charleston1When I turned thirty, two years ago, I realized I was able to accomplish my dream of traveling the world.  I hit so many places on my bucket list but I realized that I rarely traveled to US cities.  In particular, cities in the South. With friends and family scattered all across the US, I thought it was a great excuse to start discovering these cities and spend time with friends and family.  Killing two birds with one stone.  This year, I wanted to go to Charleston because I heard there is a huge food scene, the architecture is gorgeous, and my cousin lives there with his family.

I’ve only been to two other Southern cities before New Orleans and Austin.  What I loved about my experiences there were the Southern hospitality and the ease of everything.  The easy going pace of life is something that you won’t find much in New York.  Charleston is very much the same way.  Everyone including the man sitting next to me on the flight, our taxi driver, to the random man on the street chimed in on what I should do and wanted me to love their city just as much as they do.

When you walk through downtown Charleston, it looks like a movie set with streets lined with palm trees, bright pastel colored houses, and the perfectly manicured grounds.  It’s also an immaculately clean city for being so old and super quiet for being a major city.  I couldn’t believe how serene the city was.  My sister and I spent hours getting lost in the streets winding our way through looking at gorgeous homes which the majority of them had plaques saying that something major happened there.  I won’t go into the details here but A LOT of stuff happened there.

Let’s now talk about the food.  On any given weekend in the city, my go-to brunch places always have some kind of Southern flare.  I love eating eggs, grits and cheese, and biscuits.  Much to my delight, at most breakfast places in Charleston, grits and biscuits are staples.  My absolute favorite places for brunch were Hominy Grill and Poogan’s Porch for both the food and ambiance.  Dinner was more on the farm-to-table side.  We had an amazing 4 course meal at McCrady’s which for Charleston is on the fancier side.  I loved everything about Husk.  I loved walking into the big house and walking upstairs to our table.  I loved the food and that you knew where each and every ingredient was from, and I loved the ambiance of the place.  I have to admit, after 3 days of eating Southern food, I needed to eat Asian food.  When you walk up upper King Street, new and inventive restaurants are popping up everywhere.  We went to Xiao Bao Biscuit which is located in an old gas station.  The best way to describe the food is Asian fusion which sounds so cliché.  It was really good and a nice change from eating biscuits everyday.

If someone was to ask me what is the one thing you have to do when you’re in Charleston, it would be to see the Avenue of Oaks at Boone Hall Plantation.  Boone Hall is where Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds got married and is featured in the movie The Notebook.   We don’t have oak trees like that in the North East.  These trees are hundreds of years old and are magnificent to see in person.  My sister and I spent 3 hours at Boone Hall taking a tour of the house and grounds.  We learned a lot about what life was like on a plantation hundreds of years ago.  Even though the plantation is beautiful, there was a history of slavery there that you can’t ignore and that they do mention.  Boone Hall is still a working plantation today offering locals farm fresh produce.  Walking down the Avenue of Oaks takes your breath away and it’s a must do when you’re in Charleston.

Charleston was probably one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to.  It has everything you want in a great weekend, great food, beautiful sites and friendly locals.

charleston2{Charleston’s many colorful streets}

charleston3 {Hominy Grill}

charleston4 {Southern breakfast at Hominy Grill}

charleston5 {Bermuda-style colored houses}

charleston6 {Picturesque home}

charleston7 {Fort Sumter-Site of the start of the American civil war}

charleston8 {Husk restaurant}

charleston9 {Duck at Husk}

charleston10{Olive oil macaron at Christophe’s chocolatier}

charleston11{Charleston’s cobblestone streets}

charleston12 {Shrimp and grits at Poogan’s Porch}

charleston13 {Chicken and waffles at Poogan’s Porch}

charleston13 {Avenue of Oaks at Boone Hall Plantation}