Staying in Charleston is an incredible experience. The boutique-sized Zero George Hotel is the perfect place to stay, a 16-room gem set within the historical district. It has a “classic-meets-contemporary” southern chic feel to it with amazing landscaping, private courtyard, and open-air furnished piazzas. You can even take cooking classes in a carriage house kitchen built in 1804, taught by great Charleston Chef Petrillo or any other number of visiting chefs.
Charleston is a foodie town. Here, the foodie experience begins bright and early. The Zero George Hotel does offer a continental breakfast in the morning, but you can get a real breakfast craving fixed at the City Market or Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits, a local favorite.
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Walk off a big breakfast at the City Market, which was historically a meat and produce market, now a central hub of artisans, shops, arts & crafts, galleries, restaurants, and bars. Plus, craftspeople create great sweetgrass baskets, another staple of Charleston. Then hop on a nearby horse drawn carriage ride through the Peninsula, riding leisurely through historical alleyways, gardens, and other cool routes.
Other musts include taking a guided tour of Charleston’s hidden passageways. These off-the-beaten path alleyways are frequently inaccessible to cars. You’ll make your way to grand homes, famous landmarks, picturesque cobblestone streets, and hear the occasional ghost story along the way. Make sure you peruse the Gibbes Museum, featuring over 10,000 works of art, and then stroll over to the Pineapple Fountain and Pier to cool off in the soft breeze off the harbor. If time, tour a historic home preserved as it was back in the day, a true flashback into old southern hospitality and grace.
When you build up another appetite for lunch, there are almost too many options. Here are a few: Fast N’ French as the locals call it – also formally known as Gaulart & Maliclet – is a classic French bistro. Get the Monsieur Sandwich or the daily special. The Tattooed Moose is also known for its duck confit club sandwich and Belgium fries with garlic aioli sauce. Around the corner you’ll find Lewis BBQ or Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ for classic, no frills, absolutely mouthwatering southern cuisine. You can’t go wrong at any of these places.
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There are also great shopping opportunities in this southern city, from great antique stores, boutique clothing shops, and shoe stores, with a superb literary scene as well. The Blue Bicycle Book Store features many local authors with a large variety of books for sale. If it’s the second Sunday of the month, the main street featuring all this goodness is actually closed off for total fun and lots of live music.
When dinner rolls around, it will be just as hard a decision as every other meal. Start off with a pre-dinner drink watching the sunset over the Charleston Harbor. For the big meal, 1886 Circa restaurant is fantastic, and it’s located in the carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion. Fulton Five is a restaurant tucked away in an idyllic setting for a spin on Italian cuisine. Hanks Seafood is where you want to get your seafood fix. SNOB – or Slightly North of Broad – is another great place for lighter Italian or classic southern cuisine. And for the best steak in town – hands down Halls Chop House.
Gather up those dessert calories at Kaminsky’s Dessert Café, including dessert martinis, hot toddies, and specialty coffees.
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In Charleston, it’s more than southern charm. It’s southern chic.