Weekend Getaway to Charleston, SC
Contributed by: Carly Felton
A quaint, history-rich city on the water, Charleston, S.C., is a versatile vacation spot. Great for spring and summer beach getaways, as well as relaxing small-town (or small city to be precise) adventures the rest of the year, Charleston offers a plethora of luxurious hotels and cozy bed-and-breakfasts; authentic eateries; and soothing spas.
Aside from feeding and pampering your body and kicking back with friends and loved ones, you’ll want to explore some of Charleston’s attractions. The historic district, where you’ll likely spend most of your visit, is small enough to walk through. But if you’d rather be driven around, Classic Carriage offers horse-drawn buggy tours, while Charleston Bike Taxi offers pedicab/ rikshaw service.
Simply strolling (or riding) through town is a wonderful way to get a feel for the city’s quiet charm, but there’s also an aquarium and multiple museums for hardcore sightseers. In addition, a visit to the Slave Market is a must. Located in the center of town, the market is not where slaves were sold, contrary to popular belief; it’s where they often went to buy goods. Now, the market is a place to peruse unique and handmade items like woven baskets, beaded jewelry and more.
Where to Stay
A beautiful mansion built in 1849 by a wealthy rice plantation owner, The Palmer Home is now owned and operated by Francis Palmer. With a beautiful view of the water, the three-story home features a garden and swimming pool. The second floor lobby, where an ample buffet breakfast (eggs, grits, bacon, biscuits, muffins, cereal, fruit, juice, coffee and more) is served every day, features an ornate chandelier, antique furniture and portraits of the Palmers through the ages. Roomy balconies on floors two and three overlook both the water and garden and provide a romantic place to enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
When The Palmer Home fills up—or if you’d rather stay in a smaller, more affordable bed and breakfast—Palmer’s Pinckney Inn is a good choice. Located in walking distance to the Slave Market and many restaurants and bars, the Pinckney Inn is a five-room hidden gem. The rooms are quaint and charming. The Bombay Room features a four-poster king-size bed with lace bed curtains, an electric fireplace and a small Jacuzzi tub. Heavy curtains keep the early morning light out and encourage a deep, peaceful slumber. The Inn offers full access to its kitchen, which is well-stocked with fruit, snacks and sweet goodies, as well as breakfast items. Continental breakfast here is included in the room price, but guests can also dine at The Palmer Home for just $7.50 each.
A full-service European-style spa on the fourth floor of the lux Charleston Place Hotel, the Spa features 10 treatment rooms, fitness facilities, a sauna and a horizon-edge pool with a retractable ceiling. Offering massages, body scubs and wraps, facials, manis, pedis and more, the Spa is a stellar place to relax in style. Certain treatment rooms even overlook the pool, providing a calming view as well as reassurance for claustrophobics. The rooms are simply adorned with a few black and white images and an iPod dock for playing tranquil music. Between the friendly staff members who are eager to meet your every need and the aesthetically pleasing interior, the Spa at Charleston Place comes highly recommended.
Where to eat
Chef Brock wowed us with his slow cooked short ribs that melted in your mouth. We were also delighted to taste the succulent Lobster and homemade pasta. And the whimsical nitro popcorn dessert (yes it causes smoke to shoot out from your mouth) was very entertaining for the whole table! Check out our interview with Charleston Chef Sean Brock!
With two locations in Charleston, Home Team BBQ provides the perfect place to sample authentic Southern barbecue. The restaurant has a rustic, laid back feel with tin paneling, gas lanterns, nostalgic memorabilia, banquettes, bar tops, booths and picnic tables. The menu features all of the traditional barbecue staples. Highlights include a pulled pork sandwich, BBQ wrap, BBQ taco with innovative house-made salsa, fresh salads, rib platters, smoked turkey wrap, macaroni and cheese, creamy grits, Brunswick stew and collard greens.