Wander: Southern Charm -Girl's Trip to Charleston and Savannah
When two moms find themselves without their children for a couple of weeks, thanks to this great invention called sleep-away camp, why not go on a road trip through low country.
We are both overachievers when it comes to our wanderlust. So we headed south to Travel and Leisure's favorite cities: Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Four days, that's all you need, but you'll be wanting to come back for more.
Charleston, South Carolina - I can see now why Charleston came in at #1 on Travel and Leisure's annual Top 15 Cities in the U.S. List. There is charm oozing from every cobblestone. Charleston is a walking town, so bring comfortable shoes, because your Fitbit will be logging plenty of steps.
We we stayed: Grand Bohemian Hotel on Wentworth. The hotel is ranked in the middle of the pack on TripAdvisor, but if you have Marriott points, like my friend does, it's a great place to lay your head. The rooms are spacious, the bathroom has plenty of space for two women with a lot of beauty supplies and most importantly, it's located in the historic district with most everything just a walk away.
Where we ate:
Breakfast: Callie's Hot Little Biscuit. You can't give up carbs in the south, and you might as well start big with hot, flaky biscuits.
Lunch: S.N.O.B - Slightly North of Broad (192 East Bay Street) According to their website, S.N.O.B is an eclectic low country bistro. The decor is definitely eclectic. You'll find a mix of tourist and business people here, enjoying Southern style dishes. I had the Southern Melody, a yummy mix of grilled chicken, eggplant, zucchini, pesto and goat cheese. Bay Street is also the perfect street to do some post-lunch walking and shopping.
Dinner: If you have only one meal in Charleston, make it at Husk. Yes, it lives up to the hype. That is all.
Where we shopped: One of our favorite things to do on vacation is to check out the local shops. After our S.N.O.B lunch, we walked south on Bay Street. There are several cute place to pop in on your way to Rainbow Row. Don't miss Maris DeHart where you'll find nicely curated clothing, along with jewelry, accessories and art made by local artisans.
Where we touristed: It seemed we walked everywhere in the French Quarter, here's a couple of places not to miss:
Rainbow Row. You cannot leave Charleston without visiting this iconic (and Instagram-worthy) row of 13 candy-colored historic houses along East Bay Street.
Calhoun Mansion - There are several house tours to choose and we opted to visit the Calhoun Mansion, a Victorian built in 1876. The house was built for the Williams family and changed hands several times. It seemed the Williams, and later the Calhouns didn't fare to well. But thanks to a new owner, the house has been upgraded and open to the public. We tried to pry the new owner's name out of our tour guide, but he was good at keeping secrets. The house is also still a private residence and the current anonymous owner still stays here when he's in town and, according to the tour guide, entertains guests as well. I just don't know where they have the room to entertain, because the house is packed from floor to ceiling with antiques and other collectibles from all over the world. The new owner is a big collector of a lot of things! You're not allowed to take pictures inside, so you'll just have to see for yourself.
Day 3 -Charleston, Beaufort, Savannah
After our tour of the Calhoun Mansion, we checked out and drove to Savannah, which is only a couple of hours away. We decided to stop for lunch in Beaufort, South Carolina. When it comes to this part of the United States, you will find yourself using the word charming a lot. Beaufort is a -- ahem -- charming coastal town where time seems to have stood still. We walked around the water front park and the historic district, then had coffee and pie at Common Ground. Pie just seem like the dessert to eat when you are in low country.
Then we headed to Savannah just in time for dinner!
Add Savannah to your places-to-visit list now! Not only is it a city dripping with Spanish moss, but this Southern city, named one of the most romantic in the world is dripping with art, culture and American history. There is also a lively restaurant and nightlife scene.
Where we stayed: The Savannah Marriott Riverfront - The hotel is right on the riverfront and you can't beat this location. We walked to everything. Mind you, my BFF and I like to walk. The rooms are spacious for two people, but here we had a King Size bed. Thank goodness we like each other and don't move much when we sleep. The riverfront area was a little too touristy for our taste, but the hotel has a great deck and perfect spot for a night cap.
Where we ate:
Dinner - On our first night, we took a 20-minute drive to The Wyld Dock Bar. loved this restaurant. While sipping cocktails and noshing on yummy appetizers, you'll be treated to views of wild birds and low-country marshes.
Our last dinner was on the south side of Forsyth Park at a trendy spot called Local 11 Ten Food and Wine. The restaurant is inside a restored Old Savannah Bank Building. We hear it's also great spot to grab a drink at their rooftop perch, but seriously, we were so tired from all the walking, we ended up leaving right after our meal.
Breakfast - Walk up Bull Street and no bull, you'll find an awesome place for breakfast/brunch at the The Collins Quarter. I liked that their website has a picture of the New York Times. So, this cafe is apparently a famous Australian cafe, and The Collins Quarter is their only U.S. location. The food is delish! We still think about this place. Don't miss the Lavender Mocha Latte. Sounds strange, but it is very yummy! We shared it after having our real coffee.
Where we shopped: There are trendy boutiques up and down Bull Street, so as we meandered past Savannah's famous squares, we stopped at several stores, including my favorite, ShopSCAD, a gallery-boutique featuring the work of students and alums of the famous Savannah School of Art and Design. And don't miss this sweet place - a chocolate shop called Chocolat by Adam Turoni (there is a 2nd location on Broughton). It's like a library for chocolates! The chocolates are on shelves, just like books and you pick and choose your favorites. I loved the honey-infused chocolate!
Broughton Street is another fun place for shopping. You'll find your mix of chains and local shops. My favorite was The Paris Market. After shopping, you can also grab a pastry and coffee at their cafe. Afterwards bee sure to pop into Savannah Bee Company to sample local honey.
Where we touristed: Savannah's Historic District. I highly recommend walking South from Bay Street along Bull Street, where you will find some of the city's most fabled architecture and most-famous squares, including the one featured in Forrest Gump, Chippewa Square. Keep heading south and you'll find yourself in at Forsyth Park and its majestic oak trees, Spanish moss and its much-photographed fountain. But be warned. We went in late July and the mosquitos were biting! Bring bug spray!
I highly recommend a house tour and if you have time a ghost tour! We visited the Davenport House and Museum, an 1820 Federal-style home built by Isaiah Davenport, an artist and former slave owner.
There is so much more to see and experience in Savannah, we ran out of time. I did wish I had one more day or two.