A Squared: Grown Up Spring Break: Charleston Snapshots

Friday, May 9, 2014

Grown Up Spring Break: Charleston Snapshots

Well, it's official: I'm a little in love with Charleston.

Part 2 of my week in the southeast was spent in Charleston, SC and the area is just as lovely and charming as everyone that's already been has said. My only regret is that I didn't have more time to spend there!

While the first part of my trip was spent with family, the second portion was spent with a big group of good friends from back when we lived in Boston. We were there to celebrate the wedding of our good friend Julie and since only 1 member of this big group still actually lives in Boston (while the rest of us have spread out all over the US), it was really special to get everyone together. To maximize our time together we rented a big beach house in Isle of Palms, a resort area about a 20-25 minute drive from downtown Charleston.

We had a ton of fun catching up and since the house was across the street from the beach, we spent some time soaking up the sun on the beach. After a long Chicago winter, I was beyond excited for some beach time and the beaches here are really gorgeous-- with hard sand, warm water, and a cool breeze. If you're visiting the Charleston area and have a big group with you, are looking to save a little money, and/or want to be close to the beach then I'd highly recommend checking out Isle of Palms. It was gorgeous-- and perfect for our group!

My handsome date & me

And of course, we were there for a wedding! Julie was a gorgeous bride (of whom I only snapped a few terrible photos) and her wedding was southern, charming, and adorable. There were so many Pinterest-esque details at this wedding-- I was so super impressed by how much work went into it and how 'Julie' the whole thing felt.

Gratuitous wedding food photo alert; You knew I had to post one! In true South Carolina style, Julie and Mark served a bunch of southern favorites at their reception including Carolina BBQ pulled pork, mac and cheese, slaw, and shrimp and grits. This food lover was one happy guest.

Julie's Friday wedding and our early Monday morning departure gave us two more full days to experience Charleston and see the sights. We started by driving out to Johns Island to see the famous Angel Oak Tree. This massive tree is somewhere between 400 and 500 years old, is over 66 feet tall, and 28 feet in circumference... it is quite a sight.

Later, we headed over to the Firefly Distillery for an afternoon of vodka tasting. If you've got some additional time during your visit to Charleston, this is a good side trip-- and the atmosphere could not be more different from the beaches of Isles of Palms or the charming streets of Charleston. It's country.

This place was so much fun! It's part distillery, part winery, with farm animals, and grounds for picnics, playing bags, and the barbecue vendors and band that had set up shop on the Saturday afternoon that we spent there. I'll be totally honest and let you know that, as a wine lover, I was a little disappointed by the wines we tasted. The distillery tasting, on the other hand, was well worth the trip!

You may be familiar with the Firefly name because their Sweet Tea Vodka is widely available around the US. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that they also produce a variety of flavored vodkas, rum, bourbon, liqueurs, and moonshine here too! We had a great time with the staff here-- they were super friendly and knowledgeable, which was great when it came to making our six tasting selections.

A lot of people in our group had tried the Sweet Tea Vodka before and were already fans, but the real star of the tasting was the Apple Pie Moonshine. It was sweet and cinnamon-y and went down far too easily. A few of my friends even debated wrapping up a jar (because it's obviously sold in a jar) and packing in their checked baggage. Sadly, while you can find some Firefly Moonshine flavors at your local liquor stores, the Apple Pie variety is sold exclusively at the distillery. Very sneaky!

On Sunday we finally ventured into Charleston and while it was much hotter than I expected, it was just as adorable as I had hoped! The architecture here is incredible with colorful houses with big beautiful porches and churches on what seemed like every block. They don't call it the Holy City for nothing!

And of course, we did a little shopping. Alex accused me of turning him into my "Stepford husband" by buying him a pair of Sperry boat shoes. When in Charleston though, right?

We took a stroll through the Charleston City Market. This historic open market is filled with a variety of vendor stalls selling everything from hats to local foods to the woven palmetto baskets that you'll find all over the city. It's a great place to pick up souvenirs and definitely an interesting piece of Charleston history.

And last but not least, I discovered a really cool new [to me] food store! Have you heard of Savannah Bee Company? Their honey is available at Whole Foods and other health food and specialty stores around the country, but they have an actual store on King Street in Charleston and it is a lot of fun! Just like some of those great olive oil shops, Savannah Bee offers a variety of different honeys and you can sample almost all of them in store. I was actually very surprised by how different they are from variety to variety. I picked up a jar of their Grilling Honey for myself-- can't wait to try it out!

Stay tuned for my third installment of the Grown Up Spring Break series. I saved the best for last: Charleston food!

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  1. ahhh SO fun! Charleston is such a beautiful city! love your dress too :) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

    1. Thanks, Jillian! And agree-- such a great city. Can't wait to go back!

  2. Replies
    1. I loved it! Talking about Charleston food next week... can't wait! :)

  3. Isn't Charleston a beautiful city? We visited on vacation last Memorial Day and I'm still in love with how charming it was--and those colorful houses were so cheerful!

    Bedknobs & Baubles

    1. Totally agree, Jessica! Definitely one of my new favorite cities in the US!


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