Charleston is one of our favorite Southern cities. John Mark and I first traveled there in September of 2014. We typically travel in September because summer tourism has slowed down and we find places to be less crowded, and also it is John Mark’s birthday month. When we arrived in town for the first time we immediately went to The Battery, an iconic and scenic park down by the water near downtown Charleston. In the center gazebo, John Mark asked me to “give him the best birthday present he could ask for” and asked me to be his wife. I said yes and we married the following summer in Willamette Valley, Oregon.

We met up with friends after his proposal and my first adventure in this enchanting city began. We stayed in an AirBnB near King Street that we shared with our travel companions during this trip. We have not stayed in a hotel for years now. We love the “AirBnB experience” and privacy. It feels like I paid a friend to rent their vacation home. I like having all the comforts of home, and even being able to bring our dogs along if we like.

Our first foodie stop in Charleston was The Bar at Husk on Queen Street. We had a dinner reservation for here later in the week, but we went to their adjoining bar for libations to kick off our weekend. It has a rustic vibe and a great selection of specialty cocktails and bourbons. We also discovered 167 Raw during our first visit to Charleston. They were more of a seafood market on the outskirts of downtown at that time offering small bites of food. They had a makeshift table made out of sawhorses and a wooden boat turned upside down. They now are a bustling restaurant downtown Charleston with a magazine-worthy interior and a wait-list at the door. Dinner at Husk that weekend was memorable. We had a nice Kosta Browne 2010 Pinot Noir and the unforgettable, chicken-skins. Yes, crispy, fried chicken-skins covered in a sweet chili sauce and honey. Sinfully delicious.

We made one excursion out of downtown during our first trip to Charleston in 2014. We drove about thirty minutes over to Boone Hall Plantation. A beautiful, working plantation just over the Ravenel Bridge in Mount Pleasant, SC. Known for being one of the oldest working plantations in the country, having grown crops for the past 320 years. The plantation is picturesque upon entrance of the avenue of oak trees. They have several tours you can choose from. It is definitely worth the short drive to gain a greater understanding and knowledge of the history and culture of Charleston.

We returned to Charleston this past Valentine’s weekend for a dear friend’s wedding. There was still a nip of cold in the air, but the town was lively with the annual Southeastern Wildlife Expo. This event draws in thousands of visitors to the area and coinciding with Valentine’s holiday, reservations everywhere were a must. We were able to pop-in a few places, but I would highly encourage reservations if there is a restaurant you do not want to miss. We had no idea a pandemic was headed our way and this would be our last trip for the foreseeable future.

During our second stay, we again stayed in an AirBnB off King Street. Much of the downtown activity and bars are located in this area and are a quick Uber ride away from your stay. One of our favorite bars we visited during our most recent stay was The Commodore. They have live music and a funky, vintage bar vibe that is eclectic and fun! There are limitless options for bars in downtown Charleston. You could spend an entire week having one drink at every bar and still not make it through all of them. Live music is a huge plus for us.

Our first night we had dinner at the Delaney Oyster House upon a recommendation from the bride who is also a food lover and has spent a good bit of time in Charleston as well. It was by far one of the best dining experiences we have ever had in Charleston. Everything we consumed was seafood and it was delightful. The restaurant is located in a historic Charleston home and is the quintessential Charleston experience. The bride also hosted her bridal brunch here the day of the wedding rehearsal and I was equally impressed with the hospitality of the restaurant at her event as well. A mimosa bar with fresh juices, rose, a delicious chowder, oysters, and a beautiful citrus salad were the fare for the luncheon.

We drove over to St. John’s Island to see the Angel Oak tree, an oak tree that spans over 17,000 square feet and is estimated to be around 500 years old. It is an impressive thing to see. On the way back to downtown we made a detour to Folly Beach. It was still early in the morning so we stopped at a beach-side hotel and had a Bloody Mary at the lounge bar. We took a quick, brisk walk down the beach, saw the Atlantic, and headed back downtown to have lunch at Rodney Scott BBQ on the recommendation of a friend. Rodney Scott BBQ has a location in Birmingham, AL as well. It was very delicious. I had the pulled pork sandwich with my choice of sauce with a dreamy side of mac n cheese. If you can’t get to Charleston, hit up their Birmingham location ASAP!

Our friends, Jenny Accarino and Michael Plunkett were the primary reason for our visit to Charleston and we had an amazing time celebrating their nuptials. They had a wonderful welcoming party the night before their wedding at the William Aiken House in downtown Charleston. The home and the interiors were stunning, but Jenny was the most beautiful thing there. It was a very special evening celebrating the happiness of our friends and it was fun getting to know their families and other friends.

Preceding this celebration, we had a 13-course dinner at McCrady’s as part of our Valentine’s Day celebration. Thirteen courses are a lot, but they were small portions. Each course was something unusual and mind-blowing. We even chose the wine pairings with the courses to have the entire experience set forth by the talented culinary and sommelier staff at the restaurant. It was a once in a lifetime kind of experience for us and an extremely special evening.

The wedding the following day was at a location I had not heard of before this trip. The Legare Waring House was about twenty minutes from downtown, but it could not have been more picturesque. The large oak trees, Spanish moss hanging everywhere, it was dreamy and romantic. The perfect setting for a wedding. We danced the night away and enjoyed delicious food and libations while celebrating Michael and Jenny’s love for one another.

Charleston is absolutely a romantic destination for us. We have not only celebrated the love of other friends here, but we share many unforgettable moments here too. Our love for food and wine in addition to this makes Charleston one of our favorite destinations in the US. If you have not had the chance to travel here I would recommend making an extended weekend trip here soon! (A weekend is just not enough time.)

Valentines Dinner @ McCrady’s

Michael and Jenny got married!

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