Blog, travel

My First Trip to Charleston: The Highlights of my Birthday Weekend Adventure

charleston fashion
Dress: Forever 21 ($13), Shoes: Madden Girl ($19), Necklace: Khols ($5) 

If there is anything I’ve taken away from the two years I’ve lived here in the Upstate, it’s that South Carolinians LOVE Charleston. I can always count on my social media feeds to be filled with bright, pastel photos when the weekend comes around because Charleston is the go-to weekend trip for almost everyone I know. I still can’t believe that I waited this long to try Charleston out for myself, but this weekend was finally my time to paint my name on the “Holy City”. (For my birthday, YAY!)

I love how you can starting feeling the beach before you really get there. Once the salty air began to blow through the vents of our truck, my body seemed to immediately let go of the tension in my muscles and my mind officially switched over to vacation mode. It was early in the afternoon when we began crossing the many bridges of Charleston to our hotel in Mount Pleasant.

courtyard
The Courtyard Marriott in Mount Pleasant, SC 

When originally searching for accommodations, I of course began by browsing our options in Charleston, but I am thrifty and was not about to pay upwards of $3oo per night. No sir. No ma’am. So just a 15 minute drive from the heart of Charleston, I found a wonderfully rated Courtyard Marriott in Mount Pleasant for $153 per night, rather than the same Courtyard Marriott in downtown Charleston for $383 per night. This Marriott property was a little on the small side, at only three stories, but between the stone facade, gorgeous poolscape, lavish lobby, and spacious rooms, it was a STEAL.

chicken
My Chicken Francaise at 39 Rue de Jean

After a beautiful beach walk with the tide at our heels, we rinsed off the sand, and headed into Charleston to eat at 39 Rue de Jean- and my, oh, my. I made reservations before hand, and it was a good thing I did. The hostess took us right to our little table tucked away in a corner against the exposed brick wall. Conversations buzzed all around us, while the authentic french atmosphere left a delicate and mysterious taste on my palette, but nothing compared to my dish. I had the Chicken Francaise, which was so much more than just another chicken dish. Swimming in a pool of lemon caper sauce, this perfectly cooked chicken is so tender it falls apart at the touch of the fork. Roasted tomatoes, doughy gnocchi, and pearl onions dance around the chicken to create the perfect blend of savory, sweet, and texture.

Tesoro
Tesoro

After we waddled out the deep red doors of 39 Rue de Jean, we made our way down a few blocks to the Charleston Night Market. Just like in the morning, vendors set up their wares at the tables, several city blocks long. But the real gem of the night market? The music. At the end of each building, musicians were set up- from jazz ensembles to acoustic jam sessions. The most enchanting of them all was a duo called Tesoro. Dressed as if they were living in Prohibition, this guitar and violin duet swayed effortlessly to tunes from the past.

While day one of Charleston was filled with the beauty of Charleston now, day two was themed by the majesty of Charleston’s past. Driving the long gravel road to the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was like entering a dream. Much more than I was expecting, this estate offers more than a tour of the house and grounds. Take a boat ride around the marsh to get a view of alligators, get up close with a menagerie of free-range animals in the petting zoo, get lost in the extensive gardens and maze, or dive into the past at the centuries-old mansion. The boat ride and petting zoo were honestly one of the highlights of the trip for me. Once you enter the wooden gates of the zoo, deer stroll right up to you like friendly dogs. Peacocks, goats, chickens, ducks, and mini horses can all be loved on at will. If you are an animal lover, you won’t want to leave. As for the boat ride, our captain, Coby, was a history buff if there ever was one. While giving us the history of the plantation, he also acted as our nature guide, identifying the wildlife and telling us about each species. (We also saw several wild alligators!)

The plantation could easily fill your entire day. It’s reasonably priced, and gives you history, nature, and adventure all in one stop.

I could go on forever about the dreaminess of the Battery, all the delicious food we ate, and the incredible shopping at the Market and on King Street. It’s been so fun to recap the highlights of my first trip to Charleston with you all. Let me know where I need to go next time, and your favorite weekend getaways!

As always, Sweet Dreams and Happy Travels lovelies!

charleston fashion

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