A city full of history, Charleston might initially come off as a little ye olde. But if you look more closely, this 340-year-old harbor city actually lives in the present. Bars reinvent Southern spirits, boutiques showcase new spins on cotton, and the annual Spoleto Festival (May 25 through June 10) draws world-class actors, dancers, and musicians.
Heirloom Book Company, Charleston, South Carolina
The year-old Heirloom Book Company is two parts cookbook store and one part culinary center. Pick up a copy of Notes from a Kitchen, a 900-page, photo-filled look into the personal lives of some of the best young American chefs, including Charleston’s own Sean Brock of McCrady’s and the recently opened Husk.
Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, Charleston, South Carolina
Last July, Suzanne Pollack and Lee Manigault launched the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits. They teach even the most hapless of hosts to decorate with style and throw themed gatherings, such as a men’s-only dinner party, through classes held at their historic homes. (843) 252-7479, caodp.com
Elliott House Inn, Charleston, South Carolina
The Elliott House Inn reopened last October after a two-year renovation of its 25 rooms. The hotel, which predates the Civil War, now combines heirloom armoires and oriental rugs with flat-screen televisions and room service. The statue-filled garden courtyard is the best place to take in the warm Carolina nights. From $89. (877) 727-0369, elliotthouseinn.com
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