My friends Carrie and Bryan recently had a stunning wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. It was my first time traveling to Charleston. And I was excited to check out the area and indulge in some serious southern food.
Charleston is one of the oldest, most storied cities in America. It’s developed a rich culture shaped by a number of historic events (the Civil War commenced at Fort Sumter, for one). The city is flanked by two rivers and a beautiful harbor on the Southern tip. And due to its compact size, it’s easy to walk around end enjoy the picturesque Charleston single houses, with their piazzas.
For me the most exciting aspect of Charleston is the newer restaurants, bars, and shops are housed in old buildings that have been beautifully converted to accommodate modern-day needs. Architects have done a magnificent job modernizing old buildings and retaining the old-world charm that makes Charleston so unforgettable.
Charleston Travel Guide
WHERE TO STAY IN CHARLESTON.
There are many options for cute little Bed & Breakfasts in Charleston. And of course you can always AirBNB. However if you really want to travel in luxury because let’s face it, who doesn’t then I suggest a stay at The Dewberry.
Honoring the history of the landmark L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building (circa 1964), The Dewberry captures the luxury and quiet restraint that are hallmarks of historic Charleston.
Inside and out, The Dewberry is a manifestation of founder John Dewberry’s vision of “Southern Reimagined.” As much a setting as it is a state of mind, the hotel was brought to life over eight years by a team of architects and designers who shared Dewberry’s mission to present Charleston from a uniquely personal perspective. The result is a thoughtfully imagined juxtaposition of past and present that redefines what is possible when historic preservation is paramount.
WHERE TO EAT IN CHARLESTON.
Because when you’re in sweet southern heaven the best thing to do is indulge!
The Darling Oyster
Housed in a lovingly restored, 115-year-old storefront, The Darling strives for “instant classic” status. While always paying careful attention to local ingredients and sustainability this restaurant is perfect for guilt-less bottomless fun!
- Hush Puppies– Geechie Boy Corn Meal, Sorghum Butter
- Chowder Fries – Local Clams, Bacon, Vegetables Served Over House Fries
- Bacon Egg and Cheese -Hickory Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Cheddar Cheese, Potato Bun
- Lobster & King Crab Roll – Split-Top Bun, Scallion, Mayo
Pawpaw Southern Restaurant & Cuisine in Charleston
Situated on Charleston’s storied East Bay Street, Pawpaw offers a modern, Southern-inspired, sharable menu. Focusing on family farms and seasonality, Pawpaw’s menu changes according the peak seasons for local and regional ingredients.
- Buttermilk Biscuits – pimento cheese, wildflower honey butter, strawberry jalapeno jam
- Pawpaw’s Mac & Cheese – housemade pasta, three cheese mornay, bacon breadcrumbs
- Blue Crab Dip – parmesan, toasted bread crumbs, scallions
- Spinach Salad – honey crisp apples, candied pecans, hooks blue cheese, golden raisins, cider-maple vinaigrette
5 Church Charleston
If you want to go to church without all the guilt, then this is your sanctuary! 5 Church Charleston is located in a former church with serious remodel filled with artistic touches all around. The sophisticated and trendy ambiance has Instagram worthy spots all around. The menu is just as inspired – check out my picks below.
- Butcher’s Block – Chef selection of meats and seasonal cheeses
- Prime Beef Meatballs – Moroccan BBQ Glaze, whipped feta, lemon marinated cucumbers, gremolata
- Sea Scallops – seasonal veggies, green curry, coconut rice and mango chutney
- Try the Viper Cocktail as well!
Lobby Bar at The Dewberry Hotel
If you are looking for a great snack, check out the Living Room at The Dewberry. Outfitted with mid-century furnishings, a curated reading library and a showstopping brass bar, the Living Room is a warm and welcoming destination for morning coffee, afternoon cocktails or an evening aperitif.
HAT TRICK GIN STEAMED MUSSELS – Butter, Parsley, Garlic, Grilled Bread
Magnolia’s in Charleston
Created by Chef Don Drake and Kelly Franz, Magnolias remains a forerunner in upscale Southern cuisine. The restaurant is known for blending traditional ingredients. And cooking techniques with modern flair for artful presentations.
- NIÇOISE SALAD – tuna salad, arugula, olives, potatoes, green beans, artichokes, diced egg,
lemon-caper vinaigrette, Charleston flatbread crackers
- SPICY BUFFALO FRIED CHICKEN COBB SALAD – Texas Pete buffalo sauce, romaine, egg, corn relish, black beans, white cheddar cheese, bacon, buttermilk ranch dressing
- SHELLFISH OVER GRITS – sautéed shrimp, sea scallops, creamy white grits, lobster butter sauce, fried spinach
MUST SEE IN CHARLESTON.
After indulging in friend chicken take a nice long walk around Charleston. There are a few stops that are a definite must see.
Nestled at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor and neighbor to the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island is an inviting mix of wide beaches and watersports, history and folklore, local restaurants and shops, peace and perfect
Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island beginning November 18,1827. His time on the island inspired “The Gold Bug”, a story about a mystical beetle that led to buried treasure. This hotspot pays homage to his time on the Island and is filled with paintings and quotes from his writings.
WEDDING FUN IN CHARLESTON
My friend Carrie is such a stunner and knows how to have a great time. During Art Basel a few years ago, we were at an event when it started monsooning. I’m not kidding it was like the sky opened up and Niagara Falls streamed down on us. Most people ran for cover, but Carrie and I just grabbed each other’s hands and started dancing in the rain. That’s the kinda gal she is. Super chic, but knows how to let loose!
Her wedding was a reflection of her and Bryan’s personalities! Not only were we in the middle of a beautiful plantation, but we were also surrounded by their lovely family and friends. The band they selected had the entire crowd dancing. And get this… a donut bar was brought out at the end of the night. You know I was ALL OVER that!
It was a wedding to remember.
I included some photos of the wedding so you can see how GORGEOUS this plantation is. And the incredible ambiance Charleston is known for.
Charleston did not disappoint! It’s always fun catching up with friends and exploring the town. Any city that serves fried chicken, is always on my list! If I missed any hot spots, leave a comment below.
For your convenience I linked my outfit details below!