Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oh Sweet Charleston

I'll post pictures later this week, but I just had to share... B & I had the best time in Charleston this weekend. We took off on Friday afternoon and made the long drive down I-95 almost all the way to Hilton Head (deja vu, anyone? clubbed baby seals?), stopping about an hour short in the fabulous, delicious city of Charleston.

My sister's in-laws had given us a super fun wedding present: a gift certificate for two nights at any inn on Select Registry. They're everywhere! Wine country, Maine, rural Georgia... We decided that a fun way to use it would be to celebrate a birthday weekend in Charleston, exploring, dining, and just enjoying our first "just us" married weekend getaway.

Neither of us had ever stayed at an inn, and we really had no idea what to expect. Stuffy? Quiet? Old? But we figured, if there's a city best for bed and breakfasts, it had to be Charleston, so B picked The Governor's House Inn and, I have to tell you, it was amazing.

We arrived at the inn in time for "afternoon tea" (Read: a gracious spread of wine, cheeses, cake, and candies on the formal dining room table). We pulled up into the tucked-away circular cobblestone driveway and kissed our car goodbye for the weekend.

The hosts/innkeepers were just fantastic; they made us feel so welcome and at-home at this transformed southern mansion, which boasted something like 11 rooms and suites. Our room was the only one on the first floor and had everything we could've hoped for.

We settled in quickly and enjoyed a glass of wine on the back porch before going for a quick stroll up King Street, by the market, through Waterfront Park, and back to our inn, to get ready for dinner... after we enjoyed "evening sherry," of course.

After sherry and a little dolling up, we headed to Magnolias, on the recommendation of B's parents, who based the rehearsal dinner menu (down to the pimiento cheese-stuffed steak) on the offerings there. We stuffed ourselves silly. Scallops and fried green tomatoes to start; steak and Parmesan-crusted flounder for the main, and a cream cheese brownie sundae for dessert (complete with birthday candle!). They seated us right in the front window, where we could people-watch while we dined and watch the sun go down through the skyline of Charleston's lower streets. Amazing.

We took a long walk out onto the pier and enjoyed the night, garnering a few suggestions of restaurants from the locals, before heading up to the rooftop of the Vendue Inn, where we found a twinkly fairyland of lights, drinks, and comfy bench seating with a view of Ashley River. Loved it!

We made our way back home and crashed. B got up early the next morning and did a scouting run of the city to see what we needed to explore later that day. I met him on the back porch for a breakfast (arguably the best part of any B&B!) under the fans. We dug into sausage-cornbread breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, and fresh-squeezed orange juice before saddling up and walking our tales through the residential area "below" us and down to the Battery. From there, we curled around to Waterfront Park, then explored the market before heading to the huge Farmer's Market, where we bought a pretty glass Christmas ornament to go in our slowly growing collection (1 from honeymoon, and now 1 from Charleston!).

We took a break around 1 to grab a delicious lunch at... Wild Wings! I kid you not. B loves this place and we never get to go, plus it was a great excuse to get off our feet and enjoy a little college football during the heat of the day. After the wings, we headed down Market Street to The Exchange and Provost, where we toured the dungeons, then over to the Powder Magazine (which I assumed was the first American women's publication... wrong!), then on to the "pink house" (a tavern turned pirate whorehouse turned watercolor art museum), then the former slave market.... Need I go on?

About then, I cried "uncle" and we headed home to regroup for a few minutes before dinner at High Cotton. And by "regroup," I of course mean "enjoy wine and cheese on the back porch." Of course! We walked to High Cotton, where we ate a little less, thankfully, then to Baked, a delicious chocolate-induced pastry place (I totally bought the cookbook), then on to the docks for 30-or-so minutes of swinging in these enormous porch-type swings. We had to stock up on calories before our 90 minute.... Ghost Tour. Muwahahaha...

The ghost tour was great, and reminded me of our fun night in Roswell hearing stories of the township. We skipped the "dark side of Charleston" (prostitution, corruption, etc) in favor of a more historical representation of the town... and the people who still "exist" there.

This morning, we got up and off B went on his run while I got ready to leave. We enjoyed another breakfast on the porch (quiche, anyone?) then took a long walk in another residential area and back down Market Street before taking in one last glass of peach iced tea and heading for lunch at Hominy Grill.

Oh, Hominy Grill! It won "hands-down favorite" by the New York Times and we heard it was wonderful and, shocker, it was. :) I had the lamb, but B won hands-down with the "big nasty biscuit," a homemade biscuit topped with fried chicken and sausage gravy. Sweet Mother of Breakfast! Soo good.

We headed out after that, driving up the coast on highway 17 into North Carolina and on into Topsail, where we're going to stay for a few days while I get work done and B knocks out some law school assignments. Tonight we took a long walk on the beach at sunset before settling in for more football, an easy Italian dinner, and some serious couch time (love you, honey!).

Moral of the story? Get thee to Charleston! We can't wait to go back and, hopefully, eat less.

Highlights: the tour guide at the Exchange and Provost (were those jokes? can you really compare the British tea tax with the GM bailout?); driving through Myrtle Beach (uuuuuugh); pulling into the manicured backyard of the inn and squealing; explaining to B what a flat whisk is in a cooking store; our crazy inn "neighbors" that we saw everywhere (and B noticed they wore the same clothes the whole weekend); the gorgeous architecture.

B's Highlights: (censored); the Ghost Tour; swinging on the pier swing; fantastic dinner (both); Baked; awesome, amazing porch at the inn; walking along the battery; "fun stuff like that"

No comments: