Those of you dear ones who are friends with me here, saw a sneak peek of my recent getaway in South Carolina. Our friends go to Hilton Head Island annually and for several years have invited us every time they go to come down to enjoy the island with them, but our schedules have never allowed for it. This year the invite came during our busy season wind down period and the idea of being in a different environment (other than our home office and busy city), the sight of different scenery and the word relaxation captivated us. So we accepted the invitation for a four day getaway from the midweek to the weekend with one request - that they take us to Charleston since we had never been there and it was on our list of places to visit.
We arrived in Hilton Head late on Wednesday night which made getting up very early to make the 2.5 hour drive to Charleston for breakfast a little challenging as we had rest on the brain. When we arrived, a glimpse of the city once again revived our excitement to explore it. But before doing the carriage ride, we tried our first restaurant there where I had grits and shrimp for the first time. Regrettably, it was not very good. They say it was because the place did not know how to make them properly, but for now, my view is tainted on this dish...not sure if I'll try it again. We then walked through the market square to get on our carriage ride tour. After our carriage tour, we made a stop at Belgian Gelato to refresh ourselves (from the hot sun and humidity) which by the way, was the best tasting Gelato I've ever had, so that made up for the grits for sure. I had the salted caramel and pistachio in a chocolate coated waffle cone with whipped cream on the inside. Unbelievably divine. We mozied on out as if on clouds savoring every lick of it, slowly making our way to the waterfront park adjacent to the Gelato parlor to sit and enjoy the cool canopy shade of this incredible forest like park. As we slowly regained foot traction after indulging on those creamy cones, we started our walk exploring Charleston, including the famous Rainbow Row street.
1. Don't go during the summer season, unless you're a sun worshiper and don't mind extreme heat and humidity (I'm talking 110 degrees with 90+ humidity). Best time to go is early Spring or Fall.
2. Also, don't waste money on the carriage ride tours (unless you just want to experience a carriage ride if you've never done one), you're better off doing the foot tour option as you will get to see the better side of town at your leisure.
3. Had we stayed longer, we would have loved to have visited Savannah and especially Tybee. If you're into the southern charm, you'd definitely love those places.
4. As I've mentioned, Magnolias restaurant is a must experience. Highly recommended. You never know, you might run into Oprah there. But if you're in the mood for a hip urban rooftop vibe with a view of the entire city, go to The Vendue. If we were to go back to Charleston, it's one of the places we would stay at. The decor is exquisite.
5. Other food places on my list that I didn't get to try, but would definitely want to give it a go are these below:
- Truffles Cafe (in Hilton Head Island)
- The Crazy Crab (Hilton Head)
- Peninsula Grill
- High Cotton
- Best places according to Bon Appetit.
- And if you're an oyster lover like I am, Water's Edge Cabana Bar looked amazing. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get to try their oysters. I guess we'll have to return to hit some of those places on my must-try list.
- Coast Bar and Grill. Any place with live music is a win for me in my book