3 Days in Charleston

Charleston 38

Day 1

MORNING Wake up early and start your day with an espresso and decadent pastry at Caviar and Bananas on George Street. Fortified, you’re ready to walk the entire Design District. Even with frequent stopping and lingering it won’t take more than three to four hours to shop ‘til you drop. Make sure to sample the honeys at Savannah Bee Company.

NOON Once you’ve worked up an appetite, have a casual lunch at Fast and French on Broad Street. A soup, sandwich and glass of wine come in around $10 so you’ll have funds for shopping. After lunch, take a horse and carriage ride down King Street and enjoy a guided historic tour. Stop at the Nathaniel Russell House or Calhoun Masion to learn more about Antebellum homes.

EVENING Eat an early dinner at FIG and you’ll have plenty of time to watch the sun set at Waterfront Park. Or, if you’re visiting in the spring or fall, take one of the Home and Garden Tours. Prepare yourself for three hours of walking. You’ll want a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a flashlight for evening tours.

Charleston 25

Day 2

MORNING If you are staying in the lovely Charleston Place Hotel, you’ll want to enjoy breakfast at your hotel before heading out for a day at the plantations. Hop in your rental car and take a one hour drive to Middleton Place. Linger in the gardens.

12 NOON A lowcountry lunch at the Middleton Place Restaurant is a hearty affair, but may be worth the extra hole in your belt. If you have energy after lunch head to the nearby Magnolia Plantation and enjoy their tour as well.

EVENING Head back to Charleston for a tasty dinner on East Broad Street. Try the shrimp and grits at SNOB or the oysters at Pearlz and then take a stroll on Vendue Street and finish the day with a scoop from Paolo’s Gelato.

Charleston 18

Day 3

MORNING It may be a good morning to sleep in and that’s just an excuse for brunch. High Cotton is an excellent choice and it’s just cross the street from the city’s best kitchen shop and cooking classes at Charleston Cooks. If you’d like to take a class, arrange it ahead of time.

AFTERNOON Spend the remainder of the afternoon poking around the city’s art galleries or finish your souvenir shopping at City Market.

EVENING It’s easier to stroll on the sidewalk of the French Quarter since cobblestone streets are tough to negotiate. Afterwards, take in the theatre at the Footlight Players.

Charleston 42

Charleston’s Top 5 Antique Shops

Dabble Does Charleston33

1. South of the Fashion District on King, the Lower King Street Design District has more than its fair share of Antique shops. Biggs and Powell, Alexandra and John Pope Antiques (ABOVE) are just some of the best high end antique stores in the area. Be prepared: these shops don’t have affordable little knickknacks or flea market type finds; you’ll be spending big bucks when you shop here.

Dabble Does Charleston95

2. Elizabeth Stuart Design is where Charleston’s most design savvy shop. Explore Muffie Faith’s elegantly eclectic boutique, curated with an incredible array of furniture, jewelry, and home décor selections including treasures from Charleston’s very own Sally Benedict, Kate Davis and Harper Poe.

3. Hop in a car or arrange for a taxi (cabs are difficult to find, ask your hotel for assistance) and head to Charleston’s West Ashley area where the city’s designers shop. Antiques of South Windermere and 17 South Antiques are perfect for an off-the-beaten-path antique hunt.

Dabble Does Charleston103

4. Located in the Lower King Street Design District, South of Market offers rustic and sophisticated French furnishings. The ever evolving shop is overflowing with antiques, re-purposed objects and home décor finds that make it one of the south’s leading sources for interior design. Stop in, it’s lovely.

Dabble Does Charleston96

5. If you like religious iconography, architectural salvage or one-of-a-kind treasures, visit Parham & Co. It’s one of the only antique shops located in the Fashion District, but it’s well worth the walk. Say hello to the family’s bichon frisé.

 

Charleston’s Top 5 Travel Experiences

Dabble Does Charleston77

“There is no better way to learn about interior design than to travel to a city with an extensive history,” says Victoria Drainville.

Eager to explore, Victoria is on a mission to find Charleston’s most unique experiences and learn more about architecture and design. She quickly discovers this small, walkable city is loaded with charming southerners and historic places.

1. The best way to experience Charleston’s rich history is by touring historic homes. Tours typically cost US$10 and are worth every penny to the history buff or home enthusiast. The Edmondston-Alston House overlooks Charleston Harbour and its tour includes the history of this illustrious Charleston family. Visit the Calhoun Mansion and you’ll feel you’re visiting an eccentric aunt whose collections are too numerous to count. The Nathaniel Russell House has a stunning three-storey freestanding staircase and trompe l’oeil crown moulding that is sure to impress.

Charleston 22

2. Typical to Charleston are the Single Houses, an architectural style where the main entrance appears to be on the side of the house but leads to a porch. Experience these homes firsthand through the Fall Tours of Home and Garden led by the Preservation Society.

3. There are many ways to get around Charleston, but taking a taxi isn’t one of them. Since you’re on the move anyway, why not combine commuting with a history lesson? Horse and Carriage tours, Rickshaws or even Guided Walking Tours are pleasant options.

Charleston 34

4. There are two great shopping areas in Charleston: King Street for Fashion and Design and City Market for souvenirs. You’ll find inexpensive crafts, sweet treats, art, jewelry and sweet grass baskets made by local artisans.

5. Theatre fans will love the offerings at the Footlight Players. Affordable and popular productions run year-round. If reading is your hobby, visit the Heirloom Book Company, a bookshop dedicated to the literature of food.

Charleston 11

 

Charleston’s Top 5 Design Spots

Chassity Evans surrounds herself with all things stylish and writes about it in her blog, Look Linger Love.

“Charleston is such a lovely city,” says the blogger. Chassity invited us to look at her fave design stores, linger in the best ones and fall in love with an unbearable number of covetable items. Oh, and we did some shopping too.

Dabble Does Charleston62

1. King Street is the hot spot for design shops and right in the heart of it is the charming Lucinda Eden (that’s the shop and the owner). Temptations abound with artfully selected home accessories, vintage clothing and even custom haute couture. The shop’s on the second level, so look heavenward and you’re on the right track. Just across the street is another must shop, Lily. The shop is accented with French style offerings at reasonable prices. Owners Kevin and Lin are typically onsite and eager to share their city with you.

2. Another King Street destination is Dwelling where the style is understated glamour. Whether you’re looking for a design consultation or just browsing the fine furnishings, you’ll feel right at home in Leigh McAlpin’s timeless and sustainable shop.

Dabble Does Charleston37

3. If original art is your thing be sure to experience the art galleries on Broad and Church Streets. Or get your own hands dirty and try one of Redux Contemporary Art Center’s class offerings including figure drawing, screen printing, jewelry making, and woodworking.

4. A carefully edited collection of southern paintings is on display at Gibbes Museum of Art. Opened in 1905, Charleston’s premiere art museum is a history lesson and gem of southern culture. The gift shop is worth a visit too.

5. Another enjoyable walking street, Church Street has a lovely stationery store called Dulles Design. Emilie Dulles’ trademark red hair and cheerful disposition are true indicators of what’s in store in this distinct stationery design shop. Stylish correspondence is just beyond her doors.