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Exploring Charleston, SC.

Can I just say I’m obsessed with Charleston? The town was
gorgeous. Brick streets were beautifully preserved.  Buildings ranged from quaint and small to
large and extravagant, all the while keeping their historic look in tact.  The people were everywhere, ranging in all
ages. Each large chain shop was matched with a unique, local one close by. I
was impressed by how fit and put together each person looked. Styles ranged
from dressed to the nines, to casual, to workout, each looking undeniably
presentable. The only thing not to love? Parking was a total nightmare (I’m
talking $20 a day). If parking bothered the locals, you couldn’t tell. Residents
of all ages were walking and biking everywhere. Biking was a common sight with
bikes chained outside nearly every store permissible.

The number of local restaurants was ridiculously
overwhelming.  Every cuisine you could
possibly imagine was available ranging from as dirt cheap as $2 to as expensive
as $50+. Honestly, I could be a local for years and still not manage to explore
each unique eatery (and brewery). Although I was only there interviewing for a few days, I
attempted my best to eat and drink my way through the area.

Saturday afternoon I grabbed coffee & met for a quick
chat at an old historic bank, which was turned into a two-level Starbucks on
King. They kept their stock of coffee in the old vault! I loved every bit of
vibe I felt there and could easily have spent hours sitting there reading.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around downtown.
King contained a majority of the stores, but I drifted off onto others like
Church, Meeting, and East Bay as well.

I ended up at Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House for a late
lunch. I was thoroughly impressed by the menu posted outside the restaurant.
The head chef makes daily changes to the menu, based upon what is in season and
ordered fresh, locally to the restaurant. I ordered the session flight while
Aaron ordered the local flight. We split the bratwurst bangers as an appetizer
and the roasted vegetable pizza as an entrée.

We decided to venture away from downtown and headed out to
the FireFly Distillery and Irvin Vineyards. Unfortunately the winery was closed
by the time we got there, but we were still able to take a FireFly tour (for
only $7 each!). Afterwards we were welcomed to walk around the vineyard

For dinner we headed back downtown. Typical tourists, we
ended up downtown during the dinner rush, so we ended up at the Crab Shack. We
split the captain’s platter (I believe) containing flounder, shrimp, oysters,
waffle fries, and coleslaw. We were a fan of everything included.

Sunday after breakfast at our hotel, we headed out to the
Charleston Tea Planation. We took a factory tour (for free!) and browsed the
gift shop and grounds on our own. The entire area had the southern charm you’d
expect to find down south.

For a late lunch, we stopped at Fuel. Hands down, Fuel was
my favorite meal. You might recognize the old gas station turned eatery if you
watch Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Aaron ordered a fat tire on
draft and I ordered a frozen pain realizer (their take on Cheddar’s Pain
Killer). As an appetizer we ordered the trio of house-made salsas including
pineapple habanero, tomatillo, and roasted tomato. Aaron ordered the Food
Network famous Grilled Jerk Chicken Sandwich with marinated chicken with
applewood-smoked bacon, fresh grilled pineapple, lettuce, tomato, and cilantro
mojo and I ordered the Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos with grilled mahi, avocado pico,
spicy pineapple relish, and slaw for entrees to share. YUM.

We dined on their back patio. Can you say gorgeous? Locals were playing corn hole, cheering on their football teams, and even bringing Fido along for a bite!

After exploring downtown some more, we headed out to Folly
Beach for dinner. Yet again, we ended up at a crab shack because who can say no
to fresh seafood? Unfortunately our service was not stellar. We were ignored
for 30 minutes. Fed up and ready to leave, we addressed the manager who quickly
jumped to correct the error (with a $20 gift card), alongside a friendly
waitress. We received a complimentary house-made crab dip.  Aaron ordered the special of the day—fresh flounder—and
I ordered a platter with mahi-mahi, clam strips, and shrimp. We order a caramel
swirl cheesecake for dessert to-go.

Again, we dinned on a patio to take full advantage of the wonderful weather.

Finally, Monday we grabbed a quick lunch downtown at Freshii
before I finished my interviews and headed to North Myrtle Beach to continue eating and drinking my way through the south. Where are your favorite places to eat in Charleston, SC?

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