It is not lost on me that I live in paradise- it makes it COMPLETELY impossible to go on vacation. I was born, raised, and have never left. So when the opportunity arises to take some time off? What better place than my hometown. Which is exactly what Pete and I did in February.
There is SO much to do here (and eat here). In all seriousness, we are one of the best destinations in the country for foodies. The shopping is fabulous, the scenery is amazing...conde nast is right to name us the number one travel destination in THE WORLD.
But if you're spending more than a night or two in the Holy City, OR you want to come with a group, it's nice to have a kitchen. And a washer dryer. But still be in a central location that's walkable to a ton of restaurants and things to do. That's why I love Guesthouse Charleston.
It's like you walk into a beautifully decorated, pristinely kept home.
That comes with parking (this applies to NO hotels on the peninsula).
With a space to hang out with your friends, have a glass of wine, and then retreat to your own suites.
It's unlike any other opportunity for accomodations in Charleston and is such a gem.
And one of you is going to have the opportunity to grab your friends and come stay for a week.
And go shopping at Ellifox.
Just want the giftcard to Ellifox? You can even assign this trip to a friend. Or vice versa- if you want the trip but not the giftcard? Gift it to your lucky bestie.
But this giveaway is truly one of a kind.
So grab your friends and fill all FOUR bedrooms. Or take some solo time. But definitely, COME SEE US!
I'm giving you a local insider's look at what I would do if I were spending an entire week at one of these fabulous properties. Suggestion- bring loose fitting clothes, because I'm going to hook you up with some of my favorite food destinations that will not disappoint.
Assuming you arrive around lunchtime and want to grab a nosh before exploring, walk a few blocks away to Xiao Bao Biscuit
. I've never been anywhere in Asia but I am told it is the most authentic experience Charleston has to offer. The Okonomiyaki is always a fan favorite (a Japanese cabbage pancake in a style they learned while farming in Japan), the Pad Kra Pow (thai style minced beef), and the side of greens are also some of my favorites on the menu (although I highly recommend putting your adventure panties on and joining up with your friends to order the whole menu and just try a little of everything). After lunch, stroll around your neighborhood for the week. Make sure to stop by The Tiny Tassel
(the owner Mimi is cute as a button) on your way back. Spend the day exploring Upper King Street (the area "above" Calhoun). Check out great shopping at Sewing Down South
(Craig's story- yes, THAT Craig), Two Cumberland
, West Elm, Free People, Blue Bicycle Books
, Mitchell Hill
, and Beckett Boutique
(to name a few). Grab a drink at Stars Rooftop
, dinner on your way back at Monza
(my friend Darla turned me onto the Chicken Milanese salad years ago and it's in my top three salads in the city), and don't forget Jeni's Ice Cream
While Starbucks is just a five minute walk away, you also have the ability to brew your own at Guesthouse! Head around the corner to grab a pastry at Brown's Court
and get ready for a fun day on the peninsula! I highly recommend booking a Tommy Dew Walking Tour
- his knowledge of the city is incredible and he will give you an amazing view of the city from a historical perspective (don't forget, the first shots of the civil war were fired here!). Take a break to grab one of the best kept secrets for lunch in Charleston- the daily sandwich at Goat Sheep Cow on Church- they sell out by 11:05am (they open at 11), come exactly as they are, and one of the best sandwiches you will ever have. Enjoy it on a bench in the shade at Washington Square Park (adjacent to the Four Corners of Law, a fantastic photo op). Wander down lower King Street to take in the architecture and gardens and hang a right onto Murray Blvd to see some of the most impressive real estate in the City. Dinner reservations? A Pete Fox Favorite- Cru Cafe
. I'm not going to try to micro-manage you on the menu here because I've had everything and it's all amazing. After dinner, take a stroll to the swings at Waterfront Park for some amazing views and hit the hay- you've done a lot of walking!
How about a later start today since you're probably tired from all the walking you did the day before? Head to brunch at the Park Cafe
, one of my favorite spots. The breakfast sandwich is always a crowd pleaser. You're pretty much adjacent to Hampton Park so take a stroll over to see some incredible foliage (Pete and I got married under the jasmine there!). Coordinate with Rebellion Roads
to drop off some e-bikes to you in Hampton Park and cruise on over to The Citadel (the oldest military college in America). Follow Lockwood Blvd down to the harbor and run into Broad Street to see Colonial Lake. Don't forget to swing by the College of Charleston, named the most beautiful college in the country (and my alma mater). Have a cocktail at The Watch
(such an incredible view) and cross the street to dinner at Basic Kitchen
. Ride home on your bike and arrange for pickup- tomorrow you're going on a field trip!
Rise and shine early- today is going to be packed! I'm going out on a limb here because I haven't tried it yet, but there is a ton of hype around Not Your Mom's Donuts Charleston
(they sell out REALLY early). Grab a dozen and head out to the Angel Oak
, a cannot miss spectacle that's 400-500 years old! Head on out to Freshfields Village
to wander around before heading to Kinfolk
for lunch (I highly recommend The Lamarr and it's literally the best soft serve I have ever had- I even dedicated an Instagram post to it here
). Next, head out to Kiawah Beachwalker Park
for one of the prettiest beaches in the area (fun fact- the northshore current takes sand from folly and deposits it onto Kiawah, making it one of our lusher beaches). Spend a couple hours and head back towards town for dinner at Wild Olive
(the chicken parmesan, pappardelle, and calamari are a religious experience).
Let's go shopping! Grab breakfast at Millers All Day
and start to wander up King Street for some shopping. You will not want to miss the Lake Pajamas
store, Charleston Shoe Company
, see the jewels at Croghans Jewel Box
, see all the pretty things at Hampden Clothing
, shop for your favorite guy at Grady Ervin
, and Jordan Lash
, see the most amazing spectacles curated from around the world at Jackson Davenport
, and mosey to lunch at Rue de Jean
(the mussels are my favorite). And while you're shopping, hop in the car and head over to West Ashley to Rhodes Boutique
for you and Ellifox
to spend your gift card! Head back downtown for one of the best dinners of your life at Halls Chophouse
. The steak is AMAZING, but lately I have been getting the seafood tower for two (for one) and just having a few bites of Pete's. Have dessert there as well- there isn't a single thing on the menu that isn't amazing!
Grab a nosh at Big Bad Breakfast and head across the Ravenel Bridge to walk up to the top- the view is unforgettable. Spend the day in Mt Pleasant driving around The Old Village (stop at Pitt Street Pharmacy for some nostalgia) and Charleston Artist Collective for some amazing pieces. Next, head out to Sullivan's Island to enjoy a famous painkiller and bbq at HomeTeam and enjoy a walk on the beach and take in the incredible houses. If you get too hot or tired, hop back in the car and drive around the island- the views are incredible and I love seeing the old and new houses. Make a reservation at the Obstinate Daughter (sadly, I have yet to go but it's owned by the same people as Wild Olive and I have heard amazing things). On your way back to Guesthouse, stop by Tavern and Table to get a peek at Shem Creek.
On your last day in Charleston, head to the aquarium
(it's not just for kids- the view is amazing). Take a boat ride to Ft. Sumter
and enjoy another beautiful view of the peninsula and some fascinating history. Head back to Guesthouse to get gussied up to go to drinks at The Living Room
inside The Dewberry Hotel- my favorite place for a cocktail in Charleston because the Mad Men/1960's vibes are over the top. Enjoy one of the best seafood meals of your life at Hanks Seafood Restaurant
(the seafood tower is divine and do not miss the Seafood A La Wando). Top of your night with dessert at Carmella's
(the ambiance is unmatched and I highly recommend the Espresso martini).
What did I miss? Do YOU have a favorite that I didn't hit?! Send a message to @laurenisafox