Let me start off by saying my cousin Hayley has been trying to get me to visit her in Charleston for the past year or so now, and for the life of me I cant remember why I have postponed this trip so long. I have found Charleston to be the cutest town filled with amazing drinks, even better food, trendy boutiques, stunning galleries, and home to one of the best cousins of all time (the other three will eventually be featured). This is her:
The best tour guide ever. If possible, I always recommend seeing a new city through a local perspective. I mean, they do live there so they know the best places, and yes sometimes those places are not rated on TripAdvisor. I went on my Charleston adventure with my boyfriend of six years, Joe. He can be a little grumpy at times, but when it comes to traveling he is always my number one favorite travel buddy. He is so easy going and down for anything. As you may know, we live in Tampa so a simple drive is all we needed to get there. We woke up super early and started driving around 5:30am. I drove, Joe slept. One potty break, two red bulls, and a stop for Chic-fil-a breakfast later, we were there! We arrived around noon and overall it wasn’t a bad drive. We checked in to probably the cutest hotel I have ever been in, The Francis Marion Hotel.
My cousin was busy running the Charleston Half Marathon (yeah, she’s one of those) so she couldn’t meet us for lunch but told us to hit up a market named Caviar and Bananas. Once I walked in I instantly felt like I was living in Manhattan again and walked into a Dean and Deluca’s. So, I instantly fell in love. Then I ordered the Cheese Toastie, and I was in heaven. This is a must do if you are heading to Charleston and like cheese. Just sayin.
After, we met up with Hayley who is a student at The College of Charleston studying Art History and Arts Management. She showed us around her beautiful campus and the gallery she interns at on King St.
The next few days were a haze of drinking, wandering, and tons of eating around this beautiful town.
Here are some of the places we went:
(see cheese toastie above)
Amazing thin crust pizza
We went there for brunch, two words: bottomless mimosas
Craft beer and great food
Cute little bagel shop right off of King street
I stopped in there for a hot chocolate and croissant, cute gourmet market
For every kind of brew you want (growlers available)
Small bar with tons of character, leave a dollar bill
By far, this place was the highlight of my trip. AMAZING cocktails. Plus, they have old black and white movies playing. This is a must
This place is located right next to Monza and owned by the same people. Local craft beers available and an overall great atmosphere
Other than their amazing name, typography, and delicious drinks; you MUST order the soft pretzels with Sriracha cheese. Yeah, you heard me correctly.
So the first thing I noticed about Charleston (other than its fascination with old clocks) is that there are stores dedicated to one type of food, and you are able to taste everything.
The Charleston Beer Exchange is a must for any beer lover. Being from Tampa, I love craft beer and this place was great. Growlers available. Joe went a little crazy (see box of beer below)
This place is right next to The Griffon and has a ton of great handmade items
Don’t let their website fool you, this store is super cool. Half of the store is a ton of vintage inspired sports apparel and the other half is a super cute boutique filled with everything a girl would want in her closet. Hint: they sell Bourbon and Boweties
This market is awesome! Ton of local merchants. I got the cutest leather wallet and handmade jewelry from a local lady and I am obsessed.
If you ever have a long weekend and want a fun place to go in the south, Charleston is perfect. Like I said before, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get there. It was definitely a memorable trip.
and of course, there was gin.