Travel - A Weekend in Charleston

Last weekend we visited Charleston, South Carolina for the first time. How we have lived less than 3 hours from this charming city and have yet to visit until now is beyond me! We decided to celebrate our best friend's birthday here this year and had such a wonderful time eating and drinking our way around! So many of you gave such great recommendations, it was hard to choose where to go. Being someone with dietary restrictions, I did have to do extensive menu research prior to make sure there was at least one thing I would be able to order from wherever the group decides to go. We got into town around 10:30 pm Friday night so the exploring actually started on Saturday. 

Our first stop was Miller's All Day on King Street for brunch. As soon as you walk in, you are instantly surrounded by the most amazing retro vibes. There is an antique grit mill in the front entrance, a cute photo booth, the beautiful pastry display, the interior decor, staff uniforms, PRESCRIPTIONS sign above the bar, living room waiting area complete with original television trays, pale pink and gold bathrooms with framed vintage ads, I could go on and on! 

The service, atmosphere, and food was great. I ordered the Hoppin John, which was a gluten and dairy-free stew made with sea island red peas, Carolina gold rice, and vegetables. It normally comes with a corn muffin on the side, however, there is dairy in their corn muffin mixture so I had to pass on that, unfortunately. I thought this dish was fantastic and ate every last bite! I also tried the home fries which had a lovely seasoning and were perfectly crispy. And what is brunch without mimosas? We shared a carafe between the four of us and it was the perfect amount to start our day.  We really enjoyed our visit and I would love to go back again sometime! 

After brunch, we strolled down King Street and did some shopping, browsed the Marion Square Farmer's Market, viewed Rainbow Row and the landmark Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park. Everything was so beautiful and had so much character.     


After all that wandering around, we decided it was time for a nice drink and stopped into The Gin Joint, a 1920's inspired bar that our friends had visited before and really liked. Many of you also recommended it! I ordered the Shoe Fly made with Virgil Kaine Ginger Infused Bourbon, Burnt Sugar, Blueberry, Lemon, Horseradish, Honey, Tea, and Shiso. It was very refreshing and the flavors worked well together. Another drink ordered at our table was the Gypsy King made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Violet Liqueur, Laphroaig 10 year, Montenegro,  and Peach Bitters. It was very well received! The other two orders were Bartender's Choice, where you get to choose two descriptive words from a list and give the bartender full control of your order. Such a cool idea and both drinks were phenomenal. If you aren't an alcohol drinker, you can still enjoy quality time here with friends or family, as they state on their menu that mocktails options are available upon request. We didn't order any food here this time but the quick bite menu appeared to have incredible sounding options! We will definitely return next time we are in town! 

After we finished our drinks, we started the walk back to the car and the birthday girl wanted to make a quick stop into Pearlz for a celebratory Oyster Shooter.  Some things are just meant to be because while we waited for our shots, a young gentleman that was sitting on a bar stool next to us waiting on his to-go order bravely asked Megan if she had a spinal cord injury. They ended up talking about how he was in a car accident a handful of years ago and had been through so much to get to where he was today. Although he has a slight limp at times and a scar from his trach tube, he is able to walk again and doesn't take anything for granted. They took a photo together so that he could share this brief encounter with his mother, and we toasted to health and happiness.

We went back to the hotel and changed for dinner. We all decided on Leon's, an old gas station turned into one of the hippest and unique restaurants serving up fried chicken and champagne along with oysters on the half shell and fresh seafood dishes. The weather was beautiful that evening, so we wanted to sit on the patio. Our service was top notch and everything from the decor to the food and drinks made the entire experience extraordinary. I ordered the Little Bird cocktail (top left photo below) which was made with tequila, grapefruit liqueur, rose water, and lime. It was so lovely I couldn't have just one. Our beautiful friend and birthday girl Jess (pictured below bottom left) went with the champagne for her fried chicken order, and both her and Megan were big fans of the famous chicken. The Peel 'N Eat Shrimp come seasoned in Old Bay and are served on ice with a side of cocktail sauce and comeback sauce, a mayo mixture that was actually really good and these went FAST! For my dinner, I chose the Siam Salad topped with Napa cabbage, avocado, peanuts, orange, fried shallots, herbs. I just left the fried shallots off since I can't eat gluten. I was so happy with my choice because it was delicious! We had a great time at Leon's and it will be a meal to always remember! 

During dinner, the group was discussing wanting to go to a local favorite dive bar. We ended up at The Griffon Pub, where patron decorated dollar bills are stapled to the walls and ceiling covering everything in sight. We played a game of darts (my first game ever!) and I at one point closed a 20 with one throw AND got a bull's eye in the same turn! We ended the night there looking forward to more adventures the next day.

Sunday morning we went for coffee and breakfast at The Daily by Butcher & Bee. I had a seasonal iced cardamom and coconut coffee, which was to die for. I wish I could drink it every day! For my breakfast, I chose the vegetable hash with seasonal vegetables, potatoes,  jalapeño and topped with a fried egg. I loved how colorful it was and it was also very satisfying.

From there, Jess wanted to take us to Edmund's Oast, as she had really enjoyed it when she visited the first time. They had a large (dog-friendly) patio with a variety of seating areas and a fun photo op wall.  I tried their Bloody Maria (a bloody mary made with tequila and embellished with chiles and cilantro) and it was a very interesting take! I'm a creature of habit and usually go with a spicy classic, but I always enjoy trying something new and this one was well made. Edmunds is well known for their house-made charcuterie, however, we didn't get a chance to enjoy it this time as we had just recently eaten breakfast. Their interior dining hall gives me all the Game of Throne vibes and I definitely want to return to try out the restaurant!

Our last stop on this amazing trip was to Schem Creek, seemingly one of the most popular places to visit when you're in Charleston, according to recommendations. We went in the afternoon, so we were leaving to head back home soon and it was scorching hot out, so we didn't do much walking around and instead just relaxed on the patio at Tavern & Table and had some more drinks. I was looking for a drink perfect for the heat, and this time decided to go with a mocktail version of the Grapefruit Rosemary Collins. It was a great choice! I would love to go back to Schem Creek to walk the boardwalk, watch for dolphins and see the sunset.

 Overall, we had an absolutely incredible weekend in Charleston.  It was a short and sweet vacation and what surprised me was how laid back it really was. There was so much character everywhere you turn. I was truly captivated by all of the magical looking alleyways as we walked down the streets. If you're reading this and live in Charleston or are a frequent visitor, I would love for you to share in the comments where you like to go and what you like to do!

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