Last week, Brian and I finally visited Charleston, South Carolina. We originally started planning a trip to Charleston in the spring of 2013, but then we found the home we’d go on to buy and vacation was put on pause. Five years later, my generous in-laws offered to watch E for a couple days at their home in North Carolina so we could escape as a couple. The trip was everything I hoped – full of amazing food, reasonable July weather, fantastic architecture and lots of history. We packed a lot into the 48 hours we were in town; here are some of my favorites.
1. Dinner at Husk
Almost immediately after we finalized the dates we would be in Charleston, I booked a dinner reservation at Husk. I learned about Chef Sean Brock and Husk through the PBS series “Mind of a Chef” and was entranced by his attention to deal and focus on heritage Southern cuisine. As usual, we ate early (5:30) which resulted in us being among the first ones seated for Tuesday night dinner in a slowly filling dining room with lots of attention from the staff. Every part of the meal was incredible – the fresh bread and pork-infused butter, Compressed Summer Melon Salad appetizer, my Cornmeal Fried Catfish with summer squash, Brian’s Carolina Heritage Pork, the Roasted Carrot and Shishito Peppers side, and the Carolina Gold Rice Pudding dessert. Brian and I rarely go out to eat and to have the opportunity to enjoy such a thought out and flavorful meal together was lovely.
2. The Aitken-Rhett House
Charleston has so much fantastic history and I wanted to be sure to soak in at least some of it. However, we were only in town for about 48 hours and knew we couldn’t do it all. After some research, we settled on the Aitken-Rhett House as the one historic home we’d visit. I am so happy with our choice. I’ve been to many historic homes and this was the first I remember being “preserved-as-found”. Everything in the home is just as it was when the current historic foundation took control of the property – peeling paint, ripped furniture and all. It’s really interesting. The price of admission included an audio tour, which is not usually my jam, but this one was really good and far more interesting than reading plaques.
3. The Charleston Tea Plantation
It’s no surprise that I made the only tea plantation in America one of my “must do” items. The Charleston Tea Plantation is about half an hour out of the city, but the ride is pleasant and totally worth it. We took the narrated trolley tour around the plantation to learn about the history of the site and see the tea fields. It was especially interesting to hear about the role the Bigelow family has played in partnering with the Charleston Tea Plantation and how that partnership is helping the site grow. The gift shop contained several varieties of tea (of course we bought some!), adorable accessories and all the free hot and iced tea samples we could drink.
4. Walking all over the city
Charleston is a very walk-able city and we were blessed with weather that wasn’t overwhelmingly hot. Brian and I managed all of our eating, dining and shopping downtown by parking in a garage for the day and finding our way around on foot; we didn’t take any public transportation or drive to any sites downtown. I enjoy walking in general, but in the case of Charleston walking gave us the opportunity to enjoy the many historic buildings and beautiful homes that fill the historic district.