First Impressions, Charleston

There’s rather a cruel and unfair joke about Americans made by people on this side of the pond. People say that Americans don’t look past their own borders, that they couldn’t point out Paris on a map (and I don’t mean Paris, Texas), and that “Europe” is seen as one homogenous blob that you can “do” in a week.

Not only is that not true of any American I’ve met, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that us Euros are just as bad!

So many of us see “America” as New York, Florida (Disney), LA (Coachella) or perhaps Texas (cowboys and music) with a large, uninhabited space in between. In fact most responses to me visiting Charleston were along the lines of “where?

The US has so much more to offer than a once in a lifetime trip to see Lady Liberty. I have so many spots on my To-Do List that I don’t think I could possibly see them all in a lifetime, but I’ll give it a good go!

One of these places was Charleston, South Carolina. Somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of press back home, in fact I fell in love with the place through Julia, who moved here last autumn.

When she invited my fiancé (still not used to saying that!) and I to stay, we jumped at the chance. Thrilled to have her and Thomas as our guides.

Thrown into the depths of a warm spring, wearing

Cream jacket // Navy dress

Navy belt // White + navy bag

Striped shoes

After breakfast we headed downtown to Charleston’s historic neighbourhood.

Filled with some of the most beautiful houses you’ll ever see, shaded by oaks and palms.

Yellow jacket (sold out, similar 1/similar 2)

White shirt dress (also check out this one, and this one) // Basket

Heels

We strolled through the sun dappled streets, admiring the architecture, the impeccable design, the lush gardens, the way each house compliments its neighbour.

If Ralph Lauren were to design a town, it would be Downtown Charleston.

I wore the perfect camouflage!

Poor Julia and Thomas had come all the way up to Washington to meet us for some cherry blossom action, only to find the very best on their doorstep.

Though hopefully we made it up to them with our foodie finds.

The people of Charleston are utterly charming, every corner we turned someone would wish us a good morning, offer up a quick chat about the weather, let us snuffle their dog (ok, that was just me).

It was a lovely change of pace from London, where people look at me like I’m a serial killer for saying good morning!

And I was really very taken by everyone’s impressive window boxes.

I’m aware that I’ve reached peak Middle Age a little early. I’m fine with it.

We cruised down cobbled roads and side streets, chattering away and choosing houses.

All of Julia’s were pink.

All of mine had double porches.

But it wasn’t long until we stumbled upon one with my name all over it.

If you hand me a pen, I’ll add a comma between the names and move right in.


For lunch we checked out a local favourite, 167 Raw.

A little roadside seafood place with a small, shady garden where you can sit outside.

With guacamole, ceviche and chips.

And just a few… accoutrements.

Fried shrimp tacos.

Swordfish tacos.

Lobster roll, in the butteriest roll you’ll ever try! They pan fry the roll in clarified butter before stuffing it.

Really, really naughty. In the best possible way.

Tuna burger, a real highlight!

Oyster poboy, as delicious as it is pretty.

We walked off lunch beneath the trees, relieved to find a warm afternoon breeze dancing through the leaves.

Before pulling up a pew in the park.

And buzzing away as excitedly as the bees working away around us.

If Charleston has escaped your attention until now, stay tuned.

More tomorrow, and by the end of the week you’ll be looking at hotels!

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