How To Create The Best Charleston Daycation In The World

June 23, 2016

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Last weekend we took a daycation in celebration of my nephew’s girlfriend, Lil Miss C’s birthday and I bet you can guess where we went … yep Charleston, SC. I just can’t get enough of the Holy City. It was the first time Lil Miss C has seen the historic downtown and we had a great time showing our prized Charleston off to her.

We parked the car in the St. Philip’s Street Parking Garage and took the City by foot. We wanted to start the tour at the Charleston Farmer’s Market but didn’t realize it was closed for Father’s Day Weekend. Rats! However, we were fortunate enough to catch the street performers I mentioned in my post Is Charleston SC Really a Food Mecca? Insider Advice To Be In The Know and the kids really enjoyed their performance.

Charleston City Market

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Our next stop was the Charleston City Market. We perused this expansive historic market taking in all the wonderful artisan wares and shopped for a few birthday gifts for Lil Miss C. I especially love the Sweetgrass Baskets and their Gullah history. The Charleston City Market explains it like this:

One of the oldest handcrafts of African origin in the United States is the hand-woven winnowing sieve, a shallow basket that was used during the Colonia Era to separate the rice seed from its chaff.

Made in Charleston from indigenous bulrush, a strong yet supple grass that thrives in the sandy soil of the coastal region, sweetgrass baskets are now among the nation’s most prized cultural souvenirs.

With more than 50 resident artists, the Charleston City Market is the very epicenter of sweetgrass basketry. Every hand crafted basked begins with a knot around which coils of bundled grass are woven. While the materials are always the same, the design of modern baskets varies from artist to artist.

As a matter of fact, this age old Gullah tradition is so secretive the artisans will not allow you to take a photo of their baskets. But, trust me on this they are simply gorgeous!

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Lunch at Tbonz Gill & Grill

Our next stop was a little lunch at Tbonz Gill & Grill just across from the Charleston City Market where we enjoyed an array of appetizers from their Shareable Menu, namely:

  • Ahi Tuna w/seaweed salad and ginger
  • She Crab Soup
  • Maryland Style Crab Cakes
  • Tommy’s Texas Cheese Fries
  • TBonz Texas Chili
  • Southern Fried Pickles

Waterfront Park and Castle Pinckney

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After lunch we decided we would walk to Waterfront Park, a 12 acre park situated on one-half mile of the Cooper River. This park is just a stunning example of landscape architecture. There are 2 splash pads for the kiddos and the Pineapple Fountain is a must see. You can even dip your feet in for a little cool off. The harbor has a beautiful view especially from the pier.

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Looking out from the pier you can see Shutes Folly Island, where you can just see the outline of Castle Pinckney. Castle Pinckney was constructed by the Untied States government in 1810 and briefly used as a prisoner of war camp as well as an artillery position in the American Civil War.

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After relaxing, picture taking and a little cooling off, we decided to head back to King Street and I just had to capture these two architectural gems!

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Savannah Bee Company Honey and Mead Tasting

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On King Street we discovered the Savannah Bee Company to experience their 2 tasting bars. The first bar is a honey tasting bar which showcases some of their most popular honeys. Lil Miss C and I were in honey heaven! We sampled all 7 choices and voted hands down that the Charleston Honey and the Honey for Cheese were our favorites!

I think it is super cool that the Savannah Bee Company has brought this rare gift of the Carolina Lowcountry by strategically placing the hives in and around the Charleston, South Carolina area to create their Charleston Honey.

My favorite was the Honey for Cheese being the cheese connoisseur that I am. This honey has a softly sweet taste that will pair nicely with my favorite gorganzola. Needless to say, I purchased both.

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The second bar was a mead tasting. Now, I was elated to find this tasting because of my obsession for fermented vegetables. I even have a recipe for mead but have never tried it because I was uncertain if it would be something I would actually drink. Well, after this tasting I will be making my own home brewed mead.

What is mead you ask? Well, Wikipedia states:

Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruit, spices, grains, or hops. (Hops act as a preservative and produce a bitter, beer-like flavor.) The alcoholic content of mead may range from about 8% ABV to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey.

We tasted several different meads but I have to say St. Ambrose X.R. Cyser – Apple Cyser Mead was the one I came home with. This is a draft style mead brewed with a combination of apple cider and honey. St. Ambrose uses:

the finest Northern Michigan spy apples, blended with our very own Star Thistle honey and maple syrup, and spiced up with a dash of cinnamon.

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The Pièces de Résistance – Dinner At R Kitchen 

Our next stop was the pièces de résistance! When I was in Charleston last I visit R Kitchen on a culinary tour and knew immediately I had to come back for a visit with my foodie family. R Kitchen’s tagline is:

It’s a Kitchen Not a Restaurant

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It’s a small establishment that only seats 16 people in the kitchen but they do have a patio area to accommodate additional guests. There is no signage on the building and you would never even imagine that this was a restaurant. Kinda mysterious don’t you think?

There is no menu to choose from as the Chefs of the day create a special 5 course menu for the evening complete with wine pairings. On this night we had:

  • Tuna Wrap w/ Ahi Tuna
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli with Shrimp
  • Atlantic Scallops with Brie
  • Pork Bread Pudding

This was a fabulous atmosphere, very laid back and sitting at the kitchen counter was the ultimate experience as was being able to interact with the Chefs as they prepared the next course right in front of you.

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The food was tremendous! All their ingredients are locally sourced and/or organic and the plating was just exquisite. I wouldn’t be surprise if you found these Chefs up for the next James Beard Award!

If you would like to dine at R Kitchen I highly suggest you make reservations 3 months in advance to sit in the kitchen. Trust me on this, the kitchen is where you want to be. The best surprise of all though, your 5 course meal only cost $30.00 per person! Whoa! Now you have to go!

Our daycation ended with each of us feeling warm, fuzzy and stuffed with all the beautiful family memories we created.

Have you had a wonderful daycation with your loved ones lately?

See you in the comments,

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By Mrs. R