Music and food. Two things that don’t require sunny skies and thus a recipe for a perfect overcast day in Charleston. There was actually a little sun first thing this morning before the clouds won out. I took advantage of the clear skies and went for a long walk before brunch. Speaking of brunch… Poogan’s Porch is a true southern experience, set in an 1880s Victorian home with porches overlooking Queen Street. While the porch was tempting, it was much too humid to dine al fresco today. I had a table on the first floor of the main house where I feasted on a homemade biscuit with honey butter, pulled pork eggs Benedict, and a mimosa. Another A+ meal!
After that, it was a music-filled afternoon. I enjoyed music from the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Charleston Children’s Chorus, and the Chattanooga Boys Choir, all excellent (and free!) concerts. By the time the third concert was over, it had started raining. I took the free DASH shuttle back to my hotel and got ready for dinner. Dinner tonight was at McCrady’s Tavern, a historic tavern where George Washington once dined. The food was okay, not great, and paled in comparison to last night’s amazing meal. I had thoughts of heading someplace else for dessert, but the fact that my dress was already soaked from being out in the rain and my raincoat was doing little to help, I decided to just head back to my room and call it a night. Luckily, I have a few shows saved on my DVR that I can stream from home. 🙂
First things first: I love Charleston. As in, if I didn’t love New England so much I would move here in a heartbeat. Also, it’s hot here. And not just regular old hot (it was actually hotter temperature-wise at home yesterday), but “walk out the door and you’re already drenched in sweat” hot. So I suppose humid is the better word for it.
I had a semi-decent sleep last night and was up, as usual, with the birds. Blue skies were a treat and a quick check of the weather showed the rain holding off until at least tomorrow afternoon. I walked over to the waterfront park and snagged a wooden swing on the pier to soak in the sun for a few minutes. Then I spent about an hour wandering around the neighborhoods of the Historic District before setting off for breakfast. Seriously, I wanted to take a picture of every house I passed. Boston may have Beacon Hill, but Charleston has, well…. the whole city.
Breakfast/brunch was at Hominy Grill, which is about a mile and a half from my hotel, but I considered my walk a preemptive strike against the calories I was about to consume in the form of Bread Pudding French Toast. If you don’t know me very well, it’s safe to say I have a major sweet tooth for breakfast. And this did not disappoint. I even indulged in a mimosa to go along with it. Because why not? After breakfast, I headed to Marion Square where the regular Saturday Farmers Market was going on, along with a Spoleto Festival outdoor art exhibition. I wandered around the booths, sampled kombucha, and finally set off back to the Historic District.
After a short rest at the hotel, I hopped on a carriage tour of historic Charleston. The horse and carriage tour has four possible routes, and the city randomly assigns a route to each carriage when it’s ready to head out. I’ve done carriage tours before in Charleston, and the route we took today didn’t really seem as intriguing as others I’ve been on. I took my time walking by the waterfront after the tour and through some of the streets before finally walking up and down the city market checking out all the stalls. North and South Market Streets are lined with shops, and in between them is the old City Market, established in the 1700s and filled with local artisans and craftspeople. I didn’t buy anything today, but I’m sure I’ll be back before I head home!
Tonight’s dinner was at Indaco, a relatively new Italian restaurant that gets rave reviews, and deservedly so. I had an unbelievable focaccia with pesto and prosciutto vinaigrette along with black pepper tagliatelle with pork tesa and an egg yolk on top. The entire meal was incredible. I know it’s hard to believe, but I actually found a little room in my dessert stomach for a stop at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for a small dish of Gooey Butter Cake ice cream after dinner.
I first fell in love with Charleston, South Carolina about 16 years ago when I took a road trip to visit my family at their new home in Florida. I spent a couple of days in Charleston on the way home, and it immediately captured my heart. The laid-back lifestyle, the quaint Charleston single homes with gas lamps beside the front door, and the genuine southern charm have brought me back several times since that first visit. It has been about 5 or 6 years since I was last here, and as soon as I stepped off the plane I wondered why I didn’t make it back sooner. It’s hard to believe that just a short 2 hour flight can transport you to such a completely different part of the country.
I was racing to the airport for a 3:30 flight this afternoon, but was fortunate that it was delayed and I had time to grab a sandwich for “dinner” before hopping on the plane. Less than 2 hours later, I was on my way to the Charleston Historic District. I quickly checked into my hotel next to the City Market, dropped off my things, and was back out the door. The weather is calling for rain all weekend long so I wanted to take advantage of the blue sky while it lasts! My first stop was at the Sunset Serenade, an outdoor concert to kickoff the 2018 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, a 17 day arts festival featuring local artists in conjunction with Spoleto Festival USA. I stayed for a couple of songs, enjoyed a glass of wine, and then walked to the Waterfront Park along the Cooper River. From there, I slowly weaved my way along the streets and alleys of the Historic District, peeking in gardens and homes along the way. Several of the homes in the Historic District feature the iconic Charleston gas lamps and many also have hidden gardens with fountains tucked away behind arches and fences. I walked for about an hour before deciding it was time to call it a night.
I’m determined to make the best of a wet weekend, though tomorrow looks to be the most promising of the days weather-wise. A perk of being here during Spoleto/Piccolo Spoleto Festival is that there is no shortage of indoor music, dance, and theater events to keep me entertained despite any rain.