In a city as quaint and charming as Charleston, romantic spots are a dime a dozen. It’s one of the reasons brides and grooms and honeymooners routinely select Charleston. And why the city frequently finds itself on lists touting the most romantic cities, like it’s top ten spot in Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Cities 2011 Survey for Romantic Escapes. If your plans land you in Charleston this Valentine’s Day, consider yourself lucky. This city is packed with tucked away restaurants, secret gardens and indulgent adventures to enjoy with your loved one on this special day.
If cooking isn’t your strong suit, here are a few suggestions for a romantic dinner around town:To assist in planning, we asked our staff to share their ideas on the most romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Charleston. So ladies, forward this post to your man. And gentlemen listen up—this is pure gold. Skip the chocolates and flowers this year, and earn a few points with these stellar tips.
• Start the evening with cocktails. Try the upstairs bar at Cypress on East Bay Street, then move to McCrady’s Restaurant—listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks and features the cooking of Chef Sean Brock. After dinner, enjoy a short walk over to to Kaminsky’s for coffee and something sweet.
EXTRA POINTS: Book reservations at McCrady’s ahead of time and score a cozy table near the fireplace.
• Located in the heart of a quiet residential neighborhood, it’s hard to find a spot more charming than Trattoria Lucca. It’s a small intimate setting, where Chef Ken Vedrinski takes you on a trip through Tuscany with his cuisine. Settle into a table for two, or the bar that sits only six, with your loved one on Valentines Day!
EXTRA POINTS: If your significant other is a pure foodie, this is your place.
• Valentine’s Day is about love and appreciation. Of course, there’s no better way to show it than to strip away all the grand gestures and just get to it. Head on over to The Wreck overlooking Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant. This is the perfect spot to “just be” with your beloved. It gets you out and away from all the hustle of downtown and places you right in the moment. It’s local food served right off the dock and is a favorite spot of Charlestonians.
EXTRA POINTS: After dinner, stroll hand-in-hand around the Old Village—a lovely little neighborhood in Mt. Pleasant.
• Tucked on a quiet side street off upper King Street, check out Pane E Vino. This place literally glows with charm on a chilly night. What could be better than warming up with a bottle of wine, delicious Italian fare and your sweetie in one of the coziest restaurants in town?
EXTRA POINTS: C’mon, we can’t tell you everything. The simple fact you found this place was enough.
• Looking for the quintessential “date night?” Charleston Grill is the best in town. Once you’re settled in with a drink, prepare to have your senses delighted. Chef Michelle Weaver’s tasting menu will keep you guessing while you two are immersed in the smooth jazz of the Quentin Baxter Trio. To top off the night, Maitre D’ Mickey Bakst sends every woman home with a red rose.
EXTRA POINTS: According to Mickey, table 41 is the restaurant’s most romantic table. Hint hint. Wink wink.
If your M.O. is to avoid crowded restaurants and plan a more private affair, here are a few options that’ll be sure to keep you in the good graces.
• Sometimes the most simple (and last minute), yet thoughtful plans create the best memories. Skip the forced sit-down dinner and stop by Caviar & Bananas for a bottle of wine and a cheese board. Then head on down to the Battery or Mt. Pleasant’s Waterfront Park for a quiet evening picnic together.
• What better way to say “I love you” than with the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation. The Spa at Charleston Place offers a romantic couples massage, complete with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.
• Grab a bottle of champagne, or one of these Valentine’s Day themed wine suggestions, and head to Palmetto Islands County Park. In the very back near the docks, there’s a lone swinging bench overlooking the marsh. The rest is up to you.
What do you think? Any other ideas that will take the stress out of planning and help ensure the perfect evening?