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Charleston: The History and The Houses

Let me start by saying, this itinerary could have gone in many, many different directions, all geared towards the history and the homes of historic Charleston, South Carolina. For this particular visit, I planned a 48 hour carless trip that would hit some of the highlights in the Holy City, but I know that I didn't even scratch the surface of all there is to see. There are churches and markets and plantations, all of which I will save for another time.

CHARLESTON: AN ITINERARY FOR THE HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE BUFF

With the Francis Marion Hotel as our home base right on King Street,  we spent two days exploring the centuries old homes and colorful, flowering streets of Charleston. It's remarkable the restoration that has gone into buildings dating back as far as the 1600's and, as a neighbor told a friend of mine when she moved to the area, "We take great pride in our windowboxes here in Charleston." A thinly veiled request to get her act together, presumably. Which she did.




WHERE TO STAY

For a location that is right in the middle of everything and has a gorgeous, classic appeal, you cannot beat the Francis Marion Hotel.  We were delighted to stay at the Francis Marion our second night in Charleston and were welcomed into a traditionally appointed and beautiful lobby that feels just as a historic hotel should. The room decorated in blue and gold had high ceilings that made it feel comfortable yet grand at the same time — which is exactly the ambiance you want when enjoying a glass of wine before heading out for the evening.

An added bonus, our king bedroom had two full bathrooms! Yes, the bathrooms are on the small side, but this is a historic hotel, that's to be expected, and I'd take two bathrooms over one big bathroom any day. 

Between the unbelievable location on King Street and the history of the Francis Marion, this is the perfect place to retreat to when you're spending your days taking in the sights and soul of old Charleston. 



WHERE TO STROLL

You could spend hours getting lost in the streets of Charleston. There's not a turn you can take that doesn't have history and charming homes around every corner. Of course, there are a few main drags you'll want to start on. 

If you end up staying at the Francis Marion as we did, start off on King Street. Once you pass by all of the shopping, continue walking south (maybe grab an iced mint tea from The Rise Coffee Bar at Wentworth and King to cool you down!). Eventually, you'll come to the section of King Street that's overflowing with art galleries. Spend an hour or so taking in all of the local artwork before veering off down a side street and becoming wrapped up in photographing all of the lovely windowboxes, as I did.

As you continue to walk south, you'll eventually come across The Battery. This area of Charleston is not only historically significant because of its role in the Civil War, but it also is home to some of the most stunning mansions in Charleston and the park is filled with live oaks covered in Spanish moss — is there a site that's more southern? From the Battery, you'll want to walk up East Bay Street past the Charleston single homes to a pop of pink, purple, and blue called Rainbow Row. Of course you've seen Rainbow Row on every blogger's feed, mine included. Once you've taken a picture or five for yourself, cross over to Meeting Street and stop in the Charleston City Market.




WHAT TO SEE

Our first stop in Charleston was the Charleston Visitors Center. While I typically explore on my own, I knew that trying to fit as much as possible into 48 hours and truly diving into the sites and history rather than just eating, drinking, and shopping, I would be best served by talking to someone who knows the city. I would also recommend checking out the Explore Charleston website and social accounts which are well designed with loads of helpful tips. With a pass to see many of the highlights of Charleston, we were able to explore aimlessly and then pop in whenever we came across a landmark on our map.

The three historic houses we toured were the Aiken-Rhett House, the Edmonston-Alston House, and the Nathaniel Russell House. Interestingly enough, Adam and I actually had completely reversed rankings of our favorite houses, my favorite being the impeccably restored Nathaniel Russell House and his being the preserved, but not restored whatsoever, Aiken-Rhett House. 

The Edmonston-Alston House has amazing views from its veranda of the harbor, and its been restored to a large extent, but with pieces from various generations who called the mansion home. The Nathaniel Russell House is an amazing example of a Charleston mansion that has been restored to its original over the top glory. Its floating staircase is something to marvel, as are the massive windows on the second floor that served as doors to the second floor porch. The faux painting techniques, the antiques, the moldings, it's just stunning. The Aiken-Rhett House is its polar opposite as it stands in a bit of Grey Gardens-esque disrepair. However, its appeal is that you see this home as it was, warts and all. The slave quarters are open to the public and its a striking feeling to realize how they lived in proximity and utter juxtaposition to their owners. 

If we'd had time, we could have spent an entire day more exploring all of the homes in Charleston (I'm lucky I found a partner in crime that enjoys these tours, too!), and next time, we plan on renting a car so that we can trek out to the plantations that surround the city.




Thank you to the Francis Marion Hotel and the Charleston Visitors Bureau for hosting me on this fabulous trip to historic Charleston, South Carolina. All opinions are, of course, my own, and I cannot wait to make a return visit to the Holy City.

Hello Tradd Street, Can I Move In?

A trip to Charleston isn't complete without a stroll down Rainbow Row. This colorful block of East Bay Street, just a quick walk up from the Battery, is full of pink, purple, blue houses dotted with vibrant windowboxes. If you turn down Tradd Street, you'll find this gorgeous light teal beauty. No matter how it is outside — and, oh, it was — this cool combo feels like a refreshing sight for the eyes.






Charleston: The Food and Drink

Oh, Charleston food, where do I start… every meal we had while in South Carolina was amazing. We did our research, asking friends for recommendations on not only places to go, but exactly what to order. Of course we also left room in our schedule — and stomachs — for last minute additions. Here are my best recommendations for where to drink and dine from morning to night in the Holy City.

BREAKFAST

CALLIE'S HOT LITTLE BISCUIT

I hate to admit this as a Southerner, but I just don’t like biscuits. They’re too bready for my tastes and I would typically never choose to have one for breakfast. However, I heard Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit again and again as a must have while in Charleston, so I added it to the itinerary. It did not disappoint. I was able to order three mini biscuits which meant less of the crumbly bread texture that I avoid and they had plenty of spreads to order – from pimiento cheese to honey. Don’t miss out on the blackberry  or the cinnamon biscuits.

HOMINY GRILL

Hominy Grill gets a lot of hype. By a lot of hype, I mean lines out the door on a regular basis and a camera crew filming a show on southern food for the Food Network during our visit (they interviewed us!) Is it totally worth the hype? Probably not, but if you can get there on a day when there’s not a line, it’s a solid and reasonably priced classic breakfast in a homey and bright space. Get the Charleston Nasty Biscuit if you’re feeling indulgent.

THE RISE COFFEE BAR

If you're looking for a morning or afternoon pick me up while strolling around King Street, pop in The Rise Coffee Bar. I had the most refreshing mint iced tea and could have sat all afternoon reading in the window. The barista was one of the friendliest, chattiest people we met all weekend (and that's saying a lot for the South!) and I was so glad we ventured off the main drag to find this little gem.



Skirting Around in the New Neighborhood

Hello again! I'm all moved into the apartment and getting back into the swing of things, which means I'm back here with lots of new content for you! I'm SO excited to get to work on my Charleston travel guides—yes, all three of them. However, today I have an outfit post that I shot right before my trip and I happened to take these pictures right near the new place. Perhaps I have nothing to worry about in losing my charming old neighborhood.

I've certainly never been one to shy away from statement pieces, and this skirt is no exception. I'd been eyeing it all season at J.Crew and when I happened to pop in one day and see a lone skirt sitting on the sale rack, I knew it was meant to be. I've worn it multiple times already, with everything from a simple black tank to a slim striped shirt. It's certainly proven that just because a piece makes an impression on its own, that doesn't have to mean it isn't versatile.



Back in a Moment...

Just wanted to drop in to say, no, I didn't decide to run away to Charleston and abandon life in DC—though I'm open to the idea. I'm just a bit MIA this week since I went straight from getting home late Tuesday evening to packing all night Wednesday after work (okay, okay, there was a quick Colada Shop break in there) to a work event until about 10:30 PM last night. This afternoon, I'll resume packing again so that hopefully all is ready to load in to the truck tomorrow morning.

But, don't worry! I have lots of blog content headed your way as soon as I'm settled in next week. There are outfit posts, travel posts, sale posts, life posts, the list goes on. Stay tuned.


Note: If I were to run away to Charleston, I'm thinking this gorgeous and bright shade of light pink would be my home color of choice.

Looking For White Shorts? These Ruffled J.Crew Shorts are the Answer

Well, y'all, it doesn't get much hotter outside, so it's been shorts and sandals for every non-work activity. Finding a pair of white shorts that isn't see through and is flattering has been an almost impossible task the past several years. While I love J.Crew's 4" shorts in all their colorful glory, I knew for a pair of white shorts that I didn't want anything made out of chino type material. Enter J.Crew's Ruffle Shorts. They're a thicker, structured cotton that feels a bit dressier. And how adorable are those ruffle details?! Perfect for tucking in and dressing up or down.

Another great white short option? These Tie-Waist shorts. They're so feminine and lightweight — they were a close second for me, and the reviews almost sold me, but I opted for the Tie-Waist in Ratti Pineapple print instead.

Earrings {these are on sale for $24 in Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!}  




Of course, I rounded up an entire wardrobe of white short options for you here, and at all price points. From the save to the splurge, there's definitely something for every budget and body type in these choices below. 





Also, a note on these black Jack Rogers sandals. I'm obsessed. I got them a few summers ago and they are hands down my favorite pair of summer sandals. The way red toes pop against them is perfection, and while I may wear my gold pair more often, these are the ones that make me happiest.


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