I was lucky enough to grow up in equal parts country, and equal parts city. For my entire life I lived in a rural part of New Jersey, but was close enough to the city that I could drive 5 minutes to a train station and be in Midtown in a little over an hour. I was able to go to school all day in the city, but come home to my quiet country home, listening to nothing but the breeze and the occasional car pass by my lonely street. This is why I have fallen in love with New York City; I could enjoy it by day, but have my country at night and on the weekends.
My visit to Charleston was this perfect combination of the two. Part One was all plantations, hanging Spanish moss, and the wild open spaces of the low country. In Part Two I discover a city rich in history and culture, and full of fantastic food.
Charleston would become what I considered my first experience of southern cooking. Three Little Birds is an unpretentious, ivy covered cafe hidden in the parking lot of a strip mall. (Seriously, I mean hidden. It took us two laps around the block to find it.) Even so, we loved it so much we went back both mornings we spent in Charleston.
I also had the most amazing Eggs Benedict on sweet potato biscuits (who knew that was a thing?) but it was so good it didn’t even make it into the pictures. I was ravenous.
By the end of our first day, after visiting the Angel Oak and Plantations which you can read about here, we went to the very center of the city to walk around a bit and get a feel for what kind of city Charleston is. It’s very cultured with a lot of art galleries, pastry shops and world class restaurants. Music echoed out of buildings and music centers, historical performers waited at the doors of old buildings waiting for interested customers.
Charleston is a strange shaped city with lots of broken off pieces and jagged boundaries. After stopping by the visitors center (which is very helpful) we chose to visit the very center of Charleston. It reminded me of the seaport in Manhattan; water front property and shops, a boardwalk with iconic attractions like the Pineapple Fountain, and great places to eat.
Still full from breakfast we found a french pastry shop. We ordered giant peach turnovers with brown sugar and pecans. It was so great except I got yelled at by the woman behind the counter for taking a picture. Did she think I’d steal it’s soul? Come on now. I managed to snag this iPhone snap though.
We were going to bring them back to the hotel as a snack for later, but I couldn’t resist eating them in the car. I was covered in powdered sugar and flaky pastry dough. What a pig. I dusted myself off and we continued our exploration of the beautiful seaport.
I never thought there would be enough room in my heart for another city, since New York was taking up so much room. But Charleston now has a place in there, and one day I will be back. The quiet streets that came alive at night, the sunny and peaceful seaport not clogged with tourists. The beautiful and wild low country with it’s ancient trees and rich history. The antebellum architecture and the incredible southern food, both of which were my first indication I was in a part of the country I had never ventured before. These will be what I always remember about Charleston and why I will always have the feeling of being pulled back to a city that stole a piece of my heart.
Please subscribe to continue reading my Road Trip Series. Next will be Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia which will be a really fun one. See ya soon!