“Scouting Expedition” in the Carolinas

North Carolina mountains

By Amanda Cleary Eastep

We’re not calling our upcoming trip a vacation. I’ve deemed it, rather, a scouting expedition.

This is because we plan at some point to get the hell out of Illinois.

Planning a trip to a new location is fun but takes time and research. Since we’re focused on very prelim looks around Asheville, NC, and Charleston, SC, we haven’t packed our itinerary with lots of activities. But here are a few places on the list so far.

We’re open to suggestions! 

Asheville, NC

River Arts District–We’re more into the handmade and unique than the factory-made and boutique.

White Duck Taco Shop–As far as food goes, our stomachs gravitate toward any restaurant that isn’t on every corner in America. In planning where to eat, we asked friends who visited the areas, searched Urbanspoon and Yelp, and have even been noting places Guy Fieri reviews. I have planned on one specific restaurant for each day to give us a goal but also freedom for spontaneity.

A short hike–The options seem pretty endless for ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’ hikes through scenery that I’m anticipating will inspire me to give up my day job and sell dream catchers at the local farmers market.

Thanksgiving Day dinner–I’ve found two places that serve Thanx dinner at a fairly reasonable price: Pack’s Tavern and Carmel’s. Has anyone been to either restaurant?

Charleston, SC

Hominy Grill–If it seems like this trip is a bit focused on food, that’s because all of our trips are.

Egan and Sons (formerly of NJ?)–I read about this great little small business on one of my fave marketing blogs, My Marketing Cafe, which featured it in a recent post.

The ocean–My spirit feels revived every time I’m either in the woods or near the water. During our trip to Islip, we rolled up our jeans, donned our winter coats, and QUICKLY dipped our toes in the icy Atlantic.

Any suggestions for places to visit in Asheville or Charleston? Let us know in the comment section!


In addition to the comments below, I have received these great suggestions from Facebook! Thanks, fellow Scouts!

Visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston. I know, I know…not food. But the photo ops are abundant there. I’ll put together a small albums of pics on my page. Everyone tends to head to the fort for a visit (Fort Sumter). I prefer a drive around The Citadel and a walk through the College of Charleston. Two starkly different college campuses, yet both gorgeous in their own way. The Citadel is obvious military with it’s perfectly manicured lawns, minimalist decor, and clean white buildings. C of C is so uniquely southern and gorgeous. I will have to go back and sort through notes and pics to see if I can remember the names of the cafes we have visited, but Ned swears by the fried green tomatoes anywhere in SC.

Asheville downtown, eat at Tupelo Honey Cafe…also visit the Most General Store..ah shopping…or try lunch at the Early Girl Eatery…

Oh–there’s a super cute little French bistro in Asheville that has a back porch (if it is open). I’ll try to think of the name of it. Right downtown. Good crepes!

Pack’s Tavern is one of my favorite ‘go to’ places, always consistent with deliciousness and also GREAT customer service. Pack’s is a casual atmosphere. 
French Broad Chocolate Lounge is a MUST. Tupelo Honey………MUST!


  1. A scouting expedition- how fun & adventurous! 🙂 All of our trips are focused on food, too, (I’m convinced the best way to see a place is to eat my way through it) and I really enjoyed Poogan’s Porch in Charleston. Happy Scouting!

    1. Ha, love the idea of eating my way through a place. It’s a great way to meet local people, too. Thanks for the recommendation on Poogan’s!

  2. I live a block from Hominy Grill. It’s incredible that place is so famous because it’s in the middle of nowhere compared to the rest of the attractions in the city, but it’s awesome. Eat at Johnny’s Hot Dogs (a literal hole in the wall with a huge menu, not just dogs) on your way to the beach at Sullivan’s. I go once a week. Hope you enjoy your visit.

    1. Thanks so much, Thomas! Hominy was on our list of places to try, so I’m glad to hear that someone who lives in the area likes. Love the idea of stopping at Johnny’s on the way to the beach. We weren’t sure which beach to visit. Up near Chicago our tradition is to stop at Depot Dogs before hitting West Beach on Lake Michigan. We’ll follow up after our visit!

    2. Hi again Thomas. We tried Hominy…awesome place. I’m working on the blog post now!

  3. […] a journey to Asheville, NC, then on to Charleston, SC, or months. Not a vacation, mind you, but a scouting expedition to discover a potential new place to one day […]

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