A Weekend in Charleston
Check that off the bucket list!
Last weekend we decided to make the 3 hour drive to the coast where we could spend a couple days exploring Charleston. We did little-to-no research prior to arriving, which really made this a go-with-the-flow type trip. My favorite.
We arrived in Mount Pleasant, a quaint suburb across the bridge, on Saturday morning. Our first move was making our way to Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island, which was recommended by a friend for their delicious burgers. It’s a super cute restaurant with 90% outdoor seating & a laid back vibe. Totally beachy. We started with an appetizer of crispy yet greasy chips paired with mouthwatering queso. Yum. After snarfing that down, we went for the pimento cheese burger which was a total gamechanger. Now I must admit, I am a fan of McDonald’s burgers. Why do I like a concerningly cheap & unhealthy burger you might ask? Well, I am part of the 4% of Americans that prefer really really thin burgers. I’m sorry, but for me it’s the toppings that I’m here for, not the meat. Anyways, I mention this because as the waitress slid the plate in front of us, I felt my heart sink… it was a big burger. But it was time for me to man up and try it.
This was the moment when I put my foot in my mouth. Somehow the massive burger slowly melted in my mouth with every bite, crumbling under the creaminess of pimento cheese. Wow, I’m salivating.
Pro tip: If you go, make sure to get there before noon. Luck was on our side as we walked in & got a seat before a line of nearly 20 people formed 30 minutes later.
The rest of our time was spent wandering around downtown Charleston, our path decided by the nearest colonial house that captured our gaze. King St., our point of reference, was lined with upscale boutiques and stores that were the perfect subjects for window-shopping. They had everything from Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and H&M to European boutiques that sold shoes more expensive than my car.
After a few hours of walking, we found ourselves at the market place near the water. We passed by Waterfront Park where tourists and locals alike sat around letting the sun melt their skin. Did I mention it was January 19th?! I could get used to this!! Anyways, near the water was Historic Charleston City Market, a pathway full of vendors selling homemade goods. We both really enjoyed walking through that, but what we might have enjoyed even more were the candy shops that caught our eye afterwards. Are you guys fans of pralines? Peter has always had a special spot in his soul for them after visiting the south some time ago, so we felt it necessary to grab samples. Man, if you are ever at the Market you need to go to Market Street Sweets where they had the sweetest most buttery pralines ever. Across the way was my other favorite place, Byrd's Famous Cookies. If you couldn’t tell, I have a big sweet tooth. I blame my mom. Anyways, this place had a line of cookie jars for you to sample the many flavors of mouthwatering cookies. Our front-runner was the peach flavor, odd but delicious.
So as I mentioned earlier, we did little research before arriving. This is why when we came across a stretch of colorful houses swarmed with a sea of photographers and women modeling for presumably Instagram photos, we didn’t realize we arrived at Rainbow Row. Naturally, my photographer instincts kicked in & I made sure to snap some photos. On a side note, I feel like Peter is slowly becoming one of those Instagram boyfriends whose hidden talents include but aren’t limited to: listening to their girlfriend’s directions & capturing shots - haha!
Our other favorite spot was actually the College of Charleston campus, which I’m not even sure you consider a campus because it looked more like the set of a Nicholas Sparks movie. Seriously, part of me wanted to run into the admission’s office to enroll in any classes that would get me a seat in these beautiful buildings. I highly recommend checking it out if you ever visit.
It seemed like the very moment we took our 15,000th step our bellies sounded off with grumbling moans, alerting us that it was time for dinner. We had a few recommendations for food but settled for Poogan’s Smokehouse on Bay St. It just so happened that we were dining on the last night of restaurant week, which meant we could enjoy a 3-course meal for $25. Sangria and beer were our drinks of choice to be paired with our iconically southern meal. For starters we enjoyed fried pimento cheese balls & a massive skillet of mac n’ cheese. Our Midwestern roots are really shining through, eh? After wiping gooey cheese from our lips, a massive plate of pulled pork was placed in front of us. I kid you not, it must have been 2 lbs. of meat piled high, paired with bbq beans and potato salad as sides. No joke, as my first fork-full of pork sat in my mouth, I understood why this place was known for their meat. It was the most tender and flavorful pork, with a mix of burnt ends that were unlike anything I had previously consumed. Although the sides and brownie dessert were nothing spectacular, we found our experience to be wonderful.
I guess that is the sum of our weekend. We didn’t do anything too touristy or even visit many of the sites, but we know we will be back when it’s warmer so we aren’t stressed about that. Reading this page back, I am realizing how much I talk about food, but hey, I was once a food blogger so it’s in my blood. Anyways, it wouldn’t be a Katie blog if I didn’t include some tips, so here are some things for you to consider if you visit Charleston…
Street parking is free on the weekends, so look for a meter and park there. Otherwise, there are decently priced parking ramps if you can’t find street parking.
You can take a horse carriage tour of the city that depart near the Market area. Seems fun!
Magnolia Gardens is apparently a beautiful area to visit if you like flowery gardens.
There is a walking tour for roughly $20 that you can take to get a feel for the city which could be useful for your first time here.
Here are some restaurants we heard are good, but didn’t get to try: Toast, Coast, Leon’s on King Street, Kudu, Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery, City Lights, Sassy-Ass (the mobile coffee cart usually near Marion Square).
xoxo - Katie