Tuesday, May 26, 2015

36 Hours in Charleston

There’s nothing like a little Southern charm to combat a dreary East Coast winter (#snowpocalypse), which explains my impromptu weekend jaunt to Charleston, South Carolina this January.  Influenced by the New York Times’ “36 Hours” column, I bring to you the first post in a new series titled Otis Unfiltered in... about my favorite travel destinations and how best to spend your time.

Thankful for my fellow foodie

Stay: 
Kings Courtyard Inn- Expect a charming historic hotel with welcoming staff, complimentary wine and cheese hour and continental breakfast.

Eat:  
Husk- Reservations are tough to come by, so plan in advance.  Expect locally sourced Southern food from the James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock.  You can’t go wrong with anything here, but make sure you order the pig’s ear lettuce wraps and go for an aperitif at their charming bar next door. 

Poogan’s Porch- You can’t leave Charleston without a traditional Southern meal, and that’s what you’ll get at Poogan’s Porch.  Located in the heart of the historic district in a repurposed home, Poogan’s serves up the classics: fried alligator, she crab soup and fried green tomatoes in an elegant dining room.  Note: elastic pants advised. 

The Ordinary- Cue happiness on the half shell.  This former bank turned elegant oyster hall is a must stop for any seafood lovers.  Menu highlights include oyster sliders on homemade Hawaiian rolls (seriously amazing), blue crab toast, and anything and everything from the raw bar. Afterward, swing over to the many bars on Upper King St. 

Bull Street Gourmet & Market- I have the Eyebrarian owner to thank for this introduction.  In his words, it’s “our [Charleston’s] version of Dean & Deluca,” a specialty New York City grocer.  You can expect artisanal chocolates, a fine wine selection and a cafe with made to order sandwiches and salads.

Drink:  
Prohibition- Come early for the live band, stay late for a collegiate-worthy night out.  Prohibition truly evokes the Roaring 20’s with a live jazz band, craft cocktails served in Mason jars and a dark, wood-heavy interior.  After a few drinks, we ventured to the patio outside -perfect to enjoy the warm weather- and ventured back in around 12am to find the tables cleared out, top-40s hits blaring and seemingly the entirety of College of Charleston.  No complaints.  

Do:  
Carriage Tour (Classic Carriage Works)- I’m sure we were to Charleston what the New York City bus tour riders are to me: tourists.  But honestly, the carriage tours were a great way to get acclimated to the historic district and learn about the history and nuances of the city.   

Ft. Sumter- For the historians, Fort Sumter is a short drive (or Uber!)  from the historic district where you can see where the first where the American Civil War began.  

Check local newspapers for events- After booking the trip, I began to do research about events in the town.  Our trip coincided with the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the largest of its kind in the United States, and the First Annual Charleston Jazz Festival.  Make sure you don’t miss any must do’s!

Shop on King’s Street- Lined with local boutiques like Eyebrarian and mass retailers alike, King’s Street is the shopping destination in Charleston.  Start at the bottom and work your way to the top where you can stop for a drink on Upper King.


Not pictured: the bucket of oysters we just inhaled or the man who kept reminding us they're aphrodisiacs.
Private carriage tour

Trying on new frames at the Eyebrarian



The beautiful bar at the Ordinary.
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