By Katy Dehaven
My husband and I recently spent the weekend in Charleston, SC. I hadn’t been to this area since I was a kid. I couldn’t believe all that there was to see and do! One of the first questions we were asked when we arrived was if we were in town for Bachelor/ Bachelorette parties or a wedding. Charleston has become a destination hotspot for both and I can easily see why. The historic charm of the downtown area coupled with all bars, restaurants and attractions make this an ideal location for a celebration.
Some of the top attractions to check out include the Charleston City Market, which was located right next to our hotel. This market has been around since the 1800’s. The market stretches down several blocks and is filled with toys, clothes, art, jewelry, food and souvenirs.
Fort Sumter is the place where the first shot of the Civil War was fired in 1861. Visitors can take a ferry ride to the fort and museum. This is a must-see for history buffs.
Open weekends only for visitors, the H.L. Hunley was the world’s first successful combat submarine, sinking the USS Housatonic in 1864. She sank shortly after herself and was recovered in 2000. Visitors can learn about this historic vessel through the museum and interactive exhibits.
There are several plantation tours available in the area. We went to the McLeod Plantation Historic Site on James Island. The focus of this tour is not the main Plantation home, but to educate visitors on the grim realities of slavery. Other popular Plantation tours include Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, The Aiken-Rhett House Museum and Drayton Hall.
The Charleston Museum, which was founded in 1773 is said to be the country’s first museum. This museum is a wonderful place to learn about the history of Charleston and the Low Country. There is a KidStory area which is a hands-on exhibit, perfect for younger visitors.
The South Carolina Aquarium located on the Charleston Harbor downtown is home to more than 5,000 animals and a wonderful place to visit especially for those traveling with young children. Highlights of the Aquarium include the Sea Turtle Care Center and “touch” exhibit where you can get up close with select wildlife including stingrays.
Carriage tours are a great way to learn about and explore the downtown area. Choose between a Historic Charleston tour or a Haunted Carriage Tour.
For beach lovers there are several great spots to check out including Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and many more.
Great day trips from Charleston include, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, SC as well as Savannah, GA.
There are so many amazing bars and restaurants in Charleston! Here are my thoughts on the spots we dined at.
During our visit we met up with friends at The Belmont which is located on upper King Street in downtown. This intimate cocktail lounge serves classic and creative cocktails as well as create your own charcuterie board from an amazing list of meats and cheeses.
For dinner our first night in town we dined at Félix, also on King Street. This Paris inspired restaurant is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. We had their fish special which was Halibut. It was the absolute best Halibut I have ever had in a restaurant. It was moist and flavorful and came with an amazing gnocchi side.
Another evening we dined at Le Farfalle which offers modern Italian cuisine. This one was just ok for us. We felt very rushed through dinner. As a matter of fact we were in and out in about 45 minutes. My husband had the Chicken Parmesan and I had the Fusilli Lunghu. The food was good, but the experience wasn’t the best.
One morning we ate at Another Unbroken Egg Cafe which is a chain found mostly in states across the southeast as well as a few other parts of the country. We don’t have any in the St. Louis area where we live. My husband and I both loved the breakfast we ordered. My husband had the Biscuits and Gravy with eggs and bacon while I had the Skinny Omelette with Fresh Fruit and an English Muffin. My husband also had a Bloody Mary with bourbon instead of vodka. Both the food and service were great here.
Our final night in town we dined at Grill 225 which was located in our hotel, Market Pavillon Hotel. We each had the Lowcountry Blue Crab Chowder and felt that it could use a bit more seasoning. My husband had the 8 oz filet mignon with a side of creamed spinach and I had the Caesar salad with shrimp. The salad and filet were both great but again the creamed spinach really lacked seasoning. The service here was wonderful though.
Stay tuned for my next blog post to read about our hotel, Market Pavilion and why I think it was the perfect place to stay during our visit.