My good friend from Germany visited me last November. It was her first time in Los Angeles, and the United States, so the pressure was on to share with her the best that Southern California has to offer. She wanted to hit up the obvious places like Hollywood Boulevard to see the “stars” and Disneyland, the happiest and most expensive place on earth. Two weeks flew by and almost a thousand photos later (literally), I’m here to share a few of my favorites today.
If you’re visiting Los Angeles for the first time, going to the beach is a must. Santa Monica and Venice Beach are very popular with tourists but I’d suggest visiting Manhattan Beach! It’s less crowded, extremely walkable, and more picturesque in my opinion.
Hike to the Hollywood Sign:
Or if you’re pressed for time because you need to race to see the sunset at the Griffith Observatory (or if you’re lazy), drive to the Hollywood Sign! Type in 3000 Canyon Lake Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068 into your GPS, drive up a few winding roads, and treat yourself to the closest view you can get of this famous landmark without getting arrested. You can get even closer if you hike behind it but who wants a picture from the back of the Hollywood Sign?
This is the place to be in Los Angeles at sunset. I’ll let my pictures do the talking.
Mission San Juan Capistrano:
Or just get out of Los Angeles (I know it’s hard, traffic-wise) and visit other parts of Southern California. While San Juan Capistrano isn’t the first place I’d recommend to tourists, I felt like I had to show my friend some sort of historic building that wasn’t just built in the 1900′s. Apart from visiting in the 3rd grade, this was my second time to Mission San Juan Capistrano and it was a beautiful place to explore and learn about the history of the missions. In grade school, I never really understood the sad history behind the missions and all the forced labor required from the Native Americans to build these beautiful settlements. There are 21 missions along the coast of California and I’d definitely recommend visiting at least one.
Have you visited Los Angeles before? What is your favorite place to explore in the City of Angels? Let me know in the comments! I’ll be visiting London and Edinburgh over the next two weeks so look out for a guest post while I’m away. I’ll be back on March 7th with a new post for my #Take12Trips challenge!
If you missed my post last week, I recently traveled to the quirky Danish town of Solvang located about two hours north of Los Angeles. Solvang is barely two and half square miles, however, you will still be able to choose from about a dozen small hotels and inns to stay at. When I research hotels, there are always a few things I’m looking for: an affordable price, great location, charm, and most importantly, free wifi! The Hamlet Inn certainly ticked all of those boxes.
Located on Mission Drive, in the center of everything, you’ll find that The Hamlet Inn has a bit of a retro motel look going on from the exterior. Free parking is provided right outside each room which is always a plus. Also, I don’t know what it is about me and gazebos but I was way too excited to discover their fairy light decorated gazebo with fire engine red, art deco lawn chairs. Perhaps I watched too many episodes of Gilmore Girls growing up. +10 points to anyone who understands what I’m talking about!
Inside our room, I was pleasantly surprised to find how much the decor reminded me of the houses I stayed at in Denmark a few summers back. This is Solvang after all, “Disneyland Denmark”, but The Hamlet Inn’s rooms remained tasteful and true to Danish style. Everything from the modern wood furnishings to the minimalist bathroom design and charming Danish flag throw blanket made me feel very far away from home… in the best way possible!
Hands down, my favorite part of our room was the adorable reading nook in the corner. Of course I assume it’s for reading and not just staring out the window after eating and drinking your way through Solvang. That could work too! This was such a lovely and unexpected part of our room that I’ve never seen before in a hotel.
As if I haven’t gushed enough, The Hamlet Inn has a few more exciting amenities. They offer their guests complimentary bikes to use around town which is the perfect way to see everything within these charming two and a half square miles. Just remember, don’t drink and bike! But seriously, there are quite a number of wine tasting rooms in Solvang so you’ve been warned!
Upon check- in, you’ll receive a very handy card with a list of Solvang’s wine tasting rooms. Hang on to this card because it will get you 2 for 1 tastings and even a free tasting at Presidio Winery further down the street. Yes, you read that correctly, free wine. Need I say more? I also found The Hamlet Inn’s location ideal since it is directly across from Olsen’s Bakery and Paula’s Pancake House which I raved about here. Just promise me you won’t sit and eat danishes all day long in that lovely reading nook, as tempting as it sounds.
The Hamlet Inn is affordable luxury at its best with prices starting at $79 during the winter and spring, Solvang’s slower seasons. Let’s be real though, southern California is forever stuck in summer so there’s really no bad time to visit.
Let me know if any of you have ever been to Solvang! I always love to hear from you.
*Note: I did receive a complimentary night stay at The Hamlet Inn. As always, opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!
WARNING: This post is all about food. I apologize ahead of time if you’re left drooling and hungry after reading. Quick, grab a snack and buckle in. You’ve been warned.
Drive about two and a half hours north outside of Los Angeles along the coast and you’ll stumble upon the strangely charming Danish-style village of Solvang. A few locals I met described it as a “Disney Denmark” and I can definitely see what they meant.
Having been to Denmark a couple of times, I can proudly say that it did remind me of a few small and colorful towns outside of Copenhagen. Danes are very friendly and that definitely wasn’t lost in Solvang. The only real thing missing were cobblestones but I can look past that and so can my feet. Surprisingly, there was one aspect I enjoyed more in Solvang than in Denmark… and that was the food. While there are some touristy restaurants in Solvang where you can sample traditional Danish cuisine, I have a few other delicious recommendations if you get tired of open faced sandwiches and red cabbage!
Breakfast: Paula’s Pancake House
Being in Solvang, we really couldn’t leave without trying a Danish Pancake which is basically dessert for breakfast. Sign me up! Paula’s was packed by the time we arrived at 9:00 AM on a Saturday but we were quickly seated since we didn’t mind sitting at the counter. This place is old fashioned in the best way with wonderful service, huge portions (seriously, share a dish), endless coffee refills, and probably the best damn freshly squeezed orange juice I’ve tasted. The pancake was delicious and that bacon strip was about as long as my arm. +10 points
Lunch: The Succulent Cafe
The Succulent Cafe is actually just down the street from Paula’s. I knew I’d love it as soon as I noticed they had an adorable thatched roof. You order at the counter, take your number, and they bring your food to you. They have a lovely outdoor seating section where we enjoyed our lunch. Stefanie, assistant to the GM, kindly suggested I try Dave’s BBQ meatloaf sandwich and ohhhhhh man, so glad I listened. Picture this: meatloaf, sourdough bread, cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. I won’t torture you any longer, here’s a photo…
Wine Tasting: Dascomb Cellars
Again, loving these thatched roofs! If you walk around Solvang for about five minutes, you’ll quickly notice that there are about a million wine tasting rooms. The hardest part about this situation is choosing the right one. Almost all are pet and child friendly which is great for families visiting. Also, several hotels in Solvang provide visitors with 2 for 1 wine tasting vouchers at many different locations. After visiting a few (life is so hard), Dascomb Cellars was a clear winner for me. Located in the center of town on the corner of 1st and Copenhagen, Dascomb Cellars is a charming, family-run winery.
We had the pleasure of meeting Andy Scarffe who was beyond knowledgable when it came to introducing the wines to us. This was only my second wine tasting (ever) so I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Andy describe each wine, his passion clearly shining through. I won’t even try to go into detail about every wine because I simply wouldn’t do them justice. After sampling a few reds and whites, I discovered that I’m a big fan of white wine, the sweeter the better! However, concluding with their port and delicious raspberry chocolates was a highlight. Another thing that stood out at Dascomb Cellars were their cheese samples which, surprisingly, several other tasting rooms in Solvang didn’t offer. I would recommend Dascomb Cellars to anyone visiting Solvang and don’t forget to ask for Andy!
Dinner: Fitzpatrick’s Tavern
I promise I didn’t just pick where to eat based on how beautiful the buildings are. It doesn’t hurt though! After talking to a few locals, we heard that Fitzpatrick’s Tavern opened just a few months ago and is becoming extremely popular. This place is small and cozy which meant it was almost full by the time we arrived at 6:00 PM on a Friday! I was expecting standard pub food since it’s a tavern after all and the prices were very reasonable at about $12 for an entree. Fitzpatrick’s definitely exceeded my expectations. We went for their Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Club, and Mac n Cheese with white truffle oil. The Shepherd’s Pie and pasta would’ve been more than enough for two people. The flavor and quality of the food went way beyond your usual pub grub. It was comfort food at its best. I’m a bit heartbroken I forgot to take a picture of the Mac n Cheese though.
Bakery: Olsen’s Bakery
Don’t worry! I didn’t forget dessert! Solvang is a Danish town after all so there’s a bakery on almost every corner. We heard great things about Olsen’s before we went and our hotel just happened to be across the street. Fate. I can’t vouch for their danishes because I didn’t even manage to try one! So embarrassing. I can, however, vouch for their butter cookies, Russian tea cakes, and apple pie squares. Whatever you do, please don’t leave Solvang without trying their apple pie squares. Also, they’re famous for their butter cookies and you can buy a giant tub to take home for $15. This thing will last you through the winter.
Solvang is the perfect escape outside of Los Angeles. Whether you go just for the day or stay the night, you’ll find plenty to do and more importantly, eat. We stayed at the lovely Hamlet Inn so look out for my review next week. Since I went to Solvang on the last day of January, it totally counts as my first trip for #take12trips! Find out more from Need Another Holiday!
I’ll be attending the Travel and Adventure Show in Long Beach on Saturday. Let me know if any of you will be there!
Today’s Friday photo was taken just after a beautiful sunset last November in Santa Monica. I live really close to Santa Monica and come here far too often to shop on 3rd Street Promenade. Although I’m no stranger to this beautiful beachside city, this was definitely the first time I stopped to really take in its beauty. Cheesy, I know, but sometimes you really take your home for granted. On this day I had one of my best friends visiting from Germany and it was her first time seeing the Pacific Ocean! I loved experiencing these familiar places through her eyes and realizing how lucky I am to live where I do.
Awhile back I said I would participate in Need Another Holiday’s #Take12Trips in January! Well there’s still one day left and I’m off to Solvang for the weekend. This quirky Danish-like town is just a two and a half hour drive from Los Angeles. It’s my first time visiting and I’m excited for this little coastal road trip… but even more excited to stuff my face with Danish pastries all weekend.
After eating and drinking my way through Charleston earlier in the week, Savannah really had a lot to live up to. And what better way to experience the local cuisine than with a food tour?! Note: If you ever visit the South and don’t leave 5 pounds heavier, you’re doing it all wrong.
Unless you count London pub crawls (I don’t), I had never really been on a food tour before. We only had 48 hours to spend in Savannah so doing a food tour was a great way to try out several local eateries as well as walking around and getting to know the city.
The Savannah Taste Experience is a wonderful new company started by brothers Stu and Donald Card. Their passion for the great Hostess City really shines through their tours where they’ve handpicked some of the best locally owned restaurants and shops. No restaurant chains allowed!
I decided to go on the First Squares Food Tour which took me along the riverfront and through the historic downtown. This three hour taste tour allowed me to learn quite a bit about Savannah’s history while strolling through gardens and past famous landmarks. Our guide Katie was so energetic, enthusiastic, and very easy to listen to. Okay enough gushing, let’s get on with the food!
Stop #1: Rocks on the River in the Bohemian Hotel
This first restaurant was right on the riverfront with some lovely views. Of course I was too busy digging into my she-crab soup to take any pictures so you’ll just have to take my word for it. She-crab soup is a popular dish in the South and is more of a creamy soup (similar to a bisque if you want to get all fancy) with yes, you guessed it, crab. It was very light and flavorful. Not too fishy which is a good thing for me. Whew, thank god I’m not a food critic. We’re off to a great start here. Stick around.
Stop #2: Tondee’s Tavern
Tondee’s Tavern holds a special place in my heart. It is here that I had my first drink of many on this day. Keep in mind, it was barely noon. When in Rome, right?
It really wouldn’t be a proper Southern food tour without some shrimp and grits. But more importantly, turn your attention to that red drink in the background. You can’t leave Savannah without trying some good old Chatham Artillery Punch. Not for the faint hearted. You’ve been warned.
Stop #3: Molly MacPherson’s Pub
This was my first time stepping into a pub since leaving London last May so I was already sold. The Scottish owner was incredibly friendly and I enjoyed getting to know him and the rest of our group while tasting a hearty meat pie with gravy. After sampling two seafood dishes before this (and all throughout Charleston), I appreciated some variety.
Stop #4: B&D Burgers
At this point it would have been a bit too ambitious to actually eat a burger so we went for the classic fried green tomatoes. I am not the correct person to review this dish because I’ve hated tomatoes my entire life. However, everyone kept telling me how different this would be from those evil red ones so I dug in. I didn’t hate it which meant that it was either the best fried green tomato ever made or that I’ll just eat anything fried. I washed it down with Tybee Tea which is named after Tybee Island in Georgia. It consists of lemonade, unsweetened tea, and vodka… and yes it was still only the afternoon. It was such a big drink that I had to carry it with me to the next stop. Classy. Also, big thanks to the Savannah Historic District for allowing me to consume alcohol on the street.
Stop #5: Mabel’s Cupcake Emporium
Possibly everyone’s favorite stop because who doesn’t love cupcakes? Don’t even answer that question because I don’t want to know. We can’t be friends. Our guide Katie happily served us our cake batter with buttercream frosting cupcakes which everyone inhaled in about 30 seconds. I’m not exaggerating and I promise it wasn’t just the alcohol, but that cupcake was probably the best one I’ve ever tasted. And I live in Los Angeles where I’m surrounded by Sprinkles. If you know what I’m referring to then that’s really saying something.
Stop #6: The Salt Table
My first thought was “Really? We’re going to taste salt?” In the end I was thankful. Not only did they know at this point we’d be very full but this was also a very unique shop to browse. My favorite salts were the Ghost Pepper Sea Salt (very HOT) and the Smoked Bacon Sea Salt. There was also plenty of different iced teas (alcohol free, thank god) to try and even some popcorn.
Last stop: Savannah Bee Company
This place was just so damn charming. I probably would’ve walked in on my own even without taking this tour. Other than knowing where it comes from, I’m really no honey expert so this was very entertaining for me. We sampled Tupelo, Sourwood, Acacia, Orange Blossom, and Wildflower honey if that means anything to you honey enthusiasts out there. There was also a lovely board passed around with apple slices, honey, and cheese for everyone. It was a great way to end the tour.
However, it didn’t end there for me because I was meeting up with tour owners Stu and Donald here. What I didn’t know was that they would graciously treat me to a mead tasting. That’s right, more alcohol.
For those of you not familiar with mead (I certainly wasn’t), it’s basically fermented honey with water. People often call it “honey-wine” and rightfully so. I’m not sophisticated enough to be that into wine yet but this was surprisingly very tasty. We sampled five different kinds with all unique flavors infused with fruits and spices, some dry and some sweet. I definitely preferred the sweeter ones.
As you can hopefully tell, I thoroughly enjoyed my food tour with the Savannah Taste Experience. I had a feeling I’d enjoy sampling different foods but did not expect to have that much fun with a group of strangers. One of my favorite parts about travel is interacting with people from all around the world who are just as passionate about traveling or… food! If any of you visit Savannah, I wholeheartedly recommend this tour. I’d especially recommend taking it at the beginning of your trip as the perfect way to start off your adventures.
Have any of you been on a food tour before? What are your thoughts? Side note: I’ll be attending the Los Angeles Times Travel Show this Friday & Sunday. Let me know below if any of you will be there!
*Note: I did receive a complimentary ticket for my Savannah Taste Experience Food Tour. Opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!
Apologies for my absence this past week. One of my best friends is visiting from London and I’ve been busy showing her around Los Angeles. I’ll be posting my first post on Savannah soon which I’m excited to share. I really fell in love with that city and the South in general and am hoping to return next year! If you haven’t already, feel free to read my 24 hour guide to Charleston which is another great city in the South.
Until then, enjoy a guest post written by Martin Nolan from The Travel Ramble. Martin is a full blown travel enthusiast. Whether that’s spending his winter indulging in fresh powder up a mountain or trying to make sense of a worn guide book in the summer. You can read his musings on Twitter @martinnolan7 or check out his Google+ Community.
It might surprise a few people who have never been – but ski resorts are as unique as the snowflakes that rest on their slopes. Every mountain, and its accompanying resort, has its own vibe. Each mountain has its own curves that are unique to it. They all develop their own reputation. Some as a party town. Others as a powder hounds dream and some as adrenaline filled white knuckle rides. Skiing in Bulgaria has developed its own reputation. It is known as being “cheap and cheerful”. That dreaded back handed compliment that’s thrown around the skiing world. But anyone who has been there knows different. I know different. I know that skiing in Bulgaria was the one time that I could do what I wanted. The one time I could burn the candle at both ends without a worry. Skiing in Bulgaria allowed me to live like a king.
Earlier this year I decided to take a chance on skiing in Bulgaria. It was the first time I had ventured into the former Eastern Bloc to go skiing. The value on offer swayed me as much as the desire to experience a different culture did. It was half the price of the Alps and due to the great exchange rate on the Lev; I would be able to live like a king. Or, at least Lev like a king. That was reason enough to get me to book with Crystal Ski. Outside of the value and the fact it was a former soviet country I knew little about my destination of choice –Borovets.
It might have been my naivety but I was expecting a grey village to greet me. Every programme I’ve seen about former Soviet Union nations seemed to be littered with grey little buildings. But Borovets’ streets were lined with sleek and modern accommodation. New builds were engulfing the bottom of the alpine covered mountains. Affordable new builds at that. Borovets, the former country retreat for kings and Princes was becoming a modern ski resort. I wasn’t in the Eastern bloc anymore – just like Bulgaria – I was now in a European Union country. My expectation of having a culturally different experience was long gone. In my mild disappointment, I decided to take solace in the powder filled alpine runs. My sorrows would be comforted by morning’s indulging in fresh powder, afternoons in spas and evenings sipping wine in bars.
Soon I started to get over the fact that skiing in Bulgaria wasn’t the Soviet esque experience that I thought it would be. Instead, I started to realise the true value of skiing in Bulgaria. The fact that it is value! I could afford everything that I wanted to do. Suddenly my days were filled with activities. I was spending afternoon’s dog sledding, snow shoeing and taking mountain walks. Every day was full of experiences and because of this I saw more of the landscape than I usually would. Usually I would be consigned to my hotel room but here I was out and about. I was doing whatever I wanted.
Skiing in Bulgaria has its flaws. It’s not a snow sure as the Alps and some of the new building work can be a bit of an eyesore. But for all of its flaws, my time there was the first time I was free of the dreaded b word looming over. The first time I didn’t have a budget and one of the few times I was truly relaxed. It gave me a freedom to explore the slopes in more ways than I usually would. One of the criticisms people label at Bulgaria is “you get exactly what you pay for” and they’re right. You do. But the only thing is that I paid a lot, lot less for it. So much so that I ended up doing more than I usually would.
Where are your favorite places to ski? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment below
When it came time to research accommodations for Charleston and Savannah, I quickly learned that Charleston is the pricier city. As I mentioned in my last post, I was only going to have 24 hours in Charleston so a good location was important to me. While we did have a rental car, parking in any city is pricey and hard to find so I wanted our hotel to be within walking distance from every attraction and restaurant we’d be visiting.
After about 10 minutes of Googling, anywhere near King Street or Market Street looked like the place to be. All I really did was pull up Google Maps, zoomed in, and jotted down the names of hotels around that area. I say ‘hotels’ but all you’ll really find in Charleston are B&B’s or small boutique hotels which is totally up my alley! I’ll admit, it was hard to find a room for under $200, especially for the location I wanted to be in.
I’m all about affordable luxury when I travel and was happy to choose the Fulton Lane Inn for our one night in the Holy City. This cozy inn is tucked away on the oh so fashionable King Street and is almost too easy to walk past without noticing. Be sure to look out for this sign right above a small jewelry shop:
I loved discovering this charming lane and walking past the little gas lamps and into the lobby at Fulton Lane Inn. We had the pleasure of meeting with Keisha at the Concierge for check-in. She made us feel very welcomed and exemplified that famous Southern hospitality. I was excited to hear that in the morning we could choose to have breakfast delivered to our rooms or walk on over to King’s Courtyard next door and dine outside at their sister hotel. Fulton Lane also offered complimentary wine and cheese every evening in the courtyard next door. We were very sad to miss this event due to our mixology tour that we had already booked. So many cocktails, so little time. Definitely something to keep in mind for our next visit!
As soon as we entered our room, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a gorgeous canopy bed that was so grand you needed a step stool to get into it! Our room was a Standard King so keep that in mind if you want a similar bed should you ever stay here
Both the room and bathroom were incredibly spacious and I especially loved the high ceilings. Our room looked over King Street but street noise was not a problem at night. King Street mainly consists of trendy shops and restaurants that are closed well before bedtime, or at least our bedtime (11 PM)! I was also very happy to discover free and fast wifi which is always a must for me. It still baffles me that hotels, fancy or not, still get away with charging for internet in the year 2013. Get it together!
Before settling into bed, I filled out the Breakfast Service card since we decided to eat in the following morning. It had rained on and off for most of our day in Charleston so we didn’t want to get rained on for breakfast. Of course we woke up to beautiful blue skies but I was still very grateful to have breakfast delivered to us after consuming strong cocktails the previous night. They offer a continental breakfast with a basket full of delicious pastries so no complaints here. I’ll also share a photo of the lovely courtyard next door that is used for breakfast and their wine and cheese evenings. Next time, Fulton Lane, I promise!
Fulton Lane Inn is a charming boutique hotel that offers a perfect location, friendly service, wonderful beds and extremely fast internet which is pretty much all I could ever want in a hotel. The only thing I would change would be the parking. We had to pay to park ($12) but since Fulton Lane is so well located, we didn’t have to use our car in Charleston which definitely saved us time and money. Most rooms start at just under $200 and they always have some great deals going on. I actually just received an email offering up rooms for $185 from November 27 – December 1st if that’s something you’d be interested in! I’m sure Charleston is beautiful during the holidays.
Have you ever been to Charleston? Where did you stay? I’d love to know!
*Note: I did receive a discounted rate for my stay at the Fulton Lane Inn. Opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!
Unless you count briefly visiting New Orleans when I was 10 (I don’t), I had never been to the South before. Some of our family recently moved to Georgetown and Pawleys Island in South Carolina so of course we had to go visit! We also decided to pass through Charleston and Savannah which are two cities I’ve always wanted to see.
I knew we’d only have a day to explore Charleston so I quickly made a list of everything I wanted to see and do. Great food, friendly people, and beautiful homes are just a few ways people had described Charleston to me and I wanted to make sure I’d experience all of the above.
Food is always the best place to start, right? If you enjoy seafood, and thankfully I do, you’ll never go hungry in Charleston. I was on a mission to try the best shrimp and grits in town, a dish I had never tried before but heard so much about. About a block from the City Market on East Bay Street, you’ll find the very trendy but cozy Slightly North of Broad restaurant, or S.N.O.B. as the cool kids call it.
Even at 1 in the afternoon on a weekday, this place was packed with both tourists and locals enjoying a late lunch. Luckily we had made reservations, which I certainly recommend, and were quickly seated. As you walk towards the dining area you’ll pass by a snazzy bar that looked very inviting and ready for the Autumn season. The rest of the restaurant is beautiful with high ceilings, white pillars, chandeliers, and a brick wall where you can see into the kitchen. It definitely had an upscale touch to it without feeling too stuffy or formal.
It took me about half a second to decide that I’d be ordering their famous shrimp and grits. At first I thought the $16 price tag was a bit high for lunch but quickly remembered that the South is very generous with their food portions. Seriously though, I counted about 12 pieces of shrimp in there alongside sausage and ham which I could barely finish. The flavors were incredible and even though I have nothing to compare it to, my first shrimp and grits experience was a success. If you’re on a tighter budget, their Express Lunch of the Day is a great deal for $10.95 which includes a special entree, choice of soup or house salad, and coffee or iced tea. On that day they were offering a salmon cake over couscous and a side of butternut squash bisque. Not to be dramatic, but their butternut squash bisque was pretty life changing. If I lived in Charleston, you’d find me at S.N.O.B. every day chowing down on a bowl of this stuff.
Charleston is a very walkable city and after lunch we strolled over to the Palmetto Carriage Barn for our afternoon tour. This isn’t news to most tourists visiting Charleston, but taking a carriage tour through the city’s historic Residential District is the way to go. I’d especially recommend taking a carriage tour towards the beginning of your trip which will give you a better understanding of where most of these tourist attractions are located and also some history behind them. There are quite a number of famous 18th and 19th century mansions to see while on this tour as well as some charming and colorful cobblestone streets. Of course we visited on a cloudy and drizzly day but the carriages are covered so it really wasn’t a problem.
I think I counted 3 other competing carriage companies while walking towards our meeting point. They all offer the same $22 price but I was eager to choose Palmetto Carriage Tours. What sets Palmetto apart from the rest is their use of two horses (or mules) to pull one carriage. The animals temperatures are also taken after every tour on every day of the year to ensure the best care. On a more superficial note, I really loved the Red Barn where you wait to board your carriage. It’s colorful, fun, and all the employees are incredibly friendly and a pleasure to chat with before your tour.
After our tour, we checked into the lovely Fulton Lane Inn on King Street to quickly get ready for the evening. I love this hotel so much that I’ll have a review up on Tuesday about it. They offer complimentary cheese and wine in the evening in a beautiful courtyard but we had already made plans! A few weeks before our trip, I was very excited to find a Groupon for a Mixology Tour with Charleston Culinary Tours. Usually this tour is $40 per person but we got a two for one deal so I was very happy. I just looked it up now and it seems to still be going on so grab your tickets while you can!
Our meeting place was also on King Street and at 5:30 PM we met Glenn, our friendly tour guide, who took us to three different stops where we enjoyed a cocktail and demonstration from a mixologist at each place. Each mixologist we met was very knowledgable and excited to share their craft with us. The best part about this tour though was the incredibly friendly people we met. There were 6 other people on the tour with us and two were even Charleston locals. This tour is perfect for tourists and locals looking for a fun night out in the city. Oh and be warned, after three of these delicious cocktails, you will be perfectly buzzed and ready for some dinner which is exactly where we went next.
My tolerance for alcohol isn’t very high so “buzzed” is putting it lightly. Therefore, I was incredibly thankful that the restaurant I had picked out for dinner was only about a 5 minute walk away, off of King Street. Coast Bar and Grill is a great place to eat, you guessed it, more seafood! At this point, all I wanted was some fried food so I went for (another giant serving) of fried tilapia, shrimp, fries, and hushpuppies. The food was delicious and thankfully sobered me up before bedtime. I’d also highly recommend their bacon wrapped sea scallops!
The next morning we woke up to beautiful blue skies which would have been very much appreciated the day before but c’est la vie. We were eager to get on the road towards Savannah but not before driving around Charleston to snap a few photos of the city bathed in sunshine. One of my favorite areas in Charleston are the colorful houses on Rainbow Row. Walk down the gorgeous cobblestone road on North Adgers Wharf Street towards the water and find a bench to relax on and enjoy the view.
I hope this guide is helpful for anyone looking to visit Charleston. 24 hours is definitely not enough time in this beautiful city but you can still accomplish a lot. I’m already looking forward to returning. Have any of you visited Charleston before? I’d love to know.
*Note: I did receive a complimentary ticket for my Palmetto Carriage Tour. Opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!
Oh how clever of me to post about a cemetery on Halloween! I’m sure no other travel bloggers are doing the same…
Bonaventure Cemetery was high on my list of places to visit in Savannah this past week. But our 48 hours in Savannah were not nearly enough and our days were so jammed packed (in the best way possible!) that I almost missed out on visiting. I guess you can say I saved the best for last. In reality, I wasn’t able to book a tour in time and ended up exploring this gorgeous 160-acre cemetery on my own about 45 minutes before it closed. Was it worth it? Completely. Do I recommend waiting to the last minute and scrambling to see as much as you can in less than an hour? Not quite.
Tour groups are not always my favorite way to go but so many people told me that tours through Shannon Scott Journeys are a great value and experience. One woman I had met at our B&B told me that next time I’m visiting Savannah, book a tour and make sure to get Shannon as my guide. “The tour was 3 hours long but I could have listened to him talk all day. He made the dead come alive.” Not literally, don’t worry. Not like I needed one, but I now have a reason to visit Savannah again!
Hopefully my pictures will persuade you to visit sometime soon! Enjoy.
Which one is your favorite picture? I went a little crazy taking pictures of all the Spanish Moss but it’s just too beautiful! I’d love to hear if you’ve visited Bonaventure Cemetery before! I have plenty of posts coming up about my road trip through Charleston and Savannah. Both cities did not disappoint.