After our time in Atlanta, we headed out Monday morning for our next stop: Charleston! We were really looking forward to this part of Spring Break. It was the first time we stayed there since our honeymoon back in 2000. We had lots to see and do, and EAT while we were there. Our first eating establishmnet came before we even checked into our hotel. Upon the recommendation of a co-worker who lives in Charleston, we headed to Five Loaves for lunch. I had the portabello and parmesan cheese soup with a tomato and mozzarella salad over mixed greens with asparagus and roasted red peppers. The fellas had broccoli cheese soup and BLTs. They were overwhelmed by the size of the sandwiches, and I loved my soup. The portions were really big though, a cup of soup would have really been enough for me.
After lunch we walked a couple of blocks to Beads on Cannon which is a two-story bead store set in a city house. Hardwood floors and some bead treasures were the highlights of that trip. I picked up some beautiful geisha lampwork beads to make into stitchmarkers in the near future. Then we walked a block from there to Sugar , a bakery that my co-worker had also recommended. We each got a cupcake, and then we walked to the car and headed to the hotel.
We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel for this trip, and it worked out well as Little Man was able to sleep on the pull-out bed that was in the living room. Originally we thought that would allow us to watch movies or read in the evenings after he went to bed, but we wound up just as exhausted as him at the end of both nights, and didn't stay up much later than him (but we could have if we wanted to).
We didn't have too much time to settle into the room before we had to get ready to go to an earlier than anticipated dinner at Magnolias. We knew we wanted to eat there Monday night, so we took the earlier of the two available seating times. Our hotel was perfectly located for walking everywhere with ease, and we set-out for the approximately three block walk and enjoyed the sights and air.
Hubby and Little Man both chose this restaurant as their favorite dining experience of the trip. We started with a fried green tomato appetizer over smoked jalapeno and cheddar cheese grits, country ham and tomato chutney. Then Hubby had the Pecan Chicken with whipped potatoes, collard greens and a peach jezebel sauce. Little Man had chicken strips with house made potato chips, and I had shellfish over grits that had sauteed shrimp, sea scallops and lobster over creamy white grits with a lobster butter sauce and fried spinach. I loved the shellfish, but the ratio of shellfish to grits was a bit off. There was a lot of grits on that plate. We enjoyed the atmosphere a lot here, and I would definitely eat there again. There was a perfect blend of fabric napkins while being child friendly.
After dinner we walked back to the room and watched a kiddie movie with Little Man. During the movie we all shared our cupcakes so we could taste each kind (and Little Man also ate one of the cookies that we were given by the hotel when we checked in...Doubletree Hotels are famous for their cookies upon arrival, and I even make a mean copycat version). We had an almond joy cupcake (chocolate cake, almond icing and coconut on top), a chocolate pecan cupcake, and an almond cupcake. I enjoyed all three varieties, but the almond cupcake was different, I really liked that one.
After the movie we all headed to bed. We left the doorhanger on our door with our room service order for the next morning, and asked that breakfast be delivered between 9 and 9:30.
And, right at 9 AM, here's what was delivered to our room. Three Charleston breakfasts, complete with eggs, bacon or sausage, potatoes, blueberry muffins, and orange juice. We made our coffee in the room. We thought room service would be a more leisurely way to start the day, especially not knowing where else we may have liked to eat breakfast.
We ate, got dressed, and then, right in the hotel, was a desk where we could purchase tickets with Carolina Polo & Carriage Company for a carriage ride. We purchased tickets for half an hour out, walked a little bit through the Market, and then headed half a block away from the hotel to get on a carriage. We enjoyed the tour with Cooper, our carriage's horse, doing a fine job of showing us the beautiful city.
The weather was beautiful, with a refreshing breeze blowing, and the sun shining. We listened to the guide tell some stories we had heard before...like how the homes with rope around the door frame belonged to men who were in shipping, and the larger the rope, the more successful they were. See the rope around the door of the home with the green shutters?
But we mostly enjoyed the view during the 1.5 we spent touring the city. The tour ended and we were a block away from the Market. We walked through, taking our time this go-round. Then we headed to get Hubby some sunglasses (he had forgotten his), and we stopped at Filthy Rich, where I picked up a replica of the royal engagement ring. Then we headed to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for lunch. If you like the movie, or love shrimp, you'll like this restaurant. Gumpisms are everywhere, and while the decor isn't grand, you'll be shocked how good your food is. I had an Original Sweet Tea Cooler which was sweet tea vodka mixed with lemonade in a keepsake shaker. Hubby ordered the Shrimper's Heaven with tempura shrimp, cocktail shrimp, fried shrimp, and hand-breaded coconut shrimp.
Little Man's shrimp and fries came in a boat box. He loved it. He also got jello which he ate surprisingly well.
I had Mama Blue's Southern Charmed Fried Shrimp.
After we ate, we stopped in the gift shop for Hubby to get a new Bubba Gump shrimp hat (he got his first on our honeymoon). Then we stopped at Rhett Butler's to look around before we headed back to our room. After an hour of letting our food settle and cooling down a little (it did get really warm while we were there) we headed back out. We took the free trolley to the Visitor's Center, then headed back to Waterfront Park, and walked along the water all the way to the Battery. We followed the path of the character in a children's book called Joseph's Charleston Adventure. There's a map that can be purchased to follow and learn about the sights you see along the way. It's a sweet story, and the illustrations and factoids are really educational and interesting.
We really enjoyed our long walk. But by the time we were done, we were good and tired and ready to sit down for a while, especially Little Man, he was DONE. Unfortunately our pick for dinner that night doesn't take reservations and so we had to wait a little over half an hour in the line outside to get in. But let me tell you, Jestine's is worth it!
Settle in with some sweet tea (the house wine of the South), have some warm corn bread drizzled with honey, and peruse the menu...or the decor. There are dozens of unique salt and pepper shakers, and there's nothing fancy about the place.
But let me tell you...the fried green tomatoes are the best!!!
And the fried chicken platter is overload... don't plan to eat it all. You get half a chicken. We took our large breast portions with us and made a whole other meal around them.
And we ordered coconut cream and pecan pie to go. Hubby actually thought for a few minutes he had broken his stomach (not that that kept him from eating his pie). Before we left, Hubby bought me one of their t-shirts that lists 10 stupid questions they hear a lot (example: what's the difference between the 3 oz. fillet and the 8 oz. fillet). After hearing the silly questions from the table behind us (and having a good laugh), the t-shirt was a great reminder of a fun meal.
The next morning we packed, had breakfast at a nearby restaurant, and then checked out before heading to our next destination. We had so much fun, and so many unique experiences, that the South Carolina Aquarium will be needing its own post!