city spotlight: charleston

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Charleston is a city alive with culture, adventure, and a very distinct southern charm, and recently, I was blessed enough to get to spend some time basking in its historical beauty and funky atmosphere. A three-day getaway to this incredible place was the most necessary pause, and since this fantastic city is close enough to make a weekend trip of, I figured I’d share some of my favorites, so you all can go enjoy them too!

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First stop in this incredible city has to be City Lights Coffee, which we stumbled into absolutely on accident (frantic necessity for mate tea after some late-night driving), but was one of the most happy accidents of the trip. The atmosphere is calm and cozy, while still somehow maintaining the distinct feeling of a beachside coffee shop, the building was rustic and beautiful (surprise: it was apparently actually once a brothel, but has been beautifully retouched since it’s past days), the owner was warm, helpful, and wonderful to chat with, and the drinks were superb – hot tea, and freshly squeezed lemonade. I even spotted some gluten free muffins sitting on the corner…

After you grab some tea or coffee at City Lights, although I’m not usually one to suggest caffeine before yoga, the best life choice you could ever make would be to head down King Street a little bit in search Charleston Power Yoga, aka a little slice of heaven. Being the tireless researcher that I am, the second we decided on a vacation location, I was immediately scouring the area for the best yoga spots available, and although I have about fifteen different locations marked down to hit up (in a three-day time period, so realistic), I ended up just making continuous appearances at this amazing Baptiste studio. With a perfect blend of fast-paced, challenging sequences and authentic, positive inspiration, this studio has it all, and is an incredible way to work up a good sweat in between all of the eating and drinking that the city has to offer.

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After working up a good sweat, a nutritious and filling meal is an absolute must, and fortunately, just a few blocks down the street from Charleston Power Yoga sits one of my new favorite lunch spots in the world, Black Bean and Co. Described as “energy food,” this quirky little joint offers just that – fresh, whole foods, with a creative and well thought out combination of tastes and elements… and even some bottles of kombucha in the fridge! Healthy heaven. I ordered a mexican un-wrapped wrap, as mexican food and beaches seem to be a pretty ideal combination, but they seemed to have an extensive sampling of flavors and food styles.I spotted a beet and goat cheese salad that I’m pretty anxious to go back for…

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Further still on King Street was another absolutely needed stop for our trip, and for yours as well – a visit to the local lululemon! As always, it was simultaniously exciting and refreshing to be in another one of our stores – everyone there was, of course, helpful and wonderful, and we got some great tips on spots to hit in the area, while also picking up a brand new chakra mat (!!!). Since we’re still a small showroom, I always love a chance to get to pop into the full stores and see all the colorful goods that they’ve got. At the moment, my favorites that I tried on were these Free Reign Shorts and the Cool Racerback in a soft grey luon light (big time not-buyers regret on these puppies).

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And what would a city guide be without at least a little bit of a scoop on some scoops of ice cream? Shockingly, after days of sun and walking, my sweet tooth began to kick in just a little bit, so naturally the walking led us right to a giant ice cream cone outside of a cute-looking little shop (again, still on King… I promise, we did leave this street a few times during the trip!), which happened to be heaven-on-earth, otherwise known as Belgain Gelato. Yum. My first question was, “okay, how many of these flavors can I get in one cup?” Answer: not nearly enough.

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To prove that we did more than eat while down in Charleston (I swear! It happened!), here are a few shots from the South Carolina Aquarium, which was a delightful surprise – for such a small building, it packs in a lot of incredible animals, AND is doing an amazing amount to support and preserve habitat maintenance and animal protection. Aquariums are something that I always forget how much I enjoy until I’m there, but this was a great one, and definitely another must-visit for anyone planning to spend more than a day or two down there.

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Saving the best for last, if you only pick one thing to do from this entire post, please make it be eating at Scratch Taco Boutique, because it will be the best choice you ever make. Ever. I could have eaten every meal we had down there at this place, and still probably not be sick of it. But really. Lemon thyme margaritas, fresh baked chips with a house salsa, and lettuce-wrapped vegan tacos (but also non-vegan tacos available…!), I think I may have taken the smallest bites of my life just so that the taste of the food wouldn’t have to end as quickly. The menu was super user-friendly (aka, everything was kindly labeled “GF or V” for high maintenance eaters like myself), the taste combinations were superb, and the atmosphere was sophisticated and relaxing, all while maintaining the feel of a little taco spot by the beach. We ate there on our last night in town, and it was the most perfect way to end the most perfect trip.

A few honorable mention activities that didn’t get photographed because of all of the activity surrounding them are: Sullivan’s Island, which is a fantastic beach area, great place for a picnic, and, like most of Charleston, dog-friendly; White Point Gardens, which is only a 15 minute walk away from the heart of downtown (just head straight down King Street until you see the water!), and is an amazing place to work on handstands or read a book; and finally, the Charleston bar scene – pick a bar, any bar, because they are all amazing… at least all the ones we hit up. Maybe next time I’m down there, I’ll post a Part Two: Bar Review!

So should you start craving a sandy mat and some ocean breeze, I highly recommend taking a road trip – spontaneous or planned, alone or with loved ones, down to Charleston. ’tis the season, after all!

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