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