Visiting Charleston was the last day of our trip and we were resisting being worn out travelers with a little one. (We asked a lot of him during the week! He was a peach.) Maybe that is why the city did not quite sweep me away like Savannah did. It can nonetheless give you more of that historic, romantic vibe. (Also it was cold! So that was working against my experience too. And all the bar-goers for Mardi Gras were killing the vibe for me.)
Above: First, the best thing we experienced in the city – Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts. It is a little family tradition of ours to get doughnuts while on vacation. Something about coming home with a half dozen doughnuts for breakfast is really fun, indulgent, and vacation-y. Gourmet ones are even better. This is their doughnut hole set which we loved for being able to try many different doughnut creations. Both of our favorites were that delicious raspberry guy up top.
Below: Mac & Murphy is a sweet little stationary shop downtown. We are tossing around the idea of ordering this print for our Valentine’s gift to one another.
Above: This is a really rad shop for dudes called Indigo & Cotton. It was a did not buy anything, but could have bought everything situation.
Below: In my research for our trip, so many people raved about Hominy Grill. Sadly, it was a flop for me. Did I order wrong? Was this a fluke?
That is it for our journey around the Lowcountry. We are so glad to have gone and so glad to be back. The 21 hours in a tiny car is one of my proudest life accomplishments! And no gator attacks!
Although we had day trips to Savannah and Charleston, Hilton Head Island was our home base last week. The weather was mostly in the 60s. Not warm enough to get in the ocean, but a welcome change for these Michiganders. (With a young baby we would not have been doing much in the ocean anyway.) Most of our time was spent exploring, tennis, and eating.
I must also add that as a family without cable, watching HGTV is a special treat whenever we are away. I discovered and fell in love with Chip & Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. And continue to dislike House Hunters and not understand why anyone cares in the slightest about the premise of that show. I am a privileged girl in that my husband also likes HGTV and I once saw him watching Flea Market Flip when I was not even around.
We ate at four restaurants on Hilton Head, which I will rank from best to worst.
The Lucky Rooster: This was our splurge, fancy meal. It was fantastic. The battle between it and The Collins Quarter from Savannah was very close for favorite restaurant all week. We loved our sweet potato gnocchi appetizer (blue cheese fonduta, roast brussels sprouts, bacon lardons, toasted pecans). We split the winter shrimp and grits (Carolina shrimp, andouille, butternut squash, red Russian kale, creole mustard sauce) and the lucky burger (creek stone ground beef, thick bacon, white cheddar, pickled red onions, red pepper jam, arugula, hand cut garlic and parmesan fries). That was the best burger of my life, people. And I guess the shrimp and grits were the best of my life too, but that is saying less because I have only eaten shrimp & grits three times. We were completely full. But could not pass up how amazing what this chef was laying down, so we ordered a great french toast dessert that was coated in frosted flakes.
The Lowcountry Backyard: On yelp, this is the highest rated restaurant in all of Hilton Head. I would call that a little out of place, but it was still worth our time. The eating area really feels like a backyard. We played ring toss and a giant, outdoor version of Kerplunk while we waited for our food. We had shrimp and grits and a crab burger. Both were good, but not life changing like the stuff at Lucky Rooster. We could ride our bikes here from our resort so that combined with the backyard games made it a really pleasant, casual lunch.
The Salty Dog Cafe: We knew going into this that visiting here was not for the culinary achievements. The staff were really friendly and we ate overlooking the water. It is a Hilton Head icon so you have to do it. And apparently I even have to buy a shirt too.
Skullcreek Boathouse: Food is worse than Salty Dog and its only allure is being on the water. I would scrap this one if we did it over again.
We also went to Frozen Moo which is an ice cream place in Coligny Plaza with 92 flavors. It was another bike-able destination and right by the beach. And I cannot forget to mention that we used our stroller for the first time walking through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. I think learning about ancient civilizations is really interesting and the Indian Shell Ring was totally nuts.
We liked Hilton Head a lot and at the end of our trip were asking ourselves if we want to be people who visit the same vacation spot over and over or always try new places. I like the assuredness of knowing we like a location and there are not going to be any nightmarish surprises in the accommodations. But the adventurer in me wants to see everything!
Our main spot for vacation last week was Hilton Head Island (which was fabulous), but we also poked around a couple other places too. My favorite city (which was also home to my favorite restaurant!) was Savannah, Georgia.
Above: The city has miles of beautiful, old character. Every building and park is picture perfect. We did not realize until after we left that our favorite Square was the location of Forrest Gump’s famous bench.
Below: One of David and my favorite things to do for gift giving occasions is to shop art together. The prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design has a shop for buying student’s artwork.
Above: The title of Best Restaurant from the whole week goes to The Collins Quarter. The decorating and atmosphere is lovely and our food was fresh, creative, and affordable. We liked it so much for lunch we were going to forgo trying our planned dinner place. (Eating at the same spot twice while only having 24 hours in a city is unheard of for foodies like us, so take that statement as a huge endorsement.) Unfortunately, we learned their kitchen closes at 3pm. I liked my salad with mussels and a citrus tarragon vinaigrette, but definitely got out-ordered by David. His crispy pork belly rolled sandwich was among the best things I have ever tasted.
Below: The must hit areas of historic Savannah are Bull Street and River Street. We much preferred Bull as River has a tourist-y, beach vibe. The one good thing we found on River was the absolute best pralines. And you get to walk brick roads along the Savannah River, so it is still worth the jaunt.
Above: We did dinner at The Public Kitchen & Bar. The interior is fun, but I imagine it would be better for drinks than dinner-only guests like us. I had the seasonal risotto and David got the ham & brie melt, out-ordering me for the second time that day.
Below: I really wanted to visit Back in the Day Bakery, but was sad to learn too late they are closed on Mondays. I could not leave the city without something sweet and was completely satisfied with the chocolate hazelnut macaron from Marche de Macarons. The one tiny macaron was worth the $2.
The next two days I will be sharing about out time in Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina. Savannah took a piece of my heart and I do not even want it back.