Y’all, I am completely charmed by Charleston. Every step I took and every corner I turned I was stopped in my tracks and struck by the city’s beauty, history, and charm. The only other city that stops me in my tracks like this is Paris. I know it seems like a weird comparison, but Charleston reminded me of Paris in many ways. Very few cities are so consistently beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.
Originally settled in 1562 (by a Frenchman) and then resettled in 1670 (by the English), Charles Town (as it was then known) is one of the oldest and most important cities in American history. Not only was it the first successful English city in the south, it was the fourth largest colonial city, not to mention the wealthiest. Needless to say, American history is alive and well in Charleston. Furthermore, despite being the birthplace of secessionism, Charleston (along with Savanah and New Orleans) was one of the few southern cities that was not burned by General Sherman. So the city not only offers interesting colonial history, but a rare glimpse into the antebellum south.
Last minute, Emily and I decided to head to Charleston for spring break. Neither of us had made any real plans for our week off. With my summer abroad fast approaching and a conference in Chicago in a week and a half, I couldn’t afford a big trip or anything out of the country. Since Charleston is only a 6.5 hour drive from Tampa, we decided why not?!
As it turns out, our timing was perfect. We arrived just at the beginning of Charleston Fashion week, which was super fun and also meant that there was a lot going on in the city. Weather wise we were less lucky. It was so freaking cold all week! Neither of us had really packed appropriately, so we just kind of grinned and beared it. Fortunately, with each passing day temperatures rose.
Per usual, Emily and crammed as much as we could while we were in town (so brace yourself for lots of posts and pictures), most of which centered on eating (again, per usual). It seems like everyone is visiting Charleston at the moment, and with good reason. It is a charming little city with great food and lots to see and do. I thought I would share where we ate and what we saw/did.
Where we ate:
This place is very fancy and very conceptual. Emily’s stracciatella cheese was served blown up like a balloon! While Zero George offers a unique culinary experience it is not the type of place you want to show up hungry or in a rush.
The Park Cafe
Great breakfast and brunch options. I highly recommend the avocado and egg breakfast sandwich.
Black Tap Coffee
Three words – Iced lavender latte.
Caviar and Bananas
Delish breakfast options, great quick lunch bites, and a fancy grocer all in one.
Think southern meets Italian. I loved the buckwheat pasta calcio e pepe.
Adorable bakery just off Canon.
Definitely the place to go if your looking for some comfort food.
Another great option for southern cuisine.
The Darling Oyster Bar
I think the name says it all.
A great spot for drinks.
Rue de Jean
A cute but unassuming French place for when you’re tired of soul food.
Amazing weekend brunch! The mascarpone and raspberry french toast is life affirming.
What we did/saw:
A must see row of candy colored house that has become the unofficial symbol of Charleston (the pineapple is the official symbol).
The Mills House
A historic pink hotel, need I say more?
Shopping on King Street and Canon Street
The historic town market is alive and well. It offers an eclectic mix of food, souvenirs, and crafts.
Pineapple Fountain and Waterfront
Gorgeous waterfront park and from here you can walk to the battery and gawk at the stunning historic homes.
Milford Place (Plantation)
Stunning grounds and gardens (and plenty of adorable farm animals), but offers a sterile more white-washed history (but more on this later).
Smaller plantation than Milford, but gives a fascinating account of slavery and plantation economies.
Absolutely gorgeous neighborhood that is well worth a stroll.
Beautiful beach area.
I wish we had even more time in Charleston, because I am sure there is so much more to see and do. One thing is for sure, I cannot wait to return to Charleston! Please share your favorite sights and restaurants below.
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