Travel – Charleston, South Carolina

Angel Oak
Angel Oak

I’m feeling a smidge guilty about this post.  Partly because I’m delayed in posting (whoops!).  Mostly because it was supposed to be a companion piece for our trip to Savannah (because it was on the same trip), and because I’ve failed to get my butt in gear regarding the (currently unfinished) Charleston guide that I’ll link to at the end of this post.  But you know what?  It’s my blog, I can do things at my own pace.  And if that pace is three weeks after my first travel post, with fewer pictures (it was colder in Charleston, and I didn’t use my phone as much for photography/haven’t downloaded my camera pics yet), then that’s ok.

So let’s begin at where we left off, which was on the road to Charleston.  One of the places that I’d heard about that was cool and we needed to visit was the Angel Oak.  It’s a large tree that is hundreds of years old, whose branches have spread wide and grown low and heavy over the years so that the tree can no longer support them on its own.  It’s a bit out of the way, but it’s an interesting detour on the way to or from Charleston.  Just don’t expect to get any “tree-only” pictures since it’s also heavily touristed.

We got to Charleston and decided to check into our swanky hotel (which was having some kind of sale and is the main reason we stayed there), and then headed out to find coffee for my caffeine deprived-boy.  We popped in at Black Tap where he had something that he enjoyed, and I had a hot chocolate that I very much enjoyed since it was a bit chilly out.  We read the local newspapers for a while, and then decided we needed to see a little bit of the city before we went off for dinner, so headed towards the tip of the peninsula.

Sunset at the Battery
Sunset at the Battery

We walked through the historic district and some beautiful old homes, and after a while found ourselves at the southern tip of the city.  By a stroke of luck, the sun was setting as we arrived, and I got some lovely photos.  This one and others where there’s a great contrast between bright and dark are ideal for using the Pro HDR camera app.  As the sun fell below the horizon, we made our way along the waterfront for a while, and then walked along Rainbow Row…which probably wasn’t as interesting in the near dark, and could have been much prettier, but it was still nice.  At this point, it was starting to get really cold, and so we made our way back towards our hotel, checking out restaurants along the way to find something that would be delicious for brunch the next day.  When we got back to the hotel we went in to the gallery in the lobby for about 5 minutes, but they were closing for the day, and I think we annoyed the gallerist by asking to be let in even though she was starting to close the doors, but we didn’t stay long.

Our dinner for the evening was dinner t Edmund’s Oast, a place at the north end of town.  It had come up a couple times in my pre-trip research as a place with good food and excellent beer, and my sister had visited on a trip last year and recommended it.  I was prepared for it to be “meh” food with fun beer, but the boy and I were pleasantly surprised.  The food was carefully thought out, and extremely tasty.  We split a cheese plate and a side of squash.  I had the pasta special which was delicious little raviolis that I believe were filled with lamb and was just perfect.  The boy had a fish dish, and loved it.  We split a piece of chocolate cake for dessert.  We also had a couple of beers each and were really impressed.  I don’t know how it’s not more well known or talked about.  Perhaps because Charleston is full of amazing restaurants, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

We got back to the hotel, and were able to snuggle down beneath the comforter on the bed and watch the end of the Democratic debate that was taking place a few blocks away from our hotel.  And no – we didn’t seen any candidates while we were out and about.  Not even Martin O’Malley.

Praline french toast at Eli's Table
Praline french toast at Eli’s Table

We slept in the next day (yay for being on vacation and not having a noisy kitty to wake you up at the crack of dawn!), packed up, left our bags at the front desk and made our way down for brunch at Eli’s Table.  I had praline french toast and some locally grown tea, and helped the boy when he was overambitious about his breakfast, having ordered an omelette AND a short stack of pancakes.  We were stuffed when we left.

After waddling out, we walked over to the Historic Charleston City Market, looking for a Christmas ornament to bring home, but instead just looking at all the stuff.  It was fascinating to look at all the things that are available as souvenirs that were local – lots of palmetto crafts.

"Charleston - South of Broad: Nathaniel Russell House", photo by Wally Gobetz, shared using the creative commons license.
“Charleston – South of Broad: Nathaniel Russell House”, photo by Wally Gobetz, shared using the creative commons license.

After wandering around, we walked through some neighborhoods with historical homes, and then over to the Nathaniel Russell House.  Somehow I didn’t take any pictures while we were there – the inside is off limits to photographers anyways, but the outside has a cute little English garden that was very photogenic.  We did the tour, and it was very interesting because the Historical Society has been restoring the property to how it would have been at the time it was built.  Some of the decor was really beautiful.  We also found a lovely simple Christmas tree ornament of Rainbow Row that was made by (and supports) the Historical Society.

At this point we had some time to kill before we needed to drive back to Savannah for our flight (it’s about a 2 hour trip by car), so we found a nearby coffee shop – Normandy Farms Bakery – and had hot beverages and looked at our phones for a while.  After some time, we started wandering back towards the hotel and our car at the valet. We stopped in at George C. Birlant Antiques because I’d heard it was a great store even for just wandering around.  And it was especially interesting having visited so soon after the Nathaniel Russell house, because there were a lot of items that would have fit in well there (and were priced to match).

And then it was time to head home.  The drive back was quiet, the quick dinner at the airport super “meh”, and our flight was full, but it was such a good trip.  We came back totally relaxed and ready to take on the week ahead.  Especially that snow storm.

So – that’s our trip.  And like that trip, we’re coming up on a holiday weekend, so don’t expect a new post on Monday, because I’m taking the day off, and planning on relaxing properly at home.

Trip Details:

Stayed atGrand Bohemian Hotel Charleston

Ate at/Drank at: Black Tap Coffee, Edmund’s Oast, Eli’s Table, Normandy Farms

Visited: White Point Gardens/The Battery, Rainbow Row, Nathaniel Russell House

Shopped/Looked Around: City MarketGeorge C. Birlant Antiques

Charleston Travel Guide (CURRENTLY UNFINISHED – use tabs at the bottom to navigate type of place, which are ranked by number of recommendations)

2 Comment

  1. […] and that was appealing since we’d only recently returned from a trip to the “low country” that inspires so much of the food.  But somehow, life got in the way.  We had the girls, […]

  2. […] years ago the Boy and I went to Austin, which was FANTASTIC.  Last year we went to Savannah and Charleston, which were also terrific, but maybe not quite as warm as I had pictured in my head.  No matter […]

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