Our room of girls (me, my MOH and my future sister) woke up surprisingly early at around 7:30 AM on Saturday morning – which we attributed to our excitement to explore the city and ensure we had time to accomplish everything we set out to do! We kicked off the morning by walking about half a mile or so to a coffee shop my MOH heard was renowned for lavendar lattes. The idea of a floral-infused coffee seemed a bit foreign to me, but I have this habit where if I don’t order recommended items at a restaurant while on vacation, I then pine after the missed opportunity, so I was excited to give it a try! Black Tap Coffee had a super minimalist design with light heather gray wooden floors and tons of ambient light. We each ordered almond milk-based iced lavender lattes and waited to experience a new morning beverage! I had actually never had an almond milk-based coffee before, traditionally opting for black coffee with a pinch of stevia for sweetness, so the experience was doubly novel for me! When our coffees were ready, I took a big sip and really enjoyed the light floral aftertaste and the creaminess of the almond milk. It was so good, in fact, that I am entertaining the idea of *attempting to* recreate it at home – I need to do some more research into how to incorporate lavender (e.g., essential oil, dried lavender flowers, etc.) Needless to say, the coffee shop was a HIT and I highly recommend it to any one traveling in the area!
Sufficiently caffeinated, we met up with the rest of the girls and walked a couple blocks over to Waterfront Park for a private Serenity Tree Yoga session my MOH had organized. The setting was just beautiful – our instructor, Jess, had colorful beach towels set up on the grass in front of the water, and we had a beautiful view of the sky and palm tree-lined seascape. Jess led us through a calm, balanced, 60-minute flow and we ended in Shavasana with cool essential oil-infused towels draped over our foreheads. Jess was a wonderful instructor – and she really tailored the message of the practice to the weekend (celebrating friendship, appreciating togetherness and reunion, and treasuring the marriage to come), and it was made extra special by the fact that she and her husband were celebrating their 12-year anniversary two days later!
As a take-home present, my MOH and Jess had put together a gift bag with a “Yoga Bride” tank (featured above), as well as some healing teas, electrolyte drink mix packets for the weekend, a personalized essential oil blend and two healing crystals (for patience and love). It was such a fortifying and grounding activity during our time in Charleston, and I was excited to take home a few keepsakes to continue the spiritual experience and support de-stressing during these last couple of months before the wedding! Definitely check them out for your next event: http://www.serenitytreeyoga.com/bachelorette-yoga/
After yoga, we were STARVING so we walked over to a cheerful yellow-colored restaurant about a block from our hotel called Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B. for short)!
We arrived about an hour before our reservation (with hopefully expressions that the restaurant might be able to sit us in short order). Lucky for us, the Chef’s Table had just opened up, so we were immediately seated and provided a straight-line view of the master chef at work! Another perk was the row of cookbooks and magazines lining the top of the table, which we all pored through while we waited for our food to arrive. I was feeling a little more “lunch” than “brunch” and ordered the Grilled Chicken and Watermelon Salad. It was incredibly refreshing and sweet yet savory at the same time. The chicken was grilled with a slight pesto herb marinade that paired super well with the sweet, juicy watermelon and candied pecans. 10/10 would recommend! (And, if given the option, I would absolutely go back to try some of their other dishes – the crab cake benedict was ordered by three of my girlfriends and looked delicious – served with several spears of blanched asparagus and perfect not-too-runny, not-too-hard poached eggs!)
After brunch, we walked back to the hotel to change and relax for an hour before our next Charleston stop: Boone Hall Plantation! We ordered a car and drove approximately 30 minutes to the site, which was breathtaking! The entryway from the gate was lined with nearly a mile of moss-cloaked oak trees, culminating in a cul de sac right in front of the main plantation house. We signed in just in time for the next tour and sat in gazebos right in front of the house until our tour guide arrived.
Fun facts: The Notebook was filmed here (this is Allie’s mother’s home!) and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were married on site!
Our tour guide was informed and passionate, dressed in full-scale 1930’s garb in an indigo hue (which we learned was significant as they made indigo blocks on the plantation in its early days). We toured the Georgian-designed house library, dining room, kitchen and other rooms – which contained live floral bouquets, antique furnishings and recovered materials. We got a kick out of the tour itself and our tour companions, some of whom were traveling with small children who were rolling around on the rugs in the rooms, hugging their mothers and listening intently for any mentions of pirates!
We didn’t end up completing the outdoor, wagon-led plantation tour because the weather turned sour on us – but we did stand on the back porch and look across the plantation lawn at all of the critical “film venues” from The Notebook (a personal favorite for this Nicholas Sparks fan)!
When we returned to the hotel, we took a snack break in front of the Mills House’s beautiful fountain-overlooking lobby and prepared for a night of good ol’ bachelorette fun, including a lingerie party and some celebratory drinking! My friends will tell you that I am not a huge drinker and, when I do drink, my tastes tend toward the elementary (as in, I like drinks that taste like fruit juice and candy). My future sister brought one of my favorite wines with us to Charleston – it is a sweet variety from Grinder’s Switch in Nashville with raspberry, honeysuckle and rose notes – it is DELIGHTFUL! I had three glasses as we were opening presents and getting ready for our night on the town!
Around 8:30, we beelined over to Cannon Street to make our dinner reservations at The Grocery, an innovative, warm restaurant mere walking distance from the downtown bar scene. The space was beautiful and chock full of bachelorette parties, funnily enough, and we were excited to dive into their seasonal menu! I ordered a rosé spritzer drink that was perfectly sparkling and pink as my cocktail while we snacked on creamy burrata and roasted carrot appetizers. For my entree, I ordered the roasted half chicken with greek panzanella salad and feta vinaigrette – it was the perfect amount of mediterranean spice and savoriness, and a good protein boost for our night on the town!
After we wrapped up dinner, we walked down the street to Stars for some rooftop cocktails – there was a pretty long line (signaling its popularity) but the bouncer kindly let our group in without a wait! No harm in asking for a little special treatment, in my opinion – and, hey, it worked! We climbed the stairs to the third floor (realizing after the fact that there was an elevator – and feeling fit and fancy that we got some extra steps in) and ordered drinks from the bar to enjoy on the rooftop with a clear view of a star-dotted sky. I kept with the theme of “lavender” from the morning and ordered a lavender lemonade spiked with vodka – it was citrus-y, not too sweet, and tasted only mildly alcoholic – just the way I like it! We must have arrived at just the right time because we snagged a table for our group and were able to relax and enjoy our drinks with tons of space and comfortable seating.
We were able to enjoy Stars for about an hour and a half when it started to drizzle and we decided to take cover at a new spot. We ended up in a doughnut shop called Glazed which had pillow benches and the most amazing aroma of sugary, fried dough. It was a great place to escape from the rain, and I was probably too excited (nearly in tears) when the staff offered me a free, warm doughnut! I practically ran up to the counter and picked what I thought must be a signature flavor – glazed! It was so delicious – fluffy, buttery and sweet – igniting what will likely be an obsession with doughnuts as well as muffins.
We wanted to make one more stop before heading home for the night, and remembered passing Hot Little Biscuit on our walk to the doughnut shop! This spot is open for breakfast and late night Southern treats, and we had about 45 minutes until they closed at 2:00 AM! I had just devoured that doughnut so I didn’t order my own biscuit, but you better believe I taste tested! My MOH ordered a cinnamon biscuit and generously let me take a bite – it tasted like a mix between a funnel cake, cinnamon roll and traditional Loveless Cafe-esque biscuit – so good!
We all passed out when we got back to the hotel, and set more than a few alarms to wake us up for our Sunday (last day in Charleston) plans! Details in post number three, coming up soon!