I don't get summer breaks anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't need them after a long year of taking care of everyone in education and my children. So, this year I told my love that I needed a quick weekend getaway. My only requirements were beach. After a short deliberation, we selected Charleston, SC, because it was a place I'd never visited. I used Instagram as I do for most of my trips to find some hope spots to visit in the city. Lester took care of the food. Here is our experience in the beautiful southern charm.
I first got wind of the beautiful city through the food series Top Chef. To be honest, the show has put me on to several of my future vacations and quite frankly if only to enjoy the local cuisine. So, when we decided on Charleston, I knew that there would be boundless options for us to eat well. Our first stop was lunch at Hymans Seafood, a nice, down-home style restaurant that welcomed us as we sat at the table that once held Patti Labelle. I choose to order calamari, catfish, fries, and chow down on the best hush puppies a girl has ever eaten. I wasn't a fan of the catfish and only ate a few bites, but the calamari, fries, hush puppies, and cole slaw were hits! We visited Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar for dinner. The food here was also tasty, but we were so full from our heavy lunch that we chose lite plates. I selected scallops, my favorite, and the dish was delicious. On Saturday, we ate lunch at Rodney Scott's, a famous chef featured on Top Chef and chose Vincent Chiccos for an Italian dinner. On Sunday, we ate our first breakfast of the weekend trip at Toast.
I couldn't leave Charleston without treating myself to shrimp and grits! Toast gives Texas-size portions, so I was only able to eat about a quarter of it, but it was great!
Charleston is a beautiful city with a history that expands to the United States founding. So, as with all my travels, I wanted to make sure to pay homage to its history as well as experience it's charm a long the way.
The Joseph Manigault House is one of Charleston's most exquisite antebellum structures. Built in 1803, the urban home or "town house," is full of beautifully crafted rooms and hidden stairwells as well as remnants of the way of life for the rice-planting family and the African-American slaves who once resided there.
The earlier slaves brought here to work were brought from Barbados in the 1670s to work the land for sugarcane and molasses, but those crops would not grow in the area. Rice became the industry here, which was an arduous task that killed thousands of slaves. It was also on this plantation where in hoping to hold on to some piece of their African heritage, the slaves developed a creolized Gullah language, which influenced a vibrant culture. To this day, descendants of slaves still care for the beautiful gardens here.
One requirement I had for a much needed getaway was to get to a beach. The beach is where I let all the stress and tension go and just appreciate the endless sounds of waves and sight of ocean take me over the horizon. Folly Beach gave me the much needed serenity.
Charleston City Market
Spanning 4 city blocks housing 300 vendors daily, Charleston City Market is a must see. Here you see items from the Gullah culture as well as cool jewelry, candles, and other items.
There was something very familiar about Charleston from the moment we arrived. Yes, part of it was like any beach area, but you could see the influence of French everywhere and I was not surprised to learn that there is a French Quarter here.
Harold's Famous Pralines
Before we left, Lester insisted I try pralines, which I'd never had. I mean it's pure brown sugar and pecans, but it is a tasty treat. Though delicious, I could only eat half of one due to the level of sugar. However, when I come back, I will get another one if only a piece.
Thanks for a beautiful weekend getaway Lester and Charleston. We will be back!