Charleston! What a wonderful city - actually the adjective attributed most to Charleston is charming and frankly, dear, it is! Here is a list of must sees and must eats:
1. Middleton Place - If you make a dinner reservation (and you should) then you can walk the grounds for free. I would suggest allowing about an hour before dinner to get the lay of the land. Longer, if you want to relish in the beauty and tranquility. It would be wise to request a map.
2. The Battery, The Boardwalk, and Rainbow Row (works well in that order) - Park and walk. Charleston is very much a walking city - wear comfortable flats.
3. King Street is the place for shopping. Start at one end. Break for lunch. Then finish it up.
4. Magnolias - "The best meal I have ever had. So creative. So delicious." ~ Steve Borders (father-in-law) on
SWEET CHILI RUBBED AHI TUNA
over habañero hummus and pepperjack
spring rolls, with roasted mango salsa,
and Creole rémoulade
5. Brunch. It's part of the lifestyle. Hominy Grill - It gets busy fast, but has the best grits hands down. Poogan's Porch - great atmosphere and, according to my mother-in-law Becky, "(Their) biscuits make other biscuits sad."
6. If you're looking for a beach, then go to Folly Beach. This article sums it up well. For a more posh experience, like renting a beach house to celebrate your friend's 30th birthday, then Isle of Palms is perfect!
7. Carriage Tours - Charleston is one of the most historically rich cities in the U.S. A horse-drawn carriage with an engaging guide is a great way to view the city of yesteryear. You won't have to imagine too much because much of the buildings are the same thanks to the city's unique preservation laws. Don't expect a tour of the whole city. The carriages work on a lottery system so you learn your route as your departing. Also, some offer ghost tours at night.
8. Night Life - So far, I've painted a very family-friendly destination, but for those looking for more than ghosts at night, you won't have to look far. The Roof Top is a fave.
9. Piccolo Spoleto Festival - My favorite time to visit Charleston is during the Spoleto Festival (Memorial Weekend - mid-June, typically). The farmers market on steroids that takes over Marion Square is a must-see. Wear sunscreen, drink the REAL lemonade, eat a crepe. Even if you don't catch a formal Spoleto event, you are likely to get a glimpse of this multi-sensory treasure: