A Weekend in Charleston, SC
With Andrew’s mum in town, we decided to take off sans kids for the weekend. We chose Charleston because when we came here with the kids a couple of years ago we absolutely loved it and wanted to experience it again (but without the kids!). My mother in law had never been south either and we knew she would love everything about it (she’s obsessed with the movie Fried Green Tomatoes!).
We had such a wonderful time and were given some great recommendations from locals and those who visit Charleston often so I wanted to share our experience.
We got an early Friday morning flight and landed about 11am. It was hot and sunny (temps get really hot at this time of year) and we arrived at our hotel, Belmond Charleston Place. This hotel was recommended to us and it did not disappoint. It is located right on King St where all the best shopping and restaurants are. It has a gorgeous indoor/outdoor pool, spa, and excellent dining options. As we were too early for our rooms, we were able to use the spa facilities to freshen up before lunch. They were most accommodating and it got me in ‘vacation mode’ instantly. Other recommendations for accommodation included The Mills House, Rennaisance and the Embassy Suites (for a lower price point).
Lunch was spent at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar. We had visited this place two years ago and remembered the fun we had sitting at the bar eating freshly shucked oysters (highly recommend sitting at the bar!). Our experience did not disappoint. To give my mother in law the true southern food experience we ordered oysters, hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, fries and were told we had to try the oyster shot. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever had! I highly recommend this place and order everything I just mentioned.
Following lunch we walked around town, visiting the famous markets (a great place to buy all your souvenirs), the Pineapple fountain down on the water and eating ice cream (obviously). Once we got back to the room I booked myself in for a massage (which was incredible) and then sat by the pool. I left my phone charging in the hotel room and Andrew gave me his noise cancelling headphones. I listened to music and dozed for about an hour. I haven’t relaxed like that in I don’t know how long. It was incredible.
Next up dinner! We were recommended Leon Poultry and Oyster Bar. They don’t take reservations so when we arrived at 9pm (we were still on Chicago time so really only 8pm for us), we had a 45 minute wait. But it was ok! We were warned about this and knew to pop a few doors down to Little Jack’s Tavern for a drink and some apps. We got the ‘Cruditês and Dip’ which was seasonal raw vegetables dressed in olive oil and sea salt, served with an avocado mousse. It was delicious! We waited our 45 minutes and then got the text that our table was ready. We went back and inside to Leon’s. It was quite noisy and there was a bacherlotte table and a bucks table either side of us. It’s a place that serves frozen gin and tonics and rosé so I should have known!!! Not the most appropriate restaurant for my mother in law (we could hardly hear each other) but the food was nice. We had oysters, half a fried chicken and Brussels sprouts.
Day two consisted of breakfast in the hotel followed by a visit to the Magnolia Plantation. Such an amazing place with so much history and the most popular plantation to visit. Go to their website to get their buy on get one free general admission (and save yourself $20!). Then you can add tours onto your ticket. We added a Nature Train Tour ($8) and House Tour ($8). You’ll learn so much about the history of Charleston. Fascinating stuff!
On to lunch back in Charleston and Andrew had his heart set on a lobster roll. We decided 167 Raw was the place to go and wow…it did not disappoint! We had the most incredible lobster roll, fish sandwich, ceviche and stone crab. Highly recommened! We then spent the afternoon strolling down King St, visiting The Battery (a landmark defensive seawall and promenade named for a civil-war coastal defense artillery battery at the site) and shopping and finished up by the hotel pool. We had a 9pm dinner reservation at Halls Chophouse (make sure to book this one ahead of time or you will not get in). We were greeted at the door by Billy Hall Jnr who makes the experience feel very homely. We enjoyed Calamari and Fried Green Tomatoes to start (seriously delicious), followed by the Dry aged Kansas City Strip and the wet aged Rib Eye with broccolini, shrimp and grits and sweet potato fries. Everything was outstanding and cooked to perfection. A special mention to the shrimp and grits which was incredible!
The next day started with a horse carriage tour (using Classic Carriage Works) and we got really lucky with our guide (Patrick). He was super knowledgable and we were also happy with how they treated their horses. The horses get lots of time off, are temperature checked after every ride, wear special rubber shoes and are vet checked and dental checked often. Our horse Franklin was just gorgeous and we got to see so many incredible homes while learning more about the history of Charleston.
For lunch we decided on Fleet Landing. It’s on the water and was recommended so we decided to give it a go. Unfortunately we were pretty underwhelmed by it. The service was ok (a little slow) and the food was pretty bland. Andrew got the fish and chips and we got the BLT with fried green tomatoes. We wished we’d gone back to Amen St or 167 Raw instead!
There are so many more places to eat that we didn’t get to but I’m adding them to my list. Here is a round up of everywhere we ate PLUS places that were recommended to us…
Leon Poultry and Oyster Bar
Little Jack’s Tavern
Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar
Also on our list to try next time:
Over all, our experience was just amazing. I’d go back in a heart beat. I also love that it’s a short flight from Chicago and only an hour time difference. We were able to enjoy three full days and while there is always more you can do, it was perfect for a weekend getaway.