7024623209 Charleston.

There is something in the name. It curls around the tongue and bounces against the teeth thanks to the combined “S” and “T” before finishing roundly and politely with “…ton”, a nod to the Old English suffix for town. So who was Charles? (It was the English monarch King Charles II) And why is this his town? (I don’t think the King needs an excuse). Furthermore, what is the connection to the dance of the same name? I didn’t Google this, I have to look forward to finding out something and indeed one day I plan to find out for myself by going there as I have recently found myself thinking about visiting the city of Charleston, which was recognised as not just the “Top US City” but also the “Top Destination in the World” by readers of Condé Nast Traveller in 2012.

And yet the real reason I want to go to Charleston is not this impressive accolade. The reason I am lusting to ride a bike around Charleston wearing a flowing cotton dress, to feel the Atlantic’s breeze while walking along the harbour and to sit on the porch of a new friend drinking home made lemonade in the warm evening sun is because of a blog, Olivia Rae James’ blog.

Charleston based photographer Olivia contributes to dreamy publication Kinfolk magazine and regularly photographs fellow Charleston folk for Charleston magazine and the fabulous Freunde von Freunden. She also features the city’s people in a feature on her own blog called Charleston I Love You.


Now it’s time to let her photos do the talking and the inspiring…

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I made contract with Olivia to ask her kind permission to share some of her finest photos of Charleston with you and to my delight she replied with five special places and reasons that she loves her home city. Here they are.

1. A bike ride South of Broad is the best way to see one of the prettiest parts of the peninsula -so many secret gardens and narrow allies to admire.

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2. Bin 152 tastes and feels like France without having to cross the ocean. Wine and cheese heaven. 

Bin 152

3. The Elliotborough neighborhood is swimming with locally-owned shops and bakeries: Indigo & Cotton, Mac & Murphy, Sugar Bakeshop, Wildflour Pastry for sticky bun Sunday.

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4. The Ordinary Oyster Hall not only has some of the freshest, tastiest seafood you’ll ever have, but it’s also one of the most stunning spaces in town. I love to sit at the bar for happy hour and catch the view of the sunset through the giant windows.

Ordinary Oyster

5. Sullivan’s Island – When you want to get away to the ocean, Sullivan’s Island is a short drive from downtown Charleston. Hang out on the beach all day before heading to Poe’s, where you’ll find the best burger in town.

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So does this blog make you want to go to Charleston too? I’ll see you there….

All photos are by the wonderful Olivia Rae James.


This post was written by Frankie Thompson who was a Travelette from 2012 – 2015. Originally from London, UK, Frankie was nomadic for several years before settling in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she lives with her Australian partner and baby boy. She spends her time buying vintage dresses, riding a rusty old bike around the canals and writing books inspired by her travels. Frankie blogs about travel, writing and motherhood at As the Bird flies blog.