We drove to Charleston, South Carolina last week and it was the most lovely little escape.
Thanks to my new husband for arranging this special spur of the moment birthday trip! It wasn't the honeymoon(s) we originally planned, but it felt wonderful to have a change of scenery and some sunshine.
Our friend Kevin was kind enough to offer us his adorable cottage on James Island. The nine hour drive from Columbus made it an easy trip, especially since there's so much beautiful greenery along the way!
We relaxed, ordered takeout from Charleston's fantastic food scene, soaked in the stunning terrace oak trees and lush green landscapes, and even got to experience the beach. All socially distanced and with masks when appropriate, of course!
I hadn't been to Charleston since I was very young, so I was completely enthralled by the charm, history, scenery, food scene, and overall friendliness.
I typically take photos of about a third of the food I eat, and I definitely honored phone free time on our getaway. I actually wasn't planning on sharing this trip at all in the beginning, so half of the food we enjoyed went unphotographed. Bliss!
When the world is more normal, I'd love to do a full travel blog post on this gem of a city. Without further adieu, below are the places we enjoyed for takeout.
Favorite Charleston Restaurants
We frequented this cute Hawaiian spot several times for refreshing smoothie bowls plus delicious savory options. Jeff loved the breakfast sandwich and burrito with turkey bacon and eggs. The golden bowl with curry tahini sauce, black beans, kale, and cilantro pesto rice was my favorite.
Don't miss the chocolate acai bowl with raw bars crumbled on top plus a drizzle of chocolate sauce. It was one of the best smoothie bowls I've ever had!
The best coffee! We went there almost daily and brought bags of beans home. They have two locations but we only made it to the Beaufain Street one. Don't even get me started on the lemon curb blueberry scone...OMG. Muddy Waters is another good coffee shop on James Island.
We got takeout from this all day bistro, bakery, and bar on our last day and holy moly...literally the best cinnamon roll I've ever laid mouth on. They serve breakfast all day!
It was so wonderfully fluffy that I couldn't stop commenting on the cloud-like texture the entire time I ate it. It's made with biscuit dough and topped with melt in your mouth cream cheese frosting. Don't miss it.
I also got the vegetable frittata with goat cheese spread served over grits and it was my favorite brunch we had.
The perfect breakfast spot! We enjoyed our breakfast sandwiches in the park and let me tell you, it was one of the tastiest sammies I've had to date.
The chickpea sausage was out of this world and the English muffin was the fluffiest bread ever. Jeff ordered the breakfast club with coffee rubbed turkey, bloody mary chips, and bacon whipped cheese sauce. Insane.
Shockingly good pizza with the most epic thin and chewy crust, located right by where we stayed in James Island. We shared the Margarita pizza with the shaved beet salad (bibb, arugula, cucumber, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, candied pecans and pickled onion) and we loved everything.
One night I got the butternut squash pizza with arugula, goat cheese, mushrooms and truffle oil which was also fab but I'm a sucker for red sauce.
Excellent dinner spot with high-end Italian food. I had the scallops with farro verde, fennel, scallion, and orange basil vinaigrette. We went here at the beginning of the trip when I wasn't taking any photos yet, but believe me when I say this place is a keeper! The patio was adorable, too.
Incredible Greek food. To start, we split the dolmades (grape leaves) and Cypriot salad (arugula, grilled halloumi, fennel, mint, grilled grapes, fennel, pistachio vinaigrette). The grape leaves were much larger than normal and so flavorful.
For dinner, I ordered Yia Yia's skillet of gigantes (giant beans), kale, roasted garlic capers, cherry tomatoes, olives, and pita, which I absolutely loved! It was packed with flavor and super satisfying. Jeff got the braised lamb shank with brown butter noodles and he throughly enjoyed it.
My gal pals sent us these fabulous donuts for my birthday and it was the best surprise! They have super interesting and delish rotating flavors of all natural donuts plus vegan and gluten-free options, which happened to be my favorite! Lemon pistachio...be still my heart.
A sweet little café with lots of coffee drinks and breakfast options. Great avocado toast on sourdough plus egg sandwiches.
We were told this was the spot for seafood on popular King's Street. We strolled by and grabbed a lobster roll on a buttery bun that did not disappoint. The highlight was actually the pre-bottled frozen blueberry basil + ginger kiwi drinks!
An 100% plant based spot with coffee and so many breakfast and lunch goodies. The biscuit sandwich with hemp sausage was insanely good. We also got the cinnamon pancakes which tasted amazing but had a slightly gummy flavor.
I read a bunch of sites recommending this unique Asian-inspired spot in a converted gas station. We enjoyed it for sure, but the food is very spicy and pretty oily. I'd like to go back when the full menu is available. I did however love the okiyomiyaki, which is a cabbage pancake that I tried on my trip to Japan.
Favorite Charleston Activities
Middleton Place: This was truly one of the most beautiful, serene places I've ever visited. We felt like we were transported to another world of breathtaking landscapes at the National Historic Landmark.
Typically Middleton Place offers tours through the grounds and historical homes, but none of those were options. We still had a wonderful time simply walking around and soaking up the sights.
Walking around King Street and The Battery: There is so much rich history in Charleston and just walking around gazing and the gigantic homes is a day-long activity. King Street has tons of shops and restaurants that under normal circumstances would be super fun.
Isle of Palms Beach: This beach was about 20 minutes from where we were staying, but since Folly Beach wasn't open yet, we opted for this location to see some waves. It wasn't very crowded which made social distancing super easy, and it felt incredible to have sand on our toes.
Charleston Restaurants We'd Love to Visit Next Time
We got a lot of recommendations from friends, but given the current climate of restaurants, we weren't able to get carryout from everywhere we'd hoped. Below were some other recommended spots!
Fig (James Beard winner), Leon's Oyster Shop, Obstinate Daughter, Butcher & Bee, Poogan's Porch (classic Southern food), Basic Kitchen, Chubby Fish, Edmund's Oast, The Grocery, The Gin Joint (cocktails), The Macintosh, The Darling.
Have you been to Charleston? What are your go-to spots?