Re-opening Charleston, SC: A weekend update

A quick weekend getaway to Pawleys Island, SC was just what the doctor ordered: rest, relaxation, and the prettiest natural scenery on any beach. But to make the week stretch a bit further, we spent a night on the way back home in Charleston, SC. Since we’re all recovering from an almost two-month quarantine, here’s what we noted in this charming place that Southern Living magazine named The South’s Best City of 2020.

Accommodations: We stayed in a hotel rather than a personal home (like listings by AirBnB, VRBO, etc.), and we were happy with our choice. For both cleanliness and convenience to the city, Courtyard Charleston Historic District fit the bill.

If you haven’t stayed in a hotel since the quarantine began, you may notice a few new things in place now. At least we did.

  • Closed were both the lobby and the Bistro (no breakfast, no Starbucks).
  • A reduction in staff was noticeable, but we were told that several employees are currently being rehired as business increases.
  • Our room was spotlessly clean with fresh linens, minimalist decor, and uncarpeted floors.
The lobby at Courtyard Charleston Historic District closed to patrons.

Restaurants: Charleston eateries were open — at least partly. And several offered seating outdoors. We ate in an open courtyard by ourselves at Blossom on E. Bay Street, since we wanted to dine early in order to avoid crowds. Food — great. Service — friendly. And all employees wore masks.

Shopping: Although the historic (and, before now, ever-bustling) Charleston City Market was closed, we still found shops open (albeit recently) on King Street. Most had only a handful of customers — some, by design — as they limited the number in the store. Only Apple, it seemed, had long lines.

Long lines at Apple on King Street in Charleston, SC

Many businesses set out provisions for customer safety with hand sanitizer and written precautions, but many employees were without masks.

Sanitizer and signs at M. Dumas & Sons, King Street, Charleston

Atmosphere: Still, we received Southern welcomes and the chit-chat that we’ve come to expect about where we are from (Knoxville), what it’s like in our town (partially open), and if we are ready to be out and about with people again (You betcha!).

Welcome sign at TINA Stephens, King Street, Charleston

Southern charm: When it was all said and done, we returned to our favorite place — The Battery — once again to stroll the boardwalk, gaze out at picture-perfect sailboats, point to our favorite homes (that we’d give anything to see inside) on East Battery, and watch the night herons tend their nests in White Point Garden.

Deeply Southern and oh, so lovely: a home on East Battery, Charleston

It’s our opinion that any time is a good time to see Charleston. But early June, when crowds still haven’t returned in full force and weather is tolerable, may be the ideal moment to shop, dine, and stay in the South’s Best City of 2020.

Lovely, mature live oaks in White Point Garden at The Battery in Charleston

We’d love to hear how your city is handling the re-opening. And if you’ve ventured out just yet.

We’re almost there. But not quite. It just might take a while.

Rusha & Bert

22 thoughts on “Re-opening Charleston, SC: A weekend update

  1. Tina Schell

    Oh Rusha, your timing was impeccable. Yesterday and today there have been protests in downtown Charleston and last night lots of mayhem and damage. King Street (our main shopping area) suffered the most damage with broken windows and trashing the street. The Apple store’s glass doors were shattered and the store was looted as well. Riot police are everywhere and we are under a 6pm to 6am curfew for now. We are SO sad to see what’s happening. While we agree things definitely need to change, it’s just awful that these restaurants and businesses, many of which are owned by or worked in by minorities, were just starting to re-open are once again closed. These are sad days for all of us.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      This is such sad news. We enjoyed our brief day in Charleston but wondered if the merchants and restaurant owners were doing OK. Now, they will have repairs to pay for and perhaps a reduction in customers either because Charleston has clamped down on visitation or because they are afraid. I’m so saddened by this whole event because I don’t think the police treated the victim fairly nor do I feel that looting of restaurants and businesses does anything but hurt the owners. Thanks for writing to me. I’m sad but feel helpless because I honestly don’t know what to do.

  2. WanderingCanadians

    Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the weekend. I have always wanted to go to Charleston. I can easily see why it was named the South’s Best City. It’s so interesting to hear and see how other cities are re-opening. Provides some hope that life can go back to “normal”. Things are slowly starting to re-open here in Toronto, but restaurants are still closed (delivery or pick-up only).

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It really is like a re-awakening or a re-discovery. We’re staying at home mostly, but sometimes we just want to breathe fresh air and see what others are doing. So glad we could stay at least one night in Charleston, a city that is not only beautiful but also historic as well as energizing. Thanks for taking a look.

      1. Sue

        Mostly closed, and with my health issues I wouldn’t be going out…. That said, I do go out into the fresh air in quiet roads

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We don’t either in Knoxville. But in Charleston, there were many people out. Now, that can be good or bad depending on what they’ve been exposed to. But we stayed to ourselves and ate outdoors.

  3. Green Global Trek

    Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. After a while it has to be good to break up the every day the same, Ground Hog day routine, albeit a good one. I love the photo of the oak trees.

    Let’s hope that the reopening of places is done with caution and care so that the numbers don’t start to go up even higher. Sigh. This is our new reality. Here in our coastal village of Oaxaca Mexico we still fortunately have no cases of corona but there are a few in nearby villages.. so it’s coming. We have already been in self quarantine but we have never been in lockdown mode. Hopefully the beach will remain open…

    Stay well and healthy


    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It’s not a fun time, for sure. We’re accustomed to some isolation since we’re retired and home during the day, usually. But complete quarantine was foreign to us. We’re also still wearing masks, eating outstide just the two of us, and mostly traveling in our car. It’s a tough time, but we’re making it. Wishing you all the best with it.

  4. The Wandering RVer

    Charleston has long been on my list, but we just never quite seem to get there. I’m glad you got to enjoy parts of it. We still haven’t gone on any overnight adventures, but we are hoping to stay in a couple of the FL state parks when they re-open camping. We took a job selling fireworks for the 4th, so we’ll be in FL through a good part of early summer. Time will tell after that! Hope you made it home safely and are healthy!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We stayed 2 nights in a hotel, thinking that hotels are as clean as ever right now. We saw no one except the lady at the desk. So, I guess we were safe. Hope you sell a lot of fireworks. You may have a banner year if people want to do something at their own homes. Best wishes for a good week ahead!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We were only tie-dipping into travel. I don’t have the nerve to go overseas yet. But even travel close to home is different. Thanks for taking a look and commenting. Great to hear from you!

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