made a stop on the way to breakfast on New Years day. We tried to walk along the promenade but with the cold air and windy, it was honestly miserable, so we opted to drive slowly along the shoreline (a much warmer decision, I might add). It was nice to enjoy the city one last time with little to no traffic.
I also want to add that usually I can deal with cold weather, but this trip conveniently occurred during the blast of Arctic temperature along the East Coast. Like Charleston, South Carolina had snow and ice on the ground not 48 hours after leaving. My husband may beg to differ with me on this, but the snow makes my case on this one, y’all.
What We Ate:
Since we decided to drive to Charleston rather than fly, our first meal on the road was decided for us. It is not a road trip in the Cox household without a stop at Chick-Fil-A!
Once we arrived in Charleston, it was already 6:30pm, besides checking out our Air b&b, the first thing we did was find somewhere for dinner. We went into this blindly, as I hadn’t started to look for different dinner places for us to check out, so we wandered around until we found something casual enough for our attire, but that also had a nice atmosphere. We stumbled upon Meeting at Market, which had a lot of small plates and drinks, perfect for sitting back and watching some bowl games. It was too dark to get many pictures, but we enjoyed our little sofa seat as we relaxed after a day of traveling.
One of the most highly suggested places to eat in Charleston was Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, so we decided to start our first morning off with this great choice. We didn’t go to the original location, as it was kind of far from where we had planned to spend our morning, but instead inside the City Market off of Meeting Street. We avoided the long lines that I had read about, but there was no seating available for us to sit and eat inside, so we opted for one of the metal tables that lined the outside of the market. It was still a bit chilly for an outdoor breakfast, but once I took a bite of the biscuit, I didn’t mind. I chose the egg, sausage and pimento cheese biscuit (I mean, what’s more southern than that?!) and Jody ordered the egg and bacon savory option. We quickly made a mental note to stop back again before the end of our trip!
My friend, Emilyann, was in Charleston a few days before we went, and had suggested that we stop at Kudo Coffee and Craft Beer. I had never been to any coffee shop that served rosé, let alone any type of alcohol but Jody and I enjoyed our mid-afternoon snack and drink. It was very relaxing at what seemed was like a locals’ hub. Thanks for the suggestion, Em!
On Saturday night, we were struggling to decide where we wanted to go eat, because the place we originally had planned on going to was further out of the city than we expected. Jody found Poogan’s Smokehouse, which was conveniently two blocks from the rooftop bar that we had planned on going to that night. We wanted a little southern barbecue while we were in town and holy cow did we get it. We order mac and cheese as an appetizer (literally some of the best I’ve ever had) and then Jody and I split some (20 ounces!!) pulled pork, which was equally delicious. They had a bucket of different sauces to try with the pork, and they were all so good! I’m so happy that Jody found this restaurant — easily our favorite dinner while we were in Charleston!
I had heard about how great Toast was before we arrived, and was happy to find it was close to a lot of the places that we were visiting. It was pretty busy when we arrived, but luckily we got seated within a few minutes. We really enjoyed our food, but I don’t think it was anything special, and we got rushed out of there pretty soon after we were done eating. I think we would go back, but I wouldn’t suggest it on a Sunday morning, if you’re looking to sit and relax for a while.
On our last morning, we went to Kitchen 208, which is a little cafe that we had passed on King Street the day prior. I was very happy with my scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuit and grits (finally!) and Jody got a southwest egg burrito, which smelled amazing. If I wasn’t so set on getting my grits, than I probably would have ordered that too. They were taking down their Christmas decoration while we eating, which was a little depressing for this let’s-keep-Christmas-up-year-round kind of girl, but nonetheless, it was a yummy breakfast.
Fear not, our last stop on the way out of Charleston was once again at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. We bought three mini biscuits (country ham, buttermilk, and cinnamon — definitely the best) for the ride and I bought a bag of biscuit mix so I can make some at home. If you have taken nothing away from this post, please do yourself a favor and stop here whenever you find yourself in Charleston. And then come see me, so you can bring me one as well 😉
All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed our weekend getaway to Charleston. It was short and sweet, but perfect to celebrate how wonderful our first six months of marriage had been. There are still a couple of things on our Charleston to do list that we didn’t get a chance to do, but I’m eagerly awaiting our next opportunity to return to the low country!