Entry No. 45: Charleston, SC
As I previously mentioned, I recently went on a little Southern roadtrip (#greatsouthernroadtrip on Instagram). I flew over to my parents’ home in Alabama and then we hit the road for Savannah and Charleston (you can catch up on Savannah’s guide here). Today, I thought I’d share a glimpse of our time in Charleston. As you may know, I grew up in Charleston and will always think of it as home. Despite having seen countless gorgeous cities and landscapes in Europe and beyond, there’s just something transcendentally beautiful about a place laced with magical childhood memories – for that reason alone, Charleston will always hold a spell over me. I hope some of my photos convey that magic I felt … (and scroll down to the very bottom for my top tips)
See my tips below for more info on the Dock Street Theatre and the French Huguenot Church …
CB’s Top Tips for Charleston:
South of Broad. Certainly no secret but also my favorite slice of Chas and, arguably, the most beautiful. Filled with multi-million dollar historical homes which are manicured to the smallest detail, this maze of streets is a delight for the senses. Enjoy a leisurely stroll and soak up the delicious wrought iron, picture-perfect window boxes, stunning courtyards and conservatories. Here’s my recommended walking tour: Start at Waterfront Park (find the pretty pineapple fountain which symbolizes hospitality), winding your way over to Rainbow Row, then stroll the length of The Battery. Next, weave your way through the residential streets (Tradd and Meeting are my favorites) and work your way toward the gorgeous Dock Street Theater and The French Huguenot Cathedral – both are worth a peek inside. The Old Slave Market Museum is nearby, too.
The Battery. I just mentioned this briefly but you can’t visit Chas without visiting The Battery. I feel like it kind of holds the essence of the city … Historical stately homes dotted with lanky palms, together greeting the calm and inviting sea salt air and lapping waves of the Atlantic … the concrete flood walls hinting at the looming danger of storms. (My family lived in Charleston through Hurricane Hugo – quite the experience.)
Dock Street Theater. What a gem. When I was little, my Dad would take me here on many a Saturday afternoon to see the classics (Peter Pan, Annie, A Christmas Carol, Peter + the Wolf, etc.). I remember being so enthralled with the experience … the deep red velvet curtains leading into the theater which felt like a little jewel box … and the excitement of seeing the actors up-close after the show … it certainly created an appreciation for the theater that I still hold today. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve seen a show at Dock Street but I have a feeling it’s still fabulous. Let me know if you go. /135 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401
French Huguenot Church. I’ve poured my heart out over this darling little Southern church before and I honestly still think it’s one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the world. It’s definitely worth a peek inside – make a small (or big!) donation and have a (breathtaking) look around. / 136 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401
SNOB. Take a short walk Slightly North of Broad (haha) and have a seat for a deliciously Southern meal with top-notch service but none of the petty pretentiousness. I recommend the butternut squash bisque and the grilled Scottish salmon salad. 🙂 / 192 East Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401
Ben Silver. This was my Dad’s go-to source for ties when we lived in Charleston. The store itself is a delight for the eyes. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect tie for your groom/groomsmen, make a stop here. You can thank me later. 😉 / 149 King St, Charleston, SC 29401
Dulles Designs. We stumbled upon this darling little stationery shop and I went a little Instagram crazy, sharing the beautiful custom invitations and more. It just doesn’t get better than this.
/ 89 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401
Magnolia Gardens + Audubon Swamp. I shared this gorge venue yesterday but I thought I’d make a quick note of it once again. It’s sort of hard to imagine places this beautiful exist … still and mysterious swamps surrounding idyllic plantations with some of the most marvelous gardens you ever did see. If you’ve never been, do try to squeeze a plantation tour into your itin. This is my favorite but there are plenty of others to see, too. Middleton and Drayton are very lovely, as well. / 3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414
Where to stay. I highly recommend staying downtown so you can easily walk around and not worry about parking, etc. A grade-school friend of mine who now lives in Chas recommended that we stay at The Indigo Inn and I’m so glad she did. It’s a great central location (check out FIG next door) and we walked to everything we wanted to see downtown. And the nightly wine and cheese nightcap was a definite hit. 😉 The stay was charming with chinoiserie wallpaper, lion’s head doorknockers and windows overlooking a private and charming courtyard which included a joggling board – fun after that free wine! 🙂
Shark’s teeth. I just have to share this silly little tip. When I was little and living in Chas, one of my favorite hobbies was searching for shark’s teeth. After an afternoon of swimming at the neighborhood pool, we’d walk our bikes home and look carefully for the unmistakably grey triangular “rocks” with sharp sides … the teeth were scattered all over our neighborhood as the land used to be covered with ocean. It was so exciting to find them and I kept them in a wooden heart box in my room. I wish I still had them as they’d look pretty fab half-dipped in gold and put on a necklace. Gah. I didn’t have time to shark’s teeth hunt on this trip but let me know if you find any! 😉
If you have any tips, insights, suggestions or comments, I’d love to hear them! Did you miss the other entries of CB’s Travel Journal? Click here to catch up!
Images by moi.