Passing through South Carolina

My sisters and I made a little trip through South Carolina back in September.  Really, I don’t think it can be classified as a road trip as we only had two destinations.  I was going to South Carolina for the Indie Craft Parade (with my line of handkerchiefs and pocket squares…Love Virginia Ruth), so they all decided to tag along and make a sister trip out of it.  First stop, Greenville (after Old City Java in Knoxville for a latte and almond croissant and Laughing Seed Café in Asheville for their Raw Dragon Bowl and a vegan cookie – TOTAL recommendations!)…

What to Do in Greenville:

Falls Park:  I don’t think there is much that can beat this in Greenville.  Driving in for the first time, I had high expectations of it being a really creative and artistic town.  I was not expecting the natural beauty flowing right through the middle of town.  Anyone who has passed through Greenville can attest to the awesome suspension bridge – beautiful, stunning!

Indie Craft Parade:  The Indie Craft Parade is held in September but they host other events throughout the year.  Some of the events I would be tempted to make the drive for:  Holiday Fair in December (not that I can this year as I am going to be at the Porter Flea in Nashville), The Makers Summit in March 2014, and Homebrewing 101 in July 2014 .


Tour of Sculptures:  Ever since we were little, my sisters and I have loved posing by sculptures, mimicking them.  (I think it originates from a game we played with a babysitter where we spun around until we were dizzy and then had to freeze like statues.)  Greenville is full of sculptures.  Although we only did a couple, it could be a fun little scavenger hunt to find them all and take your own photographs!

Next TimeThe Swamp Rabbit Trail and the Saturday Farmers Market

Where to Eat:

The Lazy Goat:  Oh my gosh – probably some of the best brussels sprouts I have had!  Really.  We ordered a feast of small, starter plates to share along with a pitcher of Sangria.  What we ordered:  Harissa spiced hummus with veggies and pita; Brussels sprouts with Serrano ham, manchego cheese, and sherry glaze (I am going to have to try to make something similar for Thanksgiving); Mussels & chorizo with white wine and ciabatta bread; Moroccan lamb with pita, cucumber yogurt, and plantain chips; House cured olives; and the Salad of baby greens with olives, shaved fennel, goat cheese, orange.  We ended up getting a second order of the brussels sprouts they were so good!  Definite recommendations:  the brussels sprouts, lamb, and hummus.



Next time:  Chicora Alley, The Velo Fellow, American Grocery, and the Swamp Rabbit Café

Where to Stay: 

The Westin Poinsett:  I have only been to Greenville twice and have stayed here both times.  I am a huge Starwood fan and would totally recommend the program to any and everybody.  All that to say, I usually stay at a Starwood Hotel if one is in the city.  The old  school charm of this Westin is a bit refreshing.

Where to Shop:

Billiam Jeans:  Made right in Greenville from USA denim.  They make jeans (and a bunch of other goods) and give 20% to fight sex trafficking.  Pretty awesome.

Next stop, Charleston, SC…where we all fell in love!

My family visited Charleston when I was younger.   I remember liking it and thinking it was really charming.  One of my good friends had gone earlier in the summer and had raved about it.  I expected to like it and have a good time.  Goodness, did I underestimate how much we would all love it!

What to Do in Charleston:

First things first…the beach!


The beach is the whole reason we were drawn to Charleston in the first place.  We have a beach baby amongst us, and spending part of the day lounging on the beach was a must.

As for Charleston proper, we pretty much just explored by driving and walking the streets.  The streets of Charleston are made for walking.  Everywhere you turn, there is beauty and something to explore – both of architecture and antiquity.  We literally were there for 48 hours, so we decided to not “do” anything but just walk, see, and eat (and do a little shopping).  Unfortunately, I feel like we left so much unexplored.  There was just not time!   There is so much history to be enjoyed and beauty to be seen.  I feel like we did not do the city justice.








Where to Eat & Drink: 

Honestly, this was kind of the main focus (besides the beach) for our time in Charleston.  We came prepared with a bunch of recommendations (thanks to Johnny and my friend Julie), but ended up totally missing out.  We got so caught up in Charleston that we ended up eating so late that nothing was open!  Better luck next time.  But, we did still have a lot of great food and drinks.

City Lights Coffee:  Loved!  We got lattes here the first day and had to go back the next day for more.  The proprietor and the customers were so sweet and helpful trying to give us suggestions and looking up food trucks for us (none of which we were able to find).  You know when you go someplace and leave happier than when you entered?  Totally that kind of experience both days.  Just loved!



Caviar & Bananas:  A super cute neighborhood gourmet grocery.  We headed here after lattes to get a “breakfast” picnic for the beach.  We got a selection of salads and such from their prepared food section.  Definite recommendation:  edamame falafel.



The Juice Joint:  Fresh.  Raw.  Local.  Awesome!  We passed their truck on the way to Folly Beach and had to stop to try it.  So glad we did.  Definite recommendations:  Sparkling Watermelon Agua Fresca.


The Tattooed Moose:  This is the only place we ate a proper meal and I don’t know how proper it was.  And, boy, did it feel like an adventure getting here!  Evening was quickly coming to an end, and we still had not found someplace to eat dinner.  We asked one of the rickshaw taxis how to get to a couple of places to eat and he either did not know what we were talking about or would say “oh, you don’t want to go there”.  Finally, we asked him if he knew how to get to the Tattooed Moose.  His eyes lit up and he got so excited.  Seriously.  We were like, man, if he is so excited about this place and it came recommended, we gotta go!  He gave us directions and warned us that we would feel like we had driven too far.  He was so right.

It is super low-key and pretty cozy for a bar.  It was a beautiful night so we sat outside and enjoyed some local beer with dinner. Warning:  This is the place to split food!  We left thoroughly full of food!

Bakehouse:  Great for lattes in the morning or for a treat in the middle of the day.  Loved the communal table and European feel.


So, on this trip I discovered South Carolina is home to some great things, among them, Sweeteeth Chocolate.  I had never tried this chocolate before our trip, but am glad I did.  I don’t know if it makes sense, but I feel like I kind of have to think when eating it.  It challenges my expectations, if chocolate can do that.  You can find it all over Charleston (as that is its home).

Next Time:  Fast and FrenchBon Ban Mi, Two Boroughs Larder, EVO, FIG, The Ordinary, The Macintosh, Holy City Brewery, Coast Brewery, Sugar Bakeshop and hopefully some good food trucks!

Where to Shop: 

Worthwhile:  Oh my goodness!!!  One of the most beautiful and exciting stores I have ever stepped into.  Truly, it was as if it was a gallery.  Words cannot even begin to describe this store.  Stunning!

A few steps down…


goat. sheep. cow:  Our type of store…cheese, charcuterie, wine, and gourmet groceries.  How fun it was to see that they carried Sequatchie Cove’s Dancing Fern.



Next Time:  Ted’s Butcher Block (I LOVE neighborhood gourmet groceries!), Indigo & Cotton

Back to Tennessee, but not without going through Georgia to stop at The Little Tart Bakeshop & Octane Coffee, for a late night latte and some shortbread cookies.  Definite recommendations:  their latte and the Earl Grey Shortbread.

After leaving Charleston, I feel like all I have read is about all the things we missed.  Next time…which hopefully will be sooner than later!


Passing through North Carolina

I grew up in a family where trips were, and still are, monthly occurrences.  Driving the 9 hours from Tennessee to Maryland is a no biggie because we do it all the time.  When we were little, stops were just for gas and the restroom. We made good time!  Now that I am grown, I still continue to make those trips, but I love trying to add a bit of exploration into our drive, which of course makes the trip take longer, but it is worth it.  Now, when I say exploration, I really mean finding good food – an absolute must really!  Although I appreciate the years of my mother packing food for our car trips (and the couple of post college frugal years of bringing food myself), I love leaving empty handed to see what I can find on the road.


To anyone who frequents Interstate 40 through North Carolina, it might not seem like such a daunting drive.  However, to a visitor like myself who passes through only on rare occasions, it is quite the dreaded drive.  There is something about I-40 that gets me every time. Despite that, the long trek across the state is still tempting because of all the great food stops.  First stop, Asheville…

Where to eat:

Laughing Seed Cafe:  Organic, seasonal, farm to table, vegetarian cuisine with an international flair – how much better can it get!  If you are in the area on a Sunday, their brunch is definitely worth stopping for and/or making a special trip just to enjoy the wonderful offerings.  The menu is amazingly extensive and full of many vegan, raw, and gluten-free options. Definite recommendations – the Brunch Burrito and the Gluten-free Chocolate Coconut Vegan Cookie.  Honestly, so good and really generous portions!  I really have no temptation to go anywhere else, because it is just so good.

Tupelo Honey Cafe:  They do make really good biscuits!  They are famous for a reason.

Next stop, Wilmington…

Along the highway there are lots of cities to explore, but more than you can squeeze into a day trip!  So on to Wilmington, known for many things – the movies and TV shows filmed there, the close proximity to numerous beaches, and its beauty and history.

Where to eat:

Sugar on Front Street

Sugar on Front Street:  Such a treat…literally.  An absolute cozy little spot, brimming full of character, with quite the offerings of both baked goods and drinks.  The cafe is set inside of Old Books on Front St.  It is a bit hard to not come out with both a drink and a book in hand.   You can tell everything is made with care and all the items we tried were delicious.  Plus, we love the barista!  Definite recommendation – the iced chai (and my dog Tivoli LOVED the treats I got her there).  Such unique character…it was so delightful!

Final stop, Emerald Isle…

Where to eat:

Flipperz:  There is something about the beach and fried shrimp.  I am not really one for it normally, but I always crave it (probably due to association).  It is kind of a must.

Fried Shrimp

Emerald Isle Wine Market:  Probably one of the most surprising finds ever!  Totally unexpected, but totally awesome.  Emerald Isle Wine Market is combined with a gas station right when you enter the island.  They have an amazing selection of unique wine, beer, gourmet food, and chocolate.  I have found numerous brands that I am totally in love with because of them, like the Roasted Coconut Chips by Danielle Chips.