Charleston Travel Diary: Part 3

We left you with a cliffhanger about where we enjoyed dessert after a second scrumptious meal in Charleston and the answer is Jeni’s! The night before, we had heard that it was the best place to eat ice cream in town, and after our server at HoM recommended we stop there after dinner, we were sold! We walked down King street and headed there to enjoy some yummy ice cream in creative flavors.

When we arrived the line was long, as to be expected on a warm summer evening. As we moved up in the line, employees offered us tastings of their different flavors and Bob and my brother, Bernard, enjoyed trying a couple. They eventually settled on their churro ice cream flavor, which sounds weird but tasting amazing. (Like Cinnamon Toast Crunch in ice cream form!) I opted for a lemon sorbet float since I’m allergic to milk and didn’t want to ruin the rest of our trip. I wasn’t crazy about the sorbet because it had lemon seeds and grains in it, but I respected the fact that it was freshly made and clearly not straight from a chemical plant somewhere. At any rate, our pit stop to Jeni’s was a success. Next time, I’ll brave the chances of an adverse reaction in order to try one of their ice cream flavors for myself.
Jeni's ice cream Charleston


After that we briefly kept strolling through the city until we reached a Walgreens (that had slurpees, champagne, and froyo machines!!!) to pick up some odds and ends before hopping in and Uber and headed back to the hotel to crash.

The next morning, we woke up and had a slow morning that consisted of lounging in bed and going for a swim. Everyone wanted to make a stop at The Market, which is a long strip of small stands that people that stuff like t-shirts and crafts, so we headed there. However, Bob and I became tempted by our proximity to Lowcountry Bistro, which was another restaurant that we had heard amazing things about. So we headed there while my family perused The Market.

Once again, it was lunch time for us but still sleepy time for most of Charleston, so the place was pretty slow when we first were seated. (Rest assured, the place filled in throughout our meal and was packed by the time we left!) Temptation got the best of me again and I opted for moonshine, even though it may have been before noon. 😉
lowcountry bistro charleston

Bob then suggested the idea that we share a flight of moonshine, which came with three flavors we were allowed to choose. We chose cranberry (which was our backup option when we were told that strawberry was sold out), white lightening (which tasted like a hybrid between tequila and vodka), and apple pie (which was really good). The moonshine arrived with a pimiento cheese and cracker platter, so it served as a pseudo appetizer for our meal. I was a little surprised to see the moonshine flights in small glasses that were slightly larger than shots, but I was no longer confused once we consumed the three flights and realized we were feeling a bit tipsy. Man, that stuff was strong.


For our meals I ordered a burger (yes, I love burgers) with grits on the side, and Bob got the chicken and waffles. I loved my burger, I just wish the side of grits was larger for the price we paid. Bob loved his fried chicken, but he found the waffle kind of mediocre. (Better to be unimpressed by the waffle than the chicken though, right?)
lowcountry bistro charleston lowcountry bistro charleston

I also ordered a side of cornbread because Bob and I love it so much, and while we were expecting to split one piece, we were shocked to find three large, warm pieces of cornbread being served to us. They were absolutely delicious!

lowcountry bistro charleston
As you can imagine, after this meal we were stuffed to the brim. We waddled over to The Market to meet my family, happy, full, and ready for a nap. This meal served as the end cap for our trip to Charleston, and we were happy to have ended it on a high note. We hopped to the car and headed to our next destination: Atlanta!


Any Charleston peeps out there: what did we miss? Anything we absolutely have to hit up next time?


Charleston Travel Diary: Part 2

If it seems like we have been MIA for a couple days, we apologize! The last few days have been a whirlwind traveling back home from a supersized vacation, catching up with work, and preparing for some big changes. But alas, here we are back at it with part 2 of our Charleston travel diary.

Have we mentioned how absolutely lovely Charleston was? Yeah? Okay well don’t mind me saying it again: Charleston was absolutely lovely. After our tour of McLeod Plantation and exploring some of the grounds on our own, we were starving. We hopped in an Uber and headed back to the historic Charleston area, where we were very excited to try out a restaurant that I had read awesome reviews about: HoM.
Hom restaurant Charleston
We got there around 11:45 and the place was empty, so that made me a little nervous because although I hate crowded restaurants, a restaurant being completely empty makes me a little nervous. However, we walked in anyways and were promptly greeted by a man who I’m guessing was the manager. He instructed us to seat ourselves and we grabbed a game of Connect 4 in the process. HoM is a really cool restaurant; not only do they have board games for you to play at your table, but they also have awesome decor and ping pong tables in the back. The whole brand identity was clearly well thought out, and the marketing nerd in me really appreciated that.
Hom restaurant Charleston Hom restaurant Charleston Hom restaurant Charleston
We ordered some cocktails (Bob chose a Hefeweisen and I ordered a Ren & Stumpy), and we both really enjoyed them. In fact, my drink tasted like liquid gold. Ya know, if gold was supposed to taste good. I had no shame ordering a second one, even though it was barely noon. (Side note: when the manager was greeting us, we joked with him about why the restaurant was so empty and he responded that it was barely lunch time. I’d heard that Charleston was a sleepy city and slow to wake up, but I wasn’t expecting 11:45 to be a revolutionary time to be craving some good eats. Oh well.)
Hom restaurant Charleston Hom restaurant Charleston
Anyways, I ordered a Cowboy Killer and Bob ordered a Godzilla, and we shared their tater tots and fried chicken macaroni and cheese. Yes, you read that right: fried chicken macaroni and cheese. I also ordered a side of grits because #cheesegritsrock. Everything was flavorful, expertly prepared, and cooked to perfection. You can tell that, just like the restaurant’s ambiance, a lot of care was put into the menu as well.
Hom restaurant review Charleston
Hom restaurant review Charleston
[Speaking of which, I must add that in part 1 of our Charleston travel diary I neglected to mention how my brother ordered a burger at Smoke BBQ our first night, and when we were brought our dishes we were told that his burger needed to be prepared again (because the first burger had been overcooked) and they brought him out some complimentary wings to enjoy in the meantime. As if that wasn’t considerate enough, the cook who made his burger came to our table when the new burger was sent out, because he wanted to personally ensure that my brother was enjoying his food. We were absolutely blown away by the level of investment that this cook had in his food, and I wish I could tell him this again personally. At any rate, I just wanted to throw that in there as an aside to how the hospitality in Charleston was just as great as the food.]
Back to HoM. Our server was super friendly and was thoughtful enough to mention some fun places for us to check out if we wanted to go out that evening. This was helpful because Bob and I had planned to ask her for her favorite places to go at night, and she beat us to it. Perhaps she was psychic 😉
Hom restaurant review Charleston
Anyways, we paid the check and headed off to the Old Slave Mart, a museum that resides in the actual building where slaves were bought and sold. As self-professed nerds and lovers of learning, I have to admit that it would have been nice if that museum was a bit bigger and interactive. There were some voice recordings to listen to — but they were simply recitations of a slave’s firsthand account, not the actual slave’s voice. The museum was small and cramped, with us crowding onto strangers to read the different displays, and I was hoping there would be many visual artifacts, but there were only a couple sets on shackles and a small hymn book in a display case. It was, however, incredibly intriguing (in a very somber way) to look at old advertisements for estate sales and opportunities to buy slaves. There was even a chart adjusting the price for an enslaved person with inflation and I was astounded to learn that a highly sought after slave would cost almost $40,000 in present day currency.
Charleston Old Slave Mart
The tour of the Old Slave Mart was quick, and my family dashed off to finish their activity package while Bob and I had the afternoon to ourselves. We did some more walking through Charleston and headed to another attraction that I was eager to see: The Edmonton-Alston house.
I have to say, I was excited to see this home, as it is located right on The Battery and Robert E. Lee once spent time in the home when his hotel in Charleston caught on fire and he needed accommodation. Not to mention, it was amazing that a direct descendant of the Alston family still lives on the 3rd floor of the home. However, the tour was too rushed and loquacious for our liking. Our tour guide, while clearly knowledgeable and passionate, spoke way too quickly and went through the history of the home and its inhabitants in a way that was too hurried and overwhelming to be easily digestable. I will say that the parts I processed were absolutely fascinating, but the tour definitely should have been longer and in smaller tour groups. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the home, which stinks, but we could take photos on the piazza, where Fort Sumter can be seen in the distance.
Edmonton-Alston house Charleston
While I was enchanted by the fact that the same dining room table was still there from the 1800s and that so much of the home was frozen in time, I wish that it was more interactive. Allegedly, there were diaries still in the library of the home and it would have been nice if they were in display cases or if pages were magnified and displayed somewhere for guests to read. I feel like that would have been more captivating and conveyed a better sense of the era about which we were learning. However, because of the lack of engagement I was disappointed. We learned some fun facts but all in all it felt like we paid money to take a tour of a beautifully maintained home and drink some cold water. If that’s all I wanted to do, I could just take a stroll through Bobby’s house. 😉 However, for a historical buff wanting to not only see the home but learn the stories that occurred within it, the Edmonton-Alston house left a lot to be desired.


All tuckered out from the walking we had down thus far, we headed back to our hotel and tackled some work for a bit before freshening up for dinner. My family was very tired as well, so they chose to stay in the hotel and order in, but us youngins (myself, Bobby, and my brother) decided that we wanted to experience more Charleston dining. We had raved about HoM’s awesome food, so my brother wanted to check it out. Yes, we ate at HoM two times in one day. #dontjudge


He was equally as impressed and he scarfed down his meal. Bob and I ordered the same meals — except this time I ordered the fried chicken macaroni and cheese without the fried chicken and Bob ordered a craft beer from a local brewery, but besides that our orders stayed the same — down to the two Ren & Stumpy cocktails I ordered again.
Hom restaurant review Charleston
I’m a dessert girl, so after dinner we headed to a highly revered shop downtown for some sweet treats. Any Charleston folks or fans have a guess as to where we went? Stay tuned for the conclusion of our Charleston travel diary!


In the meantime…there’s no place like HoM. 😉

Charleston Travel Diary: Part 1

Charleston was a complete 180-degree pivot from our experience in St. Pete. We only had 40ish hours in this lovely city, but we didn’t let having less than two days to explore hold us back.

We arrived in Charleston on Monday evening and headed to our hotel, the Springhill Suites Marriott. The location was great. We were just a 5-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of historic Charleston like King St. and the Market and all that fun stuff, but we were tucked away in a quiet corner of town with a nice river view. I can’t say enough positive things about the staff at the Springhill Suites; they were all very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable about the area. The hotel even had a complimentary shuttle that ran downtown and back from 5:00pm to 11:00pm which was an awesome perk! We didn’t use it, because my family had rental cars we drove when we were going someplace together or Bob and I would hop in an Uber, but it was great to know that the service was there — they even provided a map and some suggestions where to go!

After settling into our hotel and washing up for dinner, we headed into the city to explore some good Charleston eats. I had read a lot of blogs, TripAdvisor reviews, and Yelp listings to see the best places to eat in Charleston, and Smoke BBQ was consistently favorably reviewed. Some even dared to say it was the best barbecue in Charleston!

Smoke BBQ Charleston

I had a pulled pork sandwich, a side of macaroni and cheese, and I shared a side of hash and grits with Bob (who also ordered the pulled pork with a side of fries). It is not an understatement to say that we loved our meals. We left stuffed — but not before I grabbed some homemade rice krispie treats to snack on later! Smoke was a casual restaurant with a fun ambiance — and great music playing in the background. If you’re visiting Charleston, I highly recommend giving it a try.

We went back to our hotel and everyone crashed before a long day of sightseeing that was to come the next morning. Bob and I woke up and headed to McLeod Plantation, while the rest of my family took a carriage ride and explored Fort Sumter. Bobby and I were captivated by the plantation tour and learning about the history of the family who resided in that house for generations. We even were able to tour the kitchen, dairy, and cabins in which enslaved people worked and lived. It was a sobering and informative experience, and it really put things in perspective.

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

Some interesting facts we learned…

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

This was the actual facade of the McLeod main house, which is an antebellum period home. However, the colonial facade was added to the back of the house (which now looks like the front) when Charleston’s blue bloods and successful families decided to use their old plantation homes as a way to bring in tourism and revenue to the Charleston area.

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

African Americans still lived in these cabins until the 1990’s. I repeat, these cabins, which don’t have bathrooms or running water, or any modern amenities, were inhabited until the 1990’s. Yes, the ’90s. Meanwhile, we were sitting on our comfy couches watching All That on Nickelodeon. It really makes you check your privilege.

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

The type of cotton made on James Island plantations like this one was called sea island cotton. It’s now extinct, but it used to be shipped over to places in Europe like Liverpool where it would be made into lace. Because of the long fibers in sea island cotton, a special cotton gin had to be used, as seen below. It was much different than the cotton gin Eli Whitney created that we learned about in textbooks.

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

Also, the McLeod Plantation used to be over 1,400 acres, but over time pieces of land were sold to make money as sea island cotton died out, and now the property resides at just under 40 acres.

Our tour guide, Mark, was really informative and we really appreciated his passion for history. McLeod Plantation is owned by the state of South Carolina, whereas many other plantations in the area are still privately owned. That made the admission fee less expensive than other plantations (only $10) and the employees working there seemed to genuinely love history and tell an unbiased account of the property’s story. I want to visit more plantations on our next trip to Charleston, but this was an awesome start!

McLeod Plantation, Charleston

After our tour of McLeod Plantation — and doing some exploration of the grounds of our own — we hopped in an Uber and headed to lunch at a restaurant that we loved so much we had to eat there twice in one day. 😉

We can’t wait to tell you more about our trip to Charleston! Stay tuned!