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Wonder why a charming enclave on a small peninsula in South Carolina is consistently voted #1 U.S. City in the CondÊ Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards?


It has fixed coordinates like every other city. You may locate it on a map, as it has appeared for the past 343 years. But Charleston truly exists somewhere else entirely—it abides in the hearts and minds of those who visit. A poetic place, Charleston is where charms dwell.

Lulled by perfumed air and a languid pace, Charleston is an unexpectedly seductive place. The city gazes at the Atlantic Ocean amid a saltmarsh palate rich in straw-ruffled and cerulean hues. Church bells and cheerful sea island accents compose a timeless score. A heady aroma of secret gardens coquettishly winks at briny sea breezes. Locals lovingly call it the Lowcountry, an idyllic place that etches its imprint on visitors. One of America’s most architecturally significant destinations, Charleston’s chronology is evident at every turn. Cobblestone streets and copper carriage lanterns wear the polish of several centuries, a burnished roadmap through time. At the very heart of Charleston is a genteel community known for its warm hospitality. A friendly nod and a sincere ‘welcome’ await. Come to Charleston. “Charleston sits on a peninsula surrounded by barrier islands. It’s often veiled by a hazy golden light that can make the cityscape—pastel two-story houses all in a row, interrupted every so often by a pointy church spire—look as if it had been painted in watercolor.” — Condé Nast Traveler, December 2013

S O U T HERN ALLURE

Soak up the city’s charm on two wheels, savor the shrimp and grits, then take in the seaside view from a rooftop bar.


A COLORFUL, OLD SOUL

Charleston’s cocoon of gentility is a visual feast for anyone who enjoys curious details, secret alleyways, and an unexpected pop of blue.


A GOURMET-CATION

Intensely pleasurable moments born of Southern ingredients and heirloom recipes spring forth at every meal, like the bounty bountryof ofseasonal seasonalflavors flavorsinin this Lowcountry-style gazpacho from Hank’s Seafood Restaurant.


CHUCKTOWN CRUNCH Charleston is home to an array of celebrated culinary talent, including James Beard Foundation Best Chef Award-winners Sean Brock (Husk, McCrady’s), Mike Lata (FIG, The Ordinary), and Robert Stehling (Hominy Grill). But that doesn’t mean the city only serves haute cuisine. Charleston’s local version of the potato chip? Crispy okra!

STOCK THE PANTRY Taste and smell the city with this collection of artisanal products that capture the essence of Charleston.

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1. SWEETEETH 2. CHARLESTON TEA PLANTATION 3. CAROLINA GOLD RICE 4. BENNE SEED WAFERS 5. CALLIE’S BISCUITS

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6. ULTIMATE COCONUT CAKE™

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7. REWINED CANDLES FOR THESE HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS AND OTHERS, VISIT: pinterest.com/explorechs

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1. JACK RUDY COCKTAIL CO. 2. HIGH WIRE DISTILLERY

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3. FIREFLY DISTILLERY 4. VIRGIL KAINE 5. CHARLESTON MIX

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“Historically, Charleston is steeped in fine spirits; it is a city where no thirst goes unquenched.” — Brooks Reitz, Founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.


REFINED STYLE, HISTORIC SETTING

Charleston’s award-winning hotels cater to travelers who desire the finest experiences imaginable. Luxuriate amid the splendor of handsome antiques and heirloom silver at an historic inn. Or, relax with a sea salt scrub at a sumptuous spa like the one located inside the Francis Marion Hotel [pictured]. While the hotels range in size and specialty, each property shares one key amenity: genuine hospitality.

BE A GUEST OF GRANDEUR When wealthy cotton merchant Francis Silas Rodgers commissioned his home in 1886, he likely never guessed the Wentworth Mansion would become one of Charleston’s most unique hotels. With its mansard roof and Lewis Comfort Tiffany glass, this four-story home is a stunning example of America’s Gilded Age.

2013 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS TOP 10 HOTELS MILLS HOUSE WYNDHAM GRAND JOHN RUTLEDGE HOUSE INN WENTWORTH MANSION RESTORATION ON KING FRENCH QUARTER INN CHARLESTON PLACE

“The hour of golden light that occurs before sunset is sheer magic, especially when viewed from the cupola.” — Linn Lesesne, Wentworth Mansion

ELLIOTT HOUSE INN HARBOURVIEW INN MARKET PAVILION PLANTERS INN


EXPLORE THE LOCAL SCENE Want insider tips on ways to experience Charleston like a native? Visit Charlestonly.com for itineraries written by locals with an abiding passion for sharing the city’s many charms. A PERFECT DAY From a sparkling sunrise over the harbor to a flute of champagne in a jazz bar— engaging ways to spend a memorable day.

TWO FORK SAFARI The tantalizing sweetness of blue crab, collards seasoned with tradition, and an oyster’s kiss from the sea—a sampler of Charleston’s celebrated flavors.

FAMILY PLAYCATION Ever seen a 250-pound sea turtle up close? Toured an actual pirate dungeon? The Charleston area is teeming with fun activities for all ages.

SHOP, SIP & SEA The giddy pleasure gleaned from Grandma’s gilded hand-me-downs? Much like wandering around Charleston, an enclave of easy elegance.

“Even with only one spare hour to explore #Charleston, you can take in dozens of Antebellum mansions.” — @WendyPerrin, Condé Nast Traveler’s Director of Consumer News

GO. GATHER. ENJOY. More than 300 artists and vendors set up shop daily at the recently restored Charleston City Market. One of the nation’s oldest public markets, this four-block-long attraction houses the greatest range of Certified Authentic: 100% Handmade in Charleston gifts, food products, and souvenirs.

Made to winnow rice on plantations, Gullah sweetgrass baskets are one of the oldest handcrafts of African origin in the United States. See the baskets come to life—more than 50 artisans weave a variety of styles onsite at the City Market daily.

The original setting of this Sacred Bird & Butterfly 17th century porcelain is on display at the Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting Street. Exquisite reproductions of this dinnerware and other noted antiques are found at the Historic Charleston Foundation City Market Shop.

STROLL THROUGH SPLENDOR

PACK YOUR BAGS!

When colonists settled Charleston in 1680, an urban development plan called the Grand Model established an orderly grid of streets. It is fun to wander and discover but difficult to get lost in the historic district.

Register at ExploreCharleston.com to receive a free guidebook filled with tips from Charleston insiders.


Come. Discover what you find most charming. Fall in love with Charleston. Call it your own. And cast your vote for Charleston in the 2014 CondÊ Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. CheckIntoCharleston.com @explorechs |

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Charleston's Charms