27 March 2015

Tip: Dog Friendly Charleston

Charleston doesn't need me to sing its praises.  It's a destination that has been on my radar for some time. My parents lived there before I was born, I spent some time in South Carolina as a child and knew I needed to experience it as an adult. We decided to book a trip with our Pug, Pilgrim, this past winter. A week before shipping out,  I called the B&B to confirm our reservation, which evolved into a thirty-minute conversation with the keeper. She tipped me off on the local gossip, which restaurants to book reservations and dog-friendly venues.

As the title of this post suggests, I'm going to focus on the pup-friendly highlights. We touched down in the morning and decided to explore the massive outdoor Charleston Farmer's Market ahead of our afternoon check-in time. Peppered with dogs and doting pup parents, it became clear that Charleston is a dog town. Faces would genuinely light-up when they saw Pilgrim,  lots of rubs were delivered and one girl went as far as to request a selfie with our little ham bone.


We booked a room at the Cabell House, which I was devastated to learn had been sold and we were one of the last visitors to stay. The keeper, Randi, is in a word: amazing. I could have spoken with her all night, every night. I considered asking her to adopt us at one point. Born and bred in Charleston, she hailed from one of the original families. She showed us where the wine was and mentioned that the first floor porch is where everyone collects in the evening for a drink. She fawned over Pilgrim and when we bumped into her at Husk, she said she was heading home and would cuddle him back at the house while we were out.

Dog-friendly alternative: Wentworth Mansion.

Outdoor Excursion

At the suggestion of Randi, we drove out to the Magnolia Plantation. We were told the venue welcomes pups to roam with you throughout the grounds and donates a portion of their profits to the dog-focused charities. Although we weren't their for the spring bloom, the plantation's beauty was stunning.

As it turns out, Magnolia is considered one of the most dog-friendly destinations in the country. Pilgrim had the time of his life sniffing out the peacocks, donkeys and swamps.

View more photos on Flickr.


I could write a novel about the amazing meals we sat down to in Charleston, but Poogan's Porch resonates with me for its story and experience with Pilgrim. Named after Poogan, a dog whose ghost is rumored to linger, the Low Country menu and casual atmosphere were lovely and comforting.  

When our trip came to an end, I wasn't ready to head home to New York. Which is an odd, unfamiliar feeling for me. I'm hoping to return soon. Between now and then, I've mastered the art of crafting pimento cheese and I'm indulging myself in episodes of Southern Charm.

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