While it’s always fun to revisit favorite places, it’s pretty special to experience someplace new. And when that place is Charleston, you are one lucky traveler. A South Carolina port city founded in 1670, Charleston is defined by its cobblestone streets, (somewhat controversial) horse-drawn carriages, and pastel antebellum houses — particularly in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts. It’s a city made for walking…and walking.
When friends who’ve bought a vacation-turned-retirement-home invite you, you say yes. Especially when said house is located on Sullivan’s Island. Nestled in the mouth of the Charleston Harbor and neighbor to Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island is an inviting mix of wide beaches, history and folklore, fabulous local dining, chic shopping, and peaceful perfection. And because it’s just minutes from Charleston, we got to enjoy the best of both worlds. Thank you, Nancy and James!
We spent the better part of two days in Charleston, walking centuries-old streets, gawking at scores of bachelorette groups, window shopping, and just enjoying the overall upbeat vibe. We strolled the Battery Promenade and imagined, for better or worse, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. It may be one of the darkest moments in our county’s history, but it’s our history. And you can still feel it.
On a lighter note, wow is Charleston a foodie heaven. Loved every restaurant we dined at and have many others planned for our next visit. For so many reasons, it’s no wonder Charleston has been named Travel & Leisure’s top city in the U.S. for years running.
Between Sullivan’s Island and Charleston proper, these are our resto recos: Acme Lowcountry Kitchen combines upscale yet casual elements of traditional coastal cuisine. Fresh local ingredients and sustainable seafood are always featured. Did someone say shrimp and grits? Wild Common is all about a a wildly unique and unforgettable Charleston experience. Executive Chef Orlando Pagan’s custom tasting menus come delectably to life in one of the city’s most inspired spaces. We savored this exceptionally elevated fare, enjoyed every moment…and we will be back! After the first of our Charleston walkabouts, we indulged in oysters (and more) at The Ordinary, a super cool seafood hall located in an old bank with patio seating as well. On our second day of touring Charleston, we were hot, exhausted, hungry and thirsty after three hours of walking around. And were beyond delighted to discover Church and Union. Their front porch was dog friendly, and our server even brought Bowie a bowl of cool water. All around, a win.
I’m a big fan of Bravo’s Southern Charm, so I made our friends and Chris check out Craig’s “pillow” store on King Street, Sewing Down South. It was adorable! I sent a “Southern Summer” candle to a fellow fan of the show and she absolutely loved it. And I surprised our hosts with two pillows for their porch swing as a thank you, and they were loved too. And that fourth pic above is of Patricia Altschul’s dog cemetery. Her magnificent and historic in-town estate is surrounded by hedges and gates, so I was excited to spot it. RIP, poochies.
I don’t want to reveal too much about our friends amazing place, but it’s situated in a primo location on Sullivan’s island with a short walk to a gorgeous, almost private beach. The walkway where my last pic was taken leads directly to the intracoastal waterway. Paradise! You can bet we’ll be back!!
Look 1: Sweater (Frances Valentine, gift from my friend Kathy), jeans (Mother, sold out, similar here), sneakers (old LoveShackFanbcy x Superga, cute new version here.) Bag: (Ganni, sold out, love this current version.)
Look 2: Sweatshirt (BooneArtLife)
Look 3: Dress (Antik Batik, sold out, similar here and 50% off!)
Photos: MP & Chris Allegaert, Nancy & James Shepard; Video by Kristin Moore-Gantz @artdirectthis
And if you’d like one last look at Charleston, here it is: