As a kid, I grew up going to our family beach house in Hilton Head, SC. The state of South Carolina has always been a second home to our family. More so, being a Rutledge, Charleston has had a major pull on our heartstrings. My sister and her husband (then boyfriend) lived in Chucktown for 3 years while she was in culinary school and I visited quite often. In fact, it’s where I bought my wedding dress (at Maddison Row) and had my bachelorette party. This Christmas, we decided to all go back together to grub on some delicious food and learn more about our family history at Middleton Place. Below is a list of my favorite shops, eats, and hotels. Enjoy!
S H O P
Curiosity (@shopcuriosity) – Tucked away in an ivy covered alley off of Queen Street is the adorable Curiosity shop. The owner, Courtney, and I became instagram friends a few years ago and we’ve still yet to meet! Luckily, she sells her wares online and I’m able to make purchases when I’m in the mood to splurge. Curiosity is filled with antique trophies, vintage hotel silver, and apothecary bottles of all sizes. Each piece carries such a history and that’s what makes this shop so very special.
Worthwhile (@shopworthwhile) – Located right in the middle of the King Street hustle, Worthwhile stands out amongst the rest. This store is obscure designer clothing at its finest! They carry the most unique selection of designers that opens up the world of fashion to this coastal, Southern town. From Rick Owens to Uma Wang…this store knocks my socks off.
Fritz Porter (@fritzporterchs) – The Cigar Factory is a newly renovated mixed-use space filled with offices, stores, and restaurants (Garden & Gun recently relocated their offices there). It’s also home to the unique design emporium, Fritz Porter – a store that gives you the luxury of shopping from a variety of antique and interiors vendors from all over the country in one location. I spotted a Willy Guhl handkerchief planter (wish I had purchased it!) and tons of custom lighting and furniture. While you’re there, check out Mercantile & Mash a store/bar hybrid that’s worth taking a peek.
Lily (@lilycharleston) – Lily is a sweet shop located on the lower portion of King Street. They specialize in all things precious. Their selection of perfume, jewelry, and stationary is top notch and their spotless all-white store feels very Parisian and chic.
E A T & D R I N K
Edmund’s Oast (@edmundsoast) – Our first meal in Charleston was at Edmunds Oast and it was the perfect Low Country evening. We chose to sit in their expansive outdoor seating area. They refer to themselves as a Brew Pub…but I found it to be an upscale beer garden with a relaxed feel.
R Kitchen – First and foremost, this place is “a kitchen, not a restaurant” (according to the chefs) and they couldn’t be more right about that. Eating at R Kitchen was the ultimate dining experience because – just for that night – the chefs became part of our family. They were the restaurant – the chefs, the hosts, the wait staff, and our dinner companions. The structure is small and intimate – which adds to the at-home vibe. There’s an energy when you walk inside that feels like you’re about to experience something you never have before. It was just magical. I highly recommend!
Leon’s Oysters (@leonsoystershop) Nothing screams tourist quite like riding in a pedi-cab. However, riding up to Leon’s in 3 pedi-cabs for dinner was probably one of my favorite memories from our trip. Leon’s specializes in oysters and poultry. The vibe is very industrial and laid-back. We drank champagne and had some of the best food on our trip.
The Westendorff (@thewestendorff) – We needed a place to have our last brunch before we headed back to Nashville and decided on the Westendorff purely from viewing the facade of this building. I fell in love with the art-deco logo, the building, the tiles on the floors…and then finally the avocado toast with mushrooms that we had as an appetizer…but then ordered more to go along with our main course because it was THAT GOOD. From top to bottom, this place was pleasing to all senses.
The Classics – It’s not a trip to Charleston without going back to visit some of your favorites. In this case, some of my sister and her husbands regular haunts that we fell in love with by proxy. Brunch at Hominy Grill and beers at Closed For Business (@closed4business) are a must. We also grabbed some duck fat fries from Tattooed Moose (@tattooedmoose) while we waited for our table at Leon’s because that had to happen. As for next time, I’ve already got a list going for some places I’d love to visit: 492, The Ordinary, The Alley, Xiao Bao Biscuit, and The Darling Oyster Bar – if you get the chance, definitely go try these out!
S T A Y
The Spectator Hotel (@spectatorhotel) – I first heard about the Spectator from the design company (Stitch) that created their branding. I love the throwback room keys and the lettering they chose for their logo. The location is further downtown and close to a variety of restaurants and bars. You’ll be in the thick of it.
The Dewberry Hotel (@thedewberrycharleston) – Although it’s not open yet, I’m excited about this new addition to the Preferred Hotels family (same group that has The Montage in Laguna). Located right on Marion Square…it has the perfect location for all things downtown CHS. Not to mention, I love their logo :)
Zero George Street (@zerogeorge) – Voted as one of Conde Nast Travellers “Best New Hotels” for 2014, Zero George Street is unlike any other hotel. Located in a secret courtyard, the hotel is a collection of five historic homes complete with its own restaurant – Zero Café & Bar.
The Planters Inn (@plantersinnchs) – One of my favorite hotels in the world is The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, England. It’s owned by a French hotel group called Relais & Chateaux that also happens to own my favorite hotel in Charleston – The Planters Inn. It’s one of the oldest hotels in the city and they pride themselves on their hospitality. My parents always stay here when they’re visiting and it was where we stayed for my bachelorette party a few years ago. In 2014, Planters Inn was named #1 Best U.S. Small City Hotel by Travel + Leisure.