I grew-up in Augusta, GA, and we very frequently drove over to Charleston for some good food, music and beach time. I was very lucky to be trained by my Dad to love and respect the arts, and most years we would go to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston for incredible days of art and msic. It was something very magical for me – it felt like I was in the big city, bohemian and cultured at the same time. Charleston is truly MAGIC, with hidden pathways off cobblestone streets and gaslight at each entry. From there, we would spend time in Hilton Head with wild dunes and million mile long beaches.
I visited Charleston recently and spent an afternoon in dappled sunlight walking from the battery though the streets of historic downtown and was taken back to that feeling of magic. In honor of my true love for the city, we are introducing the latest coin in our destination series dedicated to Charleston.
Here are some of my favorite places to eat, shop and stay…
When I first arrive in a new location, whether I have been there before or not, I like to WALK. Spend some time walking the historic district – I mean I could literally spend days exploring the streets, looking at the architecture and plants and people. Try this walking tour:
Secret Alleys and Hidden Passages. LOVED IT.
Another short and very interesting tour is in the Old Exchange, where the basement holds a dungeon (which makes you VERY thankful you never went to jail in CHS during the American Revolution).
I have a GIANT painting (4 x 5 feet!) of the exchange hanging in my kitchen now that my father bought when we were there sometime in the 1980s, so I literally look at the exchange every day.
When not walking, you are eating 😊. There are honestly too many places to list but here are some favorites:
Brunch at 82 Queen. Sit outside in the courtyard and have fried green tomatoes and chicken and biscuits and it will seal the deal that whenever you come back to CHS you have to visit 82 Queen.
If you are running around, grab a biscuit from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and some biscuit mix to bring home to all your friends.
Dinner? Husk. It is my DREAM restaurant. Favorite. Have dinner on the porch and then a visit to the freestanding bar by the main house (and order a Bayou Bird!).
Shopping? YES OF COURSE. We like to walk up and down King Street and pop into the small boutiques.
The store I am dying for Jane Win to be sold in? Hampden! They have all the cool brands 😊 in their own southern sophisticated edit.
Need more jewelry? Definitely stop into Croghan’s Jewel Box, Charleston’s oldest and most well-known jewelry store with all the best names (think Temple St. Clair & Seaman Schepps). If you like Jane Win you will love the Goldbug Collection.
Where to stay? Honestly, we LOVE being in an Air B&B and highly recommend finding a little flat in the historic district. If you want a hotel – there are so many good choices. Trust our friends at Travel & Leisure for this list…
One more secret. There is a famous Charleston artisan named Philip Simmons. I loved loved loved reading about his life and work. Over 600 pieces are in Charleston. Philip was a renown blacksmith and created the most incredible ironwork. The best part? He was known to hide hearts in all his work. I feel as though we would have been friends. Please read about this incredible man (here).
I think Charleston holds a place in my heart because it takes me back to being a kid and walking through art galleries with my Dad. As we were driving out of town on my most recent trip, I had one of the Charleston coins with me and I hopped out of the car in the harbor area and took this picture. If you notice, there is a beautiful Heron in the background, proof that my Dad was with me on that trip 😊.