Last weekend my parents, Matt and I headed down south to Charleston to spend a few days exploring, indulging in delicious food, and enjoying time together. I had been once before for my bachelorette, but a hurricane hit while we were there and we had to evacuate. Needless to say, we made the most of that trip, but I was excited to get back and get a full experience this time around!
We stayed at the beautiful Zero George property, which was honestly one of the nicest hotel experiences I have ever had. This boutique hotel is tucked back right off of the streets of Charleston and has 16 gorgeous guest rooms which lie within 3 restored historic residences and two brick carriage houses, all surrounding a private garden. The staff goes above and beyond to make you feel comfortable and at home and the amenities can’t be beat. A fresh homemade European style breakfast is served each morning (make sure to grab a cinnamon biscuit) as well as a wine and cheese happy hour from 5-6pm, both complimentary. The hotel has kept their original (and tiny) open kitchen and it is so fun to watch the chefs pump out 500+ dinners a night from the little space. They start prepping around 10am and you can watch the entire process! The location also can’t be beat , we pretty much walked (or you can bike) everywhere and the hotel is minutes from one of my favorite meals of the trip, 167 Raw!
While my parents arrived early Thursday, Matt and I didn’t get in until close to midnight. We gave my parents a few ideas on what to do all day since they had it to themselves. After checking into the hotel, they grabbed brunch at Poogan’s Porch (authentic southern cuisine) and then walked close by to tour two historic homes, the Nathaniel Russell House and Aiken Rhett House. While my parents spent a good chunk of the day walking, they also discovered and took advantage of the free bus service throughout Charleston. They said it was so easy to hop on and off to from one place to the next, and at the end of the day dropped them off close by to the hotel.
Friday was our first full day in Charleston and we woke up ready to hit the town and explore! We had planned on grabbing breakfast at Millers All Day, but our hotel breakfast was too good to pass up we opted for that instead. Once we were out and about we walked by the famous pink house (17 Chalmers street), which is one of the oldest buildings in South Carolina and is the second oldest residence in Charleston. We then made out way to the Battery along the water and spent some time enjoying the scenery, looking at the beautiful homes and exploring a bit in the White Point Garden. From here we grabbed an Uber and had a 20 minute ride to Boone Hall Plantation.
My friend who lives in Charleston actually got married here and said it was a must. It truly is so beautiful and the avenue of the oaks is something not to be missed! I believe it is about $24 a person to get in, but once you pay you have access to everything on the plantation. We scheduled our house tour right when we got there, but had an hour before it started so we took a wagon ride around the plantation and learned about its history. After we toured the house we walked around the property a bit more before heading back into the city for lunch.
Lunch was a quick walk from Zero George at 167 Raw. It is a TINY little spot and doesn’t take reservations, but worth the wait! You can put your name in and either enjoy a drink outside on the bench or check out somewhere nearby. We opted to grab a drink on the roof of Market Pavilion while we waited for our table. For lunch we spilt a selection of oysters and Matt and I shared a lobster roll and the special, which was a swordfish pastrami sandwich, and out of this world! My parents did the same thing as well. All so good!
If going to Charleston and not staying at the Zero George, I would recommend going to this restaurant and putting your name in, and then heading to the Zero George for a drink — it’s only a few blocks from here, and the perfect spot to wait for your table.
After we finished lunch it was already pretty late in the day so we walked back to Zero George to cool off a bit, regroup and freshen up and enjoy happy hour on the porch before heading to dinner later on. This was one of our favorite things to do, truly just relax and soak in the southern charm, while enjoying a glass of wine and bite of cheese on the porch. We eventually headed to King Street to walk around a bit and find a bite to eat. We all agreed we were still pretty stuffed, so opted for a few small bites at Stars, which ended up being perfect. As always, we all made room for desert and popped next door for a scoop of Jeni’s ice cream! The salted peanut butter chocolate chip was delicious!
Rise and shine! After grabbing a bite to eat at our hotel I wanted to swing by The Rise and grab a cup of coffee after hearing such good things! It is part of The Restoration hotel (which is fun to quickly pop in and take a peek at). We then made our way to the Charleston Farmers Market which takes place on Saturdays. If you haven’t ate yet, save your appetite because there are a bunch of yummy looking food trucks and all sorts of little stands along the way.
We were now in the shopping mood and headed to King Street to check out some of the stores. We spent some time walking around and popping in and out of different places. Make sure you pop into Skinny Dip Charleston, it is adorable and has the cutest coffee/wine bar and patio upstairs.
Another place worth checking out quickly is the Charleston City Market. Local vendors set up stands and sell all sorts of different items. It is fun to walk through as you’re passing by and check out. It is also on the way to Rainbow Row, which is one of the most well known streets in Charleston.
By this point we worked up an appetite and grabbed an Uber to head to Leon’s for lunch. We were debating grabbing bikes from Zero George and biking there, but to be honest it was so hot and humid we opted for an air conditioned car. This was one of my favorite lunches. We split a few appetizers to share (peel and eat shrimp and some baked oysters) and then snacked on a few pieces of spicy friend chicken, which is what they are known for. It is also another spot that doesn’t take reservations, but we were seated pretty quickly after arriving.
We were feeling pretty full after lunch so decided to walk all the way down King Street back to the hotel. King is where most of the shopping is, so this is a good opportunity to pop in and out of shops. Once back at the hotel, we got ready for my dad’s Father’s Day gift, which was chartering a sailboat for an hour and a half (4pm – 5:30pm). We went through Charleston Sailing Adventures and Brian (who owns the company and was our captain) was fantastic! We were able to bring some wine onboard and had the best time sailing around on a catamaran filled with lots of laughs. Plus it was fun getting to see Charleston from the water.
Knowing we had this activity panned, we made dinner reservations a bit later in the evening. We ate at Chez Nous, a French restaurant, which we all agreed was quite possibly our favorite meal of the trip! The menu changes daily and is hand written on small menus, offering two appetizers, two entrees and two deserts. It is tucked away a bit off the main streets in a old historic house. There are only a few tables, so make sure to make a reservation in advance. The waitress also suggested to start our meal with a bit of cheese and bread and it was the BEST triple cream cheese we have all ever had. We still keep talking about this meal, and that cheese!
It is always sad when your trip comes to an end, but we booked flights late in the evening so we had the entire day to ourselves. We crossed off everything on our Charleston to-do list, so made a game plan to grab a classic southern brunch at Magnolia’s (the yummiest fried green tomatoes) and then head over to Sullivan’s Island and enjoy a bit of a beach day. The town is quaint and small, but the beaches are packed! The water was some of the warmest ocean water I have ever felt (80 degrees) and even though it was hot out, it was still refreshing. Zero George has everything you need (beach towels, chairs and umbrellas) so you don’t have to worry about renting anything when you are there. We just spent time on the beach, but heard that Poe’s Tavern was a fun place to grab a bite to eat if hungry.
After a few hours at the beach, we Ubered back to Zero George to shower off and check out (we requested a later check out so we could rinse off before our flight). We then walked back down towards the Battery Waterfront and sat for a bit in the shade to cool off with the breeze from the water. We ended our trip by grabbing a Father’s Day drink at the only waterfront restaurant in Charleston, Fleet Landing. We sat outside and enjoyed the fresh air, cool breeze and an iced beverage before grabbing out stuff and heading to the airport. We also saw a few dolphins pop in and out of the water right from where we were sitting! It was honestly one of the best weekends ever and we had so much fun getting to spend it with my parents!