by Marianne McGoldrick, BRIDES
Photo: Courtesy of French Quarter Inn
If you're planning to stay stateside for your honeymoon, consider Charleston, South Carolina as your romantic destination. Enjoy world-class cuisine, premier shopping, and luxury accommodations while surrounded by good ol' southern hospitality. And did we mention, romance?
Church Street's French Quarter Inn offers a more luxurious stay. This elegant hotel is in the heart of Charleston and includes amenities such as champagne upon check-in, gourmet continental breakfast, and evening wine and cheese receptions. Hop on a complimentary bike rental and take a short ride to Battery Park, or take a three-minute stroll to the Charleston City Market.
For a more intimate stay, book a long weekend at one of Charleston's finest antebellum homes, Two Meeting Street Inn. This bed and breakfast is full of old southern charm and beautiful front-porch views. The Spell Room is a honeymoon favorite featuring twelve-foot ceilings, a queen four-poster bed with an arched canopy and a second floor veranda.
Skip your hotel's breakfast buffet and head to Hominy Grill for some yummy southern fare. Specialties include shrimp and grits, and The Big Nasty -- a biscuit with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and sausage gravy. If you choose to visit for Sunday brunch, be prepared to wait. But with additional menu options like salmon potato cakes, and a low country omelette, it's totally worth it.
Lunch is a must at Cru Café on Pinckney Street. Munch on the duck confit arugula salad with port wine vinaigrette or dive into the shrimp B.L.T. sandwich on sourdough. Of course, all entrees should be accompanied by a local craft beer.
Enjoy local dinner cuisine at its finest when you visit Husk, from James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock. The menu flourishes with ingredients sourced strictly from the South and changes twice daily. Past menu offerings include deviled eggs with pickled okra and trout roe, and South Carolina shrimp and chopped okra stew with Carolina gold rice and flowering basil.
There is no shortage of historical sites in Charleston, but Fort Sumter National Monument is a must-see for history buffs. Take a vessel from Liberty Square in downtown Charleston to the site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. You may even spot some playful dolphins along the way.
Shop both top brands and one-of-a-kind boutiques on King Street. A stroll down this historic strip would not be complete without stopping into one of the oldest antique establishments in the southeast, George C. Birlant & Co.
Take a break from sightseeing and shopping to visit the waterfront Battery Park, a landmark defensive seawall and promenade. Enjoy a front row view of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse.
Walk off your dinner with one of Charleston's infamous ghost tours. The Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour from Bulldog Tours explores the city's streets, cemeteries, back alleyways churches and, of course, The Provost Dungeon.
Indulge in a nightcap under the stars at the rooftop Pavilion Bar at the Market Pavilion Hotel. Signature cocktails include the Pavilion Punch and Market Pavilion Madras. If it's too chilly outside, head to The Gin Joint, where there is a seasonal drink menu and no shortage of booze.
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