Hi and happy Monday! I arrived home from a weekend getaway to Charleston today and couldn’t wait to share a recap of my time in this most perfect southern city!
You are probably thinking…but didn’t you just get home from Florida? Yes, you’re right. I got home from Florida on Wednesday and left for Charleston on Friday. It was a quick turnaround and a lot of time out of town in a short period of time but I’m SO glad that I went for the weekend trip because it was probably my favorite Charleston trip ever.
Finn’s dad and I agreed to give each other extended time for spring break trips. I took Finn to Florida to visit my family and his dad was taking him on another beach trip (Finn is also getting spoiled by all the trips!). I took advantage of the extra time Finn was away to get in a longer weekend trip than I’m typically able to do with someone special to me! 🙂
Fun story about the above photo of Finn. He got a haircut on Thursday evening and asked me to open the root beer flavored lollipop they gave him at the salon. He took one lick, gave it back to me and said, “it’s very yucky.” Haha. Can’t say I disagree with him on that one! I miss his sweet face and funny words so much but I know he’s having a blast.
Okay, back to Charleston!
We arrived around 5p on Friday evening and checked into the Hotel Bennett. It’s a newer hotel to the Charleston scene and opened in February 2019. It’s located on Marion Square and is right in the heart of it all! It’s one of downtown Charleston’s largest hotels with 179 guest rooms. Hotel Bennett also has a restaurant overlooking Marion Square, a lobby bar and lounge, a (pink!) champagne and caviar bar, a rooftop pool with a bar and cabanas, a spa and a French patisserie on site.
It is a gorgeous hotel. Everything is very pretty and extremely well-done. I found the service to be outstanding and all of the staff that I encountered were incredibly friendly and helpful, especially the valet and bellmen.
The guest rooms are cozy and homey. We booked a suite and the living room had hardwood floors with an area rug, built in bookcases, a big window offering ample natural light that overlooked Marion Square and a variety of comfortable seating areas. I never got that “I need to get out of the room” feeling. It was a great space to just hang out and relax in.
I have to give the bathroom a little spotlight. It was so clean, bright and spacious. My only complaint would be the scale…who wants a scale in their bathroom when you’re visiting one of America’s top culinary cities?! 😉
Need this tub situation at home ASAP.
Here’s the only photo of me that you’ll see from the whole weekend. This was before dinner on Friday night. The neckline of my dress had a similar gold chain detail to what you see on my purse in the background but my hair was covering it up. Unrelated to Charleston but I’ve been middle parting on and off for a few months now and I like it for a change (believe it our not this change was pre Gen Z saying that side parts are uncool but I’m not giving up my skinny jeans!)
We booked our trip so last-minute (we were waiting to make sure the weather was going to be nice…and it was perfect!!!) so restaurant choices were limited. You really need to book as soon as reservations are released (usually about 4 weeks prior) for the really popular restaurants. Luckily, Resy and Open Table are now offering a NOTIFY option where you can set an alert if a restaurant has reservations come available and that helped us out.
On Friday night we walked to 39 Rue De Jean for dinner. We shared mussels to start (they are known for their mussels) and they were great. I ordered the bone-in pork chop as my entree and was shocked to receive a pork chop platter big enough to easily feed 2-3 people. I wish I could show you this ridiculous portion to scale because it was insane. I did the best I could but hated to leave so much food.
I was sooooo excited to get up and run on Saturday morning. Charleston is a great place to run. It’s crazy scenic and flat. I wound my way around downtown, The Battery and along the waterfront for a total of 5 miles.
Back to the weather for the weekend…it was insane! High 60s/low 70s, low humidity and abundant sunshine. Such a treat for Charleston! I remember many a sweltering days wandering the streets a sweaty mess.
We spent the rest of the day walking around downtown and stopped to have lunch at Palmetto Cafe in the Belmond Hotel. I had peach iced tea and a salad with grilled shrimp and avocado. We also shared an order of crispy and delicious fries.
The afternoon was super casual and relaxed and even included time to read my book on the couch in the room for a bit.
As we were walking around downtown after lunch I got an alert on my phone that a table at SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) had come available at 7:15p. I jumped to lock it in and was thrilled when we got the table. You have to be on your A-game when those push notifications come through from Resy or Open Table and have fast fingers. I missed quite a few by not acting quickly enough.
SNOB is one of my favorite Charleston restaurants and it did not disappoint this time. Everything about the dinner was wonderful from the food to the service to the ambiance. Our server was so personable, smooth and aware of the flow of our dinner, which I really appreciate.
He even offered to have the kitchen make us a half portion of the fried chicken livers from the lunch menu when it somehow came up in conversation when he was describing another dish. This might be an unpopular opinion but I love fried chicken livers! (And liver in general.)
We shared a few small plates and a dessert including the clams you see above, the chicken liver, a stuffed quail, cream of crab soup and sour cream apple pie a la mode.
10/10 recommend SNOB if you plan a trip to Charleston! They also have great live music seven nights a week and it’s a great add to the overall ambiance.
On Sunday morning I booked a hot vinyasa class at The Works. I’ve been dying to try this studio for a couple of years now and it was about 0.7 miles from the hotel so it was a nice walk over for class. The owner Sarah Frick used to live in Charlotte and is actually a friend of Dorie’s. She created The Works to offer soulful fitness and their classes are a blend of yoga and other class formats like HIIT and Strength.
My hot vinyasa class with Molly was hot, fast and challenging but also well-sequenced and fun. The music was loud and she was teaching on a mic, which I love because I like the energy of the music and being able to hear the instructor. She had a great, upbeat, current playlist. I would definitely recommend taking a class at The Works if you like taking fitness classes when you travel. There are two locations, one downtown and one in Mount Pleasant.
I walked back to the hotel after class and grabbed a smoothie at Playa Bowls to tide me over until brunch. I felt so happy on that walk. Starting Sunday with a hot yoga class is something I haven’t done in years and walking outside after class into the crisp fresh air and sunshine felt amazing.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was how walkable Charleston is. I find it so enjoyable to walk and I feel like you see so much more when you’r on foot wandering around. I never got my car out of the valet and if we needed transportation we took a pedicab.
I got showered after class and brunch was at 82 Queen. It was fine but not especially memorable or anything I’d be in a hurry to book again. We spent the afternoon shopping on King Street and I picked up a few really great pieces. I especially loved The Finicky Filly. I felt so welcome there and the woman assisting me was insanely helpful and guided me to a few things that I never would have picked off the rack but adored on! I’m not much of a shopper but Charleston shopping can get me excited about it!
Our final dinner of the trip was a High Cotton and it was another lovely dining experience. We were seated in a quaint back room where we could hear the live music from the bar area but still easily hear each other. We started with a dozen oysters on the half shell. The long ones were local and the round ones were PEI. Both were mouthwatering and we took down this platter in a matter of moments wishing there was more!
For my dinner I chose the local mahi and the set up for the dish was so interesting. It was served over Wagyu brisket with a green olive tapenade. You don’t usually think fish and beef but it worked really well. Also, this piece of fish was cooked so exceptionally well that I couldn’t stop talking about it. Melt in your mouth juicy and tender.
Once again, the service was impeccable. Our waiter was knowledgable, friendly and super helpful in guiding us to dinner selections that we both loved. High Cotton and SNOB are actually owned by the same management/restaurant group so I’m not surprised that they are both so consistently good with food and service.
I had to squeeze in one more run this morning before getting in the car to drive home. I focused most of my run to the residential areas of upper King near the waterfront and loved taking in all of the beautiful homes and architecture.
Charleston is a special place and this was a special weekend. I spent a lot of time in Charleston in my early 20s (I lived in Mount Pleasant for a year after college and it was SO CRAZY FUN!) but I haven’t been back to downtown Charleston in over 10 years except for one dinner on the outskirts of downtown when I was staying in Folly Beach a few years ago for my girl’s trip babymoon.
I can confidently say that I have fallen in love with this city all over again and it will most definitely not be another 10 years before I visit again.
Finally, on a more business-related note…even though South Carolina has lifted its state mask mandate, the city of Charleston requires masks in all public places including on the streets when you’re walking around. That said, adherence indoors was 100% (unless you were sitting and eating or drinking) but I would say that outdoors it was about 20%. We were told that people were being given citations for not wearing masks outside but I never saw anyone getting one. The locals working in stores, restaurants, hotels, pedicabs, etc were all so grateful to have tourists in town because it’s so vital to the local economy and they have struggled. I saw quite a few wedding and bachelorette groups out and about and overall Charleston felt lively and busy.
I am counting down the days until I see my little guy but hunkering down to be productive with work for the rest of the week so I can soak him up when he comes back to me!
Have you ever been to Charleston? If so, what are your favorite things to do there and favorite restaurants to eat in?
What is your favorite U.S. city to visit as a travel destination?
Do you enjoy running when you’re traveling to sightsee or taking classes at different studios/gyms?
Finally…let’s talk chicken livers and middle parts! Where do you stand on these topics? 🙂