During my travels through the southern states I kept hearing from women I met along the way how absolutely lovely Charleston is, and all have placed the coastal city high on their list of where to go for a fab southern girl’s getaway. It seems like many travelers agree because, year after year, Charleston, South Carolina has been voted a favorite travel destination by readers of Conde Nast, Southern Living Magazine and Travel and Leisure.
I finally discovered why when I spent a too short weekend in Charleston, I fell completely under its spell; channeling my inner southern belle while touring Charleston’s rambling mansions and walking along its cobblestone streets.
Here are a few women friendly recommendations for you to get the most out of your stay in this town famous for its urban chic with a southern twist!
Charleston Hotels Love Girlfriend Getaways!
Restoration on King
Charleston’s newest boutique hotel, Restoration on King showcases the downtown Charleston lifestyle. Its Girlfriend Getaway package begins with a rejuvenating manicure and pedicure in the spa, followed by dinner at Muse Restaurant and Wine Bar, offering Italian delicacies of a long-forgotten time.
A specially catered lunch by Charleston’s Cru Café fuels avid shoppers’ afternoons for browsing the boutique shops on King Street. It also includes Champagne and Godiva Fine Chocolates upon arrival, afternoon wine and cheese reception, freshly baked cookies and milk in the evening, gourmet continental breakfast and accommodations. The package begins at $539 per evening with a two-night minimum, based on double occupancy. For more information, call 1-877-221-7202 or visit www.restorationonking.com.
Whether it be a bachelorette weekend, sister bonding or reunion with the girlfriends from college, Planters Inn’s Divalicious Getaway Package creates an enticing, experiential escape.
It includes accommodations in a luxurious King or Queen guest room; a three-course tasting menu at Peninsula Grill with wine pairings, crafted by Executive Chef Robert Carter; transportation to and from the Charleston International Airport via luxury SUV; sweet treat arrival amenity from Pastry Chef Claire Chapman; and manicure and pedicure at Earthling Day Spa. Rates begin at $900 per night and $1,200 for two nights, based on double occupancy.
Available year round, the ‘Divalicious Getaway’ package is based on double occupancy and rates vary depending on season and can be booked for one or two nights, respectively. For more information or to book the package, call (843) 722-2345 or visit www.plantersinn.com.
Things to Do in Charleston
For a girl’s getaway that will satisfy any Gone With the Wind fan, we’ve gathered up a couple of tours to help you explore the place southerners call the true south.
Stroll past antebellum mansions located in Charleston Peninsula’s southern tip. You’ll see some of the area’s most lavish residences, such as the Palmer Home (also known as the Pink Palace), and one of Charleston’s architectural gems, the Old Exchange Building where, back in the day, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud on its balcony.
Charleston Bicycle Tours offers 3 and 6 day bike tours of Charleston,SC and its surrounding quaint towns. Cycle on back roads, quiet streets and alleys past historical homes and experience the charm of Charleston with hosts Alex Graham, an eleventh generation South Carolinian & his charming wife, Karen.
Where to Shop in Charleston
Touristy, crowded, and tons of fun. Yes, you can get stuff cheaper elsewhere but this historic, vibrant market is a must visit while in Charleston. Dating back to 1841, the market is one of the nation’s oldest urban markets, and is still going strong after a recent little nip and tuck in 2011. You can find sweetgrass baskets by Gullah weavers in all four buildings, along with local artists, jewelry, tapestry, souvenirs, local candies and cookies and much more.
To indulge in all of your fashion whims, head over to the Fashion District on Middle King Street located between Calhoun and Market Street, this posh shopping area is choc full of great boutiques and is a perfect place to spend an afternoon shopping til you drop.
Located at 314 King Street, you can find Hampden Clothing – the place to shop in Charleston. Ranked as one of the best stores in the country by Vogue Magazine, Hampden carries designers you won’t find anywhere else in SC. Alexander Wang, Vena Cava, Rag & Bone, Theysken’s Theory, Chris Benz, APC, Suno, & Elizabeth & James to name a few. This place is fun, unique and totally chi-chi!
Where to Eat in Charleston
Magnolias is my favorite restaurant in Charleston – I love, love, love the fried green tomatoes and crab cake appetizers.
McCrady’s – on the National Historic Places Register and won the James Beard Award in 2010, Amen Street Raw and Fish Bar – this is the place to go for great seafood in Charleston.