As the end of our time in Charleston is in sight (sigh), I thought I would share some of my favorite places in the Holy City. More than hot spots, these are my go-to spots. Many are enduring favorites and some are new discoveries, but they're all part of the reason I love this city.
Clothes: Hampden Clothing
A cute sundress will take you just about everywhere in this town – but if you want to make a statement rather than blend in, Hampden Clothing is the best place to go. Stacy Smallwood (a fellow Vandy grad) opened the boutique just over a decade ago, and has been introducing the most coveted highend and up-and-coming labels to the Southeast (and beyond thanks to the website) ever since. I just invested in a few timelessly chic pieces at their summer sale (or at least that's how I'm justifying the shopping binge).
Bites: Rue de Jean
It might not be new and hot or have a celebrity chef, but Rue de Jean is still one of my all time favorite Charleston restaurants. It's got good ambiance, great food, a dedicated rosé menu – and the best muscles you'll ever eat. Order them in the veggie cream sauce avec frites – but be warned: you might become addicted, like me.
Fitness: Method 29403
I've long been obsessed with the Lagree Method. I credit it with giving me better abs post-kids than I had before them. It also lengthens and carves my muscles better than any other workout I've tried. And, at a swift 40 minutes, it fits easily into my hectic lifestyle. Core40, the San Francisco version of Lagree, is my primary workout, and I was genuinely worried how I would replace it this summer. Luckily, a Lagree Method studio recently opened here! Method 29403. It's great. I'm already a regular and bringing friends with me.
Drinks: Red's Ice House
There's no facial-hair-growing, old timey-vest-wearing bartender here, nor any painstakingly made craft cocktails – just cold and satisfying drinks served in plastic cups. But oh, how perfect they are on a 100 degree day when you're watching the sun sink into the dolphin-filled waters of Shem Creek. This rowdy fish shack is accessible by boat or car - and notably dog-friendly. In fact, it's one of the first places we took Isabelle when she was just a puppy 10 years ago.
Interiors: Fritz Porter
This cool concept spot is a must-visit for interior design enthusiasts. It's located inside an enormous turn-of-the century cigar factory and is home to more than two dozen artisans, designers and brands, so there's bound to be something you fall in love with, be it an inspiring bookshelf vignette or a vintage loveseat. While goodies abound here, my favorite spot to visit in Fritz Porter is On Va Le Faire, a stylish venture from the endlessly creative mind of my friend, the inimitable Julie Wheat. Not only does Julie do incredible design work, she sources amazing one-of-a-kind pieces from across the country.
Kids: Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
This place is every little person's dream, providing hours of entertainment – and therefore becoming every parent's dream too. From a giant water room to an elaborate play grocery store, a fullsize pirate ship to a medeval castle, it's got every thing your little one can imagine. And on the days when it's too hot or rainy to go to the playground, it's a lifesavor.
Backgrounds: The Pink Wall
There's no shortage of beautiful spots to take a photo in Charleston, but the tonal, nuanced pinks on the peeling sidewall of 492 King (where Mary Street meets King Street) is my favorite. It's rose hue casts a universally flattering light on the subject in front of it, and it's interesting enough to look cool without being distracting. In other words, if you see a lot of pictures on my IG account with that background (like the one above), you know why.