Over the New Year's week-end, I spent 36 hours in beautiful Charleston, SC. Although not as warm as Florida in the winter, it was a gorgeous 60 to 70 degrees both days... a far cry from the foul, cold winter weather of NYC.
Charleston is one of the US's original wine cities. Although it fell on hard times after the Civil War, which started here at Fort Sumter in the Charleston Bay, Carolopolis has gotten its grove back! I was amazed at how much the city has changed and been restored over the last 20 years.
There's a great mix of patrician locals, college students from the College of Charleston, and tourists. Of course, in early January, there weren't many of the last two groups! Sadly, for a state with a 30% African-American population, there were few black faces downtown. Unlike many other American cities, everything in the historic downtown area is within walking distance, which means you don't need to worry about driving home!
We stopped for dinner at the "best restaurant in the state," the amusingly named S.N.O.B. (which stands for Slightly North of Broad - its at 192 East Bay St.) which had some great food and an extensive wine list. The best part about the meal was the price... ~$60 per person for apps, entrees, tip and two glasses of wine!
Other highlights include Squeeze (213 E Bay St), a decent cocktail bar, Social Wine Bar (188 E Bay St) which got rave reviews from the locals, but we didn't go in because it was playing LOUD obnoxious music (hey, it was 11pm on a Saturday night), Vintage wine bar (14 Market St), and a Wine and Cheese place right next to the famous Hyman's seafood at 213 Meeting St. We ended the evening at the famous Blind Tiger Pub (38 Broad St) which, although its wine selection leaves something to be desired, is clearly THE local hang out. If you need to find a young attorney in the Palmetto City head straight here!
Also, when we weren't drinking, we enjoyed some of the plentiful sites of the city including Civil War sites, historic homes and beautiful parks. In sum, Charleston makes a great week-end trip... or pair it with some nearby plantations; Hilton Head, Beaufort, SC; Savannah Georgia; and the Okefenokee Swamp and you've got a great vacation week!
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