My first encounter with this beauty was during my "gap year" between high school and college. My work required a lot of travel (which I loved!). Somehow my 19-year-old self didn't quite grasp the scope of all that is Charleston. Don't get me wrong, I remember loving it, but I also remember thinking how boring it was to hear about types of architectural columns on house tours.
Ever since, I've wanted to return, with Ben. I would think back to the incredible seafood, the upscale nightlife, and moonlit walks on the pier. It is a city for lovers. Perhaps this is why the magic was a little lost on a single 19-year-old.
This time, the city was brimming with magic. Somehow, we were fortunate enough to be there on the final day of the annual Spoleto Festival. Everywhere we looked we found culture, art in the park, and we even managed to walk into The Dock Street Theater, purchase tickets spontaneously. You guys, this concert was waaay out of our league. But, it was fun pretending I was well acquainted with the works of famous Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo.
We arrived in Charleston late on a Friday night. I'd finished shooting an elopement in Savannah and we were getting hungry. I give full credit to Ben for unearthing this treasure. You guys! The swordfish and grits at this cafe, well, I still dream about it. Ben still raves about the famous Charleston Nasty Biscuit (a brief hiatus from his hard core Keto lifestyle). He promises me it was worth every delicious carb and calorie.
Saturday morning we decided to stroll around historic Charleston in search of the best brunch locale. Um, yeah, sooo brunch is very busy in this historic romantic town. We were picturing something more light and cafe-ish and less white linen tablecloth elegance. But, with the crowds increasing at the same rapid rate as my hunger, we opted for something more posh. Ahhh, best decision ever. High Cotton played instrumental bluegrass in the background, with high ceilings graced with chandeliers and a fireplace in the center of the dining room. The coffee was perfect and my Crab Cake Eggs Benedict to die for. I was in Scarlet O'Hara heaven.
One place we popped into while in the city was this amazing Olive Oil establishment. I was mildly curious until I began taste-testing. I was amazed by how much flavor was packed into these olive oils and balsamic. It was crazy. We came home with their Strawberry Champagne White Balsamic and I've already ordered my second bottle (free shipping!). I use it on my fave salad and it only has 15 calories - winning!
As I mentioned, we were in town for the final day of the Spoleto Festival, so this market was brimming with art. We perused the tents with prize winning pieces of artwork. Just as I was getting a bit too warm for comfort, low and behold, a fresh lemonade and tea stand. I had freshly squeezed lemon juice sweetened with cane sugar mixed with unsweet tea. Uh. Mazing. As live bluegrass played in the background, we rounded the corner finding an artist's work that completely captured my heart. Amanda McLenon creates maps of cities with watercolor overlays. Sooo pretty, definitely check out her work! The piece that I bought is a map of Charleston with a watercolor overlay of Rainbow Row. I'm obsessed.
This was high on my "to see again" list. A perfect line of pastel houses in southern architectural glory. Yes, please! They did not disappoint. I wanted to move all of the parked cars so that I could get a perfect shot of the homes in all their rainbow glory. No such luck.
We walked down the romantic waterfront vista portion of the city. Large oak trees with low hanging moss line Waterfront Park, we strolled past a Saturday afternoon wedding ceremony. We reached the famous Pineapple fountain where children squealed in glee splashing in the summer heat. Oh, that summer heat. We were ready for a respite. Rounding the corner on Vendue Range, we discovered The Vendue. While we didn't stay here on this visit, we hope to be back for a legit overnight stay. Inside is the perfect blend of modern meets historic charm. We enjoyed a coffee break inside of this boutique hotel's air conditioned Starbucks.
Charleston is the kind of city that makes you fall in love all over again. It is romance, charm, and everything southern grace. I so hope this is just the beginning of many weekend Charleston escapes.