A Weekend In My Favorite Southern Town

by tinareale on December 11, 2012

Now, you know I can’t give you my half marathon race recap without also doing a run down of my overall trip. And I certainly have a lot to share. Peter and I made the most of our weekend away in Charleston, that’s for sure. Even after returning for the third time, it still remains atop my list of cities to visit in the US.

Peter and I arrived around noon on Friday. We immediately went to our hotel, even though we didn’t know if the hotel would allow us to check in just yet. We stayed at the Mills House Hotel on Meeting Street close to the heart of downtown Charleston.

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A large, clean lobby greeted us (along with egg nog and Christmas cookies set out) and the friendly staff welcomed us and had us checked in within minutes.

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The décor in the rooms may not have been quite our style (besides my Technogel pillow), but the comfortable beds, complimentary wi-fi, and easy access to all things Charleston made it an optimal place to stay.

Once we took a few minutes to get our stuff set in the room, we hit the Charleston streets for some strolling around town and to find some lunch. Just a few blocks up from the hotel we came across Market Street, a large street that goes on for blocks with shops lining a north and south street plus an open market area in the center.

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We easily spent a few hours there, perusing the different crafts, food products, and memorabilia.

I could have stayed longer, but our stomachs called and we made our way to lunch. When looking through Yelp (best app ever when traveling!), a restaurant called Cru Café received so  many rave reviews that we had to try it. I’m definitely glad we did. My marinated and grilled portabella wrap alongside their Mezclun salad with herbed goat cheese and balsamic remained my favorite meal while in Charleston.

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With our bellies finally full, we continued our walk around Charleston, venturing towards the harbor area and parks along the water.

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We actually took our very first trip together to Charleston a little over six years ago and have a photo standing in front of that same fountain. So much has changed since then!

By now, we had walked around for a few hours and knew we should probably head back to allow my legs a chance to relax before the Kiawah Island Half Marathon. I had one more place I wanted to visit first, though. Rainbow Row! I have to see it every time I come to Charleston.

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There’s nothing too significant about Rainbow Row that I can remember, but I love the classic Charleston architecture in all the bright colors close to the waterfront. It just feels so Charleston.

The next 18 hours from there pretty much involved race stuff, which I have already recapped. So jumping right ahead to after the race and our second day in Charleston. First up, FOOD!

I had little appetite, per usual, immediately following my run, but by the time we got back and showered, I wanted one thing and one thing only. A burger! And beer. So, two things. Two very good things.

On our way to our afternoon activities, we walked up the shopping district of King Street in search of a good place to grab some food. We luckily stumbled across Boone’s Bar. When I saw burgers and craft beer on their menu, we immediately called it good and went in to grab a table.

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I love this man!

When looking at their beers on tap, one thing jumped out at me. Sweet Potato Stout.

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Light, dark…doesn’t matter to me! Just be a good craft beer on tap. This one was just what I was looking for. It also went perfectly with my burger and sweet potato fries.

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Check out this burger! It had BRIE cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. Ohhhhhmygoodnessdelicious!

I downed most of that plate, which kept me feeling fully satisfied through the remainder of the afternoon and our various excursions we had planned. First up – a Charleston harbor tour!

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The tour took us all around the harbor with a very knowledgeable guide who shared a lot of historical information about Charleston. We also managed to get a fairly close up look at Fort Sumter and some of the old navy ships.

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Once we finished our boat tour, we took advantage of a special promotion that included a carriage tour to get a closer look and background in the inner streets of Charleston.

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Our tour guide not only had us chuckling quite a bit for some good entertainment, but I also feel like I learned and saw so much more than I ever would have on our own. I don’t typically do the tour thing when visiting cities, but now I think I will any time I visit someplace new. I appreciated not only getting to see a city, but to really hear more of its history and character.

Well, that about sums up our trip! We also had dinner that night and breakfast the following morning out at two great places – the Blind Tiger Pub (ahi tuna salad) and Toast (biscuit, scrambled eggs, and bacon), but I feel as though I have rambled enough already. Thanks for allowing me to share my love of Charleston with you!

Your Turn: Do you ever take tours when traveling to new places? Do you have a favorite city you could visit numerous times and never have it get old?

{ 39 comments }

1 Erica { EricaDHouse.com } December 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

I have been wanting to go to Charleston for years now and this post is just reigniting that ambition!

2 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian December 11, 2012 at 7:01 am

I always take tours when I visit new places because I usually don’t go back (so much more of the world to see) so I have to see as much as possible when I am there.

3 Jess December 11, 2012 at 7:57 am

Holy crap – brie on a burger? The most deliciously genius thing I’ve ever seen. OMG I seriously could eat that RIGHT NOW and it’s not even 8am. LOL

Looks like you guys had an awesome time, I love it!

4 Lauren December 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

I love Charlestown!!! Such an adorable little town with such charm. :) So glad you and Peter made the most out of this race.

5 Lee December 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

I’ve been to Charleston twice – once when I was a kid and last year for Thanksgiving (my BIL and SIL live there) but we were actually only there on Thanksgiving Day basically and everything was closed. I do have a picture of me and Jason in front of that pineapple fountain though!

6 tinareale December 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Peter refuses to believe that fountain is a pineapple and not a palmetto tree. He is so wrong. I’m going to use your comment as further proof. Ha!

7 Linz @ Itz Linz December 11, 2012 at 8:23 am

I’ve only been to San Diego once, but I could probably travel there over and over and never get bored!!

8 Heather (Where's the Beach) December 11, 2012 at 8:40 am

Um sweet potato stout???? I love me some sweet potatoes so I’d have to try that one! And that portobello wrap looks fantastic. I may need to re-create something like that this week ;-) Charleston is definitely a city I’d love to visit. I’ve been to Savannah once (we got kicked out of Daytona for hurricane & that’s where we landed). I love old city charm like that. I think I could visit Chicago a 100 more times!

9 Lindsay's List December 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

i’ve never been to Charleston. I know. I know. I know!!!

10 tinareale December 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

further reason to make a girls’ weekend for that race.

11 Kathy December 11, 2012 at 8:46 am

looks like a great place to visit….never been but may have to put it on the list of places to visit. ;-)

12 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots December 11, 2012 at 9:01 am

It looks so beautiful there, I want to go visit! We usually take tours when we go to new places, so far my favorite tour was the boat tour in Chicago!

13 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

Looks like a great weekend! I’m not big into history so if I have a say, I often choose to pass on tours but I LOVE the Boston duck tours and have done them multiple times. They’re entertaining, interesting and give me a great tour of one of my FAVORITE cities. :)

14 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions December 11, 2012 at 10:17 am

Oh man, this makes me want to go to Charleston so bad! I think I’ve been there once before, but I was about six months old at the time, so I definitely don’t remember it haha. Chicago used to be a city that I felt I could visit over and over again without getting tired of it…but now that I live in Chicago I can’t really say that’s the case anymore haha. Though I suppose there are still places in Chicago I can visit over and over again without getting tired of them!

15 Heather (Heather's Dish) December 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

GAH! Y’all are so stinking adorable :) I have always wanted to visit Charleston, but truth be told I’ve never really been to the East coast to speak of. Clearly I need to change this…

16 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning December 11, 2012 at 10:46 am

What a great trip! The hotel is adorable- and Christmas cookies and egg nog? Please and thank you.
I loooove the vibrams- you two are so cute. Greg and I each bought a pair about 2 years ago and I love mine, but he never broke his in, and hates them.
I would have definitely ordered the sweet potato stout too. :)

17 Caitlin December 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to Charleston! People are always telling me they can “see me there” haha. Now I can see why! The wrap and burger both look amazing (brie me please!) and Sweet Potato Stout?! Soooo cool! I love how you went with what you were craving too :) you and your man are way cute in your matching Vibrams. I adore your glasses!

18 Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson December 11, 2012 at 11:12 am

I love Charleston. I lived an hour and a half away from when I lived in Beaufort, SC but only went a handful of times. Downtown is so cute! Did the carriage tour tell you why the houses face each other and not the streets?

19 tinareale December 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

She said something about so people couldn’t see into each others’ homes with the porticos.

20 Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson December 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

Oh. That’s news to me. I was told it was to protect the houses from hurricanes. Less open space for wind and water to get caught in or something like that. Well shows what I know. HAHA! Either way, I thought it funky and kinda cool how they were all faced sideways.

21 Kammie @ Sensual Appeal December 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Wow Charleston looks like a beautiful town, it looks like it’s from Europe. I totally wanna go visit now.

22 Danielle December 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I went to Charleston last summer and absolutely loved it. I went and saw Rainbow Row too and love the colors and architecture

23 Annette@FitnessPerks December 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Brie on a burger?!? UMM YESSSSS. Those sweet potato fries look mighty fine too.

What a fab trip!

24 Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens) December 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I just took some time to read through your blog, it is super interesting and informative! And that cheese burger looks so good! :)

25 Heather @ Better With Veggies December 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm

We do tours a lot when traveling internationally, but not as much in the US. I have no idea why and really should do it more – you really do learn so much more info that way. We also will buy travel books that have walking tours, which I like too. :)

26 Amy Lauren December 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I live in Charleston, glad you enjoyed my city :) . I’ve not been to any of those restaurants you mentioned but have heard good things about Toast and Cru Cafe- your wrap looks delicious. I’ve never even heard of a Sweet Potato Beer either but I should tell my husband about that, he’ll want to go now. Don’t know too much about tours and touristy things here but I do recognize some of these landmarks from running past them! I know you didn’t run the bridge with your race going on but it’s a good place to run here in Charleston.

27 Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete December 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Sweet Potato Stout beer?! Now THAT sounds interesting!

28 Cassy December 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Charleston (7 years old ago at the end of this month!) and we fell in love with that city. It is first of the places we plan to visit when we move to VA in May. Boston is the other city that I could visit over and over again, I lived there for 5 years and to me it feels like coming home.

29 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper December 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Your burger needs to be in my life. Brie = amazing. Bacon makes everything better. And caramelized onions are just….nommmmm. Looks like you had a good time!

30 Adrienne @ Happy Ramblings December 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I love Charleston, I spent about 6 months there a few years ago for work. Had such a great time, and ate some great food! I’ve been wanting to go back, good thing I’m moving to the South so I can visit there more often!

31 purelymichelle December 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Charleston is one my favorites too! I love how it has so much charm. Love walking around downtown! And most importantly love being so close to the water.

32 Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings December 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Ah I love Charleston! It’s so fun and scenic there. I love the market too, such cute crafts!

33 Debra @ Miles to Run December 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Wow! Charleston looks absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing all of the beautiful pictures! And that sweet potato stout sounds AMAZEBALLS!!

34 Bek @ Crave December 12, 2012 at 1:14 am

I love travel posts, but it always makes me so envious ;) That wrap sounds good, and your hotel looks adorable haha- it’s very homey isn’t it.

35 Kris | iheartwellness.com December 12, 2012 at 1:47 am

What gorgeous pictures!! I feel like I was right there with you guys, thank you! You are so stunning and gorgeous, I just love the big smile :) Lovin’ life!

xxoo

36 Miz December 12, 2012 at 5:49 am

seriously I LOVE YOU TWO.
youre so like me and my hubby are…

37 Kelly@ShapeDaily December 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I’ve never been to Charleston but my sister was just there for a wedding and said it was gorgeous, as it looks in your pictures. I love older cities like this too compared to newer ones because theres so much history to take in. Going on tours is a great way to see the city, if you’re ever in Boston you have to go on a Duck Tour!

38 Lauren December 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I’m from Charleston and I’m very happy you enjoyed our city!! It’s beautiful!

39 Katie December 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I’ve always wanted to visit Charleston!

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