Tyler and I have been dreaming about a road trip to Charleston, SC since we started dating. The beautiful buildings, unparalleled shopping, and endless dining options were just a few reasons that Charleston was on the top of our list. My birthday is on December the 14th, and this year it happened to fall on a Thursday. Ironically, it also fell on the week in between my fall semester, and the start of my holiday hours at work, and during Tyler’s “long-off,” (his week off every month.) We threw a few different options around… Asheville… too far (still on the top of our list,) Disney…. too expensive for such a quick trip, and we finally landed on Charleston. Charleston is just a short three hour drive from Fernandina, so we dropped Olive off with Tyler’s wonderful parents and hit the road on Tuesday morning, the 12th. We stayed at the most adorable hotel in Mt. Pleasant, right across the harbor from downtown, and a short ten minute uber ride to King Street.
Our first night there was a wild one, one of Tyler’s best friends took us out for a night in Charleston. It just happened to be the end of finals for College of Charleston students, so downtown was crowded. We had a great time, and one too many Moscow mules later, we woke up a little hungover ready for our first real Charleston meal. Our first breakfast in Charleston was one of my favorite meals of the whole trip, however it is hard to have a bad meal in Charleston. Meal one was at Poogan’s Porch, in a beautiful old home with, you guessed it, an expansive wrap around porch which I am sure is enjoyed on warmer days. We had chillier temps, and loved the roaring fireplaces in every room. I was quick to get my hands on fried chicken and sweet potato waffles, while Tyler loved his pulled pork eggs Benedict. Yum, yum, yum. We headed out for shopping on King Street, and took an uber straight to Skinny Dip Charleston, an adorable shop that we have been dying to visit for a long time. Skinny Dip has lots of local goodies, as well as an adorable coffee and Frose (frozen Rose) on the top floor. After shopping, it was time for meal number two, lunch.
The same friend that took us out on the town, Blue, took us to lunch on Sullivan’s Island. Tyler’s two requests for Charleston was good drinks, and good barbecue. Home Team BBQ is another Charleston favorite, and man was it good. I had the dry-rub wings with white Alabama BBQ sauce. You also CAN NOT MISS THEIR QUESO DIP. I could eat that dip everyday until I die. After lunch, and a strong cocktail, we took a drive around Sullivan’s and Isle of Palms. One special thing about Charleston is that Tyler’s mom grew up on Isle of Palms, so we got to see the house she grew up in.
My only complaint about Charleston so far was WHERE IS THE STRONG COFFEE?? Plenty of strong cocktails, plenty of wonderful food, but this girl needs her caffeine in the morning (also my sweet boyfriend doesn’t play when it comes to his “large coffee. black.”) We tried Black Tap Coffee on our second day in Charleston, and even though I was informed by the hipster barista that the cups “ONLY come in ONE size,” (this size was a smidge larger than a Starbucks “tall,” *eye roll*) I at least started my morning off on the right foot with a delicious lavender latte. The adorable old purple and pink building that Black Tap is nestled in only added to my good mood.
After coffee, we set off in search of the infamous “Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.” I am a HUGE biscuit girl and I’ve had some good ones in my day, but none of them have beaten “T-Rays Burger Station” on Fernandina Beach. So I had high expectations when we walked through the doors of the tiny little shop that supposedly pumps out the best biscuits in Charleston. In my opinion, they aren’t wrong. Now these biscuits aren’t a T-Rays biscuit, but they are pretty dang good. Let me put it this way, they forgot my Bacon on my Bacon, Egg, and Cheese and I didn’t even mind. The fried egg was perfect, the biscuit was fluffy and delicious. I was satisfied. Also, their fresh-pressed lemonade is nothing to scoff at either.
That day was mostly spent outside enjoying the sunshine, and ended at my most favorite restaurant of the whole trip. This one you absolutely can’t miss, no matter if you are only here for the day. Leon’s Oyster Shop. Holy. Freaking. Moly. This place is SO COOL. There’s no reservations so make sure you get there early especially in the warmer months. We were lucky and traveled to Charleston at a slower time of the year so we didn’t have to wait! Leon’s is in an old garage sort of building, I was told in the summer that they open up the huge doors that lead onto their sprawling patio. Leon’s is famous for their oysters, fried chicken, soft serve, and rose on tap. Sold. We stuffed our faces with baked oysters (me) and fried chicken (Tyler.) We were not disappointed. After dinner we headed down the street to Jeni’s Ice cream right on King Street. This place is another really cool stop in Charleston that you shouldn’t miss. I love that even their cups of ice cream come with a huge piece of waffle cone. This was my last night as a 21 year old!!
We were supposed to have a quick breakfast the day of my birthday and head home, but for some reason Charleston got the best of us and we decided to stay an extra night. We made it to “The Darling Little Oyster Bar,” on King Street for lunch which was on the top of my list. The Darling was adorable, and the oysters were wonderful as well. They give you an al la carte oyster menu where you can pick the exact style of oyster you want and from which region. I thought this was such a neat concept. We sat at the bar and the bartender brought us out raw oyster shooters for my birthday (cocktail sauce, vodka, and a raw oyster at the bottom.) Quite the experience. We traveled to Boone Hall Plantation that day, which is a beautiful old manor home with slave houses from so long ago still standing on the property. Boone Hall is also Ali’s summer home in “The Notebook,” one of my favorite movies. We explored the plantation and had dinner that night at a pretty restaurant near the hotel on the water.
After doughnuts and a little souvenir shopping in the morning we started the drive home. Charleston is such a magical city and clearly the food is something that should be talked about. We can’t wait to go back when it’s a little warmer.
Leon’s Oyster Shop. Our favorite restaurant.
Boone Hall Plantation. Ali’s summer home in “The Notebook.”
Skinny Dip Charleston, King St.
The Darling Oyster Bar, King St.