A Couples’ Getaway to Charleston During Covid

Everyone has their own strategy and risk/reward threshold for navigating this pandemic. I’m extremely fortunate to have an internationally renowned infectious diseases expert in the family, so we get “backstage” access to some wonderful information. Now what we do with that information is up for scrutiny and hopefully some empathy just like all the rest of you.

Dave’s parents were coming in from Charlotte for a weekend to visit with the kids. We were looking at three days at the house with well-intentioned grandparents (“Lindsey, do you have any nail clippers? Jed’s nails look awfully long.”), and a combination of begging/demanding the kids stay off their devices to engage with said grandparents.

We did something I encourage all of you to do: We changed the narrative and gave my in-laws the precious gift of alone time to bond with their grandchildren and headed to Charleston, SC for the weekend. See what we did there?

We would usually take more advantage of all of the activities the area has to offer, catch a live concert (remember those?), etc., but because of Covid-19, we mostly chilled at the hotel and walked around downtown. And Dave went fishing. Because Dave.

Getting There

Charleston is less than 4 hours from where we live in Asheville, NC, so we just hopped in the car and went! Listening to all the podcasts we can’t play with kids in the car made it go by like nothing.

Vodka with a view: The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue.

Where We Stayed

I’ve had a hotel crush on The Vendue ever since I was introduced to their rooftop bar more than a decade ago. Its history, charm, and art-covered walls all adorn my mental mood board. And it’s pet-friendly for the win (our most rambunctious dog was our third wheel). As far as Covid measures go, I was very impressed with their check-in and staff training. They were very accommodating with our room change, as we weren’t the first people to book an interior room and feel less than satisfied. A caution on interior rooms: It’s not worth the money you save to stay in a windowless room. You don’t think it will bother you, but it will.

The room we moved to in the main hotel building had a huge window, high ceilings, and a comfy bed. Because the buildings date back to the 1700’s, every room is a different shape and size with its own charm. If you have specific ideas about what you want (a larger space or more light), call directly to book.

The Vibe

Charleston is a golden retriever, visor-tucked-into-the-back-pocket-of-your-Nantucket-reds kind of town. If you don’t live in the South, it’s just how you imagine it with palmettos popping up between colorful buildings in a rainbow of architectural styles including Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Classic Revival, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival and Queen Anne.

Safe and sound (and clean!) at The Vendue.

What I Loved

I loved how safe I felt inside the hotel amidst the pandemic. Staff and other guests were very respectful of each other’s space, wore masks, etc.

Oh Charleston’s food scene, how I adore thee. With so many amazing restaurants, I try to knock one or two off my gastronomic bucket list with each visit. And with Covid and a dog in tow, we only considered pet-friendly, outdoor dining options, which were surprisingly few and far between. We ended up al fresco at FIG. It’s short for “Food Is Good” and lives up to that in every way. Sorry, no food photos from this trip as we were really trying to unplug and only connect with each other.

What I Didn’t Love as Much

Because of our awesome central location, we didn’t have as much privacy. I didn’t know this was something I wanted until I accidentally flashed a ghost tour group while changing with the curtains open (maybe we should’ve stuck with the windowless room after all!). And I did not love how unsafe I felt outside the hotel. So many people–mostly other tourists–packed into restaurants with masks off, dining and laughing and exhaling air particles in small spaces. And then there were the determined brides-to-be marching on with their minions in matching flannels, woo-ing it up come Covid or high water.

For someone who suffers from anxiety, it was a tad panic-inducing. We will wait until we’re vaccinated before going back so we can really do all things.


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