You had had a bad day when you decided to plan a surprise honeymoon. Not “the” honeymoon, but “a” honeymoon. That’s because in a pandemic that seems to have no end, it seems advisable to do a little bit of travel, trips that together could make the equivalent of a real honeymoon with multiple symphonic movements, little bits that make the whole thing sexy complete vacation that you had imagined. Think about it: lots of short breaks will bring back more memories. You can always make that big bucket list trip later – after all, you have a lifetime to travel together.

So back to your bad day. It happens. She said she dreamed of that honeymoon in Argentina’s wine country that one had never had. You understood. You feel the same way. When she sniffed and sighed a little, when she tried unsuccessfully to turn her frown upside down, you secretly went into the bedroom and pretended you had to work. You googled You’ve been thinking. You bit your lip. You asked yourself: which destination was close enough for a short road trip? What would inspire you? What place, not too far away, embodied the romance of the old world? And then it hit you: Charleston.

You arrive in a blissful seaside town feeling flirtatious. She is fascinated by cobblestones, magnolia blossoms, colorful row houses, ornate doors, fences and balconies. She longs to ride a horse and buggy through the old town, go on a ghostly hike by moonlight, drive across the harbor at sunset, visit the Gibbes Museum of Art and satisfy her curiosity at the countless historical sites. You can do all of this in this famous, magical city that has the world’s largest historical district after Rome. She shouts cheerfully over this bulwark of porticoes painted white, Georgian houses and Doric columned villas. From her car, she points to the antique shops and art galleries she wants to visit. You just nod your head. It is time you say

Frannie and the Fox

Then break it down to her. You know she’s going to pass out. Why? Because she’s a foodie. That brought the two of you together – you love to eat well and enjoy the culinary culture. It’s the main thing you talk about, it’s the core of all your plans, it’s how you spend your money – an example of giving each other Le Creuset cookware for a wedding present. You tell her the news: You have a special reservation tonight – not with FIG or Notice or The ordinary. No (though you’ll be mumbling at these famous Charleston restaurants). They explain that together you will take the local level to a whole new level. As soon as you check into your hotel, it’s swanky Emeline On Church Street (more on that soon), rush to the nearby home of Suzanne Pollak, aka Dean of The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits. She will teach you both in a private cooking class that focuses on lowland cooking. What is low country cooking you ask? Remember: fluffy groats with blue crab sauce, juicy fried green tomatoes covering the bacon and egg benedicts, fried oysters, allspice cheese, crumbly buttermilk biscuits, okra, and tons more. Who is suzanne A world-renowned cookbook author, celebrity, and expert on low country manners and cuisine. Well anchored in Charleston’s gourmet world, the Gastronomium offers cooking classes that are so fun you will think it’s the best dinner party you’ve ever attended. It couldn’t be more exciting.

When your love hears this plan, they clap their hands for joy. Your toothy grin makes all of your planning worthwhile. You get out of the taxi and get into the horse and buggy that you have arranged in advance while the Emeline porter brings your suitcases to the room. The trot through the old streets sets the mood. You’ll snuggle under a blanket as the driver talks about Charleston’s history and points out the sights that you’ll explore further tomorrow. When the ride ends, she dances out of the buggy and through Emeline’s ornate doors. She roars happily at the sight of the devilishly stylish vestibules – the cozy velvet sofas, the curvy reading chairs and the baroque glamor. Although Emeline is a new hotel that has been renovated in the midst of old buildings and has a breathtaking jasmine-filled courtyard, Emeline exudes the elegance and gravity of the centuries. No place could epitomize the Charleston spirit anymore.

Employees

Your Collector’s Suite welcomes you upstairs with Southern panache. Your wife, who is now incredibly happy, throws herself on the bed and cheers. “Matouk embroidered sheets! You spoil us! “She says this as you open a bottle of champagne and pull a record from the room’s vinyl collection to put on the vintage player. You tell her about Frannie & Fox, a smart Italian restaurant on the first floor that you have End the day with Negronis from Talking Corners at the bar. She picks a macaroon from a plate on the table and nibbles neatly on it as you pull a magnificently wrapped box of ribbons out of your pocket. You trusted the hotel gift shop to make a custom Choosing jewelry – a bracelet. They hope she’ll love it. She puts it on her wrist and jumps up to hug you. She doesn’t have to say anything else.

When you return home from the fun cooking class at the Academy of Domestic Pursuit, remember that Dean Suzanne Pollak didn’t just teach you how to make Planter’s Punch, allspice cheese, plump shrimp and grits, and a peach dessert. She also gave you some advice. “P is for playfulness,” she’d said while you were working in her kitchen. “Remember, always keep your marriage playful. That’s the key. “

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Dean Suzanne Pollak