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Best of Charleston

Charleston is the quintessential Southern town. Everything has a touch of that famous Southern charm from the cobblestone streets, historical landmarks, quaint hotels and welcoming and friendly people. It is almost impossible to be too dressed up and everything from the food to the wine and cocktails are decadent. A long weekend spent in Charleston is enough to make any cynic and hardened American fall in love with the simple life.

Hotels

I am partial to the Mills House Hotel. It has amazing accommodations for cheaper than most places in town but still captures old, historic Charleston. It is not a mega-hotel and the smaller feel will treat you to amazing service and creates a much more Charleston-esque atmosphere. It is in walking distance of the Battery, King Street and the East Bay restaurant and bar district.

The Market Pavilion is by far in one of the best locations in town. It is right at the intersection of Market Street and King Street so it looks over the historic Charleston Market but also provides access to the modern and upscale shopping on King Street. The Market Pavilion also has a rooftop bar that provides breathtaking views of the city and the bay.

Charleston Place is probably the nicest hotel in town. It is above the Shops at Charleston, which provides high-end shopping and boutiques. The Charleston Grill is the hotel’s restaurant, and is one of the best restaurants in town. Palmetto Café is also located inside and is a great spot for high tea. This hotel is in the middle of downtown so also provides access to everything you need.

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 Restaurants

Charleston is an eating town. Every restaurant I have ever eaten at there is amazing so you really can’t go wrong. These are in no particular order. Poe’s on Sullivan’s Island has the best burgers in town. It is in an old house and Edgar Allen Poe themed. There is a great patio and porch that is first-come first-served seating. It is usually pretty crowded but
worth the wait.

Husk is the current hotspot in town. As soon as you know you are going to Charleston is as soon as you should be making a dinner reservation at Husk—they are very hard to come by. The chef has won the James Beard award and was just on Iron Chef. The farm to table concept provides great food and there is an amazing bar to enjoy while waiting on your table.

Hank’s is a must for seafood. It arguably has the best and freshest seafood in town. In addition to a modern twist on the classic Shrimp and Grits, this restaurant has a great atmosphere with tall ceilings wood paneling, and an extensive wine list. If you are new to the South and have never had She Crab soup, it is a must order at Hank’s.

82 Queen is a cute lunch or dinner spot with a great, lush patio. It is tucked away from the street and provides a very Southern-style menu. Rue de Jean is my favorite restaurant in town. The menu is extensive and sophisticated but the restaurant itself is anything but stuffy. It is very lively, loud and fun. The mussels are by far the best in town and even if they are not your favorite, you have to try them here. Hominy Grill is one of the better known spots in Charleston and is a must for a first timer. It is great for lunch or dinner and a menu does not get much more Southern than this. I recommend the Shrimp and Grits, the Big Nasty Fried Chicken sandwich and the Fried Catfish.

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Looking for brunch? High Cotton is the place to be. It has a great atmosphere and food; plus, you will definitely feel like you are in Charleston if you eat here—it is the definition of the quaint, quintessential South. The menu is upscale low country food and also has good, fun cocktails. A cornerstone of Charleston cuisine. Poogan’s Porch is another great spot for brunch. Reservations are highly recommended. The porch and patio are a great place to people watch along Queen street and are dog-friendly. The Fried Alligator is a great appetizer, and all the breakfast food is good.

Some other suggestions that are very classic Charleston, and all owned by the same people, are: Magnolias, Blossom and Cyprus. Magnolias is good for brunch and breakfast. Cyprus and Blossom are right next door and both great spots for dinner.

Bars

Most of the nightlife in Charleston is on East Bay and Upper King Street. Here are a few of the high points. The Rooftop at Vendue Inn provides great views of the city, and is lively and fun. The crowd is mid-twenties to mid-thirties and there are plenty of places to sit at tables or stand around the bar. Across the street from the Rooftop at Vendue Inn is the Griffon, which a much more local spot. This bar is going to have a bit of a younger crowd but has a fun atmosphere.

The Blind Tiger is a must for anyone in his twenties or early thirties visiting Charleston. It will remind you of your favorite bar in college, complete with college memorabilia, TVs set to sporting events and a great back patio. It can get pretty crowded at night but is always a good time. The Belmont has a New York style lounge feel to it with a Southern twist, including a long bar with plenty of seating. The bartenders make hand-crafted cocktails and are very entertaining. A must have is the Sex in the Afternoon drink make with Absinth.

Bin 152 is a wine bar owned by a local couple. The menu has a great selection of wines, cheeses and meats. The bar can be quieter earlier in the evening so is a good spot for pre-dinner wine.

Shopping

The two main areas for shopping in Charleston are King Street and the Charleston Market. King Street boasts high-end fashions and much more mainstream stores. It has been voted one of the best shopping districts in America. The Charleston Market is where you will find local vendors selling candles, jewelry, Charleston memorabilia and many more unique items.

Things to do around town

The best way to learn about the history behind Charleston is to take a historical tour via horse-drawn carriage. There are multiple companies that do it but the two main ones are Old Carriage Tours, which are the most well-known tour guides—look for the guides with the red sashes—and the Palmetto Carriages. The Palmetto Carriages are a bit smaller so you can go alone, rather than with a whole group.

Even if you are not a huge history person and do not want to take a carriage tour, you must walk the Battery while you are visiting town. The Battery is the southernmost tip of the peninsula, and it where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. It has a large park with historical monuments and includes the row of colorful mansions everyone associates with Charleston. The whole neighborhood is absolutely beautiful and a great place to walk around.

Every Saturday in Marion Square the Charleston Farmers’ Market is held. It boasts what every farmers’ market does but you have to stop by for amazing crepes. Charleston also has many galleries and museums of all kinds. Check out Gallery Row on Broad Street and the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Beaches

Sullivan’s Island is an amazing beach. The Island itself is all residential so you have to park in the neighborhoods off of random Stations (what the locals call streets), and this can be a bit tricky but the beaches are public so no need to worry about being on a private beach. If you plan to drink on Sullivan’s Island at the beach it must be out of a plastic cup—no bottles or cans allowed. Isle of Palms is probably the best beach nearby. It is about twenty minutes from downtown Charleston. A great restaurant out there is The Boathouse that overlooks the water and have good appetizers and drinks.

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Folly Beach is the closest to downtown Charleston and is very laid-back and casual. It is not the prettiest but it still wonderful. Kiawah Island is about forty-five minutes from Charleston so it would be more of a day trip. The Ryder Cup Bar is a great restaurant to have drinks and lunch. It overlooks the eighteenth green of the Ocean course and the beach.

How to get around town

For the most part, you can walk everywhere in town. However, if you are going further than you would like to walk you can either take a bike taxi (the locals call them rickshaws) or a regular taxi. A regular taxi is not too hard to come by and is $10 one way anywhere in the downtown area.

Best of Beaver Creek

If your travels have taken you to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, make sure you make a few stops in Avon County.  With lush green grass in the summer and snow white covered mountains in the winter, Avon is absolutely breath taking year round. Take a hike with Shannon Shell into this lovely Colorado guide for that perfect getaway vacation.

BEST SPA

For a spa experience to remember, wander on over to The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Allegria Spa.   Upon check-in, the soft-spoken staff will recommend starting at the blissful Water Sanctuary.  Step into the self-guided healing waters to start your journey to relaxation.  This step-by-step process allows your body to forget the outside world and let the inner peace take over.  Their signature services are perfectly perfect.  I recommend the Signature Massage and the Oxygen Facial.  You will leave this space feeling appreciated and renewed.

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BEST SHOPPING

My favorite boutique is Roxy, which you can find in both Vail and Beaver Creek Villages.  Roxy carries Ella Moss, Splendid and Rebecca Beeson to name of few.  This super-cute shop can dress you from the shoes on your feet to the perfect scarf that pulls your whole ensemble together.  They have clothes and accessories at every price point;  I have yet to see someone leave this store empty handed!

BEST START TO THE DAY

For the perfect day starter, scurry over to The Bookworm of Edwards.  Locally flavored and independently owned, this cozy little place is known for the delicious crepes and gourmet coffee.  Endulge in your favorite crepe, a hot cup of coffee, and a good book in this community-minded nook.  This is the perfect spot to finish that romantic book about Edward and what’s her name!

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BEST WORK OUT

To get a workout that will leave your body begging for more, visit Pure Barre in Edwards off Highway 6.  This ballet, yoga and pilates fusion class will light your body on fire.  Pure Barre was founded by dancer, choreographer and fitness guru, Carrie Rezabek Dorr.  This location is her corporate headquarters; so if you are lucky, you may get the creator herself to make you sweat.  Bonus, I lost 4 pounds the first week I started!  Bring a towel, and be ready to work!

pure-barre

BEST PIZZA JOINT

Last but certainly not least, the favorite pizza joint of young and old, Blue Moose Pizza.  Their slices ARE something to be shy about…….I would be impressed if you could finish more then 2!  This pizza place is family friendly, beautiful views and best of all dog friendly!

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We would love to hear about your favorite places in the laid back town of Beaver Creek. Or let us know about your favorite town and its must-sees! For suggestions, please email lauren@lolomag.com.

Best of Los Angeles

Sunny California is where school has taken Texas girl, Taylor Pierce, and as she attends FIDM, she also takes full advantage of her time in the incredible city of Los Angeles. From the best shopping in town to the greatest spa experience (at a reasonable price), Taylor gives LOLO a glimpse of her local favorites. Use this as a vacation guide for the next time you stop in town!

BEST CLOTHING STORE

If you are going to go shopping on Melrose Avenue, it is completely necessary to skip into JOYRICH. While their clothing will bring you joy, you do not have to be rich to buy them. Filled with bright colors and wacky patterns, JOYRICH has clothing that will bring your style to a new level. Not only that, but the eye catching prints are guaranteed to have you standing out in a crowd. Their pieces are inspired by 70’s street style from fabulous cities such as London and New York. JOYRICH fashions are not about following the guidelines of today’s trends. The only trend they follow is individuality, with a hint of revolt. JOYRICH carries everything from t‐shirts, tanks, leggings, pants…the normal articles of clothing that most clothing stores carry. They also have bejeweled jackets, frilly skirts, floral pieces for men, and oversized accessories. The moment you enter this clothing store, your imagination will wander. So take your wardrobe to dreamland, and look fabulous.

BEST THIRST QUENCHER

If you find yourself thirsty while out and about, wanting something healthy and delicious…go to Beverly Hills Juice. BHJ has been making raw fruit and veggie juice since 1975. They make the yummiest combos of juices, like Cinnamon Apple Coconut. Mmm! My favorite treat from Bev Hills Juice is the perfect substitute for ice cream. Their Banana Manna shake! It is a frozen blend of almonds and bananas. That is it! You can customize your shake by mixing the Banana Manna with any choice of juice. Banana Manna with Cinnamon Apple Coconut is a personal recommendation.

If you are really wanting to do your body some good, you can have a shot, (or a cup if you are really feeling optimistic), of wheatgrass. You might even have a celebrity sighting! Nicole Richie, Adam Brody, and Nicky Hilton are a few who love these freshly squeezed beverages. So pop in and try it! I promise you will find something that your taste buds will die for. Just a tip, they only accept cash. So keep the cards for the shopping!

BEST WAXING STUDIO

In need of a good waxing before heading to the beach or laying out by the pool? The BEST place to go is Stark in West Hollywood. These waxing experts really know what they are doing. Not only do they offer waxing for any part of your body, and I do mean any part of your body, but they also do eyelash and eyebrow tinting. Male and/or females are welcome. You are guaranteed to leave happy, hairless, and more than ready for that itsy bitsy bikini. Two suggestions: one, call ahead and make an appointment so you can get in right away. Two, exfoliate after waxing to help smooth the skin and prevent irritation. Get sexy!

BEST MILKSHAKES…EVER

Now, if you are really set on sneaking a peek at a celebrity, go to Millions of Milkshakes in Hollywood. The A‐listers rain into the hot spot to create their own milkshake creations. Literally, they each get a shake named after themselves based on their yummy concoction. Just to name a few…the Kardashian sisters, Miley Cyrus, Latoya Jackson, Chad Ocho‐Cinco, Octo Mom, Shaq, Lindsey Lohan, Pamela Anderson, Ciara, Whitney Houston, Reese Witherspoon, Ben Affleck…oh I’m sorry did I say a few? I meant “millions!” Get it? (crickets). Besides the stars, the milkshakes are actually amazing. Definitely worth the trip, whether or not you see someone famous. You can even create your own mix as well. Mmm!

BEST LUNCH SPOT

One of my favorite places to grab a scrumptious lunch with friends is the Bread Bar in West Hollywood. They have a vast array of breads and pastries that are absolutely divine. They also have meals that will have your belly filled with joy and your taste buds rejoicing. It is the perfect place to eat outside, and enjoy the perfect weather, as well as perfect company. The service is great, and as previously stated, so is the food! Bread Bar has a range of “bars” to choose. There is Bento Bars, Skewer Bars, and Slider Bars. They also have incredible soups, salads, main course meals, and sandwiches. Some suggestions are the red beet gazpacho with goat cheese, the angus beef burger, the salad nicoise, and the club sandwich. If you go for the sliders, one of the little guys has to be the beer battered brie. A wonderful starter for the table is the Bread Bar bread basket. It is an assortment of their breads with multiple dipping choices. My mouth is watering just writing this article! I am on my way to the Bread Bar now, see you there. 😉

BEST LOW KEY BAR

A place with some serious mood lighting and great drinks is the L’Scorpion bar in Hollywood. While it is hard to spot, once you are inside the ambiance assures you that you are in the right place. L’Scorpion is twenty‐one and up upon entry, so adults only. It is a fun place to go after dinner or before a night on the town. It is always a mixed crowd; club promoters, groups waiting to hit the club scene next door, to easy‐going people just enjoying a libation. L’Scorpion is the perfect low‐key spot to enjoy friends and beverages.

BEST SPA

Do not waste your time going to some overly priced Beverly Hills spa. If you want fantastic service and results that will have you more than thrilled, go to Neihule Hair Skin and Body. The list of services they offer goes on for days! They have regular manicures, pedicures, spa mani/pedi with herbal mixes, acrylic, gel nails; they even have minx nails, (a sticker‐like application that stays on like a polish; in a large assortment of patterns and colors). The list doesn’t end there, however. Neihule offers waxing, treading, sunless tanning, UV tanning, eyelash extensions, blow‐dry bar, hair extensions, hair treatments, make‐up application, make‐up lessons…yeah, a few options to choose from. Did I mention the pedicure pods with built in computers? Cool, right? Each person I have encountered there has been so friendly and complementary. I cannot say enough good things about Neihule! Take my word for it, you will not leave disappointed. Go on, pamper yourself!

We would love to hear about your favorite places in sunny Los Angeles! For more suggestions, please email lauren@lolomag.com.

Best of Manhattan Beach

Join us on this sunny state guide to one of Southern California’s best seaside towns: Manhattan Beach. Cali girl, Whitney Olshwanger, takes us on a tour of her favorite local hot spots (the ones that aren’t so obvious to the frequent visitor). Make your trip into a local stay by hitting up these rad places.

Why Whitney loves MB: Whenever I have a day off work and want to go to the beach for relaxation as well as to walk around, I will choose Manhattan Beach. Not only is this destination extremely clean, but it has amazing restaurants, shops and fun dive bars.

BEST STORE

My favorite store is called Wrights (they also have a kids Wrights), and it is on Manhattan Beach Blvd. The buyer at the store always has the latest trends and designers such as Rag and Bone, Isabel Marant, Paul and Joe, and others in that genre. They also always carry great basic lines such as Ever and Velvet. Most of the time when you go to a store at the beach, they are behind trends based on their location, and this store definitely is not. They also have a great selection of men’s clothing with brands such as Hartford, Masons and Ever. It is always fun for me to go into Wrights because the employees are extremely knowledgeable, and the store as a whole has such a great vibe.

BEST RESTAURANT

MB Post is unlike any restaurant I have ever been to in the Southbay. Not only does it have incredible food, but it is a perfect place to spend an entire night. The chief at MB Post is David LaFevre, and he spent nearly 15 years coming up with the concept of the restaurant. The menu contains small plates; my favorite is the couscous with feta and cranberries. It is very light and delicious. They also have mixologists at the bar who make some amazing drinks. This is one place where waiting for a table doesn’t matter because it gives you an excuse to be social as well as sample a drink.

BEST STREET

Manhattan Beach Blvd: This is where the majority of the shops, restaurants and bars are located. Side note: when you are heading towards the ocean you have a beautiful view of the pier.

BEST LOCAL COFFEE SPOT

The Koffee Kart is one of the best-kept secrets in town. The waiters and waitresses have worked at the place for years, and their coffee is delicious and strong. If you go early in the morning, you will see a lot of surfers after their morning surf sessions. Try their omelets; they are ridiculously delicious!

BEST BRUNCH SPOT

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House has the best blueberry and banana nut pancakes I have ever had in my life. It is a great local spot, but get there super early on the weekends because the line gets really long!

BEST DINER

The Kettle has been a tradition in Manhattan Beach for decades! It is a great place to go for a late night snack such as sweet potato fries, a Mediterranean plate, and yummy burgers. It is always packed and filled with an interesting crowd of all ages at any time of the day!

FAVORITE ACTIVITY

I learned about the 6-man volleyball tournament when I lived in the Southbay a couple of years ago. It is a 2-day event usually during the first week in August where teams line up in front of the courthouse in Manhattan Beach usually in hilarious costumes. This event is a great way for locals to get together and have a great time. If you are not the participating type, it is just as fun to watch as great games are played.

BEST HEALTHY SPOT

I just recently discovered The Tea Exchange, and not only do they have an amazing tea selection, but they also have wonderful make-your-own paninis! Everything from soft pretzels and smoothies are guaranteed organic and delicious. Try the coconut mango green tea. It is out of this world!

For further research, here are some of my favorite shops in LA:

Satine
Creatures of Comfort
Planet Blue
Madison
Hilary Rush
Pokadots and Moonbeams
LF
Reformation
Princepeca

Best of Portland

Get ready to fall in love with the (possibly) unknown city of Portland. If you have never been, take this rad travel guide with you on your daily excursions, only to end up at the coolest local spots while experiencing Oregon’s finest wonders along the way. Laura Stephens is super passionate about this awesome city, and even though her home base is in Dallas, her heart will never leave this great place she used to call home.

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BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge Highway are a must see. It is a beautiful, 15 minute drive from the city, with trails and waterfalls along the way, picnic spots, hiking trails for every type of person, and it’s breathtakingly gorgeous!! Check out the view from The Vista House while you’re up there.

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FAVORITE THINGS TO EXPLORE

At the Portland Saturday Market, you’ll never see the same thing twice! Shop from local vendors and try yummy food. Plus enjoy some of the weirdest street performers you’ve ever seen. Keeping Portland Weird!

The Portland Farmer’s Market  is right in the heart of the university, and you will find it full of local breads, fruits, veggies, other local goodies and great live music! Try everything. It’s all delicious. Just don’t forget cash!

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BEST LOCAL COFFEE SHOP

Stumptown Coffee is a place for a deep-hearted coffee lover. Stumptowns are abundant throughout Portland, and they are all fantastic! Stop by the Stumptown in the trendy ACE Hotel for a glimpse of the local vibe.

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BEST SHOPPING

On NW 23 (Portland’s NW 23rd Avenue), tons of boutiques and restaurants line the street in the upscale alphabet district.

Another great stop: Hawthorne Street. It has shops, restaurants, and a healthy dose of local Portland quirkiness; don’t miss the Waffle Window for sweet and savory, ridiculously awesome waffles or Portland’s Vintage Wonderland, House of Vintage.

BEST BRUNCH PLACE

Gravy on Mississippi Avenue! I never miss this place! Get there, and prepare to stand in line. It’s SO worth the wait!! Delicious!!

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BEST LUNCH SPOT

Pine State Biscuits has undeniable southern charm and the best sweet tea in Portland.

Bunk Sandwiches is teeny tiny but don’t let its size fool you. It has some of the most amazing sandwiches in the NW. Don’t miss the local pickles!

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BEST RESTAURANT WITH A VIEW

Portland City Grill is a little more upscale and has a great happy hour! This eatery sits high above the city making it a perfect place to watch a sunset.

BEST CHURCH

Door Of Hope (Just throwing that in there because you need to visit if you are in town!) :)

BEST LATE NIGHT SNACK SHOP

Voo Doo Donuts quite possibly stocks every donut in the world!! Plus, they are open 24 hours, and that is awesome.

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BEST BAR SCENE

The Kennedy School has that laid back Portland vibe with outside and inside seating. Fun fun!

Roadside Attraction is quirky and fun! It makes for a great late night hangout with live music and southern soul.

BEST HEALTHY EATERY

Laughing Planet is vegan and vegetarian friendly! Plus, it is off-the-charts delicious.

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BEST BOOKSTORE

Powell’s is HUGE and independently owned. It’s impossible not to get lost in in there for hours.

RULES TO LIVE BY IN PORTLAND

Do NOT go to Starbucks! Ride a bike if you can. Recycle everything. Wear plaid. Army boots are still cool. The food carts are your friend.

We would love to hear about your favorite places in Portland! For more suggestions, please email lauren@lolomag.com.