It’s the first official Christmas in Charleston where we are visiting family! I can’t believe it! After 3 years of traveling to Chucktown for Christmas, I’m excited to be there with my whole family while we enjoy their new home.
It wouldn’t be a true journey without a TMI Travel Guide which, leveraging my (updated) ultimate guide to Charleston from our trip in August, we’re crossing off a lot given I have 2 whole weeks to do it!
Here’s what’s on my to-do list:
This annual event on James Island (where we spent most of our Christmas’s) is 3 miles long featuring an estimated two million shimmering lights. Opened nightly, we’ll be sure to spend some quality time amongst the festive features.
Surprising as it might sound, I haven’t really spent that much time shopping in the local shops. Charleston is filled with plenty of unique boutiques that I can’t wait to do some damage in! Some places I’ll be stopping by at include:
- House of Sage
- Hampden Clothing
- The Skinny Dip: Charleston Edition – It has an amazing rooftop lounge!
- Finicky Filly
- Magnifique – one of my absolute favorites!
- C’est La Vie of Charleston
- Candy Shop Vintage
A Charleston Treasure
As I have come to learn, rice has a long history in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Rice originally came to the United States in 1694, when a ship sailing from Madagascar was blown off course by a storm. Landing in Charleston for repairs, the captain expressed his gratitude by giving the governor of the colony a handful of rough rice grains. From this small amount, rice became a dominant commodity and export of the coastal rivers. Today, the shape and texture of rice beads symbolize Charleston’s long and bountiful history from humble agricultural beginnings. I’ve long wanted a long gold rice necklace and matching bracelet. Why not pick up a little something for myself?
Some of my most favorite cocktails have come from hotel bars and these luxury locations are no different. Adorned with Holiday decor, unique galleries and delicious bites, I plan to make my way from place to place sipping signature drinks and shooting for the blog.
- Belmond Charleston Place
- The Spectator Hotel
- Grand Bohemian Charleston
- The Restoration
- The Dewberry Charleston
- The Vendue
I cant quite describe what it is that makes me so drawn to all the antebellum plantations. At first thought, I think it all connects to the deeply rooted history that still remains preserved. Or it might be the Georgian, Neo-classical, and Greek Revival style plantation mansions with their towering scale and vastness. Either way, I plan to spend much of my time learning and visiting some of South Carolina’s– and even the country’s– most exquisite locations which all have been decorated for the Holidays.
- Drayton Hall
- Boone Hall
- Middleton Place
- The Joseph Manigault House
- The Edmondston-Alston House
- The Nathaniel Russell House
- The Aiken-Rhett House
- McLeod Plantation
- The Lowndes Grove
Every time we come back to Charleston, which is several times a year, there is a bountiful amount of new restaurants. It’s amazing. Not to mention, most all places have bomb happy hour that includes rose and oysters, which I can’t complain about. While #ChefAdrian is cooking Christmas Eve and we have reservations for Christmas Day, here is what I’m excited to check out every day in between:
- The Shellmore – LOCATED IN I’ON SQUARE. Obviously going.
- The Harbinger Cafe
- Tu – Owners of Xiao Boa Biscuit, one of our all time faves!
- Felix Cocktails et Cuisine
- Vintage Lounge
- Basic Kitchen
- 5Church – Not new, but still need to go!
I’m in dire need of some serious rest and rejuvenation including a massage and pedicure. So much so that appointments are booked and I can not wait to just sit and soak. Here are my favorite places to indulge:
- The Amethyst Spa and Nail Bar at The Restoration Hotel has the most amazing chairs for the perfect pedicure.
- The “Perfect Mini-Getaway” package calling my name at The Belmond Spa
- Booking set at Earthling Day Spa for the perfect couples massage. #ChefAdrian, if you’re reading this, Merry Christmas.
Things In Between
There are some other things that are on our to-do list that we’ve been tossing around for a while, whether we have time or if I can get out of bed (?). Since we will be staying in a separate apartment in my parents community along with a rental car, we might be able to sneak off and check some of these off!
- Hike Congaree National Park – a beautiful sprawling National Park, it’s the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States– and allows dogs!
- Hand build or throw clay at The Clay Cottage and Art Studio – I was a very active member in my college pottery classes and miss kneading clay or throwing on the wheel. My mom and I have been talking about this for several years!
- Get a tattoo at the Blu Gorilla Tattoo Shop, the first tattoo parlor in Charleston. While I’ve got quite the list of tattoos I want to get, there is one that’s been long overdue. I’ve been checking out Ashley McMullen‘s work and love her contemporary approach and clean lines.
With so much to do, I’m so glad I have two full weeks to explore and enjoy the city with family, which is the only way I wanted to spend the Holidays.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!