A few weeks ago Will had his big STEP 1 exam, had three days off then started with clinical orientation and rotations last week. We knew that it could be typical in some rotations for medical students to work six days a week, and those three days off might be our last shot at a trip together in a while, so we seized the opportunity and semi-spontaneously road tripped to Charleston, South Carolina. I have been to Charleston a few times before, but had only seen a few parts of the city, and Will was a Charleston newbie. I did a little research beforehand, just to make sure we hit all of the major sites, and we picked up recommendations from a few locals throughout the trip.
Getting recommendations from locals is the best way to go – they always know the best spots, especially for food. We do this on lots of our trips, asking bankers, waitresses, people in the shops, and we have had really great experiences because of it. I’m not at all a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, and I always make a list of places to go, things to do and see and places to eat, if not a full trip itinerary (call me type A), but it is nice to leave room for a few things that the locals love too.
We walked and walked and walked all around Charleston and saw Rainbow Row, King Street, the Battery, College of Charleston, the Citadel, the French Quarter, the pineapple fountain and waterfront park, Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge, the pretty pink Mills House, historic Broad Street and lots of beautiful pastel homes and window boxes overflowing with flowers in between. We had dinner one night at Hominy Grill, which was so Southern and so good. It is definitely worth a visit if you are heading to Charleston soon!
One of the recommendations we got from a local was Poogan’s Porch for the best brunch. Brunch is the best meal of the day, so naturally we stopped in on Saturday morning to put our name on the list. The wait was supposed to be at least an hour (it actually ended up being shorter), but we walked around with Will’s cousin, a College of Charleston freshman, and stopped in a small coffee shop for some pre-brunch coffee and tea. It was nice to be able to see the streets of Charleston and pop into a cute local coffee shop while still having concrete plans for brunch. Poogan’s Porch was definitely worth the wait – sooooo good. I think I can safely say that all three of us would highly recommend it and would go back again.
Our hotel was near the Citadel, which neither of us had ever seen. The neighborhoods surrounding the campus are full of beautiful live oak trees with Spanish moss hanging everywhere. All of the buildings on campus look like white sand castles that you make with those pre-shaped buckets. It was pristine and pretty, in a very different way from the rest of Charleston. Live oaks were scattered around campus and the soft Spanish moss drooping off the branches provided a stark contrast to the white washed buildings. While it wasn’t on our list of things to do, we were both really glad we made it over to the Citadel. I didn’t bring my camera when we went to the Citadel, so only have a few phone pictures of the campus, but I’ll try to get those up soon.
Later in the afternoon, we also walked around College of Charleston. I can absolutely see why people want to go there after they visit. Will’s cousin directed us to the Cistern, where we were both immediately amazed. The buildings were beautiful and the common theme of oak trees and Spanish moss created arches above many of the brick walkways. Some of the departments were housed in beautiful pastel houses with double decker porches, like those in the rest of historic Charleston.
We did a lot in a short period of time in the Holy City, but we were able to relax and enjoy the long weekend together, without any studying in sight. I’m so glad we were able to take this trip as a time to decompress before things get too crazy. I have linked a few of the places we ate below, in case you need any recommendations for future Charleston visits!