Girls’ Getaway to Charleston

Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC - photo courtesy of ExploreCharleston.com

Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC – photo courtesy of ExploreCharleston.com

I love any excuse to go to Charleston, especially for a girls’ getaway with an itinerary of wine, food and shopping. On a gorgeous fall day in November, four of us hit the road for an overnight trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday in “the holy city”. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in the historic district, an easy walk to shopping and restaurants. First we stopped at Virginia’s on King for lunch, a local/tourist favorite serving Southern specialties from shrimp and grits to a Fried Green Tomato BLT.

Virginia on Kings

Virginia’s on King

We lost track of time while shopping on the streets of Charleston, where you enter even chain stores like The Gap through historic store fronts. We cruised the famed City Market over four blocks, picking up trinkets for the kids and browsing South Carolina made items from cookbooks to handbags (my favorite find was the Spartina 449 handbag line).

Ready for cocktails, we took two bike taxis to the Market Pavilion hotel as the sun began to set. Our drivers/riders sped us through the cobblestone streets past brightly hued homes, the perfect way to experience Charleston’s historic beauty in the waning light.

Chalmers Street in Charleston, SC  - photo courtesy of ExploreCharleston.com

Chalmers Street in Charleston, SC – photo courtesy of ExploreCharleston.com

We raised a birthday toast on the swanky rooftop bar on the Market Pavilion hotel, a popular spot for drinks and people watching with a sweeping view of the Charleston skyline and Cooper River Bridge.

Rooftop bar at Market Pavilion hotel

Rooftop bar at Market Pavilion hotel

The bike taxis returned to whisk us to dinner at Muse, a restaurant and wine bar set in a charming house on Society Street. Before our table was ready on the heated porch, we chatted with friendly patrons in the bar (Muse offers 100 wines by the glass). Inspired by Mediterranean cultures, the menu features local ingredients (i.e. shrimp) and unique flavors such as mint, fennel and fig. We shared the tangy and light Tuna Crudo appetizer – ahi tuna blended with tomato, cucumber, picked fennel and drizzled with a tomato ginger vinaigrette. I loved my entrée of scallops served with hazelnut cream puree, sautéed kale and fingerling potato hash (I subbed the hash for farro – a grain with Italian roots).

We ended the night with a drink at Stars Restaurant on King Street, the only rooftop bar in Charleston with 360 views of the city according to their web site.

After trips to Mt. Pleasant and Isle of Palms outside Charleston this year, I loved rediscovering the enchanting beauty of historic Charleston. The city embraces its past while inviting visitors to experience world-class dining and shopping. We savored our 24 hour taste of the low country, and planned to make this girls’ getaway an annual trip.

Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, SC (from a chilly spring trip)

Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, SC (from a chilly spring trip)

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