I received so many snaps, tweets and questions about our Charleston trip and I’m so excited to share a little more about what we did when we were there a couple of weeks ago. We teamed up with the Charleston Area CVB for our long weekend (@explorecharleston) – which gave us access to all the museums, tours, best dining, and shopping! We totally took advantage and packed as much as we usually do on a week-long vacation into 3 days (plus added a wedding in the mix), but there was just so much we wanted to do in a short amount of time. Raj and I already agree that we will be back and hope it won’t be too long until we are. We really did love Charleston, and have to agree that it’s one of our favorite places in the U.S. Read on to see what we did, where we stayed, where we ate, and most importantly, what we packed! Also, make sure to follow along with @explorecharleston over the next day as I takeover their Instagram account and show you my hands-down favorite moments from our trip!
There is just so, so much to do in Charleston and luckily, we ordered one of the Visitors Guides from the Charleston CVB – otherwise, we honestly wouldn’t have even known where to start! A lot of people recommended taking one of the Carriage Tours, but we were blessed with some amazingly comfortable weather and wanted to do as much walking as possible. On our lists of must-dos:
- Get lost in the streets. The first day, Raja and I just walked around and were stunned at just how beautiful this city is. We walked for 7 miles (yes, we really kept track) with absolutely no set direction. Each row of houses is honestly more beautiful than the next and I literally had to keep stopping to take a picture of every single doorway.
- Rainbow Row. The most picturesque row of pastel houses a few blocks away from the water. It’s a pretty easy easy walk if you’re staying in downtown historic Charleston – the houses go from 79 to 107 East Bay Street. Rumor has it, the houses were painted colors so that drunken sailors could find their way back home. Seeing these was on my Charleston Bucket List and I loved them so much, we actually saw them twice!
- Old Slave Mart Museum. We really wanted to learn the history of Charleston from all angles, so this was one of our first stops. Although insanely disturbing (I almost had to walk out), it really provides an in-depth story of Charleston’s role in the slave-trade and is an actual site where slave trading occurred.
- Visit a historic home. A few homes have been purchased and restored by foundations and they are beautiful. We visited the Nathaniel Russel house – completed in 1808 and known for its “floating staircase” – it was one of the most elaborately decorated houses I’ve ever seen (probably doesn’t hurt that he was one of the richest men in Charleston at the time). Our tour guide was great and gave such a versed backstory that we felt like we knew everything about him and his family when we left!
- Visit one of the many plantations. We honestly wish we had more time so we could have visited more than one. Once we were there, we were told by a few people that Middleton Place was the one to see if we were only able to see one – it’s America’s oldest landscape gardens. I was sold when they said they had horses and a stableyard, for obvious reasons. We walked around the lush property for hours and it was manicured to perfection. There’s also a house to visit on property – one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence – and the house has actually remained with the family for over 350 years. Can you tell Raj and I are slight nerds?!
We stayed at the cozy and adorable Fulton Lane Inn – in my opinion, the best location we could have asked to stay in. I knew that Kings Street was the main street in Charleston, but it’s so long and I wasn’t sure if we were going to be at good end of it. We were walking distance to everything worth being walking distance too, with some of the best shops and restaurants in town just steps outside our hotel. Our room was so cozy (fireplace and tub included) and we had a beautiful canopy bed and kitchenette. It was also so convenient to have breakfast included – and the choice of full service in the beautiful courtyard or ordered by room service. Oh, and they had soy milk to top it off! I was seriously in breakfast Heaven – no one usually has soy milk, so THANK YOU!
Fulton Lane Inn is actually part of the Charming Inn properties and the sister property, King Courtyard Inn, right next door even serves a happy hour from 5-6pm with wine and cheese. I’m honestly not sure why I’m still not at this place…
We ate so well in Charleston that I’m currently signed up for barre class 3x this week (and next). Most of everywhere we went to eat was less than a 5 minute walk from our hotel at the Fulton Lane Inn:
- The Vendue | The Rooftop. If we’re having nice weather, we 100% like to sit outside when we’re eating. This rooftop had some beautiful views of both downtown and the water, so we sat for a few hours and drank rosé and had a few apps- the Seared Ahi Salad was amazing!
- ÉLEVÉ at Grand Bohemian Hotel. We were invited to brunch at one of the newer hotels and I was so excited to check out the property and rooftop – I saw so many pictures and it has such an eclectic style. The weekend brunch is insane – bottomless mimosas and a delicious spread of everything from salad to a carving station to eggs benedict to bread pudding (omg, why did it take me this long to try that?!?!) – we were seriously so stuffed, but it was so worth it. They also have a gorgeous rooftop that reminds me of Alice in Wonderland!
- TOAST. This was right around the corner from our hotel and they kept luring us in. Not only are they known for having some of the best breakfast around, they also have live music at night and we ended up back there requesting songs until 3am.
- Kitchen 208. A perfect grab and go for when you don’t want a crazy long meal. We had so much to do, we grabbed from here a few times and sat on the patio.
- HUSK. That beautiful white house pictured above with the extra long porch is actually a resturant, and probably the most recommended one in Charleston. Although we didn’t get a chance to eat here (one of the three nights we were at a wedding), every single human being we encountered in Charleston told us to go here. We’re about to book a trip back just to say we finally went.
I’m going to admit that this wasn’t my favorite packing trip ever. I brought along a few fancy items for the wedding and a few wedding events, but really didn’t know what to expect for anything else. Charleston is definitely a city where everyone looks good all the time. We saw a lot of people dressed up at all hours of the day – definitely not as casual as a southern city like Nashville. I swear, I don’t think I saw one pair of jeans. While the outfits I brought were put together, I think a few more day dresses would have been perfect, like this gorgeous lavendar one or this off-the-shoulder one. Also, sensible walking shoes. I brought along these Soludos sandals and while they were pretty comfortable, something a little more flat and less heavy would have been better for walking all day. I kept cursing myself for not throwing in my favorite lace-up sandals at the last minute like I meant to!
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A huge thanks to Charleston Area CVB for providing us our VIP passes and Fulton Lane Inn for our amazing stay.