Today I’m sharing about my recent solo weekend in one of my favorite southern cities, Charleston, SC.
I was only in Charleston for two days but managed to sneak in quite a bit –mostly eating of course, and a ton of walking. I flew in to the airport (CHS) on Southwest on Thursday night about 9 and grabbed an Uber to my Airbnb. I stayed here because I wanted to be somewhere walkable. The place I stayed was nothing special or fancy, but really convenient and the host was welcoming and kind. It well suited my needs and I’ve actually never stayed in the city before (it’s typically cheaper to stay on James Island or in Mt. Pleasant, we’ve even camped).
Friday morning allowed time for a good breakfast so I made my way over to The Daily, one of my absolute favorite places in the city. It’s the quick and casual sibling of the Butcher & Bee, which is completely fabulous as well if you have time for a full sit-down meal experience. At the Daily you order at a counter when walking in and then grab a seat at a high top table or one of the bar areas. They offer a breakfast and lunch menu to order off of, a bunch of grab-and-go prepared foods (get the whipped feta, it’s divine), a large bakery selection, and a full drink menu. I sat by the window and watched the rain while I enjoyed maple roll with my cup of coffee and waited for my breakfast pita. The pita was a no-brainer because I’ve had their warm, fluffy, and slightly charred pita before. This one was stuffed with perfectly scrambled eggs, Isreali salad, and tahini. I actually stopped back in to The Daily before heading to the airport for my flight home on Saturday and enjoyed a house-made chai latte. I grabbed a faro salad to take to the airport with me for dinner later.
Friday was a super long day, so I was ready to treat myself by the time evening rolled around. My first stop was The Darling Oyster Bar. I had been with my sister and bestie last spring and was completely enamored with the gorgeous space, fabulous oysters, and delicious Palomas on tap. I headed in for happy hour and sat at the oyster bar watching the very efficient oyster shucking that was going on. I arrived about 5:30 and by 6 the place was packed! I sipped on my Paloma and enjoyed some $1 house oysters. Such a treat!
I decided to move on after The Darling to try something new for dinner and headed to Basic Kitchen, a bit further south on a street off of King. Basic Kitchen has only been open for a couple of months. The space is cozy and inviting, small but not tiny, and was busy on Friday evening even for an unusually cold February day. I sat at the bar and ordered the buffalo cauliflower to start, it sounded too good to pass up. The portion size was large for an appetizer and way too much for one person. It was good but not amazing, I found the florets to be a bit too large and I would have liked more buffalo sauce. For my entrée, I chose the beet spaetzle, and was told the chef had been making the dish for years. It was outstanding, one of the most perfect dishes I’ve ever had. The portion was on the smaller side, but perfect considering I had also ordered an app. The spaetzle was light and flavorful, accented with perfectly roasted beets and a horseradish cream sauce. I would go back to Basic Kitchen for that dish again and again. By this point in the night I was tired and pretty full but my sweet tooth prevailed (I had also walked about 7 miles already) so I swung by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream on N. King Street on my way back to the Airbnb. Jeni’s offers really unique flavors and their waffle cones are made fresh in house so they always leave that sweet smell in the air of the shop. I went with a coconut-milk based vegan chocolate truffle.
After about 12 hours of sleep (Friday was a long day!), I got going and headed out for another day of walking and eating. I started my journey at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, another Charleston staple and personal favorite. I have been missing southern food since moving to Cleveland! I love that Callie’s is open in the morning and for lunch, and that they re-open at 10 pm on the weekends for your late-night biscuit eating pleasure. The shop is super tiny but always worth the wait. I opted for the sausage, egg and pimento biscuit with a fried egg and fiery (spicy) pimento cheese. This was not a hard choice because, pimento cheese is a dream. It was everything I wanted and missed since moving north.
I wandered south down King street, popping in to some of the shops that were already open to do some browsing. I eventually made my way to Black Tap Coffee for an almond milk lavender latte and a break for my feet. Black Tap is another great space and was packed with people working or socializing. My latte was perfect, not too sweet, and exactly what I needed. From there I walked on, all the way to the south end of the peninsula to Battery Park on the River. I enjoyed some time taking in the sights of the Ashley River on the cold but sunny afternoon.
Next, I toured the Calhoun Mansion which is just north of the park. It was $17 to tour but well worth the cost as it was something I had hoped to do for a while. The Mansion itself was incredible to see, with a rich and unique history. The current owner has an insane collection of antiques that fill every inch of the house, it’s really something special to see. At this point in the day, I had already walked several miles but Charleston has so much to see and do. I took my time walking up East Bay Street and stopping along the colorful houses of Rainbow Row and the fountains of Waterfront Park. Despite the cold, there were many sailboats out on the water. When it was time for lunch I headed to Magnolia’s, a famous spot for southern food that I had never been to. I grabbed a table at the bar and ordered the fried green tomato BLT which included more pimento cheese. Collard greens were definitely the right choice for my side!
I wandered through the Historic Charleston City Market to get back to King Street, stopping at the other Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit location to grab some biscuit mix for my neighbors who were nice enough to watch Paisley while I was away, then headed on up King Street, browsing in more shops. I stopped into Candlefish after reading about it on a blog. It’s such a cool shop where you can meet with a candle expert and tell them what types of scents you like and they help guide you to smell different varieties and choose which you like without knowing the names or ingredients. They’ve made all sorts of candles, including for major companies such as Uber – yes there is an Uber candle (it’s not called that) and it smells amazing! I picked up two to take home. They also offer classes to make your own candles. I saw one going on, it looked really fun.
My final stop of the day before I had to head home was Sugar Bakeshop, another spot that had been on my to-try list for years. I made it a little before they closed and grabbed an almond cupcake that I ate it the courtyard. Almost 9 miles of walking later I was exhausted and ready to head home. Charleston has so much offer and I am glad for any excuse to get down there!
Solo-Trip Spots at a Glance: