One of the best decisions I ever made was to split my spring vacation into two parts. The benefits are abound and it feels like your one or two-week vacation is twice as long. I recommend choosing two destinations close enough for a cheap flight or train ride but far enough to have a substantial change in scenery. This year I begun with New York City, which you can read about in my past posts then hopped on an easy, inexpensive two hour flight to Charleston, South Carolina.
Charleston provided me with quaint, relaxing, beach relief from the concrete jungle that is Manhattan. I was lucky enough to have a friend who attends the College of Charleston to serve as an amazing tour guide. However, downtown Charleston is pretty petite and quite manageable for any tourist. The C of C campus is certainly worth taking a turn through regardless of who your are visiting with.
The first meal was very important and had to set the tone for the rest of the trip. My friend took me to one of her favorite spots Caviar and Bananas, a gourmet market and cafe. She said stick to anything with seafood and I would not be disappointed. I chose the Tarragon Shrimp Salad from their fresh sandwich list. The sandwich was reminiscent of a lobster roll with extra oomph and consisted of tarragon and roasted shallot shrimp salad, swiss cheese, tomato, bibb lettuce, and lemon Aioli on a toasted whole wheat baguette.
The next day we begun with a stroll down King Street which is reminiscent of Georgetown’s M Street. You can imagine the independent charm that it used to hold and even witness it in the preserved buildings but it is best to window shop past the overpriced corporate stores and stick to the local boutiques that remain.
Next we toured the old slave marts, which have been converted into markets touting local specialty products. A walk along the waterfront was extremely beautiful and we caught the water at a remarkably sparkling moment. We wisely refueled at the small and cute City Lights, a coffee shop, before heading to the iconic Pineapple Fountain. Make sure to walk out on the dock to spy some old forts and maybe even a pair of dolphins.
To satisfy my craving for good Southern food a group of us headed to Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ. I was sharply nudged and told to get the Pig In a Blanket pulled pork sandwich served with my choice of “trimmings”. The sides of mac & cheese and coleslaw were traditional, creamy and outstanding, holding their own against the mean sandwich.
The next day was our designated beach day which I refused to go without despite the less than ideal weather. We headed to Sullivan’s Island, a usually quiet destination that happened to be having it’s own St. Patrick’s Day raucous on this particular weekend. The beach was beautiful and very well preserved. The water was calm and I cannot wait to return during swimming weather. While there grab a bite to eat at Po’s Tavern or Taco Mamacita.
Before heading back we took a detour through the Isle of Palms to gaze at the gorgeous and enormous colonial beachfront homes. If you don’t have the chance to take a drive, equally as marvelous homes can be found down the narrow streets of downtown Charleston. The nightlife in Charleston does get live for a mellow town. For our final event it was essential to catch the daily drag show at Club Pantheon, a fierce riot.
Charleston, South Carolina reminded me of New Orleans but with more charm and less tourist build up. The food was wonderful and the historical quality of the city provided a very peaceful and nostalgic setting.