A Girlfriend’s Guide to Charleston

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Here’s a simple guide for going to Charleston with three people you love and admire deeply– your bestest girlfriends, the ones you may not see for years but when you do it’s like you’ve never parted.

Tip #1:  Begin your journey with a road trip.  Even if you are supposed to fly straight to Charleston, try to conjure up some bad weather to delay your flights so you miss them and end up in Charlotte.  That way you can all drive together for three hours.  Starbucks is a must, silence is unheard of, and it’s the best three hours you’ve had in a long, long time.  Also, order great weather for the days you are there.  {look at Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s chance of rain… we hit the weather jackpot…}

Tip #2:  Whatever you do, DO NOT dance down East Bay Street to the tune of “Baby Got Back” playing on your friend’s iPhone.  It’s been done before.  But there is no photographic evidence so I’m pleading the fifth.  Hey, sometimes it pays to be the one behind the camera, not in front of it.  😉

{no photograph to show, BOOYAH!}

Tip #3:  Splurge on the hotel.  You’re all splitting costs, so it’s not like both you and your spouse are paying.  In previous trips I’ve stayed over the bridge where the prices are much cheaper… but it costs you in convenience.  Not this time.  Stay, I don’t know, perhaps at the beautiful Vendue Inn right in the heart of it all.

And if they happen to have bikes, take millions of photos of them even if you don’t take advantage of the complimentary ride.

 

 

Or the complimentary sherry.  Unfortunately we aren’t sherry drinkers.

Tip #4:  Make sure one of the husbands is savvy enough to have a bottle of champagne sent to your room {Ahem, it wasn’t my husband, but that’s okay.  He gets about a million bonus points for watching the kids all weekend.}

Tip #5: Sleep in.  Even if that means until 8AM for these tired mamas!  Can you believe that between the four of us there are 12 children?!?

Tip #6: View favorite landmarks from previous visits, especially if they involved an engagement ring for two of you.  Like the Pineapple fountain.

And get chased out of the courtyard at The Planter’s Inn.  {Dude, she got engaged here!  Let the maniac with the camera take a photo!}  Bonus points if you get asked if you are from the cruise ship, and double them if one of you replies, “do we look like we just got off a cruise ship?”  Note: bolt out of there before he can answer.  The one with the camera probably does look like she just got off a cruise ship.

Tip #7: Skip the line for the rooftop at the Vendueby flashing your room key.  (oh yes we did!)  Drink SweetTeanis, made with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.  Like Sweet Tea could get any better.  😉

While there try to covertly take a photo of the group of college guys all wearing blue shirts.  I don’t think it was on purpose.  I can count 7 in this photo alone.

While there, finally reveal to everyone that you have a blog, since you’ve actually only told a handful of people about it.  Immediately know it was the right choice to tell them because of the support they show.  Then look it up on B’s iPad right then and there!

Tip #8: Go shopping on King Street.  Go into the boutiques and try things on without looking at the price tags.  Finally find a shirt you like, realize it has no tag, ask the sales staff, have them look it up, and listen as they tell you this Old Navy look-alike is $329.  Maintain composure until you get out the door, then giggle non-stop about it.

Try on Kate Spade shoes.  {If you find the pair of heels with the organza bow that I still dream about and are feeling charitable I’ll take one in my size, please}.  Have your BFF tell you about Sanuks, the flip flops made from yoga mats.  Make sure all four of you have a pair, in giraffe, by the end of the trip.

Thank goodness Noodle is not yet into American dolls, or this entire table of shoes would have come home with us.

Tip #9: Then go shopping at The Charleston Market, also known as The Slave Market.  You’ll find something for everyone on your souvenir list.  Of course they have the quintessential Charleston symbol, seagrass baskets:

And shadow boxes with the most stunning butterflies I’ve ever seen.  Better yet, none of these butterflies were harmed in the making of these boxes.

Tip #10: Eat.  A lot.  Calories don’t count if you are laughing while eating.  It’s even more fun to order and share your dishes tapas style, putting them all in the middle of the table and tasting each one.  A few places to consider:

  • Blossom for lunch.  The courtyard gives a peek into what’s to come, and the Wild Berry Sangria is a great way to start the trip.
  • Cypress for dinner and drinks.  You’ve already heard about the lavender martini, it’s a must.  Twenty points for each one you drink.  Our salads had bacon jam on them.  In fact, everything in Charleston had bacon on it.  I’m not opposed to bacon but it’s not typically something I crave.  UNTIL NOW.  I NEED MORE BACON JAM!

 

  • Lunch at 82 Queen.  Sit in the courtyard if you can.  Regardless of where you sit, order the BBQ Shrimp and Grits (even if neither BBQ, shrimp, or grits is your thing).

 

  • Dinner at Fig.  Which we did not do because we could not get reservations.  On that note, get reservations early and tell me how it was!
  • Dinner at Carolinas since Fig was unattainable.  Settle into a cushy booth (I am getting old, it felt amazing to sit down and sink into those cushions) and continue your exploration of Sweet Tea Vodka.  As for the food, two words: Parmesan Truffle Fries.  Okay, that was three words.  Ooops.

Tip #11:  Peek at all the secret gardens, while trying to look as if you are certainly not peeking at all the secret gardens.

 

 

 

Tip #12:  Visit the cemetery at the Unitarian church (entrance on King Street).  It’s such a unique and beautiful place.  If I were to write a book, one of the settings would have to been here.  Walk amongst the Spanish Moss draped trees and view the gravestones that go back to the 1700s.

 

 

 

We found a particularly beautiful message on one, but now I can’t seem to read the words in the photo.

Tip #13:  Eat something that will totally blow your diet out of the water.  Like, a praline for example.

Tip #14: Spend the last morning over a long breakfast savoring your coffee, oatmeal, and companionship.  Give lots of hugs at the airport.  Send a flurry of texts to assure each other you made it home safely.  Finally, when you walk in the door and hear your daughter say, “MAMAAAAAA!”, realize a trip like this helps you appreciate your life, family, and friendships even more.  It recharges your tired batteries and is like a makeover for the part of you forgotten once the kids started arriving.

Tip #15: Immediately start planning future trips.  Where next, ladies?

What’s your favorite place to get away with friends?  Any Charleston favorites that we hit (or missed?)  Any girlfriend getaways on the horizon?  Are you surprised I still haven’t told most friends about this blog?  And, how amazing is Charleston?  A photographer’s paradise, indeed.
Have you gone somewhere particularly camera friendly?

Please share about any and all of the above!
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11 Comments

  1. Looks like a blast!! I went to C of C and living in Charleston were some of the best years of my life! You guys hit up the best spots! : )

    PS. The blue shirt picture cracked me up- there are TONS of fratty, preppy boys like that in Chucktown!

  2. I loooooove Charleston!! Your pictures were fantastic and it looks like you had a blast!

  3. How fabulous!!! And I love that you took such great pictures!! I’m from Georgia originally, love the southern hospitality of the south (miss it here in Massachusetts), and love my girlfriends too!!! It’s been so long since we got away to do anything. It was one of my girlfriend’s wedding. We had a girl weekend/bridal shower. We had a lingerie party, drank homemade margaritas in the biggest martini glasses you ever seen, slept all together in the same room…some on the floor (forgot how hard a floor could be!!), stayed up waaaay too late giggling and telling stories, got up the next morning for a sunrise breakfast…wherein we proceedd to sit all hip to hip on the same side of a booth so we could eat and cry and hold hands. It was the best ever!! 🙂

  4. Wow Carrie! What a great trip. I’m so jealous and happy for you at the same time…lol. I feel like I was there with you!

  5. I haven’t been to Charleston, but it’s on my list! Love the photos of the market. It looks like the perfect spot for a girlfriends’ getaway! Visiting from Kate’s Vacation Destination party. Hope you’ll stop by my blog to say hi. 🙂

  6. I absolutely love this blog entry! I smiled and laughed through the whole thing. So, of course, I had to read it all again!! What a fabulous trip!!! Ready to go again now!!!

  7. So glad everyone was able to come along with us! It was indeed a fabulous trip, perfect in any way. Like I said, there are 12 kids among the 4 of us, so “perfect trips” are rare indeed. N, I’ll hop on a plane and meet you there tomorrow! {I wish…}

  8. Such a great post… looks like ya’ll had a blast! Brings back memories of my trip to Charleston with the husband… your photos make me want to plan another trip :)))

  9. What can I say…I feel like we just did the whole wonderful trip again!! I love this blog and LOVE you girls even more!

  10. Looks like you had a great time. Your photos of the iron gates, secret gardens and Spanish moss make me want to move back there…no wait I hate the humidity. Next time check out Savannah and Paula Deen. Oh my!

  11. So funny I googled “Lavender Martini” and found your recipe, and this post about “my city”. I will have to get to Cypress soon to try the original!

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