Excerpted from Wall Street Journal
May 11, 2012
It's said that in the late 18th century, nine of America's 10 wealthiest men lived in the Charleston area. This Southern city is no longer one of America's richest, but it may well be the most seductive. Horse-drawn carriages still roll past pristine, prettily hued antebellum homes. Craggy live oaks shade the streets, and Confederate jasmine perfumes the air. While strolling the lower peninsula, you might glimpse a private garden blooming beyond a brick wall topped with cannonballs, or catch a croquet party in the park. But despite its slow-paced gentility, Charleston is no relic—not with the authentically preppy boutiques, arts festivals that bring together everything from modern dance to bluegrass music (Spoleto kicks off May 25) and chefs who take local staples like shrimp, grits and rice to new heights.
... Until a few years ago, there wasn't much point in meandering north of Marion Square; today, Upper King Street has several blocks worth of edgy eateries and boutiques. ... Cupcake doesn't skimp on the frosting—or the flavors, including French toast and peppermint varieties (433 King St., freshcupcakes.com).