Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

October 7, 2019

Charleston SC Travel Diary - Part 1.

     I'm so excited to be sharing more about my recent long weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina! Charleston is an extremely popular tourist destination- not only with the Southern states that are fairly close by, but with visitors from all over the US and the world! This historic and beautiful Southern city has a lot of unique attractions and world class food- and I was so excited to explore. The main reason for my trip was to attend my friend Eddrinia's wedding, but I still had a lot of fun seeing (and eating) my way through Charleston when I wasn't at the wedding events! Prior to this, I had been to Charleston once before for The Blog Societies conference in 2016, but I didn't get to explore much on that trip.

    I'm doing this post Travel Diary style instead of Travel Guide because a.) I feel like there are many bloggers or travel experts that are way more qualified to share in depth about Charleston than I am, and b.) it was mainly a personal vacation and not a blog content trip. But with that said I still wanted to share some of the photos I took and my favorite spots visited. 😊

     My friend Eddrinia's Charleston wedding was very small (less than 50 guests total!), and most of the guests didn't have plus-ones, including me. Charleston is about an 8ish hour drive from Charlottesville, and I felt better about making the trip down there knowing that I wouldn't be totally alone for it. So I invited my friends Ciera and Priyanka to join me! That way the two of them could hang together when I was at wedding events, and we would explore together when I was free. Priyanka lives in Charlotte, so I picked her up en route. Ciera lives in Texas, and unfortunately she wasn't able to come due to the freak tropical storm Imelda that caused dangerous flooding in her city. Fortunately Priyanka was a great sport about doing stuff alone while I was at wedding events, so it will worked out great. I was supposed to do a travel collaboration with a hotel for a blog post- you can read the update on that here!

     I personally loved visiting Charleston in late September- I think it's the ideal time of the year to visit! I was originally worried when the wedding was scheduled for this time that a hurricane might mess up all the plans, as this fell right in the middle of hurricane season. Fortunately the weather ended up being beautiful each day of the trip, and the temperatures were great as well. It was in the 60s-70s at night, and low 80s in the daytime. Beautiful and warm, without being excruciatingly hot like Charleston summers are! If you're willing to take a risk with hurricane season, I think September is a great time to visit.

     I picked Priyanka up in Charlotte on Thursday morning... and our first stop was... Moe's! Yes- Moe's as in the chain restaurant Moe's Southwest Grille. 😂That day just happened to be Free Queso Day and this diehard Moe's fan wasn't going to miss it, haha! We stopped at the one in Summerville, which half an hour north of Charleston. Next we were off to our first excursion, and probably the one I was most excited about: The Charleston Tea Plantation!

     The Charleston Tea Plantation isn't just the only working tea planation in the Carolinas... or in the US... it's actually the only one in all of North America! How cool is that? I'm a huge tea drinker and couldn't wait to see the growing process of tea up close and personal. It's located about 30 minutes away from Charleston on peaceful Wadmalaw Island, and it's an easy drive to get there. We decided to do this before checking into our hotel. We did the guided tour of the plantation via trolley (and we had a delightful tour guide for that!), and then took time to do the self-guided tour indoors and browse the gift shop. PSA for fellow tea lovers: there are unlimited hot and iced tea samples available in the gift shop! Their teas are delicious and I already feel like I'll be buying more online soon...

     Next we headed over to check into our hotel, and then I got ready for Eddrinia's bachelorette party! Since she opted to have a destination wedding (and she is in the military and currently stationed very far away from the East Coast), she decided to have all of her pre-wedding festivities in Charleston as well. I wasn't in the bridal party, so I was very honored that she included me for her bachelorette party and bridal luncheon! 😊Priyanka and I got into downtown Charleston earlier than the bachelorette party started, so we had some time to walk and explore a few streets before we parted ways for the evening. I was so excited to finally find the iconic Alpha Delta Pi sorority house at College of Charleston and get my picture with it!

      Her bachelorette party was at The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits, located on the top floor of The Restoration Hotel. It was a really nice restaurant, and there are beautiful views on their deck of Charleston! Most dinner entree prices were in the $20-30 range, and cocktails were around $15. I know that Charleston is a popular destination for bachelorette parties- I think this would be a great dinner or drinks option for this type of group for sure!

     The next morning, Priyanka and I drove back into downtown Charleston for a morning of exploring before I headed to the bridal luncheon. We decided to park in a public garage downtown instead of taking an Uber. Everything in downtown Charleston is fairly close, so we just planned to walk and explore all day! First up was brunch at Poogan's Porch. I've heard great things about this restaurant over the years and knew that I finally wanted to eat at it on this trip! Fun fact: the restaurant building is also supposedly one of the most haunted places in Charleston. Poogan's Porch puts their own spin on favorite Southern dishes. I did enjoy brunch there, but on a future trip I'd love to finally experience dinner!

     Next it was time to see what is possibly the most iconic spot in the entire state of South Carolina: Rainbow Row!! I still can't believe I didn't make it to see this during my previous trip, but better late than never. We were there about 10:30 am on a Friday morning, and amazingly we were some of the only people there! I always assumed Rainbow Row would be filled with photo-snapping tourists at all hours, but I guess not. It was kind of cool to get to see it all to ourselves.

     After seeing Rainbow Row, Priyanka and I parted ways. She went off to do some solo exploring, and I walked down King Street to the Frances Marion Hotel, which was the wedding venue! Eddrinia's maid-of-honor planned her bridal luncheon at the hotel as well. I had so much fun walking down King Street that of course I had to snap a bunch of photos while walking, and stop in a few stores to window shop! King Street (for those who haven't been to Charleston) is the main shopping district in the city- featuring a variety of high-end and specialty boutiques, and a few moderately priced stores as well. The venues for the The Blog Societies Conference a few years ago were all located on King Street, so it was fun to be back in that area.

     Here's a couple pictures from the bridal luncheon at The Frances Marion Hotel. I loved the color palette for the decor. And my sweet friend looked so beautiful- she was literally radiating with joy!

     Later in the afternoon, Priyanka and I met back up at my car, and then headed back to our hotel to rest a little and change clothes for the evening. We had really fun plans for Friday evening- the first being taking a sunset harbor cruise with Charleston Harbor Tours! These cruises run at different times of the day, but we thought it would be most charming to explore the harbor at the end of the day. I really enjoyed this cruise. The waters in the harbor are pretty still, so even if you are prone to boat sickness I don't think you'll feel it on this ride. We also learned a lot of fun facts about Charleston and other surrounding areas from the boat's captain, who narrated the entire tour!

     We then grabbed a quick and affordable dinner at Pizzeria di Giovanni, which is tucked away right near the famous Charleston Marketplace. Charleston restaurants are delicious but for the most part not super cheap, so it was a real treat to be able to find such an affordable yet tasty meal for dinner. (I also appreciated the early 2000s music that they played here! Haha.)

     After pizza, it was off to our second excursion of the evening, a haunted carriage tour with Old South Carriage Company! Charleston is known to be one of the most haunted cities in America, so there are a variety of different companies that offer ghost tours. I personally don't believe in ghosts (and the tour didn't convince me otherwise haha), but it was still a unique experience to do this tour! It was fun to ride around in the horse carriage, and the tour guide shared a lot of other information about Charleston history that didn't all have to do with ghosts or hauntings.

     We ended our busy Friday with a walk around Charleston Marketplace- which is an outdoor market that's home to all types of local vendors! I didn't purchase anything, but I thought these paintings were just stunning.

     Saturday was Eddrinia's wedding day! She had a late morning wedding, and it was my first time ever attending a wedding that early in the day. Priyanka and I had our Uber drop us off at Callie's Little Hot Biscuit for a quick breakfast before we parted ways. This was another restaurant I'd heard a lot about during my previous trip, but hadn't gotten a chance to try. Y'all- out of all the places we ate, I would say this one is the biggest must-visit! I adore biscuits and the ones at Callie's were just incredible. Everything is baked fresh and served hot. The King Street location is very tiny and you should be prepared to wait awhile (we were there about 45 minutes), but it was 100% worth the wait!

     Priyanka then headed off to do more exploring, and I made my way back to the Frances Marion Hotel. The wedding ceremony was late morning, and the reception was in the afternoon and ended around 6pm. It was a beautiful wedding and I'm so glad I got to attend! Here's a couple snaps from the hotel lobby and the reception ballroom.

     After the wedding reception ended, Priyanka met me back at the Frances Marion. We then rushed back to our hotel so we could have time to check one last thing off of our trip itinerary- a beach trip!! Folly Beach is the closest public access beach to the city of Charleston, so we headed down here as fast as we could. We had about an hour of beach time to enjoy before the sun set. This was my first time at Folly Beach and I thought it was beautiful. I wish I could've spent more time here!

     Sunday morning we were up fairly early to head back- after dropping Priyanka in Charlotte I still had about five more hours to get back to Charlottesville! I think that three full days in Charleston ended up being the perfect amount of time. I'm so glad that I got to go and not only see a sweet friend get married, but also continue exploring a great city that I only got a little taste of during my previous trip.

     Priyanka had a lot more time to explore than I did- and she kindly sent me several photos she took and some recommendations for places she got to visit solo. I'm going to be publishing that as Part 2 to today's post- look for that sometime later this week or next weekend on the blog. 😊

     Let me know if you have any questions about the trip- or if you'd like to share your own Charleston recommendations for future trips!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


  1. Such great pictures, delicious food and wonderful artwork! Charleston is so beautiful, hope I get a chance to visit again!
    Ellibelle's Corner

  2. I was just there in June. I wanted to make it to the tea plantation, but we went to Drayton Hall instead. You're trip looks so fun! I'm dying to go back already.

  3. Charleston looks so beautiful! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip in May and Charleston is one of our contenders. A haunted carriage tour sounds like so much fun! Looks like you had a great time.

    Lauren //

  4. Charleston is so beautiful! I think Jake and I are going in February. You're giving me so many good ideas.


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