This past October, my husband and I spent a few days in Charleston. We were invited to attend a dear friend's wedding in Charlotte, so why not swing by South Carolina on the way? Planning your next trip? Here are a few quick insights from our latest destination.
Airbnb is the best way to cut costs. Want to see "all the things", and have no plans for lounging around? Rent a room vs. an entire home, which makes it easy to be in the heart of your destination of choice. We stayed near downtown, eliminated excess drive time; and got a local's view of the city. We were able to cover most of what we wanted to see, in a short amount of time, and enjoyed every bit of it.
When near the coast, I try to take advantage of fresh, readily available seafood.
Leon's Poultry & Oyster Shop- A recommendation of our sweet Airbnb hostess. Such a sunny patio & the interior is just as impressive. Leon's offers a variety of local craft beers. We shared a meal of fish, shrimp and clams. Yum!
Poogan's Porch- You had me at shrimp and grits. Located downtown, in a charming Victorian town house, complete with porches and palm trees out front. This was my favorite of all of the meals we enjoyed in Charleston. Poogan's had the atmosphere of the type of place you would want to lunch with the ladies, or grab dinner with your significant other. Biscuits were served first, with delicious honey butter. I ordered the shrimp and grits, which was the best shrimp and grits ever! No need to add butter, cheese or seasoning, it was prepared perfectly. Colin had the barbecue pulled pork sandwich, with homemade potato chips. The prices were reasonable, with everything $16 and under. Average $10-$12 for lunch.
Things to see & do:
Rainbow Row- This is a must see row of pastel historical homes, and an ideal photo opportunity. Maximize your image quality, and check it out in the most flattering light. Early morning or late afternoon light is optimal! While you are there, go for a walk down East Battery. There is a raised walkway, with an unobstructed view of the bay. Don't be too distracted by the lovely homes across the street, or you may be surprised by a splash of nearby crashing waves.
Waterfront Park- Swing over here. No really! Be sure to take a load off in one of the relaxing waterfront swings on the pier. It doesn't get much more blissful than porch swings, a breeze, view of the water, and sounds of buzzing gulls.
Fall Tour of Homes- You don't have to ask me twice to enter a stranger's home and analyze their living space! Just kidding. Sort of. I do enjoy home tours of all styles! Experiencing a space, and hearing it's history is quite fascinating. Especially in historically significant cities, like Charleston. Did you know the Civil War began in Charleston? "Chuck Town", as the locals call it. Did you know my favorite late night man is from here? Well one of my favorite late night men... Sorry Colin. Steven Colbert calls it home!
The City Market- Here you can peruse crafts, gifts, and apparel sold by local vendors. The market is four blocks, and takes up several open air buildings. It is located on Market Street, between East Bay and State Street. Be sure to catch the local artisans weaving and selling sweet baskets. Sweet baskets were originally used for sifting rice, and are now a popular purchase among visitors.
Folly Beach- Take a drive, about a half hour, out to Folly Beach. Stay all day, or just long enough to watch the sunset. Even in October, surfers were out catching waves.
Henry's Jazz & Seafood- Great contemporary roof top deck for drinking & dining. At night, the bar downstairs hosts live music, and an even livelier crowd. Need a late night snack? You can't go wrong with their crab cake.
5 Church- For historical preservation purposes, the architectural structure looks like a church; but is home to a bar and restaurant. Gladly so! It is a gorgeous space. We visited on a quiet week night, and enjoyed the grand view of stained glass and decorated niches. The unbelievable amount of script written on the entire ceiling, is a work of art in itself.
Closed For Business- We wandered into this draught emporium on King Street, enticed by the name, lighting and quirky decor. Sit at the bar or get comfy in a large leather chair, in front of the fireplace, with several pieces of peculiar taxidermy atop it's mantel. We were delighted to see their impressive list of beer, and daily specialty flight. CFB even describes itself as home to the "most eclectic selection of beer in the southeast".
Ghost & Dungeon Tour- Bulldog Tours
Who can resist a chance to tour an old city, in the dark; stopping by historic landmarks, narrated with cheesy (sometimes chilling) tales of local hauntings? Not me. I've made a point to join haunted tours in Galveston, New Orleans, and Savannah. While some have been more enjoyable than others, I have yet to regret an experience. We signed up for the 10PM tour, and learned that Charleston is apparently "the most well preserved city in the world, next to Rome"....... While I cannot say this statement is fact- I can say that making this statement on one of the cobble stone streets, didn't hurt our tour guide's case. Next, we visited a dungeon (located under a museum), that once held pirates captive. Afterwards, we heard a few ghost stories in a cemetery, surrounded by Spanish moss covered trees. Our visit was within a couple of weeks of Halloween, so the natural creepy surroundings felt perfectly spooky!