Friday, April 19, 2013

Low Country Trip Notes

This is a completely frivolous post, in light of what's happening in our backyard this morning. But it was a nice distraction to put all my notes together from our recent vacation. Maybe this will serve as a nice distraction to you, too. Thanks to so many of you for calling and writing and texting - we are completely fine, but jittery, like everyone else in the area. XO!

After Nemo struck in February, I was desperate for a vacation. I scoured travel sites looking for an inexpensive flight somewhere - anywhere! - south. Austin, Nashville, and New Orleans were all on my short list, but then I found an incredibly cheap flight to Charleston. Sold!

We flew down to Charleston early Sunday morning, and decided to rent a car and see Savannah, too. We got to Savannah around noon, and met right up with Savannah Bike Tours. The tour was about three hours long, and we got such a great introduction to the city. Highly recommended. Seeing a city by bike is so pleasant and vacation-ish!

We had a quick drink at Moon River Brewing Co. (pretty patio with lights!), and then went to Cotton Exchange Tavern. We had a few fancier meals planned for Charleston, so we wanted something easy and fun. The peel and eat shrimp and fried oysters were fab - actually one of my favorite things we ate the whole trip! After dinner, we went to the Olde Pink House Tavern for a fun drink and listened to the live piano player. Next time we're in the town, I want to come here for a snacky dinner.

The next morning, we headed over to wait in line at a Savannah institution - Mrs. Wilkes. We arrived around 10:45 a.m. and were seated at about 12:30 p.m. - totally worth it! The fried chicken was wonderful, but what really stands out are all the sides. It's almost like Thanksgiving (if your family was able to make the most incredible sweet potatoes, squash casserole, potato salad, corn bread, etc.). We walked around a bit more - pretty squares and gardens around every corner! - then hopped back in the car and drove up to Charleston.

Charleston was love at first site for me. We walked down to the Charleston Waterfront Park, and it was so sunny and warm - after months of winter, it was heavenly. Then we headed to The Gin Joint. Do I need to tell you that this was a serious favorite?! Fantastic cocktails, a great happy hour deal ($5 drinks and a special $5 snack), and a lovely patio space underneath a kumquat (?) tree. LOVE.

Monday was Peter's 30th birthday, and I had made reservations at FIG about a month before. They were so wonderful to us! Every thing was delightful, from the first sip of prosecco to the last bite of sorghum cake (with a candle!). If you want a fancy dinner in Charleston, this is a great pick. After dinner we went to Blind Tiger to hear a bit of music.

The next morning, we grabbed coffee at Gaulart & Maliclet (French pressed coffee to go!), and did a self-guided walking tour through town, popping into churches and graveyards and shops along the way.

We popped over to Husk just to check it out, and were happily able to walk-in for lunch. The dining room is lovely and airy, and it was great to be able to try the amazing food here. Peter had a shrimp and grits dish, and I had a smoked meat sandwich (sort of a Southern-style Reuben) - yum.

Peter needed to earn his history teacher gold star with a trip out to Fort Sumter. The ferry ride is really fun - great views of the city from the water, and then you're on the island for about an hour before it goes back again. It was nicely done, and I learned a lot, but I might recommend something else if you aren't really into Civil War history ;) We had dinner in the window bar at Pearlz, and ended the night with a drink at the Rooftop Bar.

The next morning, Peter indulged my strange college visiting habit with a trek up to the College of Charleston. Such a beautiful campus! We walked down King Street, and then went back to the waterfront to visit the Edmondston-Alston House. The photo above is in the gorgeous courtyard. I loved this place - it was amazing to see inside one of the beautiful old homes after walking by so many.

For our last vacation meal, we popped into Magnolias - another beautiful spot. This is hardly a novel travel tip, but going to the best restaurants in town is far more doable for lunch instead of dinner! This time I got seafood and grits, and Peter had a fried green tomato BLT. I went to Charleston Cooks for a bag of grits to take home and stopped at River Street Sweets for a praline before we headed to the airport. 

Low country, I miss you already!


  1. I've always wanted to do a Charleston/Savannah visit - both cities look absolutely beautiful!! I'll have to bookmark this so I know where to go when we finally do visit!

  2. I've been thinking about you two today. I enjoyed a vicarious vacation by reading about your trip! Hope to use this as a guide on a real trip to Savannah and Charleston someday.

  3. Thanks for the recap! We are going to Myrtle Beach in May and will day trip to Charleston, so we'll have to try some of these restaurants. We honeymooned in Savannah about three years ago, and loved all the places you mentioned—especially the Olde Pink House Tavern. I believe the menu in the tavern is the same as in the Olde Pink House restaurant, so it's a wonderful place for a delicious, low-key snack and drink.


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