Last March my husband, Nick, and I celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary. Every year we travel someplace fun. With our recent move and home purchase, we thought it best to find a place close to Charlotte. We chose Charleston, South Carolina. It is a quick four-hour road trip from the Queen City.
Charleston Day 1
We arrived at our hotel in the heart of the city ready to see and do everything Charleston had to offer. King Charles Inn was the perfect location for walking to all the tourist spots and best restaurants. The staff welcomed us with an anniversary card, champagne and chocolates. With half the day left to sight see and eat, we chose to browse King Street, walk Historic Charleston City Market and have dinner at Sticky Fingers Ribhouse. They had an entire gluten free menu but my favorite item was the sticky potato skins! It was early to bed afterward as we planned a sunrise photo shoot the next morning with Charleston Photography Tours.
Charleston Day 2
Charleston Photography Tours picked us up and brought us to Folly Beach to photograph the sunrise. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky; however, I was still able to capture beautiful colors reflected in the calm sea water. Our second location for the tour was Edisto Island where we photographed the Spanish moss hanging from the tree-lined the streets.
We returned to the city around 1:00 PM and headed to lunch immediately. There was a Mellow Mushroom on King Street just a couple minutes walk from the hotel. We scarfed down the Kosmic Karma pizza and headed toward Waterfront Park. A cruise ship had just arrived and the street corners were packed with people. We decided to go the opposite direction of the crowds and hit up the Battery (White Point Garden). As dinner approached, I felt the need to indulge my sweet tooth and have dessert for dinner. I had heard Kaminsky’s had gluten free goodies. The dessert cafe was packed with tourists but we happened to get the last, quiet table in the back. Unfortunately, the only gluten free options were a flourless chocolate cake and milkshakes. The cake was good, but I think I’d save my calories for a different restaurant.
Charleston Day 3
As we had covered so much ground on day 2, we thought we deserved a spontaneous, low-key day. We opened Kitchen 208 at 7:00 AM and had the outdoor patio seating all to ourselves. I could have had breakfast and finished my day satisfied. I ordered the Cobblestone Sandwich with gluten free bread, a side of fresh fruit and coffee.
After we finished reveling in the greatness that was our breakfast, we walked to Rainbow Row. I wanted to capture the thirteen houses with the warm morning sunrise enriching their pastel colors. Along the way, we stopped for a snack and pit stop at Bakehouse Charleston. They are a cute coffee shop on East Bay Street that offers gluten free snacks, smoothies and coffee. We purchased a homemade protein bar and wandered along the street until reaching Rainbow Row.
We continued our stroll to the Battery and stopped to enjoy the warmth of the spring sunshine as we took in the beautiful homes. Since we started the day so early, the streets were quiet and void of other tourists. We took advantage of this and found ourselves wandering along back alleys and streets. The backyards of Charleston homes may be small, but every square inch is a landscaped oasis.
Around lunch time we found ourselves at the Four Corners. Each corner of the street has a building representing different legal jurisdictions: St. Michael’s Episcopal Church (God’s law), Charleston City Hall (city law), the Charleston County Courthouse (state law) and the Federal Courthouse (federal laws). We followed Broad Street East as we heard there was an amazing sandwich shop, Brown Dog Deli, one block away. They will make any sandwich you want gluten free. I had the classic Philly and Nick had Turkey in the Straw. Be sure to plan extra time as more than likely there will be a wait to “eat in”. We sat outside in the covered backyard.
We spent the afternoon shopping on King Street and mead tasting at the Savannah Bee Company. To finish our day or touristy-goodness, we rode a horse drawn carriage around the city. I highly recommend Old South Carriage Company. Our tour guide was personable and full of fun facts about the area. We felt fortunate to have walked most of the streets the tour brought us down. It helped us understand where we had been.
We finished the day watching the sunset at Waterfront Park and dinner at Minero Restaurant. Just as I had read, they were quite knowledable when it came to gluten free options. Our favorite menu item was our appetizer of guacomole and warm corn chips.
As you can see, three days in Charleston is plenty of time to experience a majority of the tourist sights. We still have a few more things to see on our list. However, the next time we visit, we’ll be spending most of our time eating. Charleston is one of the first cities I’ve visited where I never had to worry about where I would be able to eat next. That very fact makes it a perfect vacation spot.