One of our favorite escapes from Charlotte is Charleston, SC. We love the food, beaches, historical downtown and the low country. So when we found out that my parents in law had never been we decided to take them there for their birthdays. I was hoping they would agree that experiences and time spent together are the best gifts and hey in my book those are much better than something that would collect dust. We got them enough of those things for Christmas. 😀
We’ve been incredibly lucky that husband’s parents have begun snow-birding in the NC mountains so we get to see them much more often now. Also great because we could all drive down to Charleston and meet there. I had found a super awesome (if I may say so) vacation rental on Air BnB. With four months old baby Leo and his grandparents there, having a common living area and a full kitchen was fantastic and look at the view from the living room; we loved seeing the creek at low and high tide!
We usually don’t stay in downtown because we love going to the beach, too, aaand it’s significantly cheaper. Mt. Pleasant is a short drive across the marvelous Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge and has loads of great dining and shopping options so we enjoy staying either there or in one of the beach towns. Thanks to Yelp and places we’ve discovered and loved during previous visits there we had bitchin’ food at Page’s Ocra Grill, Five Loaves Cafe, and Poe’s Tavern (best burger!).
While the men enjoyed a(n entire) day on the air plane carrier USS Yorktown at Patriots Point, my mother-in-law and I spent the day with Leo. No, that didn’t mean we hung out at home and entertain him. Thankfully he loves being carried in his baby carrier and so we checked out a local furniture consignment store and then drove to the beach town of Sullivan’s Island. We had that great burger for lunch, then I fed Leo who had napped through our lunch and we walked off all those calories on the beach. Winter temperatures in Charleston are so so so pleasant!!
As you can see it definitely wasn’t high tide when we were there. The texture of the compacted sand was just perfect for a long beach walk. I so love the wide Carolina beaches and that day I found my first whole sand dollar ever! Yeah I get excited about them and sea shells and that kinda stuff. 😀 I get bored and usually over heated just lounging around at the beach so this was the perfect beach day in my book!
Of course we spent a day in downtown Charleston as well. My parents-in-law had never been so we wanted to show them the essentials. With soooo many things to do there it can be tough narrowing down your agenda so we settled on doing a walking tour through the historic center after cruising by the Citadel (a prominent military college). It’s not far out of the way and you get a pretty good impression of life there when you drive around the main square. Bonus sightseeing points if you stop to take a photo with their bulldog statue outside of their stadium.
After parking the car (And man was that painful, parking was tough to find! We liked the garage on Cumberland St.), we felt like eating brunch and as luck would have it, Toast was right across the street. My MIL wanted to try it and we were all glad she did because it was goooooood. Great breakfast all day, a changing table and I felt comfortable nursing there so that’s a win in my book.
Freshly nourished we strolled down Meeting Street to take in some Charleston history. The first quick stop was the cemetery of the Circular Congregational Church, which didn’t disappoint with grave stones from the 1700s.
We continued walking south, peeking into St. Michael’s church, marveling at the old houses that didn’t crumble during their big earthquake in 1886 and enjoying small, tucked away parks like Washington Square. The Nathaniel Russell house (uhm excuse me, mansion!) drew us in. Such a cute garden! Also, great restroom with a nice changing pad that you can access through the gift shop. This was the first time we did the actual house tour and it was great! Instead of of just talking about this piece of furniture and that painting (yawn), they talked a lot about what life was like back then in the Charleston society. Loved the grand staircase!
From there we continued walking south to battery park where the boys of course checked out the cannons. I’m usually more interested in the ocean view there and we love the strolling along on the harbor wall. The historic McMansions are so charming!
Further up we looked at Rainbow Row, the pastel colored row houses, and then had fellow tourists take this beautiful family photo of us at the pineapple fountain. Is that perfect light just before sunset or what?! Pineapples are everywhere in Charleston and fittingly stand for hospitality.
To complete the perfect Charleston day I recommend a little shopping for example down Market Street or King Street. We checked out the historic society’s store for some local gifts and really enjoyed their selection of local children’s books. Grandpa bought Leo The Legend of Putterfrog, a goofy little story about a frog on a nearby golf course. 😀
On our final day we went back into town for lunch at our favorite place, Husk. I checked for reservations about two weeks in advance and I kid you not, the only things available during the week (!) in November (!) was lunch. I gladly snatched up the table and loved my shrimp and grits – a southern must!
Traveling with our baby boy is definitely different and takes much more planning but it is totally possible especially these days that all he needs is my milk bar. If he’s cranky we get take-out, otherwise he’s usually very chill when we go to restaurants. Going early or later if it’s lunch helps a lot: less wait time for a table and the kitchen isn’t as busy. Yeah we don’t go to pubs or bars with him but husband got a six pack of local brews at a grocery store there so he was able to sample local craft beer nonetheless.